Месечни архиви: декември 2015

Most popular blog posts in 2015

Written by Clare Ferguson,

Most popular blog posts in 2015

European Parliament

Looking back at the political and economic political realities of 2015, it hardly could be considered a vintage year. However, the list of most-consulted European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) blog posts for the year paint a more nuanced picture. Indeed, it would appear that in times of crisis, impartial information in the form of facts and figures is at a premium. Indeed, our graphics warehouse seems to be a useful resource for many of our followers. At EPRS we aim to provide independent, objective and authoritative research and analytical support to the European Parliament, its Members, Committees and staff, and to also make this information available to the public.

The migration crisis was of the key topics during 2015 and is certain to spill over into next year. Here, EPRS aimed to provide solid facts and figures. Our facts and figures posts on irregular immigration in the EU and asylum in the EU, giving an accurate picture, were popular in 2015. The circular and associated topics of armed struggle in the Middle East and the terrorist threats, also served to focus attention on foreign fighters and European responses to the issue, where we tried to focus some cold light on what, at times, became quite a heated situation.

Another of the year’s biggest issues was the negotiations on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a draft Free Trade Agreement which could boost the EU economy by harmonising EU-US regulations, but where some issues have inflamed public opinion – such as the continued protection and promotion for Europe’s artists and unique culture and Investor State Dispute Settlement. The extent of public interest in the proposals demonstrates that Europeans are both interested and engaged in EU matters.

At the end of the year, it is time to look to the future. The programmes which deliver EU funds for research and innovation together provide a global estimated budget of over €120 billion. Renewed research and innovation could prove to be the motor to a brighter economic outlook for the EU in 2016.

Our most consulted posts suggest that there is public interest in having access to the ‘real’ story based on independent, authoritative and objective research. There is significant interest in political initiatives which impact on people’s lives and in knowing how the EU intends to tackle the big, intractable problems. At the EPRS, we look forward to 2016. We’ll continue to aim to provide concise, content-rich and factual research material to our readers.

Thank you to our readers for their continued support!


Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/30/most-popular-blog-posts-in-2015/

The faces behind the EPRS blog

Written by Richard Freedman,

Have you ever wondered who drafts the content of the EPRS blog?  Who are the faces behind the words and images on the blog? Over this holiday period we thought it would be interesting to introduce you to some of the EPRS authors. Our authors write blog pieces based on EPRS publications such as ‘at a glance notes’, ‘briefings‘ and ‘longer studies and in-depth analyses‘ and on events. Their work is often complemented by infographics prepared by our statisticians.

With several academic degrees including PhDs between them, and expertise in many areas of EU affairs, from the EU budget procedure to space and nuclear policy, below is a selection of our authors’ biographies. By nature, working in the EU institutions all of our authors are multilingual. They have wide research experience at universities, in think tanks, within the public and private sectors and many have previously worked for the EU institutions in other roles.

Find out a little more about some of the EPRS authors, their biographical details but also the faces behind the words. Get to know for example who is the EPRS expert on cyber capacity building or on the European Regional Development Fund.

Selected authors

Laurence Amand-EeckhoutLaurence Amand-Eeckhout, Policy Anaylst in the Publications Management and Editorial Unit
Laurence Amand-Eeckhout has worked at the European Commission for the Secretariat-General and DG COMM (political reporting and media analysis). She currently works at the European Parliament Research Service as a policy analyst in the editorial unit.

See all publications by Laurence Amand-Eeckhout

Didier BourguignonDidier Bourguignon, Policy Analyst in the fields of environment and energy
Didier Bourguignon has worked as a translator and as an administrator at the Committee of the Regions. He currently works at the European Parliament Research Service as a policy analyst in the field of environment and energy. He has published contributions in the Revue du marché commun et de l’Union européenne and the Revue de l’énergie.

