118

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The new European cybersecurity competence centre and network

19-05-2021

On 13 September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with a series of initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. A year later, the Commission presented a proposal for the creation of a European cybersecurity competence centre with a related network of national coordination centres. The initiative aims to improve and strengthen the EU's cybersecurity capacity, by stimulating the European technological and industrial cybersecurity ecosystem as well as ...

On 13 September 2017, the Commission adopted a cybersecurity package with a series of initiatives to further improve EU cyber-resilience, deterrence and defence. A year later, the Commission presented a proposal for the creation of a European cybersecurity competence centre with a related network of national coordination centres. The initiative aims to improve and strengthen the EU's cybersecurity capacity, by stimulating the European technological and industrial cybersecurity ecosystem as well as coordinating and pooling necessary resources in Europe. The competence centre is supposed to become the main body that would manage EU financial resources dedicated to cybersecurity research under the two proposed programmes – Digital Europe and Horizon Europe – within the next multiannual financial framework, for 2021-2027. Within the European Parliament, the file was assigned to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). The report was adopted on 19 February 2019 in the ITRE committee. On 17 April 2019 the Parliament adopted its position at first reading, after two trilogue meetings, before the European elections. A new trilogue meeting took place more than a year later, on 25 June 2020, and further negotiations followed. During the fifth trilogue meeting on 11 December 2020, the negotiators of the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement. The Council adopted the legislation on 20 April 2021 at first reading. The ITRE committee adopted the draft recommendation for second reading on 26 April 2021, and it is expected that the European Parliament will adopt the text during the May 2021 plenary session.

EU hydrogen policy: Hydrogen as an energy carrier for a climate-neutral economy

12-04-2021

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free transport, heating and industrial processes as well as inter-seasonal energy storage. Clean hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is a zero-emission energy carrier, but is not yet as cost-competitive as hydrogen produced from natural gas. A number of studies show that an EU energy system having a significant proportion of hydrogen and renewable gases would be more cost-effective than one relying ...

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free transport, heating and industrial processes as well as inter-seasonal energy storage. Clean hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is a zero-emission energy carrier, but is not yet as cost-competitive as hydrogen produced from natural gas. A number of studies show that an EU energy system having a significant proportion of hydrogen and renewable gases would be more cost-effective than one relying on extensive electrification. Research and industrial innovation in hydrogen applications is an EU priority and receives substantial EU funding through the research framework programmes. Hydrogen projects are managed by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public-private partnership supported by the European Commission. The EU hydrogen strategy, adopted in July 2020, aims to accelerate the development of clean hydrogen. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, established at the same time, is a forum bringing together industry, public authorities and civil society, to coordinate investment. Almost all EU Member States recognise the important role of hydrogen in their national energy and climate plans for the 2021-2030 period. About half have explicit hydrogen-related objectives, focussed primarily on transport and industry. The Council adopted conclusions on the EU hydrogen market in December 2020, with a focus on renewable hydrogen for decarbonisation, recovery and competitiveness. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted an own-initiative report on the EU hydrogen strategy in March 2021. This is an update of a Briefing from February 2021.

Prospects for EU-Asia connectivity: The 'European way to connectivity'

06-04-2021

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established five strategic partnerships – including with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. In September 2018, the EU adopted a joint communication on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks ...

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established five strategic partnerships – including with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) – and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. In September 2018, the EU adopted a joint communication on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy'. The strategy proposes that the EU engage with its Asian partners through a sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based approach to connectivity, exploiting existing and planned EU networks. It acknowledges the presence of a significant investment gap in connectivity and recognises the need to mobilise and strengthen cooperation with private investors, national and international institutions, and multilateral development banks. Analysts welcomed the strategy as the EU response to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This initiative has been raising concerns in the EU and in several participating countries, some of which are worried about possible 'debt traps'. Echoing these concerns, the European Parliament has warned that the 17+1 format of cooperation between China and 17 central and eastern European countries could undermine the EU's common position towards Beijing. In January 2021, MEPs called for the creation of a global EU connectivity strategy as an extension of the current EU-Asia connectivity strategy. In September 2019, the EU and Japan launched the EU-Japan Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure. In December 2020, the EU and ASEAN issued a joint ministerial statement on connectivity. Financing Europe-Asia connectivity is a key challenge in the years to come, together with the challenges highlighted by the coronavirus crisis. This is a revised and updated edition of a briefing from October 2018.

