Месечни архиви: февруари 2016

Supporting Ukraine between crisis and transformation – Ukraine Week in the European Parliament

Written by Naja Bentzen,

Ukraine after Minsk II: the next level

© peteri / Fotolia

When Ukraine’s then President Viktor Yanukovich caved in to Russian pressure and refused to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in 2013, he triggered the ‘revolution of dignity’, that paved the way for his own ousting on 22 February 2014 and sparked hope for a European future. Today — two years after the Euromaidan revolution, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the eruption of the conflict in eastern Ukraine — the country is still at a crossroads between war and peace; between corruption and reform; between crisis and transformation; between past and future.

Russia launched its hybrid war against Ukraine to prevent the country from moving towards the EU and escaping Russia’s sphere of influence. Since the crisis erupted in March 2014, more than 9 000 people have been killed, nearly 21 000 people have been wounded and 1.1 million have been displaced. Progress in the implementation of the Minsk II agreement — negotiated by the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia in February 2015 — has been very limited.

At the same time, however, Ukraine has taken several steps towards Europe. The EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Trade Area was signed on 27 June 2014 as part of the Association Agreement (AA) and came into force on 1 January 2016. Russia immediately retaliated by cancelling free-trade privileges for Ukraine. While the EU suspended visa liberalisation talks with Russia in 2014 over its role in Ukraine, the European Commission announced in December 2015 that it would present a legislative proposal in early 2016 to lift visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens with a biometric passport.

Timeline on Ukraine Conflicton Ukraine Conflict

Timeline on Ukraine Conflicton Ukraine Conflict

Still, the country’s on-going reforms — not least anti-corruption measures — are key to any further progress. However, this process has suffered several blows over the past months. Strains have deepened within the government coalition and between the government, parts of the parliament and President Petro Poroshenko, thus hampering the passing of key bills. The pro-European coalition government has been crumbling since one of its key reformers, Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavičius resigned on 3 February, citing high-level corruption and accusing senior government officials associated with Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arsenyi Yatseniuk of blocking reform. Key Western donors protested against Abromavičius’s departure, and the IMF warned that without ‘substantial’ reform efforts, its assistance to Ukraine would be jeopardized. While Yatseniuk’s cabinet survived a no-confidence vote, two parties have left the four-party government coalition.

Amid this fluid political situation and given the mounting external and internal pressure on Kyiv — new, unprecedented cyber-threats further exacerbating the precarious security situation; the dire economic situation; the on-going aggressive Russian disinformation campaign; the split within the EU vis-à-vis the Russia-backed ‘Nord Stream 2’ gas pipeline; and the planned April 2016 Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, to name but a few — the need for strong democratic institutions seems particularly urgent.

Against this complex background, the European Parliament is hosting Ukrainian MPs for a joint three-days high-level conference from 29 February-2 March. Focusing on capacity building for reform, the ‘Ukraine Week’ brings more than 40 Ukrainian parliamentarians, including the leadership of the Ukrainian Parliament (the Verkhovna Rada), together with MEPs, national MPs and representatives from other EU institutions.

In line with the Memorandum of Understanding that EP President Martin Schulz and Volodymyr Groysman, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, signed on 3 July 2015, former EP President Pat Cox has prepared a report and a roadmap on capacity-building for reform. It will be presented on 29 February and will form the basis of a first round of high-level discussions on law-making, representation and good parliamentary practices, including parliamentary oversight and ethical standards for Parliamentarians.

The official opening of the conference — co-chaired by Elmar Brok, Chair of EP Foreign Affairs Committee, and Andrej Plenković, Chair of the EP delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee — will take place on 29 February at 16:30. Martin Schulz, Volodymyr Groysman, Pat Cox and EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, will deliver the keynote speeches.

Supporting Ukraine’s EU-oriented reforms is key to long-term stability. Although the on-going refugee crisis, the situation in Syria and the threat from the IS seem to overshadow Donbas, Crimea and the political collapse in Kyiv, Ukraine’s role in the European security order remains crucial. According to US historian Timothy Snyder, the history of Ukraine has revealed the turning points in the history of Europe. He concludes that ‘Ukraine has no future without Europe, but Europe also has no future without Ukraine’. Just like past, future and present are inextricably intertwined, the distinction between the EU and ‘non-EU Europe’, including Ukraine, is — to paraphrase Albert Einstein — only a ‘stubbornly persistent illusion’.

Read our publications on:

Ukraine: What to watch for in 2016

Ukraine and the Minsk II agreement: On a frozen path to peace?

