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The European Council's role in the EU policy cycle

02-09-2019

Since its establishment in 1975, the European Council, which is made up of the Since its establishment in 1975, the European Council, which is made up of the Heads of State or Government of EU Member States, has wielded considerable influence over the development of the European Union. According to the Treaties, the European Council's primary role is to 'define the general political directions and priorities' (Article 15(1) of the Treaty on European Union). This role has rapidly evolved over the ...

Since its establishment in 1975, the European Council, which is made up of the Since its establishment in 1975, the European Council, which is made up of the Heads of State or Government of EU Member States, has wielded considerable influence over the development of the European Union. According to the Treaties, the European Council's primary role is to 'define the general political directions and priorities' (Article 15(1) of the Treaty on European Union). This role has rapidly evolved over the past decade, and today the European Council's involvement in the EU policy cycle is much broader, covering tasks from agenda-setting to exercising scrutiny. In practice, its activities often exceed the role envisaged in the Treaties. This level of involvement has a significant impact both on the role of the other EU institutions within the policy cycle and the functioning of the ordinary legislative procedure.

Impact Assessment and European Added Value work during the eighth legislative term, 2014-2019

03-07-2019

The responsibility for better law-making is shared between the European Union institutions. In recent years Parliament has developed its own instruments to guarantee proper and independent assessment and to support parliamentary committees in their work. The concept of impact assessment is applied throughout the whole policy cycle – on both an ex-ante and an ex-post basis – from the design of legislation through to its implementation, evaluation and revision. The European Parliament also advocates ...

The responsibility for better law-making is shared between the European Union institutions. In recent years Parliament has developed its own instruments to guarantee proper and independent assessment and to support parliamentary committees in their work. The concept of impact assessment is applied throughout the whole policy cycle – on both an ex-ante and an ex-post basis – from the design of legislation through to its implementation, evaluation and revision. The European Parliament also advocates a proper assessment of European added value, in terms of what savings will result from a European solution and if supplementary costs would arise in the absence of a European solution. This briefing provides a look back over five years’ experience in support of better regulation for the benefit of citizens.

The relationship between artistic activities and digital technology development

03-05-2019

This report examines how digital technology change is affecting artistic activity and how artistic activity is affecting digital technology. Artistic activity is broadly defined to include design, film, computer games, architecture, music and fashion as well as art. The focus is on digital technology’s role in creative activity. The study examines global trends with a particular focus on the European Union (EU). It describes likely future trends and sets out policy options to encourage activity at ...

This report examines how digital technology change is affecting artistic activity and how artistic activity is affecting digital technology. Artistic activity is broadly defined to include design, film, computer games, architecture, music and fashion as well as art. The focus is on digital technology’s role in creative activity. The study examines global trends with a particular focus on the European Union (EU). It describes likely future trends and sets out policy options to encourage activity at the intersection of artistic and technological skills.

Externý autor

DG, EPRS

An EU framework to facilitate investments in environmentally sustainable economic activities

12-04-2019

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposals for three regulations on: establishing a framework to facilitate sustainable investment disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks; and on introducing two new categories of carbon benchmarks in the (benchmark) Regulation (EU) 2016/1011. The legislative package on sustainable finance deals with technical and inherently complex issues; ...

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposals for three regulations on: establishing a framework to facilitate sustainable investment disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks; and on introducing two new categories of carbon benchmarks in the (benchmark) Regulation (EU) 2016/1011. The legislative package on sustainable finance deals with technical and inherently complex issues; it is therefore not surprising that the IA accompanying it reflects such a complexity, which is not always dealt with in a clear and immediately understandable way. This might also explain the double negative opinions, unusually followed in this case by a positive opinion with reservations issued by the Commission's Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB). The consequences of the two identified problems (lack of incentives to consider ESG factors and high search costs faced by end-investors), and how they would evolve without EU action, are described in a satisfactory way, as well as their underlying drivers. As required, the IA identifies general and specific objectives, but no operational objectives that would have informed about how the preferred options are expected to operate in practice. This is very likely due to the fact the operational aspects of the proposals are envisaged to be defined, and analytically developed, by subsequent delegated acts. The IA's preferred options are selected after considering both a non-legislative and a regulatory approach, although two of them contains some aspects that are not entirely clear. As regards its scope, the IA has only partially succeeded in explaining the impacts considered in an entirely satisfactory way. The IA does not include an analysis of competitiveness nor an analysis of impacts, if any, on SMEs. The evidence included in the IA provides ample and detailed insights into the issues considered and some methodological limitations, regarding the proposal on low carbon and positive carbon impact benchmarks are acknowledged in the IA. The Commission has consulted extensively a broad range of stakeholders, whose views have been satisfactorily reported in the IA or in a separate document containing the results of the second open public consultation. Overall, the IA appears to have addressed the majority of the improvements requested by the RSB. Finally, the legislative proposals seem to be consistent with the analysis carried out in the IA.

How artificial intelligence works

14-03-2019

This briefing provides accessible introductions to some of the key techniques that come under the AI banner, grouped into three sections to give a sense the chronology of its development. The first describes early techniques, described as ‘symbolic AI’ while the second focusses on the ‘data driven’ approaches that currently dominate and the third looks towards possible future developments. By explaining what is ‘deep’ about deep learning and showing that AI is more maths than magic, the briefing ...