See all publications by Didier Bourguignon

Alina Dobreva, Policy Analyst in the field of  communication of EU budgetary policies
Alina DobrevaAlina Dobreva is an expert on EU media policy, political communication, media and democratisation, public opinion, and elections. Dr Dobreva’s research experience includes a variety of projects ranging from academic and NGO research to public opinion and marketing research, including a number of international comparative studies, such as Media Pluralism Monitor, Comparative Study of Electoral Systems, and the British Academy-funded “Political Communications in New Democracies. Government-Media Relations in Transition”. She has worked as a researcher at the European University Institute’s (EUI) Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom (CMPF), as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Leeds and as a fellow at the University of Oxford. She has also contributed to various electoral campaigns through studies, planning and execution. Alina has worked in the Ministry of Finance in Bulgaria.
Alina is an author and co-author of numerous academic and policy publications on European media policy, political communication, democratisation, public opinion and electoral studies.

See all publications by Alina Dobreva

Patryk Pawlak, Policy Analyst in the fields of cybersecurity and terrorism
Patryk PawlakDr Patryk Pawlak is a Policy Analyst at the External Policies Unit of the Members’ Research Service. At the European Parliamentary Research Service, he deals primarily with questions related to cybersecurity and terrorism. He is also responsible for monitoring political, social and security developments in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before joining the European Parliament, Patryk was a Senior Analyst at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) in Paris where he managed several projects, including the EUISS Cyber Task Force and EU-US Task Force on Transatlantic Strategies in the Asia-Pacific Region. During his career, Patryk has cooperated with numerous research institutions, universities and international organisations worldwide. His work on cyber-related issues, terrorism and European Union’s security policies has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. Patryk holds a PhD in Political Science from the European University Institute in Florence and Masters in Advanced European Studies from the College of Europe.

See all publications by Patryk Pawlak

Vincent Reillon, Policy Analyst in the fields of science, space and nuclear policies
Vincent Reillon has worked as a Scientific Attaché for the Offices for Science and Technology of the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs in the USA and Spain. He then worked for Science Europe as Senior Scientific Officer. He currently works at the European Parliamentary Research Service as a policy analyst in the fields of science, space and nuclear policies.

See all publications byVincent Reillon

Martin Russell, Policy Analyst in the fields of Russia and Southeast Asia
Martin Russell worked as an EU Translator in the Committee of the Regions. He worked previously as an English teacher and lecturer/teacher trainer in Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Brunei. He now works as a policy analyst at the European Parliamentary Research Service specialising in Russia and Southeast Asia.

See all publications by Martin Russell

Magdalena Sapała, Policy Anaylst in the fields of EU budget and EU cohesion policy
Magdalena SapałaMagdalena Sapała is an expert on the EU budget and EU cohesion policy. Her academic experience includes positions as a research professor at the Institute for European Studies of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium and as an assistant professor at the European Studies Department of the Poznan University of Economics in Poland. She was a fellow of the Jean Monnet Programme. Magdalena has a broad range of experience working as a trainer, expert and adviser for think tanks, business and public administration at all levels. In 2007-2013 she served as an assessor of business investment projects co-financed by EU regional development funds (ERDF) as part of the Regional Operational Programme for Wielkopolska, Poland. Magdalena is an author, co-author and academic editor of numerous publications on European integration, EU cohesion policy, the EU budget and lobbying.

See all publications by Magdalena Sapała

Gianluca Sgueo, Policy Analyst in the field of EU budget and civil society organisations’ accountability
Gianluca Sgueo graduated in Law (University of Rome, La Sapienza, 2004) and in Political Sciences (University of Viterbo, 2006). He taught at the University of Viterbo (2011, Media Law; 2012-2014 European Law), at the Bocconi University (2013, “Lobbying and Democracy”). From 2011 to 2015 he has been Department Director at I-Com (Institute for competitiveness – a think tank devoted to economic and social analysis), before starting in the European Parliament.

See all publications by Gianluca Sgueo

Biliana TzarnoretchkaBiliana Tzarnoretchka, Policy Analyst in the fields of ex-post impact assessment and evaluation
Before starting in the European Parliament Biliana Tzarnoretchka has worked in different fields, including business development and project management of EU funded projects. She currently works at the European Parliament Research Service as a policy analyst in the field of ex-post impact assessment and evaluation and more specifically on budgetary control and audit topics.

