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Citizens’ enquiries on the composition of the European Parliament, following Court of Justice ruling on case C-502/19

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP / Marc Dossmann

Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.

The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages following the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in case C-502/19, Junqueras Vies, of 19 December 2019. Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in December 2019. The President of the European Parliament, David Maria Sassoli, announced in plenary on 13 January 2020 that, following the judgement of the EU Court, the mandates of Mr Junqueras i Vies, Mr Puigdemont i Casamajó and Mr Comín i Oliveres began on 2 July 2019, on the basis of the official declaration of the results of the European elections by the competent Spanish authorities. However, taking into account the decision of the Junta Electoral Central of 3 January 2020, and pursuant to the decision of the Tribunal Supremo of 9 January 2020, the mandate of Mr Junqueras i Vies terminated with effect from 3 January 2020.

Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Polish).

Main points made in the reply in English

‘On 19 December 2019, the last sitting of Parliament’s plenary session of 2019, President Sassoli informed the Parliament about the content and consequences of the judgement of the Court of Justice in case C-502/19, Junqueras Vies, published on the same day. The statement of the President on the European Court of Justice ruling can be found here.

Taking into account the decision of the Junta Electoral Central of 3 January 2020 and the decision of the Tribunal Supremo of 9 January 2020 concerning the situation of Mr Junqueras i Vies, the President published a statement on 10 January 2020 on the composition of the European Parliament. This statement can be found here.

As outlined in the statement, the European Parliament is obliged to take note without delay of the final decisions of the competent authorities of the Member States. Therefore, the President announced in plenary on Monday 13 January 2020 the start of mandate of the three Members on 2 July 2019 of Mr Junqueras i Vies, Mr Puigdemont i Casamajó and Mr Comín i Oliveres, and the termination of the mandate of Mr Junqueras i Vies on 3 January 2020.

The President’s announcement of the termination of the mandate of Mr Junqueras iVies is currently under review by the General Court of the European Union. Parliament is not in a position to comment on ongoing Court proceedings.’

Main points made in the reply in Spanish

“El 19 de diciembre de 2019, en la última sesión del Pleno del Parlamento de 2019, el presidente Sassoli informó a la cámara sobre el contenido y las consecuencias de la sentencia del Tribunal de Justicia en el asunto C-502/19, Junqueras i Vies, publicada ese mismo día. La declaración del presidente sobre la sentencia del Tribunal de Justicia de la Unión puede consultarse aquí.

Teniendo en cuenta la decisión de la Junta Electoral Central de 3 de enero de 2020 así como la decisión del Tribunal Supremo de 9 de enero de 2020 en relación con la situación del Sr. Junqueras i Vies, el presidente publicó el 10 de enero de 2020 una declaración sobre la composición del Parlamento Europeo. Esta declaración puede consultarse aquí.

Tal como se indica en la declaración, el Parlamento Europeo está obligado a tomar nota sin dilación de las decisiones que con carácter definitivo tomen las autoridades competentes de los Estados miembros. Por consiguiente, el Presidente anunció en el Pleno el lunes 13 de enero de 2020 el inicio del mandato de los tres diputados —Sres. Junqueras i Vies, Puigdemont i Casamajó y Comín i Oliveres— en fecha de 2 de julio de 2019, así como la expiración del mandato del Sr. Junqueras i Vies el 3 de enero de 2020.

El anuncio por parte del presidente de la expiración del mandato de este último está siendo actualmente examinado por el Tribunal General de la Unión Europea. El Parlamento no puede hacer comentarios sobre los procedimientos judiciales en curso.”

Main points made in the reply in Italian

“Il 19 dicembre 2019, durante l’ultima seduta plenaria del Parlamento del 2019, il Presidente Sassoli ha informato il Parlamento in merito al contenuto e alle conseguenze della sentenza della Corte di giustizia nella causa C-502/19 Junqueras Vies, pubblicata lo stesso giorno. La dichiarazione del Presidente sulla sentenza della Corte di giustizia dell’Unione europea può essere consultata tramite questo link.

Tenuto conto della decisione della Junta Electoral Central del 3 gennaio 2020 e della decisione del Tribunal Supremo del 9 gennaio 2020 in merito alla situazione del sig. Junqueras i Vies, il 10 gennaio 2020 il Presidente ha pubblicato una dichiarazione sulla composizione del Parlamento europeo. Tale dichiarazione può essere consultata tramite questo link.

Come indicato nella dichiarazione, il Parlamento europeo è tenuto a prendere immediatamente atto delle decisioni definitive delle autorità competenti degli Stati membri. Pertanto, lunedì 13 gennaio 2020 il Presidente ha annunciato in Aula l’inizio del mandato dei deputati Junqueras i Vies, Puigdemont i Casamajó e Comín i Oliveres il 2 luglio 2019 nonché la cessazione del mandato del sig. Junqueras i Vies il 3 gennaio 2020.

L’annuncio del Presidente in merito alla cessazione del mandato del sig. Junqueras i Vies è attualmente all’esame del Tribunale dell’Unione europea. Il Parlamento non può esprimere osservazioni sui procedimenti giudiziari in corso.”

Main points made in the reply in Portuguese

“Em 19 de dezembro de 2019, na última sessão plenária do período de sessões do Parlamento em 2019, o Presidente Sassoli informou o Parlamento sobre o conteúdo e as consequências do Acórdão do Tribunal de Justiça relativo ao processo C-502/19, Junqueras i Vies, publicado no mesmo dia. A declaração do Presidente sobre o acórdão do Tribunal de Justiça Europeu pode ser consultada aqui.

Tendo em conta a Decisão da Junta Eleitoral Central, de 3 de janeiro de 2020, e o Acórdão do Supremo Tribunal de Justiça, de 9 de janeiro de 2020, relativamente à situação de Junquera i Vies, o Presidente publicou uma declaração sobre a composição do Parlamento Europeu em 10 de janeiro de 2020. Essa declaração pode ser consultada aqui.

