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A new neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument – Global Europe

20-07-2021

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. Council and Parliament agreed in trilogue negotiations, which ended in March 2021, that Parliament would have an enhanced role in defining the main strategic choices of the instrument, through a delegated act and twice-yearly geopolitical ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. Council and Parliament agreed in trilogue negotiations, which ended in March 2021, that Parliament would have an enhanced role in defining the main strategic choices of the instrument, through a delegated act and twice-yearly geopolitical dialogue. The Commission also committed to inform Parliament prior to any use of the 'emerging challenges and priorities cushion', and take its remarks into consideration. Parliament insisted that any activities related to migration had to be in line with the objectives of the instrument, and also secured safeguards on the amounts for capacity-building, election observation missions, local authorities, Erasmus, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Negotiators also agreed to include a reference, in a recital, to existing EU financial rules that allow for the suspension of assistance if a country fails to observe the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. As a final step, negotiators agreed to change the name of the instrument to the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument - Global Europe. After formal adoption by Council and Parliament the regulation was signed on 9 June 2021, and it entered into force on 14 June 2021. The regulation applies retroactively from 1 January 2021. Sixth edition. The 'Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Connecting Europe Facility 2021-2027: Financing key EU infrastructure networks

01-07-2021

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission ...

The EU supports the development of high-performing, sustainable and interconnected trans-European networks in the areas of transport, energy and digital infrastructure. It set up the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) as a dedicated financing instrument for the 2014-2020 period, to channel EU funding into the development of infrastructure networks, help eliminate market failures and attract further investment from the public and private sectors. Following a mid-term evaluation, the European Commission proposed to renew the programme under the long term EU budget for the 2021-2027 period. In the 2014-2019 term, the Council and the European Parliament provisionally agreed on the content, leaving aside the budget and the questions relating to third countries. Negotiations resumed in the present term, reflecting the Commission’s revised MFF proposal of May 2020 and the European Council conclusions of July 2020. Final details were agreed on 11 March 2021. The agreement has already been confirmed by the responsible parliamentary committees TRAN and ITRE, and the Council subsequently adopted its first-reading position on 14 June 2021. The Parliament is expected to vote at second reading during the July plenary session. Once adopted, the new CEF regulation will apply retroactively from 1 January 2021. Fifth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The level playing-field for labour and environment in EU-UK relations

26-04-2021

The level playing-field (LPF) provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) constitute a key part of the agreement, and became a major source of divergence between the negotiators. LPF provisions establish rules to safeguard fair competition between the parties' businesses. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' ...

The level playing-field (LPF) provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) constitute a key part of the agreement, and became a major source of divergence between the negotiators. LPF provisions establish rules to safeguard fair competition between the parties' businesses. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' (TSD) chapters in other free trade agreements (FTAs). The trading relationship between the EU and the UK is fundamentally different from that with other non-EU countries since, on the one hand, EU laws were applicable to the UK until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and, on the other, these two economies neighbour each other and are strongly interconnected. The TCA is therefore designed to maintain sufficiently 'convergent' standards to safeguard fair competition, while providing each party with the freedom to implement its own approach to social and environmental protection. To this end, the TCA requires that parties do not weaken or reduce their levels of social, labour and environmental standards as of the end of 2020 (non-regression); the EU commitments on climate change, in particular on climate neutrality by 2050, will also remain for both parties. In addition, the TCA introduces rebalancing provisions creating a mechanism whereby a party can take 'proportionate measures' in order to offset any (adverse) 'material impacts on trade or investment' resulting from 'significant divergences' between parties. It also allows either party to request a review with a view to amending the agreement, and either party can opt to terminate the trade chapters if the amendment is not satisfactory. Although the TCA LPF provisions on labour and environment are in many respects similar to those in the EU's new generation FTAs, they strengthen the enforcement of non-regression provisions by allowing for remedial measures, and also reinforce the precautionary approach. The TCA also represents a notable innovation with its rebalancing and review provisions.