Russia’s disinformation on Ukraine and the EU’s response

Understanding propaganda and disinformation

See also an interactive timeline ‘Ukraine: timeline of events‘ on the European Parliament’s website.


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Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/29/supporting-ukraine-between-crisis-and-transformation-ukraine-week-in-the-eurpoean-parliament/

Paris Agreement on Climate Change [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

After more than 20 years of negotiations, nearly 200 countries reached a landmark agreement in December 2015 on tackling climate change and its impacts. The European Union, with its ambitious climate policy, had been a strong advocate on a deal to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The Paris agreement, conducted under the auspices of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, envisages a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels, pursuing efforts to limit the rise to 1.5°C. This would significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change. Many analysts have hailed the agreement as historic, but critics say it came too late and is too limited in scope.

This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes published in reaction to the Paris agreement.

Man with umbrella

leolintang / Shutterstock

Paris 2015: Just a first step
Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, February 2016

COP21 and the Paris Agreement: A diplomacy masterclass in search of greater climate ambition
Fundación Real Instituto Elcano, February 2016

Beyond Paris: Avoiding the trap of carbon metrics
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, February 2016

What role for carbon markets in the 2015 climate agreement?
Center for Climate for Energy Solutions, February 2016

The Paris Agreement: Analysis, assessment and outlook
Ecologic Institute, February 2016

The Paris Agreement: A framework for local inclusion
International Institute for Environment and Development, February 2016

Reviewing implementation under the Paris Agreement
Stockholm Environment Institute, February 2016

Beyond the targets: Assessing the political credibility of pledges for the Paris Agreement
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and Environment, February 2016

Carbon market provisions in the Paris Agreement
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2016

COP21: Haro sur le charbon
Institut français des relations internationales, January 2016

When the champagne is finished: Why the post-Paris parade of climate euphoria is largely premature
Brookings Institution, January 2016

The business case for climate protection after COP 21
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, January 2016

After COP21: What needs to happen for the Paris Agreement to take effect?
World Resources Institute, January 2016

Finance for climate resilience in the dawn of the Paris era
Center for American Progress, January 2016

Changements climatiques: Les enjeux de la COP 21
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, December 2015

Threats to the Paris accord
Friends of Europe, The Centre for Progressive Policy Research, December 2015

COP 21 and the Paris Agreement: The force reawakened
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, December 2015

Too early to celebrate: What markets tell us about the credibility of the Paris climate agreement
Bruegel, December 2015

A historic agreement in Paris
International Institute for Environment and Development, December 2015

Essential elements of a Paris Climate Agreement
Centre for Climate for Energy Solutions, December 2015

Takeaways from COP21
Carnegie Europe, December 2015

The Paris Agreement: Kick-Off for true global climate cooperation
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, December 2015

COP21: Wins and losses for the Least Developed Countries
Danish Institute for International Studies, December 2015

Beyond the Paris agreement: COP21 shouldn’t be a milestone, but rather a launching pad for a new phase of climate action
Brookings Institution, December 2015

Paris climate agreement at a glance
Friends of Europe, December 2015

Paris Agreement: A good foundation for meaningful progress
Resources for the Future, December 2015.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/27/paris-agreement-on-climate-change-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

The UK’s ‘new settlement’ in the European Union: Renegotiation and referendum

Written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva and David Eatock,

The UK's 'new settlement' in the European Union Renegotiation and referendum

© tonsnoei / Fotolia

Following the election of a majority Conservative government in the UK general election of May 2015, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, opened negotiations with the other EU Member States and the EU institutions to establish a ‘new settlement’ between the UK and the Union. This renegotiation, conducted in recent months, has now concluded.

On the basis of proposals made by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, Member States reached an agreement at the European Council meeting of 18-19 February. The agreement comprises a decision by the Heads of State or Government – constituting an agreement between Member States under international law rather than a European Council decision – as well as a draft Council decision on the banking union and several declarations by the European Commission committing it to submit proposals to amend existing EU legislation in the fields of free movement and access to social benefits for EU workers. The agreement would enter into force once the UK has notified the Council of its decision to stay in the EU, following the in–out referendum, now set for 23 June 2016.

Please click here for the full publication in PDF format ‘The UK’s ‘new settlement’ in the European Union: Renegotiation and referendum

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Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/26/the-uks-new-settlement-in-the-european-union-renegotiation-and-referendum/

Outcome of the European Council of 18-19 February 2016

Written by Ralf Drachenberg and Torlach Grant

The European Council meeting of 18-19 February 2016 was dominated by the negotiation of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the other 27 Member States the basis for the former’s continued membership of the European Union. The migration crisis received less attention and mainly led to calls for better implementation of previous agreements. The European Council also endorsed the recommendations on economic policy for the euro area and expressed its views on the political situations in Syria and Libya. The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, not only participated at the outset of the meeting, but also attended the informal working session the following day on the discussions on a ‘new settlement’ for the UK in the EU.

