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Towards a global compact on refugees: Strengthening international cooperation to ease the plight of refugees in the world

Written by Ionel Zamfir,

Syrian unofficial refugee camp in Reyhanli. This camp is for syrian people from Idlib, Aleppo and Rakka. September 9, 2017, Reyhanli, Turkey.

© radekprocyk / Fotolia

The recent large-scale flows of refugees and migrants have brought to the world’s attention more forcefully than ever the plight of persons who are forced to flee their homes due to war, insecurity or persecution. They have also exposed how ill-prepared the international community has been to deal with this challenge and how disproportionate the distribution of the burden of caring for such people has been among countries.

In 2016, to enhance preparedness for refugee crises, improve the situation of refugees and relieve the burden on host societies, the UN member states convened in New York and adopted a declaration paving the way for a non-binding international compact on refugees. They annexed to this declaration a comprehensive refugee response framework that spelled out a series of short and longer-term measures to address refugee crises. The framework has been applied in several pilot countries and the lessons learnt have fed into a global compact on refugees, which is being drafted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) through broad consultations with various stakeholders. The second draft was published at the end of April; consultations on it took place from 8 to 10 May 2018. A third draft was published on 4 June.

The global compact focuses on international-, regional- and national-level mechanisms for achieving a fairer distribution of the responsibilities related to refugees, and on areas where action can be improved. It has been criticised, among other things, for its non-binding character and for excluding victims of natural disasters from its scope.


Read this briefing on ‘Towards a global compact on refugees: Strengthening international cooperation to ease the plight of refugees in the world‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/21/towards-a-global-compact-on-refugees-strengthening-international-cooperation-to-ease-the-plight-of-refugees-in-the-world/

New EU insolvency rules give troubled businesses a chance to start anew [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Carla Stamegna (1st edition),

Restructuring word cloud

© ibreakstock / Fotolia

In 2012, the Commission proposed to recast the 2000 Insolvency Regulation in order to address the cross-border aspects of insolvency in the EU. Adopted in 2015, the recast regulation introduced clear rules on the jurisdiction and law applicable to a debtor’s insolvency proceedings and made mandatory the recognition of those proceedings in other EU Member States. Its remit was expanded to include not only bankruptcy but also hybrid and pre-insolvency proceedings, as well as debt discharges and debt adjustments for natural persons (consumers and sole traders).

In late 2016, as a further step and a follow up to the Insolvency Recommendation of 2014, the Commission proposed to adopt a directive on business restructuring, which would provide new legal tools to rescue viable businesses in distress and give honest but bankrupt entrepreneurs a second chance. The proposal focuses on three key elements: common principles on early restructuring tools, which would help companies to continue operating and preserve jobs; rules to allow entrepreneurs to benefit from a second chance through a discharge of debt; and targeted measures allowing Member States to increase the efficiency of insolvency, restructuring and discharge procedures. The initiative is a key deliverable under the capital markets union action plan. It will also contribute substantially to addressing the high levels of non-performing loans in banks’ balance sheets. The draft report was presented to the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) in September 2017. In May 2018 the Council reached agreement on part of the proposal.

Versions

Stage: Committee vote

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/20/new-eu-insolvency-rules-give-troubled-businesses-a-chance-to-start-anew-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nikolina Šajn (1st edition),

Online Shopping Theme with man using a laptop in a modern gray chair

© Tierney / Fotolia

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection, as part of its ‘new deal for consumers’ package of measures. The proposal comes after a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The proposal focuses on various consumer issues, including penalties for infringements, transparency on online marketplaces, protection for consumers of ‘free’ digital services and dual quality of products. It would amend the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the Price Indication Directive. The proposal is in now under consideration in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

Versions

Stage: Commission proposal

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/20/modernisation-of-eu-consumer-protection-rules-a-new-deal-for-consumers-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Climate ‘refugees’: Towards a possible definition

Written by Joanna Apap,

20 June is World Refugee Day. While those fleeing conflicts are often in the headlines, every year since 2008, an average of 26.4 million persons around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second. Depending on the frequency and scale of the major natural disasters occurring, there are significant fluctuations in the total number of displaced people from one year to the next, yet the trend over recent decades has been on the rise. Many find refuge within their own country, but some are forced to go abroad. With climate change, the number of ‘climate refugees’ is likely to rise in the future. Due to a lack of a clear definition of the term ‘climate refugee’, however, a protection gap for these persons needs to be addressed.