A European strategy for data

24-03-2021

Data represents the driving force of the European digital transformation. In order to harness the potential of the data economy, the European Commission aims to build a market for personal and non-personal data that fully respects European rules and values. During its March II plenary session, Parliament is due to debate data issues, before voting on an own-initiative report concerning a European strategy for data and a resolution on the European Commission’s evaluation of the General Data Protection ...

Data represents the driving force of the European digital transformation. In order to harness the potential of the data economy, the European Commission aims to build a market for personal and non-personal data that fully respects European rules and values. During its March II plenary session, Parliament is due to debate data issues, before voting on an own-initiative report concerning a European strategy for data and a resolution on the European Commission’s evaluation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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.

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on Roma and Travellers

23-03-2021

The EU's Roma and Traveller communities are among those most at risk of contracting Covid-19. This only adds to the multiple difficulties they face as regards employment, education, housing and health, compounded by discrimination and anti-Gypsyism. To tackle this situation, the European Commission has introduced targeted measures and provided financial support. The European Parliament has repeatedly expressed its deep concern about the conditions of the Roma and people of other backgrounds during ...

The EU's Roma and Traveller communities are among those most at risk of contracting Covid-19. This only adds to the multiple difficulties they face as regards employment, education, housing and health, compounded by discrimination and anti-Gypsyism. To tackle this situation, the European Commission has introduced targeted measures and provided financial support. The European Parliament has repeatedly expressed its deep concern about the conditions of the Roma and people of other backgrounds during the ongoing pandemic.

Improving the resilience of critical entities

23-02-2021

This briefing finds that the European Commission's impact assessment (IA), which accompanies the directive proposal on the resilience of critical entities, provides a good evidence-based problem definition and a sufficiently broad range of options. The assessment is mostly qualitative, due to difficulties in quantification. The IA could have been more transparent in its description of stakeholder views, and could have provided due references and a link to the feasibility study which has supported ...

This briefing finds that the European Commission's impact assessment (IA), which accompanies the directive proposal on the resilience of critical entities, provides a good evidence-based problem definition and a sufficiently broad range of options. The assessment is mostly qualitative, due to difficulties in quantification. The IA could have been more transparent in its description of stakeholder views, and could have provided due references and a link to the feasibility study which has supported the IA. Further explanations to support the preferred option in terms of efficiency would have benefited the analysis.

Creating opportunities in sport for people with disabilities

15-02-2021

Disability is a complex, multidimensional and contested term for which there is no common definition, but which is generally understood as a dynamic interaction between health conditions and contextual factors, both personal and environmental. A billion people in the world, of whom over 70 million in the EU, live with disabilities today. Official sporting events for people with disabilities have existed for over a century. The Silent Games – the first competition for athletes with a disability (now ...

Disability is a complex, multidimensional and contested term for which there is no common definition, but which is generally understood as a dynamic interaction between health conditions and contextual factors, both personal and environmental. A billion people in the world, of whom over 70 million in the EU, live with disabilities today. Official sporting events for people with disabilities have existed for over a century. The Silent Games – the first competition for athletes with a disability (now Deaflympics) – were held in 1924 in Paris (France). Some disability sports are traditional sports slightly modified to meet the needs of people with a disability and are referred to as 'adapted sports'. Others, such as boccia, have been designed specifically with no equivalent in mainstream sport. 'Disability sport' is used as an umbrella term to describe sports activities developed for the benefit of people or athletes with disabilities. In the last century, various disability sports and competitions have been developed and run under the auspices of specialised international organisations. Regrettably, there is no centralised data collection on the participation of people with disabilities in sport at EU level. Instead, EU countries gather a variety of non-harmonised indicators, making it impossible to make consistent comparisons. According to a 2018 Eurobarometer survey, having a disability or illness is the third most frequently mentioned reason – by 14 % of respondents – for not practising sports more regularly. To remove such barriers and improve the participation of people with disabilities in sports, over 50 Erasmus+ projects have supported such activities since 2014. At national level, some EU countries, such as France, Ireland and the Netherlands, have adopted centralised approaches based on national strategies and funding initiatives. Others, including Belgium, Italy and Spain, favour strategies developed and implemented mainly at regional or local level. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on sports activities for people with disabilities. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, rescheduled for August-September 2021, will be broadcast to an estimated global audience of 4.3 billion people and should help to put disability back at the heart of the inclusion agenda.