Conforme indicado na declaração, o Parlamento Europeu é obrigado a registar, sem demora, as decisões finais das autoridades competentes dos Estados-Membros. Por conseguinte, o Presidente anunciou em sessão plenária, na segunda-feira, 13 de janeiro de 2020, o início do mandato dos três deputados -Junqueras i Vies, Puigdemont i Casamajó e Comín i Oliveres – em 2 de julho de 2019, e o termo do mandato de Junqueras i Vries em 3 de janeiro de 2020.

O anúncio da cessação do mandato de Junqueras i Vies pelo Presidente está atualmente a ser examinado pelo Tribunal Geral da União Europeia. O Parlamento não está em posição de comentar processos judiciais em curso.”

Main points made in the reply in Polish

“W dniu 19 grudnia 2019 r., na ostatnim posiedzeniu plenarnym Parlamentu w 2019 r., przewodniczący D.M. Sassoli poinformował Parlament o treści i skutkach wyroku Europejskiego Trybunału Sprawiedliwości w sprawie C-502/19, Junqueras Vies, opublikowanego tego samego dnia. Oświadczenie przewodniczącego w sprawie orzeczenia Europejskiego Trybunału Sprawiedliwości znajduje się tutaj.

Uwzględniając decyzję hiszpańskiej centralnej komisji wyborczej (Junta Electoral Central) z 3 stycznia 2020 r. oraz decyzję hiszpańskiego sądu najwyższego (Tribunal Supremo) z 9 stycznia 2020 r. dotyczącą sytuacji O. Junquerasa i Viesa, w dniu 10 stycznia 2020 r. przewodniczący opublikował oświadczenie w sprawie składu Parlamentu Europejskiego. Oświadczenie to znajduje się pod tym linkiem.

Jak wskazano w oświadczeniu, Parlament Europejski jest zobowiązany do niezwłocznego przyjęcia do wiadomości ostatecznych decyzji właściwych organów państw członkowskich. W związku z tym w poniedziałek 13 stycznia 2020 r. przewodniczący ogłosił na posiedzeniu plenarnym rozpoczęcie mandatu przez trzech posłów w dniu 2 lipca 2019 r.: O. Junquerasa i Viesa, C. Puigdemonta i Casamajó oraz A. Comína i Oliveresa, a także zakończenie mandatu O. Junquerasa i Viesa w dniu 3 stycznia 2020 r.

Ogłoszenie przez przewodniczącego zakończenia mandatu O. Junquerasa i Viesa jest obecnie przedmiotem kontroli przeprowadzanej przez Sąd Unii Europejskiej. Parlament nie może wypowiadać się na temat toczących się postępowań sądowych.”

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/26/citizens-enquiries-on-the-composition-of-the-european-parliament-following-court-of-justice-ruling-on-case-c-502-19/

Citizens’ enquiries on the use of animals in scientific research

© Alona / Adobe Stock

Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.

The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages calling on the Parliament to introduce a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of animals in scientific research.

Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in October 2019. In their messages, correspondents requested an EU-wide ban on all tests on animals for household products and their ingredients. Regarding other purposes, they called for a shift towards humane methods not involving animals.

Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English, French, German and Dutch).

Main points made in the reply in English

The EU rules on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes are laid down in Directive 2010/63/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2010. The directive is based on the principle of replacement, reduction and refinement of the use of animals in procedures (also known as the ‘Three Rs’ principle).

On 3 May 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on a global ban to end animal testing for cosmetics, in which Members reiterated ‘that animal testing can no longer be justified for cosmetics and asks EU and national public authorities to uphold the public’s opposition to cosmetics testing and support the advancement of innovative, humane testing methods;’

Further to the ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes, Members of the European Parliament have tabled questions to the Commission – among others – on animal testing and clarifications on REACH and the Cosmetics Regulation, to which the Commission reply stated that ‘The promotion of alternative methods to animal testing is one of the main objectives of the REACH Regulation’.

On 3 March 2015, a European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Stop Vivisection’ was submitted to the European Commission, the goal of which was ‘to abrogate Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and put forward a new proposal aimed at phasing out the practice of animal experimentation, making compulsory the use – in biomedical and toxicological research – of data directly relevant for the human species’.

The initiative was discussed during a public hearing hosted by the European Parliament on 11 May 2015, in order to provide a platform for debate for Members, the general public, the European Citizens’ Initiative supporters and experts in the field.

In its communication setting out its actions in response to the initiative, the Commission welcomed the mobilisation of citizens in support of animal welfare and stated that the EU shares the initiative’s conviction that animal testing should be phased out, which is also the main aim of EU legislation.

Numerous petitions have been submitted to the European Parliament on the issue of animal testing and vivisection.

Further information on animal testing is available in the summary of EU legislation on the protection of laboratory animals and the Commission’s webpage on ‘animals used for scientific purposes‘, which also contains details of EU action to identify alternative approaches.

Further information:

Main points made in the reply in French

La question de l’expérimentation animale relative à la protection des animaux utilisés à des fins scientifiques est réglementée au niveau de l’Union par la directive 2010/63/UE du Parlement européen et du Conseil du 22 septembre 2010 . La directive s’appuie sur l’application des principes dits de remplacement, de réduction et de raffinement (ou «règle des trois R») de l’utilisation d’animaux dans le cadre de ces procédures.

Le 3 mai 2018, le Parlement européen a adopté une résolution sur l’interdiction totale de l’expérimentation animale pour les cosmétiques, dans laquelle il «réaffirme que l’expérimentation animale ne peut plus être justifiée pour les cosmétiques et demande à l’Union et aux pouvoirs publics nationaux de soutenir l’opposition des citoyens à l’expérimentation animale pour les cosmétiques et le développement de méthodes d’expérimentation novatrices et humaines».