Renegotiation of UK membership of the EU

Puzzle European Union United Kingdom

© Octavus / Fotolia

After lengthy talks, EU leaders reached mutually satisfactory solutions covering all four areas set out in UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s letter of 10 November 2015 to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk: economic governance, competitiveness, sovereignty and immigration (Table 1 summarises the evolution of the negotiation, from the original requests to the final agreement). Before the European Council meeting started, Donald Tusk defined the meeting as a ‘make-or break’ summit. Following the meeting, he stated that ‘we have just achieved a deal which strengthens Britain’s special status in the European Union’, further adding that it is ‘a legally binding and irreversible decision by all 28 leaders’. The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, stated: ‘I believe the deal has delivered on the commitments I made at the beginning of this renegotiation process’, and that ‘Britain will be permanently out of ever closer union – never part of a European superstate’.

The European Parliament’s President, Martin Schulz, opened the European Council’s discussions on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union by stressing that the ‘overwhelming majority in the European Parliament wants to see the UK remain in the European Union’. He emphasised that the concept of ‘ever closer union’ is very important for the future perspective of the EU and that the currency of the European Union is the euro, as stated clearly in the Treaties. He underlined that Parliament would not allow any discrimination against EU citizens in the area of social benefits. President Schulz pointed out that many of the calls for greater efficiency and more transparency have been addressed in the new Inter-institutional Agreement on Better Law-Making. He also stressed that it was extremely important for the European Parliament that future Treaty changes relate not only to the specific role of the UK as regards ‘ever closer union’, but also cover other topics, such as reinforcement of Economic and Monetary Union.

The final text of the agreement addresses the issues discussed by the United Kingdom and its EU partners, such as restricting access to in-work benefits for workers from other Member States in the United Kingdom and reducing child benefits. It also contains safeguards on euro-area governance, and an exemption for the United Kingdom from further political integration into the European Union. Perhaps the most controversial issue was the ‘safeguard mechanism’, a so-called ’emergency brake’ on in-work benefits for EU workers in the UK. On this, it was decided that the mechanism can apply for seven years but will be non-renewable. This proposal was the subject of strong opposition from, in particular, central and eastern European Member States. (See the EPRS analysis of the renegotiation.)

In view of the UK in-out referendum, which is to be held on Thursday 23 June 2016, British Prime Minister David Cameron has now begun campaigning for the UK to stay in the European Union, and argued that ‘Britain will be safer, stronger and better off in a reformed European Union’.

The final text is legally binding on EU governments under international law but will take effect only if and when the UK votes to remain in the EU. In the event that the result of the referendum in the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union, the set of arrangements in the agreement would cease to exist. Not all measures can come into immediate effect. As mentioned in the EPRS pre-European Council Briefing, this includes any changes to the principle of ‘ever closer union’ which can be dealt with only upon the next revision of the Treaties. Moreover, the changes for EU workers’ access to in-work benefits will need to be implemented via secondary legislation, through the ordinary legislative procedure. In the near future, the European Commission is expected to propose the necessary legislation concerning both the indexation of child benefits and the introduction of an ’emergency brake’. While meeting with David Cameron prior to the European Council, representatives of the European Parliament expressed their view that there can be ‘no guarantees’ in advance that such measures will move easily through the Parliament. However, the larger political groups in the EP subsequently stated their support for the announced agreement.

 Development of the reform proposals

Policy area Cameron’s request Tusk proposal Final result
Economic governance:

Multi currency

Recognise that the EU has more than one currency. Not specified. Recognises that not all Member States have the euro as their currency.
Economic governance: Currency-based discrimination No discrimination based on the currency of the country. Discrimination based on the official currency of the Member State is prohibited. Discrimination based on the official currency of the Member State is prohibited.
Economic governance: The Single Market Protect the integrity of the Single Market. Make all efforts to strengthen the internal market and to adapt it to keep pace with the changing environment. Make all efforts to strengthen the internal market and to adapt it to keep pace with the changing environment.
Economic governance:

