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Civil and military drones: Navigating a disruptive and dynamic technological ecosystem

Written by Tania Lațici,

Silhouette of drone flying above city at sunset

© naypong / Fotolia

Often labelled as one of today’s main disruptive technologies, drones have indeed earned this label by prompting a fundamental rethinking of business models, existing laws, safety and security standards, the future of transport, and modern warfare. The European Union (EU) recognises the opportunities that drones offer and sees them as opening a new chapter in the history of aerospace. The EU aviation strategy provides guidance for exploring new and emerging technologies, and encourages the integration of drones into business and society so as to maintain a competitive EU aviation industry.

Ranging from insect-sized to several tonnes in weight, drones are extremely versatile and can perform a very large variety of functions, from filming to farming, and from medical aid to search and rescue operations. Among the advantages of civil and military drones are their relative low cost, reach, greater work productivity and capacity to reduce risk to human life. These features have led to their mass commercialisation and integration into military planning. Regulatory and oversight challenges remain, however, particularly regarding dual-use drones – civil drones that can be easily turned into armed drones or weaponised for criminal purposes.

At EU level, the European Commission has been empowered to regulate civil drones and the European Aviation Safety Agency to assist with ensuring a harmonised regulatory framework for safe drone operations. The latest EU legislation has achieved the highest ever safety standards for drones. Another challenge remaining for regulators, officials and manufacturers alike is the need to build the trust of citizens and consumers. Given that drones have been in the public eye more often for their misuse than their accomplishments, transparency and effective communication are imperative to prepare citizens for the upcoming drone age.


Read this briefing on ‘Civil and military drones: Navigating a disruptive and dynamic technological ecosystem‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/09/civil-and-military-drones-navigating-a-disruptive-and-dynamic-technological-ecosystem/

European Parliament’s October I plenary session

Written by Aidan Christie,

EP building in Brussels

© Architectes : Vandenbossche SPRL, CRV S.A., CDG S.P.R.L., Studiegroep D. Bontinck, ©Façade et Hémicycle – Arch M. Boucquillon Belgium – European Union 2019 – Source : EP

Once the last of the first round of hearings of the European Commission candidates put forward by Ursula von der Leyen concludes on Tuesday 8 October, the attention of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will turn to the first plenary session of the new term to be held in Brussels. The focus will still be on the hearings process, however, with decisions to be taken by the political group leaders on possible additional hearings of certain candidates, as well as hearings of the replacement nominees from Hungary and Romania.

Among the highlights of the session will be debates following statements from the Council and Commission on the forthcoming European Council meeting, and on the next multiannual financial framework (MMF) and the own resources system. As regards the first of these, the 17-18 October European Council meeting is the last one scheduled under the current leadership, with Charles Michel taking over from Donald Tusk as President on 1 December, and Jean-Claude Juncker due to hand over to Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission on 1 November. Von der Leyen has been invited to attend the European Council meeting and the leaders are expected to discuss the programming for the coming five years, on the basis of the 2019-2024 Strategic Agenda agreed in June.

The other main subject to be discussed by the Heads of State or Government will be the EU’s post-2020 budget, with the Finnish Presidency of the Council outlining the progress made on narrowing the gaps between Member States’ positions on the MFF; the subject is nevertheless expected to return to the European Council’s agenda in December. The new Parliament will therefore be taking its first opportunity to outline its position on both the MFF and the own resources system in advance of the leaders’ discussion. A motion for a resolution tabled by four political groups (EPP, S&D, Renew and Greens/EFA) largely seeks to reiterate the positions adopted by Parliament during the last term.

On Wednesday evening, the High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini, is due to make a statement on the situation in Ukraine. With the election in Ukraine of a new president, and then parliament, earlier this year, efforts have been stepped up to relaunch talks under the Normandy format. President Volodomyr Zelenskiy’s room for manoeuvre remains limited, however, and there is little sign of the commitments made under the Minsk Agreements being followed through; the conflict thus continues in the Donbass region.

