111

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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Human Rights

28-06-2019

In the 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first international document to set common standards of achievement for all states – the pivotal role and moral, legal and political significance of human rights in the international arena have become indisputable. However, despite considerable progress in many areas on recognition, codification and implementation, human rights have also come under increased attack. Whether in theatres of war or in the political ...

In the 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the first international document to set common standards of achievement for all states – the pivotal role and moral, legal and political significance of human rights in the international arena have become indisputable. However, despite considerable progress in many areas on recognition, codification and implementation, human rights have also come under increased attack. Whether in theatres of war or in the political arena, human rights are now often rejected on ideological grounds. The EU itself has not been spared by the current backlash. In its Member States, a populist wave has empowered some political forces that increasingly question the significance of core human rights, such as the right to freedom of expression. In these troubled times for human rights, opinion polls show that European citizens perceive human rights as one of the most important values for them personally and one of the values that best represent the EU itself. Having emerged from World War II and its atrocities, European countries were determined to secure lasting peace, and the Union they created is founded on respect for democracy, the rule of law and human rights, which guide and shape its legislation and policies. Within the EU, recent action has included new legislation on data protection and access to justice, the European Pillar of Social Rights, and initiatives to combat inequality, discrimination and hate speech. There is also an acknowledgement that more needs to be done to complete the legal framework to combat discrimination and strengthen internal mechanisms for upholding the rule of law. Human rights are additionally a general objective of EU external action. The EU is deeply committed to promoting human rights, as enshrined in international treaties, in its relations with third countries and with other multilateral regional and global institutions. During Parliament's last mandate, the EU consistently applied and deepened a range of policy approaches that strengthen its role and image as a normative power that inspires others through its example. Maintaining and consolidating this policy remains vital for preserving the EU's image and credibility as a normative power based on values, and one that has the capacity to act at a time when the principle of multilateralism is increasingly questioned. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

The Generalised Scheme of Preferences Regulation (No 978/2012): European Implementation Assessment

19-12-2018

This evaluation of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) focuses on the incentives in the GSP provisions that aim to push beneficiaries to comply with human rights and the extent to which these have been implemented and have had an impact on poverty reduction and good governance. The annexed economic evaluation of the GSP Regulation examines three inter-related questions: how beneficiaries have graduated from the GSP and what role preferences have played; how trade relations between the ...

This evaluation of the EU Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) focuses on the incentives in the GSP provisions that aim to push beneficiaries to comply with human rights and the extent to which these have been implemented and have had an impact on poverty reduction and good governance. The annexed economic evaluation of the GSP Regulation examines three inter-related questions: how beneficiaries have graduated from the GSP and what role preferences have played; how trade relations between the countries that have recently graduated from the GSP and those that still benefit from it are affected; and what the impact of changes in the rules of origin has been.

Rule of law and human rights in Cuba and Venezuela and EU engagement

11-12-2018

The European Parliament (EP) has consistently followed the situation in Cuba and Venezuela. It has expressed its support for defenders of human rights and democracy with the award of the Sakharov prize to Cuban activists on three occasions (2002, 2005, 2010), and to Venezuela’s Democratic Opposition in 2017. In line with this engagement, a workshop on human rights and rule of law in both countries was held on 6 September 2018, in Brussels, at the request of the EP’s Subcommittee on Human Rights ( ...

The European Parliament (EP) has consistently followed the situation in Cuba and Venezuela. It has expressed its support for defenders of human rights and democracy with the award of the Sakharov prize to Cuban activists on three occasions (2002, 2005, 2010), and to Venezuela’s Democratic Opposition in 2017. In line with this engagement, a workshop on human rights and rule of law in both countries was held on 6 September 2018, in Brussels, at the request of the EP’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI). Dr. Par Engstrom (University College London) presented the first draft of an independent study analysing the main human rights developments in Cuba and Venezuela since 2014 and the EU’s response. The paper, which focused specifically on the Sakharov laureates, was discussed with Members and other experts, including from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the European External Action Service and the European Commission. During the lively discussion, there was broad agreement with the description of major trends in the human rights situation in the two countries. Critical comments and controversial issues related to the impact of the government’s repression of the Venezuelan opposition, the need to consider not only civil and political but also economic and social rights, the effectiveness of sanctions against Venezuela and the potential role of the Sakharov Prize. Observations and comments made during the workshop fed into the final version of the study, which is also included in this report.

Externý autor

Par ENGSTROM; Giulia BONACQUISTI

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.

Protecting the EU budget against generalised rule of law deficiencies

23-11-2018

On 3 May 2018 the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on the protection of the Union's budget in the event of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in a Member State. The proposal addresses, from a budgetary perspective, generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law, including threats to the independence of the judiciary, arbitrary or unlawful decisions by public authorities, limited availability and effectiveness of legal remedies, failure to implement judgments ...