EMU governance

Any changes that the euro area decides need to be voluntary not compulsory for non-euro area members. Further deepening of EMU will be voluntary for Member States whose currency is not the euro. Further deepening of EMU will be voluntary for Member States whose currency is not the euro.
Economic governance: Emergency assistance mechanisms Non-euro-area countries should not be financially liable to support euro-area countries. Emergency and crisis measures addressed at safeguarding the financial stability of the euro area will not entail budgetary responsibility for Member States whose currency is not the euro. Non-euro-area countries cannot impede further integration but not responsible for bailouts.
Economic governance Any issue that affects all Member States must be discussed and decided by all Member States. Different sets of Union rules may have to be adopted in secondary law, thus contributing to financial stability. Any Member State can request a Council discussion on euro laws that may affect financial stability, without prejudice to the ordinary legislative procedure.
Economic governance National institutions of non-euro-area countries have a key competence in financial stability and supervision. Makes reference to a ‘single rulebook’ concerning prudential requirements for credit institutions or other legislative measures to be adopted for the purpose of safeguarding financial stability. The Single Rulebook is to be applied by all credit institutions and other financial institutions in order to ensure the level playing field within the internal market.

Cutting red tape

Cut the total burden on business. Lower administrative burdens and compliance costs. Concrete steps towards better regulation.

Free movement

Fulfil the commitment to the free flow of capital, goods and services. The free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured as an essential objective of the Union. The free movement of goods, persons, services and capital is ensured as an essential objective of the Union.


Long-term commitment to boost competitiveness and productivity of the EU. The EU must increase efforts towards enhancing competitiveness. The EU must increase efforts towards enhancing competitiveness in line with European Council declaration on competitiveness.

Ever-closer union

End Britain’s obligation to work towards an ‘ever-closer union’. Ever-closer union not equivalent to the objective of political integration. At the time of the Treaties’ next revision, it will be made clear that ‘ever-closer union’ does not apply to the UK.

Red card for national parliaments

Groups of national parliaments can stop unwanted legislative proposals. Where reasoned opinions on the non-compliance of a draft Union legislative act with the principle of subsidiarity represent more than 55% of the votes allocated to the national parliaments, the Council Presidency will include the item on the agenda of the Council for a comprehensive discussion on these opinions. Where reasoned opinions on the non-compliance of a draft Union legislative act with the principle of subsidiarity represent more than 55% of the votes allocated to the national parliaments, the Council Presidency will include the item on the agenda of the Council for a comprehensive discussion on these opinions.


EU’s commitments to subsidiarity fully implemented. The application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are to be duly taken into account. The application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality are to be duly taken into account.

JHA Protocols

Any future proposals in JHA matters must fully respect the JHA protocols allowing the UK to choose to participate or not. Title V of Part Three of the TFEU does not bind the Member States covered by Protocols 21 and 22 unless this is in accordance with the wishes of the Member State. Title V of Part Three of the TFEU does not bind the Member States covered by Protocols 21 and 22 unless this is in accordance with the wishes of the Member State.

National security

National security is and must remain the sole responsibility of the Member States. National security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State. National security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State.

Free movement

Free movement will only apply for new Member States joining the EU in future, once their economies have converged much more closely with existing Member States. Concerning future enlargement of the EU – appropriate transitional measures concerning the free movement of persons will be provided for. Concerning future enlargement of the EU – appropriate transitional measures concerning the free movement of persons will be provided for.

Tackling fraud

Tougher and longer re-entry bans for fraudsters and people who collude in sham marriages. Take action to prevent abuse of rights or fraud. Take action to prevent abuse of rights or fraud.

Restrictive measures

Stronger powers to prevent criminals from entering the country deport them and stop them from coming back. Member States may take restrictive measures to protect themselves against individuals whose personal conduct is likely to represent a genuine and serious threat to public policy or security. Member States may take restrictive measures to protect themselves against individuals whose personal conduct is likely to represent a genuine and serious threat to public policy or security.

Safeguard mechanism

People coming to Britain from the EU must contribute for four years before they qualify for in-work benefits or social housing. Limit the access of new Union workers to in-work benefits for a period up to four years. Introduction of a ‘safeguard mechanism’ to restrict benefits in exceptional circumstances. The measure bans benefits for four years and remains in place for seven years and cannot be extended.

Child benefits

Ending the practice of sending child benefits overseas. Index benefits to the standard of living in the Member State in which the child resides. For new migrants, index child benefits to the standard of living where the child resides.