See all publications by Biliana Tzarnoretchka

Thomas Zandstra, Parliamentary Research Administrator in the European Added Value Unit
Thomas Zandstra was a senior policy adviser Governance and Europe at Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; then from 2012 to 2014 he was a seconded national expert to the Council of Europe. Since 2014, he is a seconded national expert to the European Parliament.

See all publications by Thomas Zandstra

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/29/the-faces-behind-the-eprs-blog/

European Youth Event 2016

Written by Tommaso Parlatore (EYE unit) and Richard Freedman (EPRS)

The European Youth Event (EYE2016) will take place in the European Parliament seat in Strasbourg on 20th-21st May 2016. It is a unique opportunity for 7000 young Europeans to make their voices heard.

EYE2016 with textDuring the event, the participants will exchange ideas and perspectives on youth-related issues and on the future of the European Union. The EYE will focus on 5 main themes:

  • War and Peace: Perspectives for a Peaceful Planet,
  • Apathy or Participation: Agenda for a Vibrant Democracy,
  • Exclusion or Access: Crackdown on Youth Unemployment,
  • Stagnation or Innovation: Tomorrow’s World of Work,
  • Collapse or Success: New Ways for a Sustainable Europe.

The event will also provide an opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity within the European Union through the staging of various artistic performances and spectacles. Moreover, the European Youth Forum will bring its highly successful YO!Fest to Strasbourg, combining high-level political and educational activities with a buzzing, fun, festival atmosphere.

As follow-up, a report with the ideas discussed during the event will be made available to all Members of the European Parliament. As well, former EYE participants will have the opportunity to present the most concrete ideas produced by young people to a number of parliamentary committees and receive feedbacks from Members.

Learn more about the EYE2016:

The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) will provide a comprehensive service to the European Youth Event by providing independent authoritative and objectives background notes on each of the 20 topics that form part of the programme. From migration to climate to the future of the euro every topic will be covered by a tailored notes aimed at young people.

In addition, the EPRS is writing monthly blogs (from November 2015 to March 2016) highlighting each of the five main themes of the EYE.

And check out the EYE2016 Facebook page and Twitter account!

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/28/european-youth-event-2016/

Does organic mean healthier?

Written by Nera Kuljanic and Liliana Cunha

Bernhard WATZL; Axel MIE; Joao ONOFRE; Daniele DEL RIO; NEKOV, Momchil (S&D, BG); Stoilko APOSTOLOV; Johannes KAHL; Ewa REMBIALKOWSKA

STOA workshop on the impact of organic food on human health

Do you regularly shop for organic products? Do you think they are ‘healthier for you’ compared to conventionally grown food? If you are unsure, do not be surprised. It is a very complex topic and science is not yet in a position to give a simple overall answer either. Nevertheless, both supply and demand of organic food in the EU are growing and there are without doubt a number of benefits associated with going organic.

On 18 November 2015 the EP’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel hosted a workshop on this very topic. MEP Momchil Nekov, member of the STOA Panel, chaired the event, during which seven experts took the floor to address different aspects of organic food production and consumption.

Agriculture and environment

Organic farming systems are proven to play a role in preserving biodiversity. Several practices in organic agriculture and animal husbandry could be used in conventional food production to decrease pesticide and fungicide use and fight antibiotic resistance. However, researchers in this field face some limitations. For example, while organic is well defined, conventional is not, so comparing the two is often difficult, if not impossible, especially considering variations in farm sizes and agricultural practices. Yields of agricultural products and the effects of farming on the environment in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity status, soil quality, and water and energy use, can vary significantly depending on whether they are assessed per area farmed or according to quantity of product.

Nutritional content


STOA workshop on the impact of organic food on human health

There are studies pointing to the better nutritional content of organic foods in terms of lower pesticide and other agricultural chemical residues and higher content of compounds such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, for example, said Ewa Rembiałkowska, from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences. However, as Axel Mie from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences explained, even though organic milk can contain 60% more omega-3 fatty acids, considering the overall diet, this accounts for only 4% higher omega-3 intake.