Dans le droit fil de l’interdiction de l’expérimentation animale dans le domaine des produits cosmétiques, plusieurs députés ont adressé des questions à la Commission concernant, entre autres, l’expérimentation animale et des éclaircissements sur REACH et le règlement sur les produits cosmétiques, ce à quoi la Commission a répondu en déclarant que «la promotion de méthodes alternatives à l’expérimentation animale est l’un des principaux objectifs du règlement REACH».

Le 3 mars 2015, une initiative citoyenne européenne intitulée Stop Vivisection a été présentée à la Commission, en vue de demander à cette dernière «d’abroger la directive 2010/63/UE relative à la protection des animaux utilisés à des fins scientifiques et de présenter à la place une nouvelle proposition de directive visant à mettre fin à l’expérimentation animale et de rendre obligatoire, pour la recherche biomédicale et toxicologique, l’utilisation de données pertinentes pour l’espèce humaine».

L’initiative a été examinée lors d’une audition publique, organisée par le Parlement européen le 11 mai 2015, pour permettre aux députés, au grand public, aux signataires de l’initiative citoyenne européenne et aux experts du domaine d’échanger sur ces questions.

Dans sa communication exposant ce qu’elle compte faire pour répondre à l’initiative, la Commission salue la mobilisation des citoyens en faveur du bien-être des animaux et déclare que l’Union européenne partage la conviction qui est celle de l’initiative citoyenne, à savoir que les essais sur les animaux devraient être progressivement supprimés, ce qui est aussi la finalité ultime de la législation européenne dans ce domaine.

Un grand nombre de pétitions ont été présentées au Parlement européen sur la question de l’expérimentation animale et de la vivisection.

Davantage d’informations sont disponibles dans la synthèse publiée sur EUR-Lex concernant la protection des animaux de laboratoire ainsi que sur la page web que la Commission consacre aux animaux utilisés à des fins scientifiques, qui précise également les mesures prises par l’Union pour recenser les méthodes de substitution à l’expérimentation animale.

Pour plus d’informations:

Main points made in the reply in German

Die einschlägigen EU-Vorschriften zum Schutz der für wissenschaftliche Zwecke verwendeten Tiere sind in der Richtlinie 2010/63/EU des Europäischen Parlaments und des Rates vom 22. September 2010 festgelegt. Die Richtlinie basiert auf dem Prinzip, dass der Einsatz von Tieren bei solchen Verfahren ersetzt, eingeschränkt und verbessert werden soll (das sogenannte „3R-Prinzip“: replacement, reduction, refinement).

Am 3. Mai 2018 hat das Europäische Parlament eine Entschließung zu einem weltweiten Verbot von Tierversuchen für kosmetische Mittel angenommen, in der die Mitglieder bekräftigt haben, „dass Tierversuche für kosmetische Mittel nicht länger gerechtfertigt sind“, und „die EU und die einzelstaatlichen Behörden [aufgefordert haben], der ablehnenden Haltung der Öffentlichkeit gegenüber Tierversuchen für kosmetische Mittel Rechnung zu tragen und die Weiterentwicklung innovativer, humaner Versuchsmethoden zu fördern“.

Als Ergänzung zu dem Verbot von Tierversuchen für kosmetische Zwecke haben die Mitglieder unter anderem die Kommission zu Tierversuchen und zu Erläuterungen zur REACH- und zur Kosmetikverordnung konsultiert, worauf die Kommission erwidert hat, die Förderung alternativer Methoden zu Tierversuchen sei eines der wichtigsten Ziele der REACH-Verordnung.

Am 3. März 2015 wurde bei der Kommission eine Europäische Bürgerinitiative namens „Stop Vivisection“ eingereicht, die darauf abzielt, „die Richtlinie 2010/63/EU zum Schutz der für wissenschaftliche Zwecke verwendeten Tiere außer Kraft zu setzen und einen neuen Vorschlag zu unterbreiten, der auf der Abschaffung der Tierversuche beruht und stattdessen – in der biomedizinischen und toxikologischen Forschung – verbindlich den Einsatz von Daten vorschreibt, die direkte Relevanz für den Menschen haben.“

Das Europäische Parlament hat am 11. Mai 2015 eine öffentliche Anhörung zu der Initiative veranstaltet, um Mitgliedern, der Öffentlichkeit, Unterstützern der Europäischen Bürgerinitiative und Sachverständigen in diesem Bereich eine Diskussionsplattform zu bieten.

In ihrer Mitteilung mit den aufgrund der Initiative ergriffenen Maßnahmen begrüßte die Kommission die Mobilisierung der Bürger für den Tierschutz und führte an, dass die EU die Überzeugung der Bürgerinitiative teile, dass Tierversuche abgeschafft werden sollten, und dass das EU-Recht letztlich darauf hinauslaufe.

Beim Europäischen Parlament wurden zahlreiche Petitionen zum Thema Tierversuche und Vivisektion eingereicht.

Weitere Informationen über Tierversuche finden Sie in der Zusammenfassung der EU-Rechtsvorschriften zum Schutz von Versuchstieren und auf der Website der Kommission zu Tieren, die für wissenschaftliche Zwecke verwendet werden, die außerdem Details der Maßnahmen der EU zur Entwicklung alternativer Forschungsmethoden umfasst.

Weitere Informationen:

Main points made in the reply in Dutch

De EU-regels betreffende de bescherming van dieren die voor wetenschappelijke doeleinden worden gebruikt zijn vastgelegd in Richtlijn 2010/63/EU van het Europees Parlement en de Raad van 22 september 2010. Deze richtlijn is gebaseerd op de beginselen van vervanging, vermindering en verfijning (de drie v’s).