On Thursday morning, there will be a debate on a report from the EMPL committee on the employment and social policies of the euro area, a contribution to the annual European Semester process. Parliament’s position is supposed to feed into the Council’s recommendations on euro-area policies, due to be adopted in November. The committee’s report emphasises the need to strengthen social rights, so that they stretch to all, as well as to develop labour market and education policies to ensure adequate social protection and address skills mismatches more effectively.

Parliament is due to vote on Thursday on draft amending budget No 4 (DAB 4/2019), in which the Commission is proposing to reduce commitment and payment appropriations for 2019, on the basis of updated needs and revenue forecasts. In its report, the Committee on Budgets voted to amend the Council’s position, seeking to redeploy savings to other major EU programmes that are currently lacking in funding. It is therefore calling on the Commission to present a new proposal along those lines. Parliament will also debate the issue of greening the European Investment Bank (EIB), with the Bank’s president taking part. This issue has gained in significance in the light of the Commission President-elect’s priority to develop a European green deal.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/07/european-parliaments-october-i-plenary-session/

Monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Gregor Erbach,

Containerschiff

© Kara / Fotolia

In February 2019, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the EU system for monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport, in order to align it with the global data collection system introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The existing EU system requires ships above 5 000 gross tonnes using European ports to monitor and report fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per voyage and on an annual basis, starting with the year 2018. The IMO system requires ships above 5 000 gross tonnes on international voyages to report consumption data for fuel oil, hours underway and distance travelled. The system entered into force on 1 March 2018, and reporting starts with the year 2019. The proposed revision aims to facilitate the simultaneous application of the two systems, while preserving the objectives of the current EU legislation.

In the European Parliament, the ENVI committee has appointed Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA, Germany) as rapporteur for the file. The Environment Council discussed the proposal in June 2019.

Versions

Stage: EESC

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/07/monitoring-reporting-and-verification-of-co2-emissions-from-maritime-transport-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Brexit: make or break? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Brexit deadline concept. With an alarm clock at almost 12 o'clock. With the flags of the Union Jack and the E.U over layered on top.

© David / Fotolia

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has presented a draft text to replace the ‘Irish backstop’, with the aim of reaching agreement with the other 27 EU leaders on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the EU in the coming weeks. While the UK withdrawal is currently scheduled for 31 October, the UK Parliament has adopted legislation obliging Johnson to seek a delay in that date, if no deal is reached by 19 October. But with British politics in turmoil, it remains unclear if the Prime Minister will comply, or, if he does, whether the EU will agree. Economists warn that the UK’s disorderly departure from the EU is likely to have damaging consequences for supply chains in trade and production, transport, the supply of medicines and many other areas.

This note offers links to a series of most recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on Brexit.

‘No deal’ Brexit and the EU budget: Beware the risk for EU unity
Institut Jacques Delors, September 2019

What does the UK’s Supreme Court ruling mean for Brexit
Carnegie Europe, September 2019

Deal or no deal? Five questions on Boris Johnson’s Brexit talks
Centre for European Reform, September 2019

Even a Commons majority for an EU withdrawal agreement doesn’t rule out a no-deal Brexit
Institute for Government, September 2019

A parliamentary majority without a policy and a government policy without a majority
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Trick or treat? French and German views on ‘Brextension’
European Council on Foreign Relations, September 2019

MPs should use their extra time wisely and scrutinise the government’s Brexit plans
Institute for Government, September 2019

Supreme Court case: Not the best way to go about things
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Brexit and ‘peak populism’ in Europe
German Marshall Fund, September 2019

Just a little Brexit? Alternative (customs) arrangements’ and the Withdrawal Agreemen
Centre for European Policy Studies, September 2019

Boris Johnson auf Kurs No-Deal Brexit
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, September 2019

Auto makers prepare to shut down again fearing no deal Brexit disruption
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

The impact on Europe of ‘make-believe’ Britain
Friends of Europe, September 2019

Brexit beyond Britain
German Marshall Fund, September 2019

Bewitched by Brexit: Referendums and modern democracy
European Council on Foreign Relations, September 2019

How Brexiteers are destabilising Ireland’s fragile peace
Carnegie Europe, September 2019

Brexit and the UK’s political implosion
Scottish Centre for European Relations, September 2019

