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Rail passengers' rights and obligations in the EU

07-02-2020

In 2007, the EU established a set of basic rights for rail passengers, which became applicable at the end of 2009. These rights provide for all passengers, including those with reduced mobility, a harmonised minimum level of protection, information and assistance. While the implementation of these rights has generally been smooth, recent reports have concluded that this is not done uniformly across the EU. Moreover, other shortcomings have prevented these rights from being used to their full potential ...

In 2007, the EU established a set of basic rights for rail passengers, which became applicable at the end of 2009. These rights provide for all passengers, including those with reduced mobility, a harmonised minimum level of protection, information and assistance. While the implementation of these rights has generally been smooth, recent reports have concluded that this is not done uniformly across the EU. Moreover, other shortcomings have prevented these rights from being used to their full potential. In September 2017, the European Commission presented a new proposal to address these shortcomings and to strike a new balance between keeping rail operators competitive and providing adequate passenger protection. The EP's Committee on Transport and Tourism, adopted its report on the proposal on 9 October 2018. The Parliament subsequently adopted its first-reading position by a large majority, in plenary on 15 November 2018. For its part, the Council adopted its general approach on 2 December 2019, under the Finnish Presidency. This has allowed interinstitutional negotiations, with a view to reaching an early second-reading agreement, to start at the end of January 2020. Fourth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Protecting the rule of law in the EU: Existing mechanisms and possible improvements

06-11-2019

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have ...

Under the rule of law, governmental powers are limited by law and may be exercised only on the basis of law. An independent judiciary is indispensable to guaranteeing this state of affairs, and appropriate procedures, including legal remedies, must be in place to guarantee that individuals can protect their rights and trigger judicial review of governmental action. The rule of law has been an enduring basic value of the European Union from its inception, and the principles of the rule of law have been enshrined in the case law of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The EU's very design is based on a shared responsibility for upholding and enforcing EU law, which is the joint task of the ECJ and national courts. The rule of law within the Member States, at least in areas covered by EU law, is therefore indispensable for the proper functioning of the Union and its legal system. Furthermore, the rule of law is one of the EU's fundamental values, enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, which must be respected by the Member States, including in areas not covered by EU law. Should an EU Member State be suspected of breaching the rule of law, a number of procedures are available to verify this and, if needed, remedy the situation. First of all, there are three 'soft' mechanisms, which do not give rise to legally binding results, yet nevertheless have a certain political resonance and can be seen as a preparatory step towards legal action. These include the transitional 'special cooperation and verification mechanism' (included in the Act of Accession for Bulgaria and Romania), the Commission's rule of law framework, and the Council's annual dialogues on the rule of law. Apart from these 'soft' mechanisms, three legal procedures are also available which, if concluded, can produce legally binding results. First of all, infringement proceedings can be brought by the Commission if the alleged breach could also amount to the violation of a specific rule of EU law. Secondly, national courts from a Member State in which the rule of law is breached may refer preliminary questions to the ECJ, seeking guidance on the interpretation of EU law with a view to assessing the compatibility of national legislation. Finally, the breach of values procedure can be triggered, possibly leading to the suspension of a Member State's membership rights. This briefing has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Recasting the Return Directive

14-06-2019

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of the EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (45.8 % in 2016 and 36.6 % in 2017), and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of the EU return policy, in September 2018, the Commission proposed a targeted ...

The Return Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing the procedures and criteria to be applied by Member States when returning irregularly staying third-country nationals, and a cornerstone of the EU return policy. Taking into account the decrease in the EU return rate (45.8 % in 2016 and 36.6 % in 2017), and following European Council and Council calls to review the 2008 legal text to enhance the effectiveness of the EU return policy, in September 2018, the Commission proposed a targeted recast of the directive aiming to 'reduce the length of return procedures, secure a better link between asylum and return procedures and ensure a more effective use of measures to prevent absconding'. In the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee discussed some 654 amendments to the proposal, tabled in February 2019 following the publication of the rapporteur's draft report. However, since the committee did not adopt a report at that time, the new Parliament will have to decide how to approach the file (with a new rapporteur). In the meantime, the Council has reached a partial general approach on the proposal. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Action for damages against the EU

07-12-2018

Most legal systems, both of states and of international organisations, provide for the liability of public administrations for damage done to individuals. This area of the law, known as 'public tort law', varies considerably from country to country, even within the European Union (EU). The EU Treaties have, from the outset, provided for liability of the EU for public torts (wrongs), in the form of action for damages against the EU, now codified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 340 of ...

