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Regulation of the digital sector

28-07-2021

With online platforms and markets enmeshed in our societies and economies, the need to revisit and update existing digital regulations is becoming increasingly apparent. The debate around these reforms in the US, the EU and elsewhere touches on fundamental questions of privacy, transparency and free speech and the dynamic between private firms and governmental oversight is complex. While online platforms play a salient role in daily life, both the US and the EU continue to operate with regulations ...

With online platforms and markets enmeshed in our societies and economies, the need to revisit and update existing digital regulations is becoming increasingly apparent. The debate around these reforms in the US, the EU and elsewhere touches on fundamental questions of privacy, transparency and free speech and the dynamic between private firms and governmental oversight is complex. While online platforms play a salient role in daily life, both the US and the EU continue to operate with regulations dating back over a generation. As significant challenges regarding illegal and harmful online content and moderation liability continue to have real world effects today, both the EU and the US are currently considering precedent-setting updates.

Zunanji avtor

European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington DC

Bilateral trade

28-07-2021

The EU and the US are each other's biggest economic partners, but have not yet been able to conclude a free trade agreement. Politically sensitive bilateral trade issues include US access to EU agricultural markets, EU access to US public procurement markets, data privacy regulations, climate policies, and taxation and regulation of major − chiefly American − digital service providers in the EU market.

The EU and the US are each other's biggest economic partners, but have not yet been able to conclude a free trade agreement. Politically sensitive bilateral trade issues include US access to EU agricultural markets, EU access to US public procurement markets, data privacy regulations, climate policies, and taxation and regulation of major − chiefly American − digital service providers in the EU market.

Zunanji avtor

European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington DC

Review of dual-use export controls

20-07-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly defines cyber-surveillance technology as dual-use technology and introduces human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. It also includes provisions to control emerging technologies. The proposed regulation introduces greater transparency into dual-use export control by increasing the level of detail Member States will have to provide on exports, licences, licence denials and prohibitions. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Trilogue negotiations ended on 9 November 2020, with agreement on a final compromise text. Endorsed by the INTA committee on 30 November, the Parliament formally voted on the text in plenary on 25 March 2021. The Regulation was published in the Official Journal on 11 June 2021 and enters into force on 8 September 2021. Seventh edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU-Swiss trade relations and the institutional framework agreement

19-07-2021

On 26 May 2021, the Federal Council of Switzerland (Swiss executive authority) announced that the country will not formally sign the institutional framework agreement (IFA) agreed at political level with the European Union (EU) in 2018, thereby ending the negotiation process. The objective of the IFA was to create a horizontal governance framework that would have covered five major EU-Swiss trade-related bilateral agreements signed in 1999, part of the 'Bilaterals I' package. It also provided for ...

On 26 May 2021, the Federal Council of Switzerland (Swiss executive authority) announced that the country will not formally sign the institutional framework agreement (IFA) agreed at political level with the European Union (EU) in 2018, thereby ending the negotiation process. The objective of the IFA was to create a horizontal governance framework that would have covered five major EU-Swiss trade-related bilateral agreements signed in 1999, part of the 'Bilaterals I' package. It also provided for dynamic alignment of standards in the domains covered by the IFA, a dispute settlement mechanism with jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the EU on EU law, and State aid rules. The EU considers that Switzerland does not respect all of its commitments in the existing agreements, which give the country access to parts of the EU's single market; it perceives the current situation as unbalanced, partly due to the absence of dispute settlement mechanisms in the existing agreements. In addition, the dynamic alignment and State aid rules envisaged in the IFA would have enhanced fair competition between EU and Swiss businesses ('level playing field'). Switzerland, although it aims to 'deepen' its relations with the EU by means of new sectoral agreements, is concerned by the potential application of the EU Citizens' Right Directive, as well as the potential future removal of the labour market exemptions provided by the IFA protocols. To a lesser extent, it is also concerned with the IFA's State aid rules. Switzerland consequently requested 'explicit clarification' from the EU on these points in 2019, then resumed talks in 2021. According to the European Commission and European Parliament, 'the door is always open', but new agreements are unlikely to be signed without a framework agreement. The Commission has also emphasised that the upgrading of existing agreements – necessary whenever new EU standards are adopted to maintain their applicability – will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to prevent unintended effects. Medical device equivalence, previously covered by provisions of the EU-Swiss Mutual Recognition Agreement, is the first no longer to be applied as a consequence of changes in EU standards.

