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Qualified majority voting in foreign and security policy: Pros and Cons

19-01-2021

In her first State of the Union speech, and in the section of the speech most applauded by the European Parliament, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in areas such as sanctions and human rights. The crises and security challenges accumulating in and around the European Union have added to the urgency of having a more effective and rapid decision-making process in areas pertaining to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP ...

In her first State of the Union speech, and in the section of the speech most applauded by the European Parliament, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in areas such as sanctions and human rights. The crises and security challenges accumulating in and around the European Union have added to the urgency of having a more effective and rapid decision-making process in areas pertaining to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The core encumbrance against unanimous EU agreement on foreign policy is argued to be the absence of a common strategic culture among EU Member States. The Lisbon Treaty's architects have equipped the EU Treaties with 'passerelle clauses' – provisions usually aimed at modifying the decision-making of the Council of the EU. The passerelle clause for CFSP is Article 31(3) of the Treaty on European Union, which empowers the European Council to, by unanimous agreement, allow the Council of the EU to take decisions by QMV in some areas of the CFSP. Another option is an emergency brake – cancelling a vote for vital reasons of national policy – while constructive abstention is an option which allows a Member State to abstain from a unanimous vote without blocking it. Since 2016, the EU has witnessed growing momentum to shape its identity as a security provider and peace promoter. From 2020 and until 2022, it is undertaking a strategic reflection process taking the form of a 'strategic compass', whereby the threats, challenges and objectives for the Union in security and defence will be better defined. It is in this context that the debate about QMV in foreign and security policy has resurfaced and continues to be the subject of policy discussions. Nevertheless, recent efforts to innovate in the EU’s methods for adopting sanctions in the field of human rights abuses (the European Magnitsky Act) have been unsuccessful in their attempt to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting.

What if artificial intelligence in medical imaging could accelerate Covid-19 treatment?

21-12-2020

Thermal imaging cameras are currently being installed in office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, schools and airports as a means of detecting people with fever-like symptoms. Given that these cameras are not necessarily designed to operate as medical devices, there are questions about their suitability in the context of the current pandemic. This note provides an overview of the use of thermal imaging empowered with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, its suitability in the context of ...

Thermal imaging cameras are currently being installed in office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, schools and airports as a means of detecting people with fever-like symptoms. Given that these cameras are not necessarily designed to operate as medical devices, there are questions about their suitability in the context of the current pandemic. This note provides an overview of the use of thermal imaging empowered with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, its suitability in the context of the current pandemic and the core technical limitations of this technology. The main legal responses and ethical concerns related to the use of AI in the context of thermal imaging at entry points to identify and triage people who may have elevated temperatures are also examined.

What if blockchain could guarantee ethical AI?

21-12-2020

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner.

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner.

What if AI could improve thermal imaging, to help fight coronavirus?

21-12-2020

Thermal imaging cameras are currently being installed in office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, schools and airports as a means of detecting people with fever-like symptoms. Given that these cameras are not necessarily designed to operate as medical devices, there are questions about their suitability in the context of the current pandemic. This note provides an overview of the use of thermal imaging empowered with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, its suitability in the context of ...

Thermal imaging cameras are currently being installed in office buildings, hospitals, shopping malls, schools and airports as a means of detecting people with fever-like symptoms. Given that these cameras are not necessarily designed to operate as medical devices, there are questions about their suitability in the context of the current pandemic. This note provides an overview of the use of thermal imaging empowered with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, its suitability in the context of the current pandemic and the core technical limitations of this technology. The main legal responses and ethical concerns related to the use of AI in the context of thermal imaging at entry points to identify and triage people who may have elevated temperatures are also examined.

What if AI-powered passenger locator forms could help stop the spread of Covid-19?

21-12-2020

As decisions about who should get tested in an airport are important from public health and privacy perspectives, contact tracing and targeted testing based on AI-powered PLFs should be subject to thorough validation and accountability requirements so as to gain public trust and acceptance.

As decisions about who should get tested in an airport are important from public health and privacy perspectives, contact tracing and targeted testing based on AI-powered PLFs should be subject to thorough validation and accountability requirements so as to gain public trust and acceptance.

Challenges facing sports event organisers in the digital environment

17-12-2020

Piracy of online broadcast of sports events is a problem in the EU. No action at EU level in this field would lead to additional burdens on economic operators and would hamper completion of the Digital Single Market. This European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) looks at the existing EU legislation and checks if it provides sports events organizers and their licensees with an adequate level of protection against this risk. It also presents potential EU level action that could help solve the problem ...