Pesticides and health

Professor Grandjean, from the University of Southern Denmark, noted that there was some evidence pointing to health effects of prenatal and childhood pesticide exposure, including development retardation, manifested as lower IQ scores and suboptimal motor functions. He named this ‘chemical brain drain‘ and stressed that, with pesticides, not only the dose, but also the timing makes the poison. In the absence of more conclusive evidence on the health effects of pesticides, he called for ”precautionary action to protect brain development” and proposed better labelling and stricter controls as a means of minimising pesticide exposure.

Leading an active and healthy life

Stoilko APOSTOLOV; Johannes KAHL;

STOA workshop on the impact of organic food on human health

Looking at the bigger picture, Johannes Kahl, from the Dutch Food Quality & Health Association, explained that organic consumers tend to have healthier lifestyles. So, according to Bernhard Watzl, from the Max Rubner-Institut in Germany, the question is whether farming practices and farming-specific food qualities are less important for health than having a balanced diet, not smoking and exercising regularly. With only a relatively small number of studies involving humans, strong evidence is lacking for nutrition-related health effects that result from the consumption of organically produced foodstuffs. Many findings from the lab and animals are yet to be studied on humans.

Momchil Nekov concluded the workshop by underlining that nature and people were parts the same ecosystem: ”What is good for the environment is also good for health”.

The interesting conclusions of the workshop will be used to inform STOA research which will be submitted for peer review at a later date.


Read more about organic food in the EU:

Organic farming legislation Revision of Regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products

Organic production and the European Union

Organic food: Helping EU consumers make an informed choice

Infographic: Organic Food

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/23/does-organic-mean-healthier/

Priority dossiers under the Dutch EU Council Presidency

Written by Dora Boytha (Office of the Deputy Secretary-General),

From January to June 2016, The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the EU Council for the 12th time, kicking off the Dutch-Slovak-Maltese Trio Presidency.

The Dutch Council of Ministers, also called the Cabinet of the Netherlands, consists of the Prime Minister (Mark Rutte), 13 Ministers and seven State Secretaries. The current Cabinet is a coalition of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD, ALDE affiliated) and the center-left Labour Party (PvdA, S&D affiliated), elected on 12 November 2012. The Netherlands being a constitutional monarchy, King Willem-Alexander is kept up to date on the government’s decisions during weekly meetings with the Prime Minister, but His Majesty does not participate in the daily decision-making of the government.



Government of the Netherlands

In a letter submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the House of Representatives on 28 January 2015, the following horizontal priorities were indicated for the Dutch EU Presidency:

(i) improving quality and simplification of legislation;

(ii) growth and jobs (internal market, innovation and digital economy); and

(iii) active involvement of citizens and civil society in policymaking.

The Dutch government will also base its EU priorities on the Strategic Agenda of the European Council adopted at the European Summit of 26-27 June 2014.

For the first semester of 2016, the Commission’s soon ending 2015 work programme will largely determine the legislative agenda as nearly all major proposals will have been put on the table by the end of this year. The Commission has adopted its Work Programme for 2016 on 27 October 2015 with – for the first time – a list of 17 “priority pending proposals”, on which it expects the co-legislators to deliver swiftly. As of 16 December 2015, there are 140 active ordinary legislative procedures, of which 23 have been agreed by the co-legislators at political level and around 30 are being negotiated in view of a first or (early) second reading agreement.

This note aims to present the state of affairs in the policy fields of Dutch priority, as well as the most important related dossiers to be addressed by the Dutch Presidency.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Priority dossiers under the Dutch EU Council Presidency‘ in PDF.