world refugee day 2018Our recent briefing, ‘The concept of ‘climate refugee’: Towards a possible definition’ explains that so far, the national and international response to this challenge has been limited, and protection for the people affected remains inadequate. Adding to the gap in the protection of such people – who are often described as ‘climate refugees’ – is that there is neither a clear definition for this category of people, nor are they covered by the 1951 Refugee Convention. This latter extends only to people who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and are unable or unwilling to seek protection from their home countries. While the EU has so far not formally recognised climate refugees, it has expressed growing concern, and has taken action to support and develop resilience in the countries potentially affected by climate-related stress. Of the 186 countries assessed in a recent survey on climate vulnerability, Chad was rated as the one facing the greatest peril. The fact that this country has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world only compounds the problem. In the future, environmental changes could have enormous effects on many populations, especially those in coastal and low-lying areas, such as Vietnam, as well as countries in the Western World such as the Netherlands and certain parts of the United States.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes several migration-related targets and calls for regular reviews of progress towards their achievement, using data disaggregated by, inter alia, migratory status. However, the response to the challenges of an annual displacement of millions of persons worldwide due to environmental disasters has been limited, and protection for those affected remains inadequate. Many find shelter within their own country, but some are forced to go abroad, and in the context of climate change, such movements are likely to increase.

To address the issue of such large movements of refugees and migrants, on the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016, in which it called for the development of two global compacts, one on refugees and one on other migrants, both to be adopted in 2018. While the reasons for the internal or international displacement of individual migrants or diasporas vary, the UN Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council identify natural disasters as the number one cause for this phenomenon. With rising sea levels, desertification and extreme weather events, climate action must be a part of any meaningful agreement on refugees or migrants. Governments are currently negotiating a global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration. The compact is meant to protect the rights of those displaced and help address the root economic, environmental and social drivers that are compelling people to leave their communities and countries. On 5 February 2018, the UN released the draft compact (the Zero Draft), and will have until December 2018 to negotiate the final details. A key area in which the document falls short is on commitments to tackle the primary causes of migration. A stated aim of the compact is to ‘mitigate the adverse drivers and structural factors that hinder people from building and maintaining sustainable livelihoods in their countries of origin’. However, the current text lacks actionable commitments to control the numerous man-made forces underlying global mass migration.

A 2017 Parliament resolution on Addressing refugee and migrant movements: the role of EU external action stressed that EU development cooperation should continue to address and effectively tackle the root causes of forced displacement and migration, including lack of economic opportunities and climate change, in line with Goal 16 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the principles laid down in the UN Charter and international law. It also called on the EU and its Member States to take their responsibilities seriously concerning the challenge of climate change, to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, and to take a leading role in recognising the impact of climate change on mass displacement, given that the scale and frequency of displacements are likely to increase. It took the view that persons displaced by the effects of climate change should be given a special international protection status that takes account of the specific nature of their situation.

In the long term, it is possible that the conclusion and acceptance of various regional agreements concluded within the remit of the global compact on migration and the international climate change framework would lead to the creation of customary international law. While this clearly remains a far-reaching proposition at present, it is worth recognising that the climate change-related body of law in individual states has developed significantly over a comparatively short time, and that ultimately it is through such state practice that customary law evolves.


Internal displacement of persons due to natural disasters

Internal displacement of persons due to natural disasters

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/19/climate-refugees-towards-a-possible-definition/

Law applicable to the third-party effects of assignments of claims [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Angelos Delivorias (1st edition),

Getting ready to file a health insurance claim form

© Christian Delbert / Fotolia

The assignment of a claim refers to a situation where a creditor transfers the right to claim a debt to another person. This system is used by companies to obtain liquidity and access credit. At the moment, there is no legal certainty as to which national law applies when determining who owns a claim after it has been assigned in a cross-border case. The new rules proposed by the Commission clarify which law is applicable for the resolution of such disputes: as a general rule, the law of the country where assignors have their habitual residence applies, regardless of which Member State’s courts or authorities examine the case. This proposal will promote cross-border investment and access to cheaper credit, and prevent systemic risks.