Het Europees Parlement heeft op 3 mei 2018 een resolutie aangenomen over een mondiaal verbod op dierproeven voor cosmetica, waarin de EP-leden aangeven dat zij van mening zijn dat “het verrichten van dierproeven voor cosmetica niet meer valt te rechtvaardigen” en waarin zij de Europese en nationale autoriteiten verzoeken “om het verzet van het grote publiek tegen dierproeven voor cosmetica en de ontwikkeling van innovatieve, humane testmethoden te steunen”.

Naar aanleiding van het verbod op dierproeven voor cosmetische doeleinden hebben EP-leden schriftelijke vragen ingediend bij de Commissie over o.a. dierproeven en verduidelijking van de Reach-verordening en de cosmeticaverordening. In haar antwoord op deze vragen verklaarde de Commissie dat de bevordering van alternatieve methoden voor dierproeven een van de belangrijkste doelstellingen van de Reach-verordening is.

Op 3 maart 2015 werd het Europees burgerinitiatief “Stop Vivisectie” ingediend bij de Europese Commissie. De indieners van dit burgerinitiatief drongen bij de Commissie aan op intrekking van Richtlijn 2010/63/EU betreffende de bescherming van dieren die voor wetenschappelijke doeleinden worden gebruikt en indiening van een nieuw voorstel met daarin een geleidelijk verbod op experimenten met dieren en een verplichting om – in het kader van biomedisch en toxicologisch onderzoek – gebruik te maken van gegevens die rechtstreeks van belang zijn voor de mens.

Over dit initiatief werd op 11 mei 2015 een openbare hoorzitting gehouden die georganiseerd werd door het Europees Parlement en die bedoeld was om EP-leden, burgers, de ondertekenaars van het burgerinitiatief en deskundigen op dit gebied een platform voor debat te bieden.

In de mededeling van de Commissie waarin de Commissie aangeeft welke maatregelen zij als reactie op dit initiatief wil gaan nemen, geeft de Commissie aan verheugd te zijn dat zoveel burgers zich inzetten voor het welzijn van dieren en dat de EU het met de indieners eens is dat er een verbod moet komen op dierproeven, en dat dat ook het belangrijkste doel is van de EU-wetgeving.

Over de onderwerpen dierproeven en vivisectie werden bij het Europees Parlement ook talrijke verzoekschriften ingediend.

Meer informatie over dierproeven kunt u vinden in de samenvatting van de EU-wetgeving over de bescherming van proefdieren en de website van de Commissie “animals used for scientific purposes”, waar ook meer informatie te vinden is over wat de EU doet om alternatieve methodes te vinden.

Meer informatie:

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/26/citizens-enquiries-on-the-use-of-animals-in-scientific-research/

How digital technology is easing the burden of confinement

Written by Mar Negreiro,

© Stanisic Vladimir / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic is bringing an unforeseen acceleration in the digital transformation of societies around the world. This is the first pandemic in history in which digital technologies are being used on a massive scale to keep people connected while in isolation, allowing them to telework, follow online courses, shop online or consult health professionals from home. As a result, internet traffic has increased substantially since confinement began. According to EU Member States’ national regulators, operators have so far been able to manage this surge, while also introducing many exceptional measures, such as temporarily removing broadband data caps and making extra data and free online content available.

The current crisis has highlighted the importance that upgraded telecoms networks and 5G will have for societies and economies. Furthermore, now that confinement has started to ease, it is increasingly clear that digital technology will continue to play a very important longer-term role in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. The scope of contact-tracing apps is likely to expand, and teleworking, telehealth and e-learning are likely to become more prevalent than before.

However, the most popular digital apps, whether for e-commerce, social media, videoconferencing or contact tracing are not of EU origin, posing concerns for the EU’s digital dependency, competitive advantage and data privacy. In fact, the coronavirus crisis has further consolidated the existing dominance of ‘Big Tech’.

The pandemic has further exacerbated existing issues; for instance, the digital divide has broadened further and there has been a global rise in cybersecurity incidents. The EU is poised to tackle these issues, while at the same time embracing the digital transformation in our lifestyles and allowing the internet to play a critical role in defeating the virus.


Read the complete briefing on ‘How digital technology is easing the burden of confinement‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/25/how-digital-technology-is-easing-the-burden-of-confinement/

EU budgetary and financial response to the coronavirus crisis

Written by Clare Ferguson, Marianna Pari, Stefano Spinaci,

Within the limits of its powers, the EU has acted quickly to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences. Showing considerable flexibility, EU institutions have organised a package of measures (some already decided, others proposed or requested), to counter the crisis, drawing both on the EU budget and a wider economic package. Parliament is calling on the European Commission to propose a €2 trillion recovery package, distributed mostly through grants (over which Parliament will maintain scrutiny) rather than loans, and warns against the presentation of misleading figures. The recovery package should provide real funding to help those hardest-hit, and focus on climate mitigation, digitalisation and a new health programme. The Commission has committed to propose a comprehensive recovery plan, along with revised 2021-2027 MFF proposals, on 27 May 2020. In the meantime, France and Germany have suggested a €500 billion ‘recovery fund’.

© European Union, 2020 –European Parliament / EPRS


Read the complete briefing on ‘EU budgetary and financial response to the coronavirus crisis‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/20/eu-budgetary-and-financial-response-to-the-coronavirus-crisis/

Citizens’ enquiries on the situation of the Kurdish population in north east Syria – Rojava

© Peter Hermes Furian / Adobe Stock

Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.

The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages on the situation of the Kurdish population in north east Syria, following a Turkish military operation in this region in October 2019. Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in October 2019, expressing their concerns regarding the situation and asking for the European Union to intervene with concrete action. On the same day that the Turkish military operation began – 9 October 2019 – the President strongly urged Turkey to halt all military action immediately and to find solutions in peace and stability, through dialogue.

Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English and in Italian).

Main points made in the reply in English

The European Parliament and other European Union institutions are highly concerned about the situation.

We wish to inform you that the President of the European Parliament, Mr David Maria Sassoli, has stated, on 9 October 2019:

‘I strongly urge Turkey to stop all military action immediately. There is a population that has already suffered badly. We must not allow anything that can cause further suffering. This must stop. This intervention will never be a solution to the problem. We in the international community, the European Union, its institutions, ask that this military intervention stops, and we discuss the possibility of a buffer zone, but it must be done in peace and stability and through dialogue.’

The Plenary of the European Parliament held a debate on 9 October 2019 on the situation in northern Syria during which the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica Mogherini, made a statement.

The Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union, which met in Luxembourg on 14 October 2019, adopted conclusions on north east Syria, including that:

‘The Council recalls the 9 October 2019 Declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the European Union and urges Turkey again to cease its unilateral military action in North East Syria and to withdraw its forces. The EU condemns Turkey’s military action which seriously undermines the stability and the security of the whole region, resulting in more civilians suffering and further displacement and severely hindering access to humanitarian assistance.’ and ‘The EU recalls that it will not provide stabilisation or development assistance in areas where the rights of local populations are ignored or violated.’

President Sassoli, in his speech, on 17 October 2019, to the European Council has stated:

‘For days, people throughout Europe have been following with dismay and anger events in our neighbourhood. The Kurdish population of north-eastern Syria, which fought bravely against the terrorists of the so-called Islamic State, is now under attack by a NATO country.

It is no wonder that our citizens feel a strong sense of gratitude towards the Kurds, because the battle against ISIS has been fundamental to our security.

Against this background, the European Parliament reiterates its call for the accession negotiations with Turkey to be suspended.

We consider it unacceptable and firmly reject any attempt by the Turkish authorities to establish a link between its military action in north-eastern Syria and the fate of Syrian refugees on Turkish territory.

It is worth reminding our citizens that the European Union is not funding the Turkish authorities but contributing directly to assisting and improving refugee living conditions through the work of UN agencies and humanitarian organisations. Human beings in need must never be used as a bargaining chip to justify violations of international law.’

For further information, you may wish to consult the website of the European Parliament and the website of the Delegation of the European Union to Syria. 

Main points made in the reply in Italian

Il Parlamento europeo e le altre istituzioni dell’Unione europea sono molto preoccupati riguardo alla situazione.

La informiamo che il Presidente Sassoli ha dichiarato il 9 ottobre 2019 quanto segue:

“Chiedo, con forza, alla Turchia di interrompere immediatamente ogni azione militare. C’è una popolazione che ha già sofferto duramente. Non dobbiamo metterla in condizioni di avere altre sofferenze. Che si fermi questo intervento, che non sarà mai la soluzione ai problemi che abbiamo! La comunità internazionale, l’Unione europea, le sue istituzioni chiedono che questo intervento si fermi e si discuta la possibilità anche di un cuscinetto di sicurezza ma certamente va fatto nella pace, nella stabilità e nel dialogo!”.

La Plenaria del Parlamento europeo ha tenuto una discussione il 9 ottobre 2019 sulla situazione nella Siria settentrionale durante la quale la Vicepresidente della Commissione/Alto rappresentante dell’Unione per gli affari esteri e la politica di sicurezza, Sig.ra Federica Mogherini, ha rilasciato una dichiarazione.

Il Consiglio per gli Affari esteri dell’Unione europea si è riunito a Lussemburgo il 14 ottobre 2019 e ha adottato conclusioni sul nord-est della Siria dichiarando:

“Il Consiglio rammenta la dichiarazione dell’Alto rappresentante a nome dell’Unione europea, del 9 ottobre 2019, ed esorta nuovamente la Turchia a cessare la sua azione militare unilaterale nel nord-est della Siria e a ritirare le sue forze. L’UE condanna l’azione militare della Turchia che compromette seriamente la stabilità e la sicurezza dell’intera regione, aumentando le sofferenze dei civili, provocando ulteriori sfollamenti e ostacolando fortemente l’accesso all’assistenza umanitaria” e “L’UE ricorda che non fornirà assistenza alla stabilizzazione o allo sviluppo in settori in cui i diritti delle popolazioni locali sono ignorati o violati”.

Il Presidente Sassoli, nel suo discorso del 17 ottobre 2019, ha dichiarato quanto segue:

“Sono ormai diversi giorni che le nostre opinioni pubbliche guardano con angoscia e rabbia a quello che succede non lontano dai nostri confini. La popolazione curda nel Nord-est della Siria ha combattuto con coraggio i terroristi dello Stato islamico e ora è oggetto di un’aggressione da parte di un Paese membro della NATO.

Non è un mistero che i nostri cittadini nutrano un forte senso di riconoscenza per quelle comunità. La battaglia contro l’ISIS, d’altronde, è stata fondamentale per la nostra sicurezza.

In tali circostanze il Parlamento europeo, come affermato già in passato, reitera la richiesta di sospendere i negoziati di adesione con la Turchia.

Riteniamo inaccettabile e respingiamo con forza ogni tentativo da parte delle Autorità turche di effettuare un legame fra la sua azione militare nel Nord-est della Siria e la sorte dei rifugiati siriani in territorio turco.

È bene ripetere ai nostri cittadini che l’Unione europea non finanzia le autorità turche ma contribuisce direttamente all’assistenza e al miglioramento delle condizioni di vita dei rifugiati tramite le attività delle agenzie delle Nazioni Unite e delle organizzazioni umanitarie. Gli esseri umani in difficoltà non possono mai essere utilizzati come merce di scambio per giustificare inaccettabili violazioni del diritto internazionale.”