The Deputy Secretary General (DSG) is responsible for legislative coordination and planning both within the Parliament and in relation to other Institutions, particularly the Council and the Commission. In carrying out these tasks, the DSG is assisted by the Inter-institutional Relations Unit and the Legislative Planning and Coordination Unit (she is also responsible for the Classified Information Unit). The DSG together with her services assists the President and the Parliament’s governing bodies with briefing and background notes on specific dossiers and procedures, prepares the preliminary draft agendas of plenary sessions, as well as other documents in relation to strategic programming, such as on activities of the Commission and the Council.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/22/priority-dossiers-under-the-dutch-eu-council-presidency/

eHealth: Benefitting patients, healthcare systems and society

Written by Nera Kuljanic and Liliana Cunha,

STOA workshop

STOA Workshop – ‘ eHealth in Europe : Reality and challenges ahead ‘

Would you like to be connected with your doctor online? Would you feel more empowered to take care of your health in a system with a medical professional on standby just a couple of clicks away? Notwithstanding many obstacles and challenges that exist, developments and trends in ICT have paved the way for healthcare to move inexorably in this direction.

The state-of-play of eHealth and the outlook for the future were discussed during a workshop in the European Parliament on 1 December 2015 in Brussels. The event was hosted by the EP’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel and was chaired by STOA’s First Vice-Chair Eva Kaili MEP.

In her opening address Eva Kaili MEP, First STOA Vice-Chair, said that many EU Member States had been experimenting with new healthcare models, integrating ICT in care delivery in an effort to achieve better coordination of services across the continuum of care. Since 2004 the European Commission has been developing EU-wide guidelines for eHealth and many pilot projects have been implemented over the years. In Greece, for example, a telemedicine network within the national healthcare system facilitates access to healthcare service by the population of Greek islands. Lambis Platsis explained that, for the moment, the system encompassed teleconsultations between medical professionals (both for day-to-day work, but also in medical emergencies), e-learning for staff in remote areas, and telepsychiatry. In Slovenia there was a small-scale project involving healthcare professionals providing distant support to diabetic patients via mobile phones and mail, based on the inputs by each patient to an online portal. Such a personalised approach was highly appreciated by the patients involved, said Stanislav Pušnik.

Are we ready to deploy eHealth in real life?

The EU Member States differ in terms of broadband internet penetration, number of internet users and citizens’ access to personal computers. What all Member States have in common is a mis-alignment between e-services offered by governments and citizens’ take-up, and between electronic data storage and sharing. In the EU, the majority of medical doctors’ practices are not available online (only in 7 Member States more than 50% of doctors have websites).

Studies and projects on selected populations and services demonstrated telemedicine to be at least as safe and effective as a ‘usual care’. But, on the other hand, questions on the economic viability, transferability of best practices and large-scale deployment of eHealth are yet to be answered. Panos Stafylas presented the work of researchers gathered around the United4Health platform, hoping to offer some solid answers when they present their final results next month.

As critical factors for a successful shift towards eHealth, Wendy Currie and Alexander Hörbst mentioned investments in infrastructure, health and IT literacy, collaboration between stakeholders (also cross-border and across disciplines), interoperability and flexibility of systems, specific and convenient tools. Data security, ownership and privacy, user motivation and inclusion remain among the toughest challenges. Highlighting integration and empowerment, Madis Tiik called for the higher involvement of citizens in shaping eHealth services. Indeed, if their needs and expectations are directly reflected in setting up interventions, they are more likely to end up using the services.

Closing the event, Eva Kaili MEP argued that the meeting had offered the opportunity to discuss the lessons learnt on EU healthcare delivery organisations from different experiences and had identified areas where policy support would be welcome.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/22/ehealth-benefitting-patients-healthcare-systems-and-society/

MEPs meet scientists to promote mutual understanding

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki and Nera Kuljanic

MEPs meet scientists to promote mutual understanding

©Photo Landa 2010

The ‘MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme’, run by the European Parliament’s Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, aims at promoting a culture of science-based policy-making by helping create lasting links between scientists and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The essence of this project is to establish a structured dialogue between scientists and policy-makers, with the aim to raise awareness about politically relevant, cutting-edge scientific issues and about the importance of science for evidence-informed policy-making. Eva Kaili MEP, STOA Vice-Chair, officially inaugurated the project on 15 September during the ‘Science Meets Parliaments‘ event in the EP.