Migration crisis

The majority of the European Council’s conclusions on migration focused on the implementation of previously agreed measures. Prior to this European Council meeting, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had already announced that no major decisions would be taken because the next European Council meeting, on 17-18 March 2016, will feature a comprehensive debate on reforming the EU’s existing framework for a common asylum policy. EU leaders mainly recalled their priorities, as already set out in the conclusions of the 18-19 December 2015 European Council meeting, namely ‘to rapidly stem the flows, protect our external borders, reduce illegal migration and safeguard the integrity of the Schengen area’. Taking stock of implementation, EU leaders concluded that while some improvements have been made, further efforts are needed, in particular for the decisions on relocation and measures to ensure an effective return and readmission policy, which should be implemented rapidly. Work on the ‘European Border and Coast Guard’ proposal should be accelerated, as the aim is to reach a political agreement before July 2016.

Speaking to the Heads of State or Government, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, argued that the EU is suffering a ‘crisis of solidarity.’ European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recalled that the European Council has already agreed on measures to deal with the refugee crisis, including redistribution and relocation, and that ‘Member States must make good on what they agreed’. European Council President Donald Tusk stressed that the rules and laws adopted by all Member States need to be respected: both the decision made on relocation and the Schengen Borders Code need to be applied in full.

The European Council expressed the EU’s solidarity with Turkey and condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Ankara, which had killed at least 28 people and injured over 60. As a result of the attacks, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was unable to come to Brussels where he had been scheduled to meet with a group of EU leaders (those he had also met with prior to the 16 December 2015 European Council), to discuss wider issues on migration. European Council President Donald Tusk announced that there would be a special meeting with Turkey at the beginning of March 2016 to discuss implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan. EU leaders stressed the importance of the ‘full and speedy implementation of the EU-Turkey Action Plan’. While acknowledging that some progress has been made, they called for more decisive efforts on the Turkish side to ensure its effective implementation. The European Council also welcomed the agreement reached on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey and called on the Commission and the Member States to swiftly implement the priority projects.

EU leaders expressed their concerns over the irregular migrant flows along the Western Balkans route, and insisted on further concerted action and putting an end to the so-called ‘wave-through’ approach. The humanitarian situation for migrants along the Western Balkans route requires urgent action using all available EU and national means. Therefore, Heads of State or Government called for the EU to be allowed to provide humanitarian assistance inside the EU, in cooperation with organisations such as the UNHCR, to support countries facing the influx of large numbers of refugees and migrants. On 17 February 2016, Presidents Juncker and Tusk co-hosted a dinner with leaders from the Western Balkans, including the Croatian and Slovenian Prime Ministers and the Presidents of Serbia and of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Participants underlined the need to avoid an already developing humanitarian crisis, and discussed the importance of avoiding unilateral measures. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, criticising the increasing number of national border controls in the EU due to the fact that there is no common European approach, also commented negatively on Austria’s recent decision to cap asylum applications, adding that the European Commission is currently examining the legality of these measures.

The European Council also welcomed NATO’s decision to provide assistance in the reconnaissance, monitoring and surveillance of illegal crossings in the Aegean Sea, and called upon all members of NATO to actively support these measures.

External relations


The European Council expressed its concerns over the political-military situation in Syria. It welcomed the outcome of the 11-12 February 2016 International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting in Munich, and called for the implementation of commitments made, including a nationwide cessation of hostilities and the facilitation of humanitarian assistance throughout Syria, in full respect of international humanitarian law. The outcome of the Munich meeting represents an encouraging development towards resolving the conflict. However, its viability remains to be tested during the implementation phase. EU leaders also welcomed the outcome of the conference on supporting Syria and the region held in London on 4 February 2016.


The European Council reiterated its December 2015 call for the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement among the representatives of a broad base of Libyan society. EU leaders urged the parties to form a Government of National Accord, while underlining the importance of a stable Libyan government to ensure economic reconstruction, and for stabilising the country and fighting terrorism. They reiterated the EU’s commitment, in close cooperation with the UN, to capacity-building in Libya in support of Libyan society’s efforts to stabilise the country.

European Semester

EU leaders endorsed recommendations on economic policies for the euro area within the framework of the European Semester. The Ecofin Council will formally adopt the euro-area recommendations at its next meeting, on 8 March 2016.

Read the Briefing on ‘Outcome of the European Council of 18-19 February 2016‘ in PDF.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/26/outcome-of-the-european-council-of-18-19-february-2016/

The European Council and crisis management

Written by Ralf Drachenberg

The European Council and Crisis Management

Didier Seeuws, Prof. Desmond Dinan, Prof. Danuta Hübner and Mr. Peter Ludlow

Is the European Council doing a good job in crisis management, or is it reaching its limits in times of crisis? These, and other questions concerning the European Council’s recent performances, were discussed at the EPRS event The European Council and crisis managementon 16 February 2016 in Parliament’s Library main reading room in Brussels.