Versions

Stage: Committee vote

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/19/law-applicable-to-the-third-party-effects-of-assignments-of-claims-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Religious minorities [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for religious minorities.

It is the fundamental right of everyone in the EU to practise the religion of their choice and express their religious beliefs freely. Many EU citizens exercise this right and there are a great many different religious communities in the EU. As a member of a religious minority, however, you might have concerns over how this could impact your daily life.

Diverse religious shoot

© Rawpixel.com / Fotolia

Founded on the fundamental value of respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities, EU law explicitly prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of religion or belief in the fields of employment and occupation, vocational training, or membership of employer and employee organisations. This means that you should not be treated less favourably or be put at a disadvantage because of your religion or beliefs. If you feel that your rights under this law have been violated, the EU has also established mechanisms to make it easier for you to seek justice: EU countries are obliged to ensure that judicial and administrative procedures are available to anyone who needs them. EU law also makes it easier for you to bring your case to court.

Incitement to discrimination or hatred, including online hate speech, is prohibited under EU law and the EU has ensured that in all EU countries offences against people based on religion are punishable under criminal law and that victims of crime have a certain standard of rights.

The EU also funds projects to help minorities, collects field data, and helps EU countries to exchange best practice.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/17/religious-minorities-what-europe-does-for-you/

Racial and ethnic minorities [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for racial and ethnic minorities.

If you are of a different race or ethnic background than most people in the country where you live, you might worry that you will face discrimination when you look for a job or that your child will be treated unfairly at school. However, the EU is founded on respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities, and is looking after your interests, even if you don’t have EU citizenship.

EU law prohibits discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin in most walks of life: employment, education and vocational training, social protection, and access to goods and services, including housing. This means that you should not be treated less favourably or put at a disadvantage because of your racial or ethnic background. When discrimination occurs, there are mechanisms in place to make it easier for you to seek justice. EU countries are obliged to ensure that judicial and administrative procedures are available to everyone. EU law also makes it easier for you to bring your case to court.

Group of four kids playing and giving piggyback rides

© Mat Hayward / Fotolia

Harassment based on race or ethnicity, and incitement to discrimination or hatred, including online hate speech, are strongly prohibited under EU law. Thanks to the EU, offences against people based on race or ethnic origin are punishable under criminal law and victims of crime are ensured minimum standards in all EU countries.

The EU also funds projects to help minorities, collects field data, and helps countries to exchange best practices.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/17/racial-and-ethnic-minorities-what-europe-does-for-you/

Fishing enthusiasts [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for fishing enthusiasts.

Are you one of the many Europeans who love to cast a fishing rod in their free time? Through actions such as protecting European waters and studying the impact of recreational fishing, the EU is helping not only to protect the environment, but also to ensure the future of this popular hobby.

fishing

© Hetizia / Fotolia

Every fisherman knows that fish are best caught in clean rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The EU has taken important steps to protect our waters against all kinds of risks, thereby supporting healthy fish populations. One such risk is pollution, which the EU has reduced thanks to strict legislation. Another risk is posed by non-native fish infesting European waters. The EU has passed special laws to protect our native European fish populations against invasive fish species. These and other EU measures help not only to ensure a natural balance of species, but also to improve your chances of success on your fishing trips!

Recreational sea fishing has received a lot of attention in the EU recently, because it is a popular activity and it supports many jobs in coastal areas. At the same time, not a lot is known about the impact that this type of fishing has on European fish stocks. The EU has therefore commissioned new research in this area. The results will make it easier in the future to adopt EU rules that strike the right balance between sustainable sea fishing, on the one hand, and your desire to catch the big ones, on the other.

So, thanks to EU action, you and future generations should be able to enjoy fishing throughout Europe for years to come!

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/16/fishing-enthusiasts-what-europe-does-for-you/

Bathers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for bathers.

Europe’s bathing water is much cleaner today than previously. Europeans can now swim in increasingly cleaner coastal and inland bathing areas, thanks to EU laws and national water policies that protect our health and the environment.