Most legal systems, both of states and of international organisations, provide for the liability of public administrations for damage done to individuals. This area of the law, known as 'public tort law', varies considerably from country to country, even within the European Union (EU). The EU Treaties have, from the outset, provided for liability of the EU for public torts (wrongs), in the form of action for damages against the EU, now codified in the second and third paragraphs of Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). However, these rules are notoriously vague and brief, and refer to the 'general principles common to the laws of the Member States' as the source for the rules of EU public tort law. Since the laws of the Member States on public torts differ significantly, the reference has been treated by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) as empowerment to develop EU public tort law in its own case law. The rules developed by the CJEU have been criticised by some academics as being very complex, non-transparent and unpredictable. Experts have also pointed out that the threshold of liability is set so high that actions for damages prove successful in very few cases only. According to the data available, from the establishment of the EU until 2014, the Court only actually granted compensation to applicants in 39 cases. As a result, some scholars have even pointed out that the principle of EU liability for public torts is 'illusory' and that action for damages is not an effective means of protecting fundamental rights. Other academics add that the question of establishing the principles of EU public tort law is not merely a technical issue, but a political one, as it touches upon fundamental questions of distributive justice and the form of government in the Union, and therefore should be the subject of democratic debate. This Briefing is one in a series aimed at explaining the activities of the CJEU.

Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC

15-11-2018

Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC defines the procedure of environmental impact assessment. It intends to facilitate access to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and to promote the amicable settlement of disputes, while encouraging the use of mediation. The directive applies to cross-border disputes in civil, including family law, and commercial matters. This note provides a brief overview of its implementation.

Mediation Directive 2008/52/EC defines the procedure of environmental impact assessment. It intends to facilitate access to alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and to promote the amicable settlement of disputes, while encouraging the use of mediation. The directive applies to cross-border disputes in civil, including family law, and commercial matters. This note provides a brief overview of its implementation.

The Polbud judgment and the freedom of establishment for companies in the European Union: problems and perspectives

23-10-2018

The present work provides a study of analysis of the EU Court of Justice’s Polbud judgment on the cross-border conversion. It has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. This study focuses on the implications of the judgment for the freedom of establishment of companies across the EU, including the potential risk of “forum and tax shopping” as well as for the protection of creditors, minority ...

The present work provides a study of analysis of the EU Court of Justice’s Polbud judgment on the cross-border conversion. It has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee. This study focuses on the implications of the judgment for the freedom of establishment of companies across the EU, including the potential risk of “forum and tax shopping” as well as for the protection of creditors, minority shareholders and workers.

Externý autor

Simona FRAZZANI Professor Carlo ANGELICI Professor Jochen HOFFMANN Silvia MEDICI, Professor Francesco SCIAUDONE

The future relationship between the UK and the EU in the field of international protection following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

15-10-2018

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides expertise on the legal, institutional and technical implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of international protection. More specifically, this analysis presents the current situation with regard to UK–EU cooperation in the field, the legal standards that will be applicable to the UK following its withdrawal, ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, at the request of the LIBE Committee, provides expertise on the legal, institutional and technical implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in the field of international protection. More specifically, this analysis presents the current situation with regard to UK–EU cooperation in the field, the legal standards that will be applicable to the UK following its withdrawal, the areas of common interest in the field and the potential forms of future cooperation.

Externý autor

Mirja GUTHEIL; Quentin LIGER; James EAGER; Aurélie HEETMAN; Micol TEDESCHI

The Privacy Shield: Update on the state of play of the EU-US data transfer rules

26-07-2018

The CJEU’s Schrems judgment of October 2015, besides declaring the European Commission’s Decision on the EU-US ‘Safe Harbour’ data transfer regime invalid, has also settled a number of crucial requirements corresponding to the foundations of EU data protection. In less than one year from the CJEU ruling, the Commission had adopted a new adequacy decision in which the new framework for EU-US data transfer, the Privacy Shield (2016), is deemed to adequately protect EU citizens. The main improvements ...

The CJEU’s Schrems judgment of October 2015, besides declaring the European Commission’s Decision on the EU-US ‘Safe Harbour’ data transfer regime invalid, has also settled a number of crucial requirements corresponding to the foundations of EU data protection. In less than one year from the CJEU ruling, the Commission had adopted a new adequacy decision in which the new framework for EU-US data transfer, the Privacy Shield (2016), is deemed to adequately protect EU citizens. The main improvements of the Privacy Shield (over its predecessor), as well as the critical reactions to the new arrangements, are discussed in this paper. The first joint annual review took place in September 2017 on which both the Commission and Article 29 Working Party issued their own reports. Although progress is recognised, a number of concerns remain and new challenges to the Privacy Shield have arisen, among others, from the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, as pointed out by the European Parliament in its recent resolution.

Subsidiarity: Mechanisms for monitoring compliance

12-07-2018

The principle of subsidiarity requires decisions to be taken at the lowest practical level of government without, however, jeopardising mutually beneficial cooperation at the supranational level. Recent decades have seen efforts to strengthen the subsidiarity principle in EU law, including the introduction of the well-known early warning mechanism (EWM) for national parliaments. At the same time, the principle of subsidiarity remains a contested notion. This has important implications for the regulatory ...

The principle of subsidiarity requires decisions to be taken at the lowest practical level of government without, however, jeopardising mutually beneficial cooperation at the supranational level. Recent decades have seen efforts to strengthen the subsidiarity principle in EU law, including the introduction of the well-known early warning mechanism (EWM) for national parliaments. At the same time, the principle of subsidiarity remains a contested notion. This has important implications for the regulatory, political and judicial bodies monitoring compliance with the principle. In this context, commentators have called for a better (and shared) understanding of the principle and have formulated a number of suggestions as to how to monitor compliance with the principle more effectively.

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