The panel of experts made up of Prof. Danuta Hübner, Chair of Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee, Prof. Desmond Dinan from Georges Mason University, Mr. Didier Seeuws, former chief of staff of first European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, and Mr. Peter Ludlow, from EuroComment, discussed similarities and differences between how the European Council has been and still is handling different crises.

Prof. Desmond Dinan stressed that the European Union (EU) is facing a political crisis of the first order, which is made up of a number of smaller crises. He also criticised the narrative that crisis in the past have supposed to have led to further integration, which in his opinion it had not. The other panellists had varying perspectives on the relationship between crises and further European integration.

Prof. Danuta Hübner expressed the concern of many Members of the European Parliament that there is no or very limited democratic accountability of the European Council and decisions made by them as well as institutional efficiency. Consequently she made the case for an enhanced role for the European Parliament in scrutinising the activities of the European Council.

Listen to the full policy roundtable,



The European Council and Crisis Management

Roundtable discussion ‘The European Council and crisis management’

Didier Seeuws provided insights into why certain decisions were made by the European Council during the financial crisis and highlighted the strengths and limits of these decisions. He also analysed the advantages and disadvantages of the institutional set up of the European Council. Peter Ludlow complemented the different perspectives by providing an historical comparative of the European Council’s management of the different crises. He outlined the varying contexts the European Council was in during each crisis and therefore evaluating which role, and how successful, the European Council was in dealing with each of them. He also provided insight into the significance of different actors within the European Council for managing the crises. All speakers concurred on the importance of the role of the permanent European Council President, created in the Lisbon Treaty, in crisis management.

The European Council and crisis management

Joséphine Rebecca Vanden Broucke, Head of the European Council Oversight and Scrutiny Unit (ECOS) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS)

In her opening address, Joséphine Rebecca Vanden Broucke, Head of the European Council Oversight and Scrutiny Unit (ECOS) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) outlined that the increasing number of extraordinary European Councils and Euro Summit meetings not only illustrates and exemplifies the significant multiplication of crises which the EU has had to deal with in recent years, but also the European Council’s growing role in crisis management, especially compared to the pre-Lisbon Treaty period.

She also presented EPRS’s in-depth analysis examining the role played by the European Council and its President in managing crises, which looks at the similarities and differences in the measures agreed upon by EU Heads of State or Government when engaging in crisis management.

The paper identified a substantial degree of interconnectedness between the three crises (sovereign debt, migration and foreign policy).

Interconnectedness of crises

Interconnectedness of crises

The analysis also shows that no common approach has developed at the European Council level for managing crises as each crisis has different causes, management is based on a different response and is made up of specific, often unique, circumstances. However, one can still identify similar challenges the European Council faces as it goes through certain phases in responding to a crisis. These phases include: (1) a failure to anticipate the crisis; (2) a lack of existing European tools to address the crisis; (3) the search for a common European approach; (4) a shift from a short-term to a long-term strategy and (5) the use of alternative approaches.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/26/the-european-council-and-crisis-management/

European statistics on natural gas and electricity prices [EU legislation in progress]

Written by Gregor Erbach (1st edition),

European statistics on natural gas and electricity prices

© evgenii141 / Fotolia

Member States would have to collect statistics on the prices charged to industrial consumers and households for natural gas and electricity. Price data would be reported every six months for different consumption volumes, and cover energy prices, network charges, taxes and levies, and their sub-components. The proposed regulation would replace Directive 2008/92/EC that requires Member States to collect such statistics for industrial consumers. Data on gas and electricity prices for households are currently collected on a voluntary basis.

Statistical data on gas and electricity prices are needed for monitoring the internal market for energy, and the impacts of various policies in the field of energy, such as support for renewable energy sources. The European Council requested a report about energy costs and prices in May 2013. In the context of the Energy Union strategy, the Commission has committed to preparing such a report every two years, starting in 2016. The European Parliament’s secretariat also used these statistics in its reports on trends in energy prices for the ITRE Committee.





Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/25/european-statistics-on-natural-gas-and-electricity-prices-legislation-in-progress/

Child-friendly justice in the EU

Written by Anna Dimitrova-Stull, Ulla Jurviste and Irene Penas Dendariena,

Arrested teenager with handcuffs

©Alexander Raths / Fotolia

Every year hundreds of thousands of children across the EU are involved in judicial proceedings. They may enter into contact with justice systems in many different ways: for family issues such as divorce or adoption, in administrative justice for immigration or nationality matters or in criminal justice, as victims, witnesses or suspects/offenders. It is essential that they are met with a system that respects both their particular vulnerability and their rights. To that purpose, a set of international standards has been developed to ensure that children are heard and protected in the process.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reveals that child participation practices in the EU vary not just across but also within Member States, and these practices are not always child-friendly. It points out that in recent years respect of the child’s right to be heard has improved particularly in criminal proceedings but in civil ones children are not always heard. There is a need to ensure that children’s access to justice and their treatment in legal proceedings is effectively monitored to prevent any discrimination, says FRA.