Per ulteriori informazioni, può consultare il sito web del Parlamento europeo e il sito web della Delegazione dell’Unione europea in Siria.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/20/citizens-enquiries-on-the-situation-of-the-kurdish-population-in-north-east-syria-rojava/

Citizens’ enquiries on self-employed workers on e-commerce websites during the coronavirus pandemic

© Adobe Stock

Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.

The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages on the situation of micro-enterprises and the self-employed, in particular on e-commerce websites, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in April 2020, calling on the Parliament to encourage the European Commission and EU governments to ensure that micro-enterprises and the self-employed (for example those working on the Etsy e-commerce platform), are an integral part of any economic recovery package.

Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter (in English and in Italian).

Main points made in the reply in English

For several weeks, the President has been stressing the importance of addressing the negative impact the coronavirus is having on businesses.

We would like to inform you that, on 19 March 2020, the President stated the following:

‘Europe is moving. Faced with this dramatic situation, with a duty to defend lives, livelihoods, and stability for all, the European Union is acting. We are talking about an intervention that, overall, is close to two trillion euros. It provides useful resources to support our economy and our model of social protection. It will protect jobs, businesses, and ensure families are not left alone in the face of these challenging times’.

The President also stressed that we need to begin immediately preparing for the reconstruction  of our economies and our societies and to explore further synergies to provide emergency assistance to the sectors and companies affected by the crisis.

We would also like to inform you that the European Commission is increasing its response capacity by proposing to establish an instrument, called SURE, which will pay out €100 billion in loans to help workers keep their income and help businesses stay afloat. The proposal applies also to self-employed workers.

Lastly, we would like to inform you that you can follow the President’s activities on his website, where, amongst other things, you can take a look at his speeches and at the press releases on his statements.

Main points made in the reply in Italian

Da varie settimane il Presidente sottolinea l’importanza di far fronte alle conseguenze negative del coronavirus sulle attività economiche.

La informiamo che il Presidente ha dichiarato, il 19 marzo 2020, quanto segue:

“L’Europa si muove. Di fronte alla crisi drammatica che stiamo vivendo, di fronte al dovere di difendere la vita, il lavoro, la stabilità di tutti, l’Unione Europea sta reagendo… Parliamo di un intervento che, globalmente, sfiora i 2000 miliardi di euro… Saranno risorse utili a proteggere la nostra economia e il nostro modello di protezione sociale, aiutando il lavoro, le imprese, le famiglie a non essere lasciati soli ad affrontare questa stagione così difficile”.

Il Presidente ha inoltre sottolineato che è necessario iniziare subito a preparare la ricostruzione delle nostre economie e delle nostre società  ed esplorare ulteriori sinergie per fornire assistenza d’emergenza ai settori e alle imprese colpiti dalla crisi.

Le segnaliamo altresì che la Commissione europea sta accrescendo la sua capacità di risposta proponendo di istituire uno strumento, denominato SURE, che erogherà 100 miliardi di euro sotto forma di prestiti per aiutare i lavoratori a mantenere il proprio reddito e aiutare le imprese a restare a galla. La proposta si applica anche ai lavoratori autonomi.

La informiamo infine che è possibile seguire le attività del Presidente sul suo sito web, in cui potrà consultare, tra l’altro, i suoi discorsi e i comunicati stampa sui suoi interventi.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/19/citizens-enquiries-on-self-employed-workers-on-e-commerce-websites-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

Plenary round-up – Brussels, May 2020

Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,

© European Union 2020 – Source : EP / Daina LE LARDIC

The May 2020 plenary session was the third conducted with a majority of Members participating remotely, although more were present in Brussels than at the April session, and using the alternative voting procedure put in place in March by Parliament’s Bureau. The session focused on a number of urgent legislative proposals as well as votes on discharge for EU institutions and bodies concerning the 2018 budget. On the response to the Covid‑19 pandemic, Parliament called upon the European Commission to set up a recovery plan as part of the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF). Members heard Council and Commission statements on the conclusions of the video-conference meeting of the European Council on 23 April 2020 and the MFF, own resources and recovery plan. They also debated statements relating to: emergency legislation in Hungary and its impact on the rule of law and fundamental rights; on the use of contact-tracing apps; and on vaccines and therapeutics. Members also held a debate on the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.

Coronavirus transport support package

After voting to invoke Rule 163 of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure on applying the urgent procedure, Members adopted, with some amendments and by very large majorities, first-reading positions on four immediate measures to support the transport sector. The measures cover all transport modes (aviation, rail, maritime, inland navigation and road), seeking to ease some of the practical issues facing transport operators due to the coronavirus crisis, especially on costs and the regulatory burden. Member States’ ambassadors to the EU (Coreper) have also agreed to use written procedure to adopt these measures swiftly.

2021-2027 multiannual financial framework

Members addressed the prospects for future financing for the EU and its Covid‑19 recovery plan. Parliament adopted, by 505 votes (an absolute majority is required), a Committee on Budgets legislative initiative report requesting the European Commission make a legislative proposal to set up a contingency plan for the EU MFF, where lengthy negotiations in the European Council and Council have delayed agreement and the coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated both the delay and its consequences. The Treaties provide for extension of the annual level of resources available in the final year of the current MFF, until agreement is reached. However, there is a risk to the smooth functioning of the EU budget, since many of the EU’s current programmes will expire at the end of 2020, unless the new budget, or a contingency plan, are agreed soon.