The biggest obstacle to a workable backstop alternative lies not in the EU, but the UK
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Weighing up alternative arrangements to the backstop
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Brexit: How was it for you?
European Policy Centre, September 2019

EU leaders signal desire for Brexit deal despite limited progress
Open Europe, September 2019

How Transatlantic foreign policy cooperation could evolve after Brexit
Carnegie Europe, September 2019

How would negotiations after a no-deal Brexit play out?
Centre for European Reform, September 2019

How would a second referendum on Brexit happen?
Institute for Government, September 2019

A no-deal Brexit is not inevitable
Centre for European Reform, August 2019

What would a no-deal Brexit look like?
Council on Foreign Relations, August 2019

Boris Johnson enters democracy’s twilight zone
Peterson Institute for International Economics, August 2019

Brexit banking exodus creates a dilemma for Dublin
Bruegel, July 2019

Preparing Brexit: No deal
Institute for Government, July 2019

Where Brexit goes, the law shall follow
Bruegel, July 2019

Deficiencies and omissions in the Brexit Agreement
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, July 2019

Making global Britain work
Policy Exchange, July 2019

A power for the future? Global Britain and the future character of conflict
Chatham House, July 2019

What Brexit means
Council on Foreign Relations, July 2019


Read this briefing on ‘Brexit: make it or break it?‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/04/brexit-make-it-or-break-it-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

Brexit: make it or break it? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Brexit deadline concept. With an alarm clock at almost 12 o'clock. With the flags of the Union Jack and the E.U over layered on top.

© David / Fotolia

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has presented a draft text to replace the ‘Irish backstop’, with the aim of reaching agreement with the other 27 EU leaders on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the EU in the coming weeks. While the UK withdrawal is currently scheduled for 31 October, the UK Parliament has adopted legislation obliging Johnson to seek a delay in that date, if no deal is reached by 19 October. But with British politics in turmoil, it remains unclear if the Prime Minister will comply, or, if he does, whether the EU will agree. Economists warn that the UK’s disorderly departure from the EU is likely to have damaging consequences for supply chains in trade and production, transport, the supply of medicines and many other areas.

This note offers links to a series of most recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on Brexit.

‘No deal’ Brexit and the EU budget: Beware the risk for EU unity
Institut Jacques Delors, September 2019

What does the UK’s Supreme Court ruling mean for Brexit
Carnegie Europe, September 2019

Deal or no deal? Five questions on Boris Johnson’s Brexit talks
Centre for European Reform, September 2019

Even a Commons majority for an EU withdrawal agreement doesn’t rule out a no-deal Brexit
Institute for Government, September 2019

A parliamentary majority without a policy and a government policy without a majority
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Trick or treat? French and German views on ‘Brextension’
European Council on Foreign Relations, September 2019

MPs should use their extra time wisely and scrutinise the government’s Brexit plans
Institute for Government, September 2019

Supreme Court case: Not the best way to go about things
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Brexit and ‘peak populism’ in Europe
German Marshall Fund, September 2019

Just a little Brexit? Alternative (customs) arrangements’ and the Withdrawal Agreemen
Centre for European Policy Studies, September 2019

Boris Johnson auf Kurs No-Deal Brexit
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, September 2019

Auto makers prepare to shut down again fearing no deal Brexit disruption
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

The impact on Europe of ‘make-believe’ Britain
Friends of Europe, September 2019

Brexit beyond Britain
German Marshall Fund, September 2019

Bewitched by Brexit: Referendums and modern democracy
European Council on Foreign Relations, September 2019

How Brexiteers are destabilising Ireland’s fragile peace
Carnegie Europe, September 2019

Brexit and the UK’s political implosion
Scottish Centre for European Relations, September 2019

The biggest obstacle to a workable backstop alternative lies not in the EU, but the UK
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Weighing up alternative arrangements to the backstop
The UK in a Changing Europe, September 2019

Brexit: How was it for you?
European Policy Centre, September 2019

EU leaders signal desire for Brexit deal despite limited progress
Open Europe, September 2019