In January 2016, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) endorsed the agreement reached by the Parliament and the Council last December to set new rules designed to make legal protection of children who are suspected or accused of a crime more consistent within the EU, providing a set of rights that meet their specific needs. The agreement still needs to be approved by the plenary in March.

This Keysource brings together a selection of information materials describing the situation of children in judicial proceedings.


Standing up for children? The Directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings / Debbie Sayers, EU Law Analysis Blog, 22 December 2015.
This article analyses the proposed Directive in order to examine whether the aim to protect the rights of children in criminal proceedings is achieved.

Justice needs to be more child-friendly / FRA, press release, 5 May 2015.
Justice systems need to do more to cater to the needs of these children. Making justice more child-friendly is in the best interests of the child, improves child protection and children’s meaningful participation in judicial proceedings, says FRA.

Une justice adaptée aux enfants. Points de vue et expériences des professionnels / Journal du droit des jeunes 5/2015 (n° 345 – 346), pp. 26-34.
“Les enfants ne sont pas suffisamment soutenus lorsqu’ils participent à des procédures pénales ou civiles ; des environnements qui peuvent être intimidants pour des enfants ne sont pas toujours adaptés à leurs besoins.”

Just how child-friendly should justice be? / Killian O’Brien, Law Society Gazette, Jan/Feb 2013, pp. 14-15.
In this article, the author stresses the need for a well-informed, proactive approach to the involvement of children in the judicial process and argues that it is essential that children’s rights are promoted at an early stage.

Child-Friendly Justice: turning law into reality / Ankie Vandekerckhove & Killian O’Brien, ERA Forum, December 2013, Volume 14, Issue 4, 523-541 pp.
From the angle of the Council of Europe’s guidelines about justice for children, this article comments on what children can do whenever they get involved in legal proceedings where their rights and interests are at stake.

The role of the EU legal and policy framework in strengthening child friendly justice / Rebecca O’Donnell, ERA Forum, December 2013, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp. 507-521.
This article examines the growing recognition in legislation and jurisprudence of the need for specially tailored processes for children and the practical challenges in achieving them.

The way forward: the implementation of the EU Agenda for the rights of the child / Margaret Tuite, ERA Forum, December 2013, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp. 543-556.
This is an overview of EU activities on child-friendly justice. It draws attention to a need to focus on implementation aspects: on the collection of data to underpin, measure and monitor implementation at regular intervals, and on the value and benefits of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary cooperation and coordination, including training.


Children’s Involvement in Criminal, Civil and Administrative Judicial Proceedings in the 28 Member States of the EU / European Commission, Policy brief, June 2015, 54 p.
The Commission has released several reports (see below), completing its study on children in judicial proceedings. Its aim was to gather all available data and statistics in Member States (MS) on children’s involvement in justice and to describe the law and policy in place. This policy brief presents the findings of the study in an accessible manner. It focuses on the implementation by MS of 10 key safeguards: access to adapted proceedings; right to information and advice; right to be heard; right to representation; right to protection of privacy; the best interests of the child; multidisciplinary cooperation; training of professionals; monitoring mechanisms; and access to remedies.

Detailed information in the following reports:

Child-friendly justice – Perspectives and experiences of professionals on children’s participation in civil and criminal judicial proceedings in 10 EU Member States / FRA, May 2015, 129 p.
“Practices of child participation in criminal and civil judicial proceedings vary considerably not just across, but also within Member States, pointing to a need for clear and consistent standards and guidelines and the systematic monitoring of their implementation. Children are not sufficiently supported when participating in criminal or civil proceedings, court settings that can be intimidating for children are not always adjusted to their needs”.

See also:

Handbook on European Law relating to the rights of the child / FRA, 2015, 254 p.
The handbook is designed for non-specialist legal professionals, judges, public prosecutors, child protection authorities, and other practitioners and organisations responsible for ensuring the legal protection of the rights of the child.

Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States / European Council for Juvenile Justice (EVJJ) & International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO), 2015, 251 p.
According to this study, the benefits of restorative justice for children and young people are numerous. Despite these benefits, however, restorative justice still plays a marginal role and far too few children and young people in Europe benefit from restorative justice processes.