EU-UK relations: Difficulties in implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol

09-07-2021

On 3 March 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced in a written statement to the UK Parliament, and without consulting the European Union (EU) in advance, that the grace period on border controls on a series of food and live products shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland would be extended. This meant that products of animal origin, composite products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants and plant products could continue being ...

On 3 March 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, announced in a written statement to the UK Parliament, and without consulting the European Union (EU) in advance, that the grace period on border controls on a series of food and live products shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland would be extended. This meant that products of animal origin, composite products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants and plant products could continue being shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland without the official certification, such as health and phytosanitary certificates, required by the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland (the Protocol) of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA). In response to the UK's decision, the EU launched legal action against the UK for breaching the provisions of the Protocol, as well as the good faith obligation under the WA. According to the Protocol, the UK must establish border controls on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland according to EU law. The application of EU law to Northern Ireland, together with the conduct of border controls within the UK, was designed to prevent the establishment of physical border controls (a 'hard border') on the island of Ireland, so as to safeguard the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement which brought peace in Northern Ireland, while preserving the integrity of the EU's single market. The grace period on border controls was agreed by the EU and the UK in December 2020 as a temporary solution to problems raised by the UK. The UK government has reiterated that it intends to implement the Protocol, but that the border controls are causing trade disruption between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and require time to be resolved. It has also mentioned other issues involving areas as diverse as medicinal supplies and parcel shipments, as well as the complexity of customs systems and implementation of exchange of information between the EU and the UK. On 30 June 2021, the EU and the UK reached an agreement on some solutions, including the extension of the grace period on meat products, conditional on tight controls.

The EU-Turkey Customs Union and trade relations: what options for the future?

07-07-2021

This in-depth analysis summarizes the main effects of the Customs Union (CU) on EU-Turkey trade and the economic situation in Turkey. Whereas the CU offers Turkey several economic benefits, it also implies some downsides, in particular asymmetric tariffs in relation to third countries. Against the background of the dynamic development of EU-Turkey relations, the authors assess the impact of four different options for developing EU-Turkey economic and trade relations: (i) Continuation of the current ...

This in-depth analysis summarizes the main effects of the Customs Union (CU) on EU-Turkey trade and the economic situation in Turkey. Whereas the CU offers Turkey several economic benefits, it also implies some downsides, in particular asymmetric tariffs in relation to third countries. Against the background of the dynamic development of EU-Turkey relations, the authors assess the impact of four different options for developing EU-Turkey economic and trade relations: (i) Continuation of the current Customs Union framework as it stands, (ii) Modernization and upgrading of the Customs Union, (iii) A transformation of the bilateral trade relations into a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA), (iv) Suspension of the Customs Union (in which case WTO rules would apply). The in-depth-analysis describes the options, the challenges the EU-Turkey Customs Union faces and seeks solutions for these issues.

Zunanji avtor

Erdal YALCIN; Gabriel FELBERMAYR

Regulating targeted and behavioural advertising in digital services. How to ensure users’ informed consent.

01-07-2021

The study addresses the regulation of targeted and behavioural advertising in the context of digital services. Marketing methods and technologies deployed in behavioural and target advertising are presented. The EU law on consent to the processing of personal data is analysed, in connection with advertising practices. Ways of improving the quality of consent are discussed as well as ways of restricting its scope as a legal basis for the processing of personal data. This study is commissioned by ...

The study addresses the regulation of targeted and behavioural advertising in the context of digital services. Marketing methods and technologies deployed in behavioural and target advertising are presented. The EU law on consent to the processing of personal data is analysed, in connection with advertising practices. Ways of improving the quality of consent are discussed as well as ways of restricting its scope as a legal basis for the processing of personal data. This study is commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee.