How Transatlantic foreign policy cooperation could evolve after Brexit
Carnegie Europe, September 2019

How would negotiations after a no-deal Brexit play out?
Centre for European Reform, September 2019

How would a second referendum on Brexit happen?
Institute for Government, September 2019

A no-deal Brexit is not inevitable
Centre for European Reform, August 2019

What would a no-deal Brexit look like?
Council on Foreign Relations, August 2019

Boris Johnson enters democracy’s twilight zone
Peterson Institute for International Economics, August 2019

Brexit banking exodus creates a dilemma for Dublin
Bruegel, July 2019

Preparing Brexit: No deal
Institute for Government, July 2019

Where Brexit goes, the law shall follow
Bruegel, July 2019

Deficiencies and omissions in the Brexit Agreement
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, July 2019

Making global Britain work
Policy Exchange, July 2019

A power for the future? Global Britain and the future character of conflict
Chatham House, July 2019

What Brexit means
Council on Foreign Relations, July 2019


Read this briefing on ‘Brexit: make it or break it?‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/04/brexit-make-it-or-break-it-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

EPRS at the European Week of Regions and Cities 2019 – empowering through knowledge

Written by Christiaan Van Lierop,

Drawing over 6 000 participants to Brussels for four days of discussion and discovery from 7 to 10 October 2019, the European Week of Regions and Cities is the world’s largest annual gathering of local and regional representatives. Already a firm fixture on the calendar of Europe’s regional movers and shakers, this year’s event looks set to be another showstopper, with well over 200 sessions planned as part of the official programme. Building on the success of last year’s move to downtown Brussels, the EWRC will once again be held at the Square conference centre – and the EPRS is thrilled to be taking part again this year.

Taking place under the headline banner of Regions and Cities: Pillars of the EU’s future, the 2019 EWRC provides a unique platform for EU regions and cities to share their ideas on how best to translate the Commission’s cohesion proposals into concrete projects. With discussions at this year’s event also covering topics such as a Europe closer to citizens, a greener Europe and a smarter Europe, among others, participants will certainly have plenty to talk about.

As in past years, the EPRS has also published a Topical Digest to tie in with the event. Prepared exclusively for the 2019 EWRC, the publication features a selection of briefings and studies published by the European Parliament on many of the key topics up for discussion at the EWRC, such as regional inequalities in the EU, the Urban Agenda or financial instruments in cohesion policy among many others. Our experts will also be present at a special information stand during the whole week to provide more information about EPRS research activities, and to distribute some of our specialist publications on regional policy and beyond.

But there’s much more to our participation than just swapping business cards with visitors. For the fifth year running, EPRS will also be organising a workshop on research as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities’ Master Class on EU cohesion policy for students and early career researchers. To help put participants in the picture, we will be looking at how EPRS supports the work of the European Parliament during the policy making process, and consider how closer links may be established between researchers in the academic world and policy-makers in the EU institutions. As in previous years, we will be encouraging participants to get actively involved in the discussions, which will also examine how to enhance the communication of cohesion policy and consider future trends and topics for cohesion policy research. Above all, we want to hear what they have to say – and this is no empty promise on our part. After the event, we will commit to publishing participants’ findings on our website, staying true to the words of our EPRS motto, ‘Empowering through knowledge’.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/02/eprs-at-the-european-week-of-regions-and-cities-2019-empowering-through-knowledge/

The European Parliament’s evolving soft power – From back-door diplomacy to agenda-setting: Democracy support and mediation

Written by Naja Bentzen and Beatrix Immenkamp,

Flags of European Union with world map made of clouds against European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

© artjazz / Fotolia

For the past 40 years, Members of the European Parliament have been working at boosting Parliament’s role in EU foreign policy. These efforts have continued to be stepped up since the launch of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) in 1993. Over recent decades, the European Parliament has significantly raised its profile as a credible moral force with strong focus on strengthening human rights, supporting democracy and enhancing the rule of law worldwide.

Perhaps less visible than the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the European Parliament’s democracy support activities are part of its ‘soft-power’ approach to international relations. Moreover, Parliament can convey messages through channels that are different from, and complementary to, those employed by the EU’s traditional diplomatic players; for example, through its parliamentary networks.