New strategy to reinforce application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights: Local and regional perspective

10-02-2021

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) enshrines the civil, political, economic and social rights and principles of everyone covered by its scope. Despite evidence of it having resulted in positive outcomes since it became legally binding in 2009, European Commission reports and findings by the Fundamental Rights Agency show that the Charter has not been used to its full potential at national level. Furthermore, according to a Eurobarometer survey, there is lack of awareness ...

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) enshrines the civil, political, economic and social rights and principles of everyone covered by its scope. Despite evidence of it having resulted in positive outcomes since it became legally binding in 2009, European Commission reports and findings by the Fundamental Rights Agency show that the Charter has not been used to its full potential at national level. Furthermore, according to a Eurobarometer survey, there is lack of awareness of the Charter among EU citizens. The debate around how to promote awareness of the Charter, and of citizens' rights more broadly, in the EU has been going on for a number of years. In this context, a new strategy for effective application of the Charter has been adopted and will guide action for the next 10 years, to raise awareness and promote its effective use. Furthermore, in 2020 the European Commission launched a public consultation to collect input from a wide range of stakeholders on the subject, including actors at local level. The basic idea was that as local and regional authorities represent the tiers of government closest to the public, they are well placed to make the Charter known to citizens. This briefing provides guidance and tools to help local and regional authorities inform citizens of their rights under the Charter. It also presents best practice from selected EU Member States on promoting the principles underpinning the Charter at regional and local level.

New consumer agenda

03-02-2021

Consumer expenditure accounted for 52.6 % of European Union gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Meanwhile, in the same year, one in five consumers said they had had at least one reason to complain about a purchase the previous year – a number largely unchanged for a decade. Increasingly, consumers do their shopping online. One in six people bought at least one item online in 2019. Yet while online shopping is now ubiquitous, European rules have lagged behind. On 13 November 2020, the European Commission ...

Consumer expenditure accounted for 52.6 % of European Union gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Meanwhile, in the same year, one in five consumers said they had had at least one reason to complain about a purchase the previous year – a number largely unchanged for a decade. Increasingly, consumers do their shopping online. One in six people bought at least one item online in 2019. Yet while online shopping is now ubiquitous, European rules have lagged behind. On 13 November 2020, the European Commission published a new consumer agenda – its strategy for consumer policy for the 2020-2025 period. The strategy aims to address five long-term priorities: the green transition, digital transformation, redress and the enforcement of consumer rights, the specific needs of certain consumer groups, and international cooperation. In addition, it proposes measures to address immediate challenges that have emerged during the pandemic. Over the next five-year period, the Commission plans to empower consumers for the green transition: giving them information on the sustainability of products; establishing a right to repair; and laying down rules regarding green claims. It plans to tackle problematic practices on online marketplaces, fix the gaps in rules on product safety, especially for products sold online, and improve enforcement of existing rules. At the same time, it plans to improve protection of vulnerable groups, especially people who do not have access to the internet, and children. It plans to revise the rules for retail banking and improve financial advice services in Member States. Although the European Parliament has not adopted a resolution on the consumer agenda per se, it has adopted several legislative and non-legislative resolutions on topics covered by the agenda, including the sustainable single market, product safety, the future digital services act and artificial intelligence. Various stakeholders have expressed their views on the new consumer agenda, both during the public consultation before it was published, and following its publication.

Kommande evenemang

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Turning the tide on cancer: the national parliaments' view on Europe's Cancer Plan
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