Piracy of online broadcast of sports events is a problem in the EU. No action at EU level in this field would lead to additional burdens on economic operators and would hamper completion of the Digital Single Market. This European Added Value Assessment (EAVA) looks at the existing EU legislation and checks if it provides sports events organizers and their licensees with an adequate level of protection against this risk. It also presents potential EU level action that could help solve the problem and estimates economic benefits of addressing the problem.

The Effectiveness of Conflict of Interest Policies in the EU- Member States

17-12-2020

This comparative study - commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs - analyses the effectiveness of relevant rules, policies and practices within Member States regarding conflict of interest for top political appointment (Head of Government, Ministers and other high ranking officials). The research highlights the theoretical and practical aspects of the notion of conflict of interest, giving some policy recommendations

This comparative study - commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs - analyses the effectiveness of relevant rules, policies and practices within Member States regarding conflict of interest for top political appointment (Head of Government, Ministers and other high ranking officials). The research highlights the theoretical and practical aspects of the notion of conflict of interest, giving some policy recommendations

Autor extern

Christoph DEMMKE; Maros PAULINI; Jari AUTIONIEMI; Florian LENNER

Passerelle clauses in the EU Treaties: Opportunities for more flexible supranational decision-making

16-12-2020

Passerelle clauses are a mechanism for introducing Treaty change of a very specific nature. They modify the decision-making rules that affect acts of the Council, by allowing a shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting or from a special legislative procedure to the ordinary legislative procedure. This study explores the differences between passerelle clauses and other flexibility measures (enhanced cooperation, the flexibility clause, and accelerator or brake clauses) and explores the main ...

Passerelle clauses are a mechanism for introducing Treaty change of a very specific nature. They modify the decision-making rules that affect acts of the Council, by allowing a shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting or from a special legislative procedure to the ordinary legislative procedure. This study explores the differences between passerelle clauses and other flexibility measures (enhanced cooperation, the flexibility clause, and accelerator or brake clauses) and explores the main legal issues surrounding the introduction, revocation, and effects of passerelle clauses and their relationship with the other Treaty revision mechanisms. The analysis focuses not only on the two general passerelle clauses set out in Article 48(7) TEU, but also on the specific passerelle clauses contained in the Treaties in the field of environment, social policy, the multiannual financial framework, common foreign and security policy, family law and enhanced cooperation. Finally, the study outlines recent Commission proposals to use general and/or specific passerelles in certain policy areas, and the approaches taken by other institutions with respect to this constitutional tool.

Article 50 TEU in practice: How the EU has applied the 'exit' clause

17-11-2020

The United Kingdom's 2016 referendum on EU membership triggered the first ever application of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the withdrawal clause. However, as Article 50 TEU had never been tested, some aspects of the procedure had to be defined in real time, a process that was not without controversy. This EPRS In-depth Analysis looks at how the EU has applied the 'exit clause' that sets out the conditions and procedure to be followed in the event of a Member State wishing to ...

The United Kingdom's 2016 referendum on EU membership triggered the first ever application of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the withdrawal clause. However, as Article 50 TEU had never been tested, some aspects of the procedure had to be defined in real time, a process that was not without controversy. This EPRS In-depth Analysis looks at how the EU has applied the 'exit clause' that sets out the conditions and procedure to be followed in the event of a Member State wishing to leave the Union. Looking first at the origins and the main features of the withdrawal clause, the paper then emphasises the way in which the Union filled in certain gaps left open in the drafting of Article 50 TEU and took the lead in establishing the main parameters for the withdrawal negotiations with the UK. It also analyses the European Parliament's success in forging a more substantial role in the withdrawal negotiations than that originally assigned to it by the Treaties.

40 years of the Hague Convention on child abduction: legal and societal changes in the rights of a child

06-11-2020

This in-depth analysis has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee in the context of the workshop to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It looks into the implementation of the 1980 Convention, as regards the respect of autonomy of parts, validity of agreements and mediation, and describes, from a practitioner’s point of ...

This in-depth analysis has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee in the context of the workshop to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It looks into the implementation of the 1980 Convention, as regards the respect of autonomy of parts, validity of agreements and mediation, and describes, from a practitioner’s point of view, how the parents and children see the process. The paper concludes that in order to protect the interest of the child, the 1980 Convention should be maintained with restricted exceptions, but more should be done in terms of prevention. The new measures should include, in particular, harmonisation of the relocation proceedings and principles, enforceability of mediation agreements, and increasing of the autonomy of the parties through the inclusion of residence and custody plans in prenuptial agreements.

Autor extern

Adriana DE RUITER

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