Parliament also enjoys Treaty-based information and consultation rights, which allow its Members to shape the EU’s external policies. In addition, the European Parliament has become a public forum for debating with representatives of partner countries and international organisations, as well as influential non-state actors. MEPs pro-actively engage in inter-parliamentary delegations and missions to third countries as well as joint parliamentary assemblies. Moreover, parties in different countries often share strong links via their political families.


Read the complete briefing on ‘The European Parliament’s evolving soft power – From back-door diplomacy to agenda-setting: Democracy support and mediation‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/10/01/the-european-parliaments-evolving-soft-power-from-back-door-diplomacy-to-agenda-setting-democracy-support-and-mediation/

International research collaboration – a key feature of the new global science landscape

Written by Gianluca Quaglio,

Introduction

World map earth infographic design

© Kolonko / Shutterstock

The phenomenal growth in collaboration between scientists and institutions located in different countries began 30 years ago, when the bipolar world, in which most internationally active scientists belonged either to the Soviet block or to Western countries, collapsed. Today, international collaboration in research is the core of contemporary higher-education and science systems. While in 1970, only 2 % of articles indexed in Web of Science were internationally co-authored papers, in 1980 the share was 5 %, in 1990, it rose to 9 %, reaching 16 % in 2000, until in 2013, almost every fourth publication (23 %) was written by authors from more than one country.

STOA study on ‘Internationalisation of European Union research organisations’

A recently published STOA study on ‘Internationalisation of EU research organisations‘ examines the changing nature of academic knowledge production in the EU-28 Member States, and its development towards radically increasing internationalisation. The report combines theory on international research collaboration (IRC) with the collection and analysis of the most up-to-date empirical data. A number of policy options for the improvement of IRC at the European level are also presented.

The number of internationally co-authored papers is on the rise both across EU-28 countries and across the world more generally, with different dynamics of internationalisation in different countries and European regions, especially in EU-15 countries (that joined the EU before 2004) compared to EU-13 countries (that joined the EU after 2004). At the same time, there are significant differences across fields of science. While the world seems to collaborate in research mostly on a nation-by-nation basis, Europe is exceptional in its long-term, large-scale, intra-regional research collaborations, including collaborations funded by consecutive EU framework programmes for research.

Collaboration enables the sharing of knowledge, skills and techniques, exchange of different views, cross-fertilisation of ideas and intellectual companionship, helping to expand networks of contacts and enhance the visibility of research work. IRC tends to increase research productivity: in general, multiple-institution papers are more highly cited than single-institution papers, and internationally co-authored papers are more highly cited than those with domestic co-authors. The STOA study shows that researchers prefer to collaborate in fields where they can share basic ideas and fundamental knowledge, rather than in those where they may develop commercially viable results.

Types of research and international research collaborations

The STOA study explores different types of research collaboration: (i) IRC, in the sense of collaboration between academics located in different countries; (ii) national research collaboration, with multi-authored research outputs, where all authors are affiliated with more than one institution within a single country; (iii) institutional research collaboration, linked to a multi-authored research output, where all authors are affiliated with the same institution; and, finally, (iv) the ‘solo research’ mode in science, i.e. a single-authored research output, where the sole author is affiliated with an institution in a given country.

Not all sciences are equally driven by the internationalisation demand. The STOA study recognised four types of international research collaboration: (i) data-driven collaboration (as in genetics, demography, epidemiology); (ii) resource-driven collaboration (as in seismology, zoology); (iii) equipment-driven collaboration (as in astronomy, high-energy physics), and (iv) theory-driven collaboration (as in mathematics, economics or philosophy).

Barriers to research internationalisation

The personal decision to engage in international collaboration in research needs to be viewed in the context of a trade-off between collaboration investments and expected collaboration effects. Maintaining too many or too demanding relations with international collaborators in research can lead to high costs, resulting from, among other things, information overload, unclear responsibility, and communication constraints. The STOA study debates types of barriers to IRC: from macro-level barriers (geopolitics, history, language, cultural traditions, country research propensity, geographical distance), to institutional barriers (reputation, resources), and individual barriers (predilections, intellectual or financial attractiveness).