In the 4th round of the scheme launched with an invitation for the expression of interest by scientists in May 2015, STOA established a list of 108 scientists and invited interested MEPs to choose their counterpart in an ‘MEP-scientist pair’. A total of 33 such pairs have been established and the names of the participating MEPs and scientists have been published on the STOA website. This number of pairs shows an encouraging overall evolution compared to previous editions of the scheme (in 2011 there were only 12 pairs).

Who is paired and what will they do?

Paired MEPs and scientists come from some 18 Member States, with the UK (8), Belgium (5) and Germany (5) the most represented among the scientists, and the UK (9), the Czech Republic (3), Ireland (3) and Italy (3) among the MEPs taking part. Most political groups are represented with at least one participating MEP, while, broadly speaking, the scientists selected by MEPs work mainly in the life-sciences. For the paired scientists, the gender balance is in favour of men (26 cf. 7); while among the participating MEPs there are more women than men (19 cf. 14).

From 25 to 27 January 2016 STOA will welcome the paired scientists to the European Parliament, where they will have an opportunity to present their research activities to their MEP counterparts and get acquainted with the work of the European Parliament’s research and communication services, as well as with parliamentary committees. They will finally, and most importantly, shadow their MEP counterparts in their daily activities, including in committee and political group meetings.

What’s next?

After this meeting in Brussels, MEP-scientist pairs are encouraged to organise a follow-up activity, such as a workshop, a visit to a research & innovation facility or an exhibition. The groups seem motivated to discover each other’s worlds. We look forward to seeing how the pairs will put the communication on the science-policy interface into practice.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter, blog and the STOA website to check how the pairs’ activities are unfolding.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/21/meps-meet-scientists-to-promote-mutual-understanding/

Completing Economic and Monetary Union [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski

Completing Economic and Monetary Union


Member states using the euro and the EU institutions are engaged in reforms of the euro area’s system of governance to improve its economic performance and avoid any repeat of the sovereign debt crisis and severe recession that followed the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Reforms have so far included the creation of authorities to better supervise the financial markets, improved mechanisms to coordinate fiscal policies, and new procedures to correct economic imbalances, and launched a Banking Union.

The discussion builds on the ‘Five Presidents’ report’, entitled ‘Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union’, which is a set of proposals presented in June by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, European Council President Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup President. Among other measures, the report calls for the creation of national competitiveness boards and an independent European Fiscal Board, improving the European Semester and completing the Banking Union. It mentions the possibility of setting up a euro-area treasury in a more distant future.

This notes offers links to commentaries, studies and reports on the topic from major international think tanks and research institutes published since the release of the Five Presidents’ report.

Economic policy coordination in the euro area under the European Semester
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2015

Why the euro area needs new convergence goals
Bertelsmann Stiftung, December 2015

We don’t need no federation: What a devolved federation should look like
Centre for European Reform, December 2015

Countries under adjustment programmes: What role for the ECB?
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2015

Blocked for good by the threat of treaty change?
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, November 2015

A deposit guarantee scheme for the eurozone
Centrum für Europäische Politik, November 2015

The limitations of policy coordination in the euro area under the European Semester
Bruegel, November 2015

What role for social investment in the new economic governance of the eurozone?
European Policy Centre, November 2015

Tightening the knot’: Strengthening fiscal surveillance in EMU during the euro crisis
LUISS School of European Political Economy, November 2015

What caused the eurozone crisis?
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2015

Comments on the five presidents’ report, ‘Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union’
Jacques Delors Institute-Berlin, October 2015

The euro and the end of 20th century politics
LUISS School of European Political Economy, October 2015

What would an European finance minister do? A proposal
Jacques Delors Institute-Berlin, October 2015

Stability bonds for the euro area
Peterson Institute for International Economics, October 2015

The interplay between the EBA and the Banking Union
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, October 2015

A fiscal union for Europe: Building block and not a magic bullet
Jacques Delors Institute-Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung, October 2015