Parliament also adopted a resolution on the next MFF, own resources and the recovery plan, in which it emphasised the need for the recovery plan to be built on the MFF, and for Parliament to be fully involved in decision-making on the recovery plan in order to ensure democratic accountability. The Commission announced that it expects to make a proposal on the Covid-19 post-pandemic recovery plan as well as its revised 2021-2027 MFF proposals on 27 May 2020. Parliament is expected to organise a plenary session that day in order for the Commission to prevent its new proposals directly to Members and to allow Parliament to give its immediate reactions.

EU bodies – Budgetary discharge 2018

To ensure correct management of EU funds, the European Commission and executive agencies, as well as the other EU institutions, the decentralised agencies and joint undertakings are required to present their ‘accounts’ for scrutiny each year. In this exercise covering the 2018 financial year, Members voted on 56 reports from Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT), which scrutinise each EU entity’s use of EU funding and recommend whether or not to grant approval (discharge). Parliament granted discharge for the European Commission, and six agencies, as well as for the Commission’s disbursement of European Development Funds. Parliament granted discharge for 32 EU decentralised agencies and 8 joint undertakings, and for the EU institutions other than the Commission, except, once again (as has been the case since 2009), the European Council and the Council. Parliament agreed to postpone a decision in the light of continued lack of cooperation with these two institutions. In addition, Parliament decided to postpone discharge in respect of the Economic and Social Committee, until the Committee provides evidence that it has taken measures regarding cases of alleged harassment.

Macro-financial assistance to enlargement and neighbourhood partners

Members approved a Commission proposal, tabled without a report by Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, seeking to provide enlargement and neighbourhood partners with macro-financial assistance (MFA) to mitigate the effects of Covid‑19. The MFA package will provide €3 billion to help enlargement candidate and southern neighbourhood countries facing a recession.

Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritania

Members followed a PECH committee recommendation that Parliament agree to a one-year extension of the Protocol on the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritania, currently under renegotiation. The agreement rolls over an existing extension to the 2015 agreement whereby the EU gains access rights to Mauritania’s mixed fisheries in return for €61 625 in payment and support for the country’s fisheries sector.

Opening of trilogue negotiations

Two committee decisions to enter into interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations were confirmed. In the case of the AGRI committee’s report on the proposal on transitional funding provisions for the year 2021, Parliament voted in favour of the decision. The PECH committee’s report on Eastern Baltic cod fishing was confirmed with no vote taking place.


Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Plenary round-up – Brussels, May 2020‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/18/plenary-round-up-brussels-may-2020/

Which ‘new normal’ after coronavirus? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

© jirsak / Adobe Stock

Many countries are now beginning to relax their strict confinement measures as the infection, hospitalisation and death rates from the coronavirus all fall. However, the impact of such moves is being monitored very closely, in order to try to forestall any second wave of infection. Meanwhile, debate intensifies about whether people’s previous life-styles and working practices, especially in richer industrialised countries, will be radically changed and/or remain sustainable in the emerging ‘new normal’. In parallel, the possibility of finding a vaccine, and using other modern technology applications, to overcome the virus is intensively discussed. Analysts are also looking at the disease’s specific impact in the poorest regions of the world, notably in sub-Saharan Africa.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the topic can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 8 May.

What kind of post-corona world do Europeans want?
European Council on Foreign Relations, May 2020

The great lockdown: Was it worth it?
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2020

The end of ‘business as usual’? Covid-19 and the European Green Deal
Egmont, May 2020

The coronavirus crisis highlights Germany’s ‘reluctant leader’ problem
German Marshall Fund, May 2020

In der Corona-Krise aus der WTO-Krise
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, May 2020

European identity and the test of Covid-19
Instituto Affari Internazionali, May 2020

Eurasian Union fails a critical test: Displaying irrelevance in the time of the corona crisis
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, May 2020

Rebondir face au Covid-19 : L’enjeu du temps de travail
Institut Montainge, May 2020

Coronavirus: How are countries responding to the economic crisis?
Council on Foreign Relations, May 2020

Coronavirus vaccine: Available for all, or when it’s your turn?
Chatham House, May 2020

The health and economic impacts of Covid-19 interventions
Rand Corporation, May 2020

Risking their health to pay the bills: 100 million Europeans cannot afford two months without income
Bruegel, May 2020

Covid-19 and defence: The need for EU funding – Why EU budget negotiators should not only focus on financial firepower
Cligendael, May 2020

Coronavirus: Could a people’s bailout help?
Chatham House, May 2020

Social bonds in response to the Covid-19 crisis: When financial markets save lives
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2020

Covid-19 and technology in the EU: Think bigger than apps
Martens Centre, May 2020

How can innovation help our societies in times of Covid-19 adversity?
Friends of Europe, May 2020

China should export more medical gear to battle Covid-19
Peterson Institute for International Economics, May 2020

The impact of Covid-19 restrictions on individual mobility
Bruegel, May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and conflict dynamics in Syria
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, May 2020

Covid-19 in the Horn of Africa
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, May 2020

Covid-19: Les réponses européennes
Fondation Robert Schuman, May 2020

Covid-19 exposes Italy’s vulnerability to US-China antagonism
Instituto Affari Internazionali, May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic and deadly conflict
International Crisis Group, May 2020

Europe’s finest hour or its swansong?
Friends of Europe, May 2020

Containing Covid-19 in Sweden
Polish Institute of International Affairs, May 2020

In chaos, they thrive: The resurgence of extremist and terrorist groups during the Covid-19 pandemic
European Policy Centre, May 2020

Only a strong, united European response to Covid-19 can overcome the crisis
Friends of Europe, May 2020

Helicoptering money into Europe: The virtual credit card solution
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2020

Over-reactions to the Coronavirus: A Chinese view on the war of words and geopolitical competition
Egmont, May 2020

How can citizens keep public corruption in check during ‘The Great Lockdown’?
Friends of Europe, May 2020

Migrations et Covid-19 : Un quitte ou double pour l’Europe?
Institut français des relations internationales, May 2020