In 1975, environmental and health concerns led to the first EU legislation on bathing water. It set out minimum quality standards for clean bathing water across Europe and was revised in 2006 to introduce quality management and simplify controls.

on vacation

Photo credit: © soupstock / Fotolia

Under the EU rules, countries have to monitor bathing water quality according to clear procedures, improve the management of water resources, provide timely information to the public, and report annually to the EU. Water quality is assessed using microbiological data, and rated as excellent, good, sufficient or poor, depending on the level of pollution. Preventive measures are taken if water quality is poor (banning bathing, closing the site, informing people), alongside tackling the pollution and health threats.

In 2016, around 21 000 European sites reported on their water quality – 10.8 % were classified as having ‘sufficient’ and ‘good’ water quality, and only 1.4 % were rated as ‘poor’. The assessment highlights that 85.5 % of the sites monitored were free from harmful water pollutants, as they met the highest, ‘excellent’ quality standard (an increase from 78.1 % in 2011).

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/16/bathers-what-europe-does-for-you/

EU Multiannual Financial Framework [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Business banking, accounting currency concept, black pen on pile of Euro banknotes with calculator, EU financial economic, investment idea.

© Nuthawut / Fotolia

The European Commission has made proposals for the new long-term budget and on own resources for the European Union. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 is slightly bigger than the current MFF, in constant prices. The budget proposal takes into account the shortfall on the revenue side caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, on the one hand, and the growing need to finance new priorities, on the other. The Commission proposes to increase funds for such areas as competitiveness, migration and security, and to reduce spending on traditional policies, such as cohesion and agriculture. For the first time, the Commission proposes to make the availability of funds dependent on the respect for the rule of law and EU values in recipient countries.

This note offers links to a selection of recent commentaries, studies and reports from some of the major international think tanks and research institutes, which discuss the EU’s long-term budget and related reforms. More reports on the topics are available in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in March.

Budget de l’Union européenne: Quel compromis possible entre la France et l’Allemagne?
Fondation Robert Schuman, June 2018

Budget européen: Le bal des hypocrites
Mouvement européen, June 2018

The MFF proposal: What’s new, what’s old, what’s next?
Notre Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung, May 2018

New priorities for the EU
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft, May 2018

What to know about the EU’s new budget
Chatham House, May 2018

On the future of the European Union
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft, May 2018

Should the EU budget have a stabilisation function?
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2018

The Commission’s proposal for the next MFF: A glass half-full
Bruegel, May 2018

The battle over Europe’s budget
Centre for European Reform, May 2018

Allen Behauptungen zum Trotz: Die Gemeinsame Agrarpolitik hat kaum Entwicklungswirkungen
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, May 2018

Der nächste Mehrjährige Finanzrahmen: Reaktionen auf den Vorschlag der Europäischen Kommission
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, May 2018

The next EU budget: Firmly rooted in the past?
European Policy Centre, May 2018

The Multiannual Financial Framework, where continuity is the radical response
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2018

EU funds for migration, asylum and integration policies
Bruegel, May 2018

Agriculture in Europe: Greener practices and a brighter future for the sector
European Policy Centre, May 2018

What does Europe care about? Watch where it spends
Bruegel, May 2018

New EMU stabilisation tool within the MFF will have minimal impact without deeper EU budget reform
Bruegel, May 2018

How large is the proposed decline in EU agricultural and cohesion spending?
Bruegel, May 2018

The EU budget after Brexit: Reform not revolution
Centre for European Reform, April 2018

The European budget talks: Financial threat to a global Europe
European Council on Foreign Relation, April 2018

Common or own goals: Reforming the financing of the European Union
Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, April 2018

The EU budget: The Union risks having the wrong debate
Centre for European Reform, April 2018

A done deal? Why innovation could struggle to be a priority in the next MFF
Jacques Delors Institut Berlin, April 2018

No escape from politics: Four tests for a successful fiscal instrument in the euro area
Notre Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung, March 2018

For a regional solidarity policy after 2020
Notre Europe, March 2018

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund: Easing the pain from trade?
Bruegel, March 2018

Rethinking the European Union’s post-Brexit budget priorities
Bruegel, March 2018

EU budget post-Brexit: Confronting reality, exploring viable solutions
European Policy Centre, March 2018


Read this briefing on ‘EU Multiannual Financial Framework‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/15/eu-multiannual-financial-framework-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/