Can the eurozone’s economic governance combine political accountability, legitimacy and effectiveness?
European Policy Centre, September 2015

Für eine ergebnisorientierte Politik: Handlungsoptionen der Europäischen Union in der Krise
Stiftung Genshagen, September 2015

A sovereign default regime for the euro area
Centrum für Europäische Politik, August 2015

Saving the eurozone: Modelling an alternative vision of Europe
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, August 2015

What future for the eurozone?
LUISS School of European Political Economy, August 2015

A smart move: Why the Five Presidents’ Report is cautious on substance and ambitious on process
Jacques Delors Institute-Berlin, July 2015

After the Greek deal: Why it is urgent to complete EMU
Notre Europe, July 2015

The report of the Five Presidents: A missed opportunity
Istituto Affari Internazionali, July 2015

A stronger union through crisis? 25 years of monetary integration in Europe
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, July 2015

Lessons for Europe from German monetary union
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, July 2015

Towards a fiscal union? On the acceptability of a fiscal transfer system in the eurozone
Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, July 2015

A post-crisis eurozone: Still an attractive offer for Central Europe
Polish Institute of International Affairs, July 2015

Pour un gouvernement économique européen et démocratique
Terra Nova, June 2015

Improving EMU: our recommendations for the debate on the five presidents report
Notre Europe, June 2015

The usefulness of the scoreboard of the macroeconomic imbalances procedure in the European Union: potentials for reform
Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, June 2015

Submission on analytical note “Preparing for next steps on better economic governance in the euro area”
Institute of International and European Affairs, June 2015

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/18/completing-economic-and-monetary-union-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

Migration crisis debated at EPRS-OECD conference

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

OECD Roundtable discussion: Recent migration trends and refugee crisis

OECD Roundtable discussion: Recent migration trends and refugee crisis

Unprecedented flows of migrants fleeing war, oppression and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and other places, are unlikely to subside any time soon. European governments should therefore act together to minimise the negative impact of the refugee/migrant crisis, notably to avoid disintegration of the travel-free Schengen system, according to analysts and politicians speaking at a conference organised by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and the Organisation for the Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). If properly managed, migration could bring long-term benefits despite short-term costs, the key participants said.

The conference entitled ‘Recent migration trends and the refugee crisis’ was held in the EPRS’ Library Reading Room on 8 December in Brussels. It brought together more than a hundred people including MEPs, officials, experts and analysts. The debate, moderated by EPRS policy analyst Piotr Bąkowski, was the third such event organised by the EPRS under the auspices of the cooperation programme with the Paris-based OECD.

DUMONT, Jean-Christophe - Head of International Migration at the OECD

DUMONT, Jean-Christophe – Head of International Migration at the OECD

According to the OECD’s Migration Outlook for 2015, presented at the conference, the number of new asylum seekers in OECD countries reached 1.25 million from January to October this year, compared with 620,000 and 460,000 respectively in the same periods of 2014 and 2013. “The numbers are unprecedented, even if uncertain. The number for 2015 will be very high and media create the impression that it is even higher,” Jean-Christophe Dumont, the OECD’s top migration expert, said, presenting the report.

The current crisis, worse in terms of numbers of migrants than the exodus from the former Yugoslavia during wars in the region in early 1990s, is different than all previous ones in many respects, said Dumont. “There are many crises in parallel in countries relatively close to Europe with little prospect for improvement in the near future. There is a risk of the situation deteriorating in the main transit countries while part of public opinion in several European countries is hostile to further flows,” he said. Other distinctive aspects include new, quickly evolving smuggling routes, strong concentration of asylum seekers in just a handful of countries, diversity of origin countries, and a high number of unaccompanied minors.

The highest number of asylum seekers so far this year came from Syria — 23% of all, compared with 16% in 2014. However, “the crisis is not only about Syria. Even if the conflict in Syria stops, we would still have a crisis,” said Dumont. Migrants also come from Afghanistan (14% in 2015), Iraq (11%), Pakistan (3%), Serbia and Kosovo (7%) and Albania (5%).