Here’s why the EU project, age 70, must win pandemic test
Atlantic Council, May 2020

The challenge of the ‘day after’ the discovery of a Covid-19 antidote
Friends of Europe, May 2020

Why European companies might be better equipped to cope with the crisis than their US counterparts
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2020

Building a post-pandemic world will not be easy
Bruegel, April 2020

Coronavirus risks worsening a food crisis in the Sahel and West Africa
Chatham House, May 2020

Why the UK should extend the transition period
Centre for European Reform, April 2020

Covid-19 and conflict in the Middle East
Clingendael, April 2020

Despite flattening the curve, South Korea faces economic challenges from Covid-19 as does the United States
Peterson Institute for International Economics, April 2020

Saving European defense from the coronavirus pandemic
Carnegie Europe, April 2020


Read this briefing on ‘Which ‘new normal’ after coronavirus?‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Read all EPRS publications on the coronavirus outbreak

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/15/which-new-normal-after-coronavirus-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

How does creating LGBTI inclusive regions and cities matter to their development?

Written by Vasileios Margaras,

LGBT rights

@ Kraphix / Fotolia

Regions and cities can play an important role in promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) equality. Local government entities can use targeted approaches and activities to combat prejudice, discrimination, intimidation and violence against LGBTI people, thus contributing to the wellbeing of their citizens. They can also adopt a pro-LGBTI approach through cooperation with LGBTI groups, inclusive policy processes and provide LGBTI-related support services, activities and information.

LGBTI inclusion may have a positive impact on local and regional development. A recent article on the relationship between LGBT inclusion and economic development argues that exclusionary treatment is not only harmful to LGBT individuals involved, it also carries costs that impact the broader economy such as lost labour time, lost productivity, underinvestment in human capital, and the inefficient allocation of human resources through discrimination in education and hiring practices. The authors suggest that per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is higher in countries that have more legal rights for Lesbian Gay and Bisexual people and that LGBT inclusion and economic development are mutually reinforcing.

An Open for Business report argues that LGBT+ inclusive cities are better placed to develop their global competitiveness. They have stronger ‘innovation ecosystems’, higher rates of entrepreneurialism, greater concentrations of skills and talent and are more likely to become hubs for high-value industries. The report does not claim that LGBT+ inclusion directly causes cities to prosper, but rather that it is beneficial to their human capital and a supportive element in their development. In addition, the presence of a visible LGBT+ community may be taken as a signal that a city will be an attractive place to live. Evidence shows that competitive advantage goes to those cities that are open to new ideas, welcoming to people of different backgrounds, and provide an environment that encourages the free flow of innovation. Another study seems to validate this claim, as it suggests that tolerance concerning immigration and integration in Switzerland explains a large part of the concentration of the creative workforce, followed by tolerance of same-sex partnerships.

Furthermore, LGBTI inclusiveness can be beneficial for the economy overall. A United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation report found that publicly held companies with LGBT-friendly policies have seen their stock prices increase by an average 6.5 % compared with their industry peers. It also suggests that LGBT inclusive companies attract better talent and decreased employee turnover. A World Economic Forum article estimates that countries where LGBT inclusive policies do not exist tend to miss out on economic growth. Various companies aiming at servicing the LGBTI community have been emerging. Furthermore, an United Nations World Tourism Organization Global Report on LGBT tourism shows that LGBT tourism is widely recognised as an important and promising segment of tourism globally. It therefore constitutes a potential additional development activity for European regions and cities.

A number of cities have been influential in setting LGBTI friendly policies in Europe and the world (e.g. the Dutch Rainbow Cities network and the international Rainbow Cities Network). However, there have been also local and regional examples of a degradation in LGBTI rights and freedoms. For instance, since the beginning of 2019, 87 localities (regions, counties and municipalities) have passed bills or have declared themselves ‘LGBTI-free’ or ‘free of LGBT ideology’ in Poland. In November 2019, Members of the European Parliament debated on public discrimination and hate speech against LGBTI people, including LGBTI free zones. This debate was requested at the initiative of the LGBTI Intergroup, a group of Members of the European Parliament who are active in supporting LGBTI rights. In December 2019, the European Parliament deplored attacks carried out by public authorities against LGBTI people during referenda and elections in several EU countries. The Parliament and the European Commission have also strongly condemned the creation of ‘LGBTI-free zones‘ by local authorities in Poland. An EPRS briefing summarises the rights of LGBTI people in the European Union and the role of the Parliament in LBGT equality.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/15/how-does-creating-lgbti-inclusive-regions-and-cities-matter-to-their-development/

Potentially negative effects of internet use

Written by Gianluca Quaglio with Sophie Millar,

© Shutterstock

The internet has received increasingly negative media coverage in recent years. Numerous articles have reported on major privacy scandals and security breaches, the proliferation of fake news, harmful behaviours such as cyber-bullying, cyber-theft, revenge porn and internet addiction, as well as the negative effects that the internet can have on social relationships and social cohesion.

Although the social and economic benefits of the internet are undeniable, the way in which the internet has developed has also been detrimental to a number of core European values such as equality, respect for human rights and democracy. Due to this, technology companies are coming under increasing pressure to mitigate the harmful effects of the internet, whilst politicians and opinion leaders are advocating drastic measures to reverse such impacts.

This paper presents a summary and an update of some key findings of the two-part STOA study entitled ‘Harmful internet use’. It does not cover all potential societal harms relating to the internet, which include – amongst others – negative impacts on privacy, harm related to cybersecurity and cybercrime, negative effects on knowledge and beliefs and negative effects on democracy and democratic citizenship.


Read this complete ‘in-depth analysis’ on ‘Potentially negative effects of internet use‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/05/14/potentially-negative-effects-of-internet-use/