Carbon-free steel production: Cost reduction options and usage of existing gas infrastructure

26-04-2021

The steel sector is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise and has recently received special attention owing to the potential use of low-carbon hydrogen (green and blue) to reduce its fuel combustion and process-related carbon emissions. This report addresses concerns that might arise while evaluating the potential and limitations of the future role of hydrogen in decarbonising the iron and steel industries. The report provides a comprehensive overview of current technical knowledge, ...

The steel sector is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise and has recently received special attention owing to the potential use of low-carbon hydrogen (green and blue) to reduce its fuel combustion and process-related carbon emissions. This report addresses concerns that might arise while evaluating the potential and limitations of the future role of hydrogen in decarbonising the iron and steel industries. The report provides a comprehensive overview of current technical knowledge, (pilot) projects and road maps at national and EU level. This information is supplemented by previously published indicative price projections for the various steel production routes and a long-term study, analysing the evolution of the global steel sector up until 2100.

LIFE programme for 2021-2027

21-04-2021

Launched in 1992, the LIFE programme is the only EU fund entirely dedicated to environmental and climate objectives. It supports the implementation of relevant EU legislation and the development of key policy priorities, by co-financing projects with European added value. In June 2018, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a new LIFE regulation as part of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with a financial envelope of €5.45 billion in current prices. An early second-reading ...

Launched in 1992, the LIFE programme is the only EU fund entirely dedicated to environmental and climate objectives. It supports the implementation of relevant EU legislation and the development of key policy priorities, by co-financing projects with European added value. In June 2018, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a new LIFE regulation as part of the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) with a financial envelope of €5.45 billion in current prices. An early second-reading agreement was reached with the Council in trilogue negotiations, which is now due to be voted by Parliament during the April 2021 session.

Sustainable and smart mobility strategy – Delivered at local level

20-04-2021

On 9 December 2020, the European Commission put forward a sustainable and smart mobility strategy, outlining its planned steps to transform the European Union (EU) transport system to meet the ambition of the European Green Deal and the objectives of the EU's digital strategy. The strategy aims to rebuild the European transport sector, badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, making it greener, smarter and more resilient, while leaving no one behind. This is to be achieved by strengthening the existing ...

On 9 December 2020, the European Commission put forward a sustainable and smart mobility strategy, outlining its planned steps to transform the European Union (EU) transport system to meet the ambition of the European Green Deal and the objectives of the EU's digital strategy. The strategy aims to rebuild the European transport sector, badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, making it greener, smarter and more resilient, while leaving no one behind. This is to be achieved by strengthening the existing rules, proposing new legislation and providing support measures and guidance. The Commission will start to make proposals for the planned measures in 2021. Once agreed by the EU legislators and adopted as new EU rules, these will have to be implemented. While national governments will be expected to align their existing national legislation with the new requirements, the task of putting the new rules into practice will often be managed by public administrations at regional and local level. Cities and regions will have to adapt their existing systems and invest to make transport more sustainable, but also to allow citizens to better combine the available mobility options, enabling them to reduce their daily travel needs while ensuring connectivity and service accessibility. This briefing looks at the policy and other support that the European Commission is providing for local and regional authorities to facilitate the mobility transition. Following established practice, they will be invited to contribute to the design of the individual measures outlined in the strategy. They should also have their say in setting their national priorities for receiving EU financing for the post-coronavirus recovery, as an opportunity to start transforming the transport system from the local level. This Briefing has been drafted following a request from a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the Cooperation Agreement between the Parliament and the Committee.

Towards a more resilient Europe post-coronavirus: Options to enhance the EU's resilience to structural risks

16-04-2021

The coronavirus crisis has underlined the need for the European Union (EU) to devote greater efforts to anticipatory governance, and to attempt to strengthen its resilience in the face of risks from both foreseeable and unforeseeable events. This paper builds further on an initial 'mapping' in mid-2020 of some 66 potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade, and a second paper last autumn which looked at the EU's capabilities to address 33 of those risks assessed ...