This briefing provides accessible introductions to some of the key techniques that come under the AI banner, grouped into three sections to give a sense the chronology of its development. The first describes early techniques, described as ‘symbolic AI’ while the second focusses on the ‘data driven’ approaches that currently dominate and the third looks towards possible future developments. By explaining what is ‘deep’ about deep learning and showing that AI is more maths than magic, the briefing aims to equip the reader with the understanding they need to engage in clear-headed reflection about AI’s opportunities and challenges, and meaningful debates about its development.

What if your emotions were tracked to spy on you?

13-03-2019

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. What impact and implications are facial recognition technology applications likely to have, and what can be done to ensure the fair engagement of this technology with ...

Recent reports of celebrity singer, Taylor Swift, deploying facial recognition technology to spot stalkers at her concerts raised many eyebrows. What started out as a tool to unlock your smartphone or tag photos for you on social media is surreptitiously becoming a means of monitoring people in their daily lives without their consent. What impact and implications are facial recognition technology applications likely to have, and what can be done to ensure the fair engagement of this technology with its users and the public at large?

Setting minimum requirements for water reuse

06-09-2018

The Commission proposal aims to increase the uptake of water reuse for agricultural irrigation. The supporting impact assessment (IA) is based on extensive data and analysis. The range of options, the scope and the analysis of impacts, and the stakeholder consultation seem to have been done in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines. However, the objectives set in the IA are not time-bound, nor measurable. Furthermore, proportionality of the options and the presentation of the problem could be ...

The Commission proposal aims to increase the uptake of water reuse for agricultural irrigation. The supporting impact assessment (IA) is based on extensive data and analysis. The range of options, the scope and the analysis of impacts, and the stakeholder consultation seem to have been done in line with the Better Regulation Guidelines. However, the objectives set in the IA are not time-bound, nor measurable. Furthermore, proportionality of the options and the presentation of the problem could be improved.

Streamlining measures for advancing the realisation of the Trans-European Transport Network

28-08-2018

Removing obstacles to investments in infrastructure projects, like the Trans-European Transport network (TEN-T), contributes to the Investment Plan for Europe. The European Commission recently issued a legislative proposal to streamline measures for advancing realisation of the TEN-T, as problems concerning delays and legal uncertainties impact on the effective completion. This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s impact assessment accompanying ...

Removing obstacles to investments in infrastructure projects, like the Trans-European Transport network (TEN-T), contributes to the Investment Plan for Europe. The European Commission recently issued a legislative proposal to streamline measures for advancing realisation of the TEN-T, as problems concerning delays and legal uncertainties impact on the effective completion. This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s impact assessment accompanying the above-mentioned proposal and assesses in particular to what extent the requirements of the Commission's own Better Regulation Guidelines have been respected. Overall, the impact assessment appears to provide a comprehensive problem analysis and to link it with objectives and options. However, some issues could have been further explained and the objectives could have been more specific. Greater attention could also have been given to the initiative’s impact on SMEs and more detailed information provided about the respondents in the consultation process.

Cross-border distribution of collective investment funds

27-08-2018

The European Commission recently issued a legislative proposal to increase cross-border distribution of investment funds. This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the impact assessment accompanying the Commission's proposal. Based on both internal and some external sources, as well as several stakeholder consultations, the impact assessment provides useful information, but lacks coherence and transparency. It acknowledges some limitations, citing lack of data ...

The European Commission recently issued a legislative proposal to increase cross-border distribution of investment funds. This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the impact assessment accompanying the Commission's proposal. Based on both internal and some external sources, as well as several stakeholder consultations, the impact assessment provides useful information, but lacks coherence and transparency. It acknowledges some limitations, citing lack of data and the influence of other factors, which are out of the scope of the impact assessment. The range of proposed policy options is rather limited for some areas. The impact assessment focuses on average cost effects for asset managers (and for competent authorities), without taking into account social or territorial implications and without analysing, for instance, the effects on SMEs or on the EU27 after Brexit.

European crowdfunding service providers for business

29-05-2018

This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, published on 8 March 2018 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). The strengthening of the capital markets to boost long-term investment in the EU is a priority EU goal. In this context, the Commission's 2017 mid-term review of the capital markets union (CMU) action plan noted that access to ...

This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above-mentioned proposal, published on 8 March 2018 and referred to Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON). The strengthening of the capital markets to boost long-term investment in the EU is a priority EU goal. In this context, the Commission's 2017 mid-term review of the capital markets union (CMU) action plan noted that access to finance for small, innovative businesses is a challenge in all EU countries, even those where access to bank finance has remained stable during the financial crisis. Start-ups and other unlisted firms lack risk finance to invest in innovation and growth, in particular in the early stages of their development (IA, p. 6, 8). In view of closing this gap and complementing bank financing, the Commission supports alternative sources of financing, including technology-enabled financial services, the largest part of which consists in crowdfunding. In this context, crowdfunding is defined as an 'open call for the collecting of resources ... from the wider public through an internet-based platform for a specific project' (IA, p. 8). A 2016 Commission staff working document noted that crowdfunding has been developing rapidly since 2013, but remained concentrated in a few EU countries, with 81 % market share in the United Kingdom (UK) (IA, p. 16). Some Member States introduced national rules to regulate their online platforms and/or apply elements of existing EU legislation on financial services to specific types of crowdfunding, while others leave some aspects of the activity unregulated. This regulatory patchwork hinders cross-border crowdfunding and creates considerable market fragmentation (IA, pp. 26-30).

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