BAKOWSKI, Piotr - EPRS; LAMBERT, Jean (Greens/EFA, UK)

BAKOWSKI, Piotr – EPRS; LAMBERT, Jean (Greens/EFA, UK)

The migration crisis is a big challenge for many European Union governments, testing their ability to act together and posing big risks for some major EU achievements, such as the Schengen area, with Member States reinstating border checks to try to cope with migrants, said Jean Lambert, Green MEP from the United Kingdom and a rapporteur on issues related to migration. She added that one problem with migration is that it puts big short-term strains on local communities, although it brings long-term benefits at the national level in terms of additional economic output. “European governments will have to make a real decision if they want to act together or whether the whole thing cracks apart. The time has come for our governments to decide that they will act together, that they will work with some sort of relocation scheme,” she added.

COLLET, Elizabeth - Director of the Migration Policy Institute and Senior Adviser to MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration; DUMONT, Jean-Christophe - Head of International Migration at the OECD

COLLET, Elizabeth – Director of the Migration Policy Institute and Senior Adviser to MPI’s Transatlantic Council on Migration; DUMONT, Jean-Christophe – Head of International Migration at the OECD

According to OECD data, Germany may spend about 8 billion euros this year and had projected additional 0.5% of gross domestic product in 2016 and 2017 to meet initial needs of the newly arrived immigrants. But spending on migrants is expected to offer a demand stimulus of about 0.1-0.2% of GDP, strengthening growth, Dumont said. It is important to put migrants on the labour market and train them fast. “Refugees should be placed where jobs are, not where cheap housing is available,” he said.

Elizabeth Collett, Director of the Migration Policy Institute, shared the view that EU Member States should act fast in concert, stressing that economic, social and political costs of Schengen’s disintegration would be huge. But the task is daunting. “We face an overstretched system, limited means, hostile public and we do not know how to do it,” she said. “With paralysis at the EU level, Member States are resorting to unilateral systems. Policy coherence is now key, there should be a global compact on responsibility sharing,” she added.


Video recordings

You can see all video recording from this conference on our YouTube Events Playlist.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/18/migration-crisis-debated-at-eprs-oecd-conference/

European Neighbourhood Policy: Southern Neighbourhood – migration issues

Written by Joanna Apap and graphics by Christian Dietrich

European Neighbourhood Policy Southern Neighbourhood – migration issues

© Peter Hermes Furian / Fotolia

The Valletta Summit held in November 2015 was the venue for more than 60 countries to come together with the European Union and African Union institutions, as well as regional and international organisations involved, to address the current migration crisis. The summit was called for in April 2015 by the European Council, when European Union leaders held a special meeting on the migration situation in the Mediterranean, recognising the need to deepen dialogue and partnership with the African countries. The April European Council tasked the European Commission with proposing measures for immediate action, as well as policy options for the medium and longer term. To this end, on 13 May, the Commission presented its proposal for a European Agenda on Migration, which was followed on 27 May by the implementation plan for the first measures. More than 3 600 people have so far been declared missing in the Mediterranean sea in 2015. The grim death toll in the Mediterranean has provoked an urgent call for action as 2015 has been the deadliest year so far for migrants trying to get to Europe. The reasons for this significant increase in migration flows include, amongst others: war, political repression, and economic crisis.

Libya has become a popular starting point for many journeys, with human traffickers and smugglers exploiting the country’s power vacuum and increasing lawlessness. On 13 April 2015, a conference of foreign ministers from the European Union and the southern shores of the Mediterranean took place in Barcelona to discuss the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). At centre stage of the agenda was stronger cooperation in the fight against Jihadist terrorism and irregular immigration. To this end, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tasked the Commission to come up with a proposal for a reviewed ENP, which was published on 18 November 2015.

Read the complete briefing on ‘European Neighbourhood Policy: Southern Neighbourhood – migration issues‘ in PDF.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2015/12/17/european-neighbourhood-policy-southern-neighbourhood-migration-issues/