The coronavirus crisis has underlined the need for the European Union (EU) to devote greater efforts to anticipatory governance, and to attempt to strengthen its resilience in the face of risks from both foreseeable and unforeseeable events. This paper builds further on an initial 'mapping' in mid-2020 of some 66 potential structural risks which could confront Europe over the coming decade, and a second paper last autumn which looked at the EU's capabilities to address 33 of those risks assessed as being more significant or likely, and at the various gaps in policy and instruments at the Union's disposal. Delving deeper in 25 specific areas, this new paper identifies priorities for building greater resilience within the Union system, drawing on the European Parliament's own resolutions and proposals made by other EU institutions, as well as by outside experts and stakeholders. In the process, it highlights some of the key constraints that will need to be addressed if strengthened resilience is to be achieved, as well as the opportunities that follow from such an approach.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2021-2027

06-04-2021

As part of the EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposed in June 2018 a regulation to continue the fund dedicated to the Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy. On 4 April 2019, Parliament adopted its first reading position on the file. After lengthy interinstitutional negotiations, started after the 2019 elections, political agreement was reached on 4 December 2020. The new fund allows for more flexibility in national programmes. A greater ...

As part of the EU budget framework for the 2021-2027 period, the European Commission proposed in June 2018 a regulation to continue the fund dedicated to the Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy. On 4 April 2019, Parliament adopted its first reading position on the file. After lengthy interinstitutional negotiations, started after the 2019 elections, political agreement was reached on 4 December 2020. The new fund allows for more flexibility in national programmes. A greater focus on aquaculture is reflected in its inclusion in the name of the fund. A thorny issue in the negotiations was support for investment in fishing vessels, on which the co legislators wanted to go beyond the proposal. The compromise allows aid for vessels up to 24 metres long: support for the first acquisition of a vessel by a young fisherman, the replacement or modernisation of engines, and operations that improve safety, working conditions or energy efficiency. The measures come with restrictive conditions, such as the respect of fishing capacity ceilings. At least 15 % of Member States' allocations should be spent on control and data collection. The agreed text was endorsed by the Committee on Fisheries on 22 February 2021. After adoption by the Council, Parliament is expected to adopt the text and complete the procedure at second reading.

Research for REGI Committee -ISLANDS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION: State of play and future challenges

24-03-2021

This paper explores the specificities of islands of the European Union (including Outermost Regions), as well as their challenges and existing means of development. It aims to provide a basis for future discussions and research dedicated to islands’ situation, including the impact of the pandemic on their future development potential. This analysis includes an overview of policy responses for islands' challenges, focusing on Cohesion Policy. Recommendations address, inter alia, decarbonisation, sustainability ...

This paper explores the specificities of islands of the European Union (including Outermost Regions), as well as their challenges and existing means of development. It aims to provide a basis for future discussions and research dedicated to islands’ situation, including the impact of the pandemic on their future development potential. This analysis includes an overview of policy responses for islands' challenges, focusing on Cohesion Policy. Recommendations address, inter alia, decarbonisation, sustainability, quality of life, public services, connectivity and integrated development.

A new EU-Africa Strategy – A partnership for sustainable and inclusive development

22-03-2021

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) have converging interests in a number of areas, such as the fight against climate change and the promotion of sustainable, job-creating economic growth in Africa. However, they still have to find common ground on migration, security management, and fundamental values. In March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) proposed to build ...

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) have converging interests in a number of areas, such as the fight against climate change and the promotion of sustainable, job-creating economic growth in Africa. However, they still have to find common ground on migration, security management, and fundamental values. In March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) proposed to build a new and comprehensive partnership with Africa, emphasising the EU's will to strengthen the links between the two continents. In line with this proposed partnership, the European Parliament is expected to discuss on an own-initiative report during its March II plenary session.

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EPRS online policy roundtable: What is the future of (European) sovereignty?
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21-09-2021
EPRS online Book Talk with David Harley: Matters of Record: Inside European Politics
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