Empirical data from the STOA study

The STOA report analyses the macro-level of countries and the meso-level of flagship institutions to assess the cross-national and cross-institutional differentiation in IRC in 2007-2017. The aggregates of EU-28 results are analysed in the global context of China and the United States of America (USA), the two biggest academic knowledge producers.

Macro-level of countries

The number of articles written under international collaboration in the study period was 2 193 504 in the EU-28, 1 437 621 in the USA and 588 087 in China. In 2017, the share of internationally co-authored papers was 44 % for EU-28 (47 % for EU-15 countries and 39 % for EU-13 countries), 40 % for the USA and 22 % for China. The share of internationally co-authored publications in Europe is thus 4.6 percentage points higher than in the USA and 22.2 percentage points higher than in China. IRC has risen in every EU-28 country in the study period. In the EU-28, the largest number of articles published in international collaboration in 2017 was, by far, in the natural sciences, followed by the medical sciences, and the lowest number was in the humanities.

Meso-level of flagship research institutions

The analysis at the macro-level (countries) is accompanied in this report by an analysis at the meso-level for selected flagship research institutions. In the most general terms, collaboration trends over time are similar for EU-28 countries and for their flagship institutions; however, the internationalisation trends are more intense for flagship institutions than for countries. The percentage share of international collaboration is on average lower for flagship universities located in EU-13 countries than for those located in EU-15 countries. While no flagship universities located in EU-13 countries exceeded the level of 60 % of international collaboration, five flagship universities in EU-15 exceeded this level.

Policy options

The study identifies a number of broad policy options for supporting the internationalisation of EU research organisations. They can be briefly summarised as follows:

IRC should be at the centre of national research policies: Placing the internationalisation of research at the centre of national research policies refers to all levels of operation of higher education systems, from national to institutional, to departmental, to individual. Internationalisation-supportive research policies should promote international publication channels both in direct block funding to their institutions and in indirect, individual-level competitive research funding.

Large-scale funding should be provided for IRC: Internationalisation costs are increasing across all national systems in Europe. The rise of internationalisation-related costs needs to be noted and reflected in both budget size and its internal distribution.

Individual scientists should be at the centre of national internationalisation agendas: Today, the individual scientist matters greatly for IRC. A bottom-up approach, with maximum flexibility as to how, with whom, and on which topic to collaborate internationally in research, unreservedly combined with the hard line of research excellence as defined through top publications only, should always work better than any other set of recommendations for IRC programmes and should be strengthened.

Your opinion counts. Let us know what you think, get in touch via email stoa@europarl.europa.eu

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/30/international-research-collaboration-a-key-feature-of-the-new-global-science-landscape/

Understanding European Parliament delegations

Written by Naja Bentzen,

Members of the European Parliament form official groups – delegations – with ties to regions and organisations, as well as parliaments, in non-EU countries. Parliament has expanded its impact EU in foreign policy in recent decades, and its delegations are a key component of its diplomatic work.

Parliament delegations: parliamentary actors with a global reach

European Union flags in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

© artjazz / Fotolia

The European Parliament’s delegations are official groups of Members who build ties to countries, regions or organisations outside the European Union (EU). There are two main types of delegations: permanent (‘standing’) delegations and ad-hoc delegations, which Parliament can create on a case-by-case basis to focus on particular developments in a country or region. Standing delegations belong in three subgroups: parliamentary assemblies, interparliamentary committees, and other interparliamentary delegations (see below). Standing delegations meet regularly in Brussels and Strasbourg to assess and discuss the situation in their partner countries and on their respective ties to the EU. The delegations invite external experts to share their views: representatives from embassies or universities, or staff from the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS), for example. The delegations also invite members of the political opposition or civil society in a given country, to give them a voice at their meetings. In addition, delegations hold meetings with parliaments from the relevant countries: ‘interparliamentary meetings’. These activities help form and further relations between Members and their counterparts in countries outside the EU.