On 3 May 2018 the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on the protection of the Union's budget in the event of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in a Member State. The proposal addresses, from a budgetary perspective, generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law, including threats to the independence of the judiciary, arbitrary or unlawful decisions by public authorities, limited availability and effectiveness of legal remedies, failure to implement judgments, or limitations on the effective investigation, prosecution or sanctions for breaches of law. The proposal provides for the possibility for the Commission to make proposals to the Council on sanctions measures with regard to EU funding. These include suspension of payments, suspension, reduction or even termination of legal commitments (to pay), suspension of programmes, and the transfer of money to other programmes. Such a proposal would be deemed to have been adopted if the Council failed to reject it by a qualified majority. On 17 August 2018, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) delivered its opinion on the proposal and on 3 October 2018, Parliament's co-rapporteurs presented their draft report on the proposal. While sharing the broad objectives put forward by the Commission, they have proposed a number of amendments. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Promoting the Rights and Values, Justice and Creative Europe programmes

15-11-2018

With the future (1) Rights and Values, (2) Justice and (3) Creative Europe programmes, the European Commission aims to protect better EU rights and values; to develop further a European area of justice; and to support European cultural and creative sectors and audiovisual works under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal finds that the impact assessment is substantiated by various evaluations, studies and consultations ...

With the future (1) Rights and Values, (2) Justice and (3) Creative Europe programmes, the European Commission aims to protect better EU rights and values; to develop further a European area of justice; and to support European cultural and creative sectors and audiovisual works under the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposal finds that the impact assessment is substantiated by various evaluations, studies and consultations. The Commission describes the challenges encountered of the current and previous programmes well. However, the lack of policy options and of an impact analysis seriously affect the IA's quality. In addition, the IA does not match the three proposals: the only option considered does not mention a self-standing Creative Europe programme, which the Commission ultimately proposed.

China [What Think Tanks are thinking]

28-09-2018

China is a major strategic partner for the European Union, despite divergences on human rights issues, as well as on some economic and foreign policies. At their 20th EU-China summit in July, the two sides agreed to further develop their partnership and to seek to avoid global trade wars, which many analysts fear could be triggered by US President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies. They agreed, in principle, to support reform of the World Trade Organization, which has been snubbed by President ...

China is a major strategic partner for the European Union, despite divergences on human rights issues, as well as on some economic and foreign policies. At their 20th EU-China summit in July, the two sides agreed to further develop their partnership and to seek to avoid global trade wars, which many analysts fear could be triggered by US President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies. They agreed, in principle, to support reform of the World Trade Organization, which has been snubbed by President Trump. However, China’s increasingly close military ties with Russia cause concern in the EU. Trade, security and connectivity will be important topics of the 12th ASEM (EU-Asia) summit in October, which will gather heads of state or government of 51 European and Asian countries. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on China, its ties with the EU and related issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking', published in March 2018. One of the forthcoming publications in this series will be devoted to wider EU-Asia relations.

Research for REGI Committee - Conditionalities in Cohesion Policy

11-09-2018

This study discusses the evolution and experience of conditionalities in Cohesion policy and draws relevant policy recommendations on its future development in the light of the 2021-27 legislative proposals of the European Commission, including the proposal on a rule of law conditionality.

This study discusses the evolution and experience of conditionalities in Cohesion policy and draws relevant policy recommendations on its future development in the light of the 2021-27 legislative proposals of the European Commission, including the proposal on a rule of law conditionality.

Externý autor

Viorica VIȚĂ

The Visegrad Group and the rule of law [What Think Tanks are thinking]

08-05-2018

Political developments in the Visegrád Group countries have raised concern over the commitment of some of their leaders and senior politicians to European Union values, notably the rule of law. The Visegrád Group is an informal alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, all of which joined the EU in 2004. Criticism by EU officials and some other Union governments centres on Hungary and Poland, where governments have implemented a number of controversial reforms, notably of the ...

Political developments in the Visegrád Group countries have raised concern over the commitment of some of their leaders and senior politicians to European Union values, notably the rule of law. The Visegrád Group is an informal alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, all of which joined the EU in 2004. Criticism by EU officials and some other Union governments centres on Hungary and Poland, where governments have implemented a number of controversial reforms, notably of the judiciary. In December 2017, the European Commission triggered the first phase of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which can ultimately deprive a country found guilty of violating EU values of voting rights. In addition, a European Parliament draft report notes a deterioration of the rule of law in Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won a third term in office in the country’s recent general election. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the Visegrád Group, its internal relations and its role within the EU, with the focus on the rule of law debate.

Media pluralism and media freedom in the EU

25-04-2018

Media freedom and pluralism are among the rights and principles enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as part of the Copenhagen criteria for membership of the EU, related to democracy and human rights. Despite that, there are currently concerns regarding threats to media freedom and pluralism in the EU. The own-initiative report on Media Pluralism and Media Freedom in the EU, due to be voted in plenary in May, aims at contributing ...

Media freedom and pluralism are among the rights and principles enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as part of the Copenhagen criteria for membership of the EU, related to democracy and human rights. Despite that, there are currently concerns regarding threats to media freedom and pluralism in the EU. The own-initiative report on Media Pluralism and Media Freedom in the EU, due to be voted in plenary in May, aims at contributing towards free and pluralistic media systems across the EU that play a key role in any democratic society.

Nadchádzajúce podujatia

16-10-2019
State of the Union: The view from regions and cities
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EPRS
17-10-2019
What Europe is Thinking: The latest Pew survey of opinion in 14 EU Member States
Ďalšie podujatia -
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05-11-2019
The Art and Craft of Political Speech-writing: A conversation with Eric Schnure
Ďalšie podujatia -
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