Distortive foreign subsidies regulation: A level playing-field for the single market

30-06-2021

With public financing of enterprises on the rise globally, and substantially increased as a result of the pandemic, subsidisation has become an issue of growing concern in competitive markets. In May 2021 the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on distortive foreign subsidies. It follows a 2020 white paper that identified gaps in the trade laws and put forward ways to close them. The draft regulation aims to tackle those foreign subsidies that have a distortive effect on the ...

With public financing of enterprises on the rise globally, and substantially increased as a result of the pandemic, subsidisation has become an issue of growing concern in competitive markets. In May 2021 the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on distortive foreign subsidies. It follows a 2020 white paper that identified gaps in the trade laws and put forward ways to close them. The draft regulation aims to tackle those foreign subsidies that have a distortive effect on the single market. It proposes to do so by giving the Commission powers to investigate subsidies granted by non-EU public authorities to companies operating on the internal market. If these are found to be distortive, the Commission will be able to apply redressive measures. The regulation proposes three new tools: two are notification-based, enabling the Commission to: investigate foreign subsidies in companies' mergers and acquisitions; and investigate the bids in large public procurement procedures, involving third-country government support. The acquirer or bidder will be required to give ex-ante notification of external financial contribution. The third tool is an ex officio tool enabling the Commission to take the initiative to investigate other market situations. As co-legislators, Parliament and Council will now begin analysing the proposal. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Harnessing the new momentum in transatlantic relations: Potential areas for common action during the Biden presidency

10-06-2021

The transatlantic relationship has been witnessing a significant injection of renewed enthusiasm and policy activity since Joe Biden became President of the United States in January 2021. This paper focuses on three important issues on the rapidly evolving transatlantic policy agenda, exploring their potential for generating, in effect, new 'common global goods' during the Biden presidency. First, it looks at pathways towards developing some kind of 'transatlantic green deal', taking climate action ...

The transatlantic relationship has been witnessing a significant injection of renewed enthusiasm and policy activity since Joe Biden became President of the United States in January 2021. This paper focuses on three important issues on the rapidly evolving transatlantic policy agenda, exploring their potential for generating, in effect, new 'common global goods' during the Biden presidency. First, it looks at pathways towards developing some kind of 'transatlantic green deal', taking climate action, trade and climate diplomacy in the round. Second, it analyses the comparative fabrics of US and European societies through the triple lens of violent extremism, the rule of law and technological disruption. Third, the prospects for 'crisis-proofing' the transatlantic space for the future are examined by looking at defence, health security and multilateralism. The paper also explores some potential avenues for closer transatlantic parliamentary cooperation, building on the already strong relationship between the European Parliament and the US Congress.

World Trade Organization TRIPS waiver to tackle coronavirus

04-06-2021

The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled the global debate on whether the multilateral trade regime for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection limits access to essential medical products. Despite embedded flexibilities in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India and South Africa, co-sponsored by a large number of developing countries, submitted an initial proposal for a temporary waiver in response to Covid-19 in October 2020, ...

The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled the global debate on whether the multilateral trade regime for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection limits access to essential medical products. Despite embedded flexibilities in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India and South Africa, co-sponsored by a large number of developing countries, submitted an initial proposal for a temporary waiver in response to Covid-19 in October 2020, which was met with divided opinions. On 25 May 2021, a revised proposal was tabled for the consideration of the 'TRIPS Council' on 8-9 June 2021. The US administration voiced its support for a vaccines waiver, while EU leaders indicated an openness to discussion, and highlighted the mounting support for the 'third way' public-private partnership proposal.

Prihajajoči dogodki

07-09-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable: What is the future of (European) sovereignty?
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EPRS
08-09-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable: Statistics, Data and Trust: Why figures matter [...]
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EPRS
21-09-2021
EPRS online Book Talk with David Harley: Matters of Record: Inside European Politics
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EPRS

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