Rules and responsibilities

According to Rule 223(5) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, the Conference of Presidents adopts the rules for the delegations on a proposal from the Conference of Delegation Chairs. The rules applying to the delegations are set out in the Conference of Presidents’ decision of 29 October 2015. The delegations maintain and develop Parliament’s international contacts and contribute to enhancing the role and visibility of the European Union in the world. The rules also specify that delegation activities shall aim at maintaining and enhancing contacts with parliaments of states that are traditionally EU partners. On the other hand, they shall contribute to promoting in third countries the fundamental values of the European Union: the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law (Article 6 of the Treaty on the EU). Parliament’s international contacts foster, wherever possible and appropriate, the parliamentary dimension of international relations.

The standing delegations: composition and work

The European Parliament currently – at the beginning of the ninth legislature (2019-2024) – has 44 standing delegations; the same number as in the previous legislature. Following the 2019 election, Parliament adopted a decision on the numerical strength of its interparliamentary delegations. It lists the delegations operating during this term, and the number of Members each one includes. The distribution and size of delegations may differ from one term to the next. For example, a single delegation covered Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo in the seventh legislative term (2009-2014). Since 2014, four separate delegations have dealt with relations with these countries.

The number of Members in a given delegation corresponds to the number of parliamentarians from the respective partner country/countries. The work of the delegations also varies according to the partner. For example, the Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) delegation is established under the Cotonou Agreement. In the ACP delegation, two plenary sessions with the entire joint assembly are complemented with regional meetings. In some delegations, the work is mainly based on invitation, where some countries are prioritised for visits. The voice of the delegations has major potential to amplify messages.

See also EPRS Briefings on ‘Connecting parliamentary and executive diplomacy at EU and Member State level’ and ‘The European Parliament’s evolving soft power’, September 2019.

What are the different types of standing delegations?

Parliamentary assemblies are regular, formal meetings of elected representatives from several parliaments. Currently, 5 of Parliament’s 44 delegations participate in parliamentary assemblies, namely the Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (DNAT), the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. In most cases, Parliament’s delegation is the largest single delegation at the assembly. The number of Members constitutes approximately half the total number of delegates. One exception is the DNAT, where the delegation size is limited to ten Members.

Interparliamentary committees are mostly bilateral. European Parliament delegations meet their counterparts from a country/countries in formal meetings, held on a regular basis. Interparliamentary committees differ according to the type of bilateral agreement establishing them, between the EU and the respective country. These include Parliamentary Association Committees, Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, Joint Parliamentary Committees or Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committees. Parliament currently has 15 delegations participating in 23 parliamentary committees.

Other interparliamentary delegations form the largest group of delegations (25 out of the total number of 44 delegations), which work with relations with individual countries or a group of countries. The ‘interparliamentary meetings’ – in which the delegations meet with their counterparts – are not held on a regular basis, and do not have their own rules, although they follow the general provisions for delegations.

On 17 July 2019, Members voted on the composition of interparliamentary delegations. Following the approval of the nature and numerical strength of interparliamentary delegations, the political groups and non-attached Members appoint delegation members. The composition of these delegations must ensure that EU Member States, political views and genders are represented fairly. The constituent meetings of the delegations, on 26 September 2019, were held to elect chairs and vice-chairs. The interparliamentary delegations include:

Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey: EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) (13 members); EU-Turkey JPC (25); Delegation for Northern cooperation and for relations with Switzerland and Norway and to the EU-Iceland JPC and the European Economic Area JPC (17); Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (15); Delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (PAC, 14); Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (14); Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo (13).

Russia and the Eastern Partnership: Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (31); Delegation to the EU-Ukraine PAC (16); Delegation to the EU-Moldova PAC (14); Delegation for relations with Belarus (12); Delegation to the EU-Armenia Parliamentary Partnership Committee, the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and the EU-Georgia PAC (18).

Maghreb, Mashreq, Israel and Palestine: Delegations for relations with Israel (18); Palestine (18); the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, including the EU-Morocco, EU-Tunisia and EU-Algeria Joint Parliamentary Committees (18); the Mashreq countries (18).

The Arab Peninsula, Iraq and Iran: Delegations for relations with: the Arab Peninsula (15); Iraq (7); Iran (11).

The Americas: Delegations for relations with: the United States (63); Canada (16); the Federative Republic of Brazil (14); Central America (15); the Andean Community (12); Mercosur (19); Delegation to the EU-Mexico JPC (14); Delegation to the EU-Chile JPC (14); Delegation to the Cariforum-EU Parliamentary Committee (15).

Asia/Pacific: Delegations for relations with: Japan (24); the People’s Republic of China (37); India (23); Afghanistan (7); South Asia (15); Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, 26); the Korean Peninsula (12); Australia and New Zealand (12); Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia (19).

Africa: Delegations for relations with: South Africa (15); the Pan-African Parliament (12).

Multilateral assemblies: Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (78); Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (49); Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (75); Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (60); Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (10).

Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Understanding European Parliament delegations‘ in m$the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/27/understanding-european-parliament-delegations/

End of the Draghi era at the ECB [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

© kamasigns / Fotolia

The European Central Bank will shortly see a ‘change of the guard’ at a time of stagnating economic growth and fears of recession sparked partly by global trade conflicts. Current ECB President, Mario Draghi’s eight-year term in office ends on 1 November, and he is to be replaced by Christine Lagarde, former head of the International Monetary Fund and previously Minister of Finance in France.

Some analysts say the the ECB’s recent decisions aimed at propping up faltering growth in the euro area will limit Lagarde’s room for manoeuvre as regards a possible change in policy direction. On 12 September, the ECB’s Governing Council cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and decided to extend its bond purchases, without giving any indicative end for the programme.

This note offers links to a series of some recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on the ECB and related issues.

ECB’s easing package is a call for European fiscal reform
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, September 2019

The ECB’s half-baked supervision mandate or, how to get serious about shadow banking again
Fondation Européenne d’Etudes Progressistes, September 2019

Changing guard of the ECB
Institute of International and European Affairs, September 2019

The ECB’s deflation obsession
Centre for European Policy Studies, September 2019

The role of the European Central Bank
Council on Foreign Relations, August 2019

The coming regime of the ECB: Radical centrism
Ludwig Von Mises Institute, August 2019

Preparing for uncertainty
Bruegel, July 2019

Why critics of a more relaxed attitude on public debt are wrong
Peterson Institute for International Economy, July 2019

Handlungsspielraum der EZB – von Zinspolitik bis Helikoptergeld
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, July 2019

Introducing dominant currency pricing in the ECB’s global macroeconomic model
Kiel Institute of the World Economy, July 2019

A pragmatic new European leadership team could supply tools to face the next downturn
Peterson Institute for International Economy, July 2019

ECB monetary policy in the post-Draghi era
Peterson Institute for International Economy, June 2019

The evolution of the ECB governing council’s decision-making
Bruegel, June 2019

The Eurozone 20 years from now: Utopia or dystopia?
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, May 2019

20 years of common European monetary policy: Reasons to celebrate
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung,

Vom ESM zum EWF – Klare Regeln bei der Weiterentwicklung vom Krisen- zum Vorsorgemechanismus für eine stabile Euro-Zone
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, May 2019

Who’s afraid of low inflation?
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2019

The Economic and Monetary Union: Past, present and future
Center for Economic and Social Research, March 2019

For a geopolitics of the euro
Fondation Robert Schuman, March 2019

Monetary policy in the world of cryptocurrencies
LUISS School of European Political Economy, February 2019

20 Jahre Euro: Verlierer und Gewinner
Centrum für Europäische Politik, February 2019

Greening monetary policy: An alternative to the ECB’s market-neutral approach
Bruegel, February 2019

Whose (fiscal) debt is it anyway?
Bruegel, February 2019

Can the euro rival the dollar?
Centre for European Reform, December 2018

Rebalancing the Euro Area: A proposal for future reform
Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, December 2018

Holding the supervisor to account: The European Parliament and the European Central Bank in banking supervision
Bertelsmann Stiftung, November 2018

Comment la Banque centrale européenne a perdu son âme
Institut Thomas More, November 2018


Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘End of the Draghi era at the ECB‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/27/end-of-the-draghi-era-at-the-ecb-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/