Save Money, Protect Society and Realise Youth Potential: Improving Youth Justice Systems in a Time of Economic Crisis / EVJJ & IJJO, 2013, 86 p.
This paper argues that it has been shown that times of economic restraint provide a good incentive to really think about what works in youth justice. It claims that youth justice systems need to be better at saving money and protecting the community, but above all, they need to provide real outcomes for the children experiencing them.

Stakeholder views

EU Institutions’ views

European Commission

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings / COM (2013) 822 final, 27 November 2013.
The aim of the directive is to establish specific legal protection for children, as they are particularly vulnerable. It sets out minimum rules that meet their needs. Among the priorities is ensuring that children are able to understand and follow the proceedings, preventing re-offending and fostering their social integration.

EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child / COM (2011) 60 final, 15 February 2011.
Making the justice system more child-friendly in Europe is a key action under the Agenda. It stresses that children can be treated as adults without always being afforded specific safeguards in accordance with their needs and vulnerability. Effective access to justice and participation in administrative and court proceedings are basic requirements to ensure a high level of protection of children’s interests.

European Parliament

Initial appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment: European Commission proposal on procedural safeguards for children in criminal proceedings / Alison Davis, European Parliament Research Service, February, 2014.
This document seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s Impact Assessment (accompanying the above proposal) which was transmitted on 28 November 2013.

Protection of Children in Proceedings / Directorate-General for Internal Policies, 2010, 15 p.
“Children’s rights are heard and protected in proceedings in all European Member States. Although a child’s rights are heard in all Member States, there are substantial differences in the provisions governing how these rights are heard”.

Parliamentary questions

Protecting the best interests of the child (across borders) in Europe / 18 June 2015.

A justice system adapted to children / 20 May 2015.

International organisations

Council of Europe

Child-friendly juvenile justice: from rhetoric to reality / Parliamentary Assembly report, 19 May 2014.
“Despite the panoply of international and regional standards providing a well-established framework for modelling juvenile justice, there is a considerable and continuing dissonance between the rhetoric of human rights discourse and the reality of juvenile justice interventions, in particular juvenile detention, for many children.”

Guidelines on child-friendly justice / Committee of Ministers, 17 November 2010.
These guidelines set out basic rules for European states to follow when adapting their justice systems to the specific needs of children. They apply to all circumstances in which children are likely, on any ground and in any capacity, to be in contact with the criminal, civil or administrative justice system.

United Nations

General Comment N° 12: The Right of the Child to be Heard / Committee of the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2009.
The objective of the Comment is to support States parties in the effective implementation of article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This article establishes the right of every child to freely express her or his views, in all matters affecting her or him. This right imposes a clear legal obligation on States parties to recognize this right and ensure its implementation by listening to the views of the child and according them due weight.

General Comment N° 10: Children’s Rights in Juvenile Justice / CRC, 2007.
In this document, the CRC provides guidance and recommendations to States parties in dealing with children in conflict with the law. It places special emphasis on prevention and on alternative measures to criminal justice.

NGO views

Rights, Remedies & Representation: Global Report on Access to Justice for Children / Child Right International Network, January 2016, 43 p.
This report represents a snapshot of how the world has tried to develop mechanisms to protect children’s rights and ensure that there are remedies for violations of children’s rights. It represents an overview of the findings of 197 country specific reports.

Joint paper on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings / Amnesty International & Save the Children, December 2014, 15 p.
“In the administration of juvenile justice, states must systematically ensure respect for the best interests of the child, the child’s rights to life, survival and development, to dignity, to be heard and to be free from discrimination”.

Joint position paper on the proposed directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings / Fair Trials International & Children’s Rights Alliance for England, September 2014, 26 p.
“The Children’s Directive therefore stands to significantly improve both the situation of children’s rights in the EU, and to contribute substantially to the strengthening of mutual trust between Member States”.

Compendium of international instruments applicable to juvenile justice / Terre des Hommes, 2014, 477 p.
This document aims to provide a tool that will gather together all the texts guaranteeing children’s rights in the systems of justice.

Protecting children’s rights in criminal justice systems / Penal Reform International, 2013, 190 p.
This is a training manual for professionals and policymakers. It covers a variety of topics and issues including: child protection, crime prevention, law enforcement, trial procedures, sentencing and rehabilitation.

Case law

Child-friendly justice guidelines: recent judgments of the European Court of Human Rights / Council of Europe, December 2014, 8 p.
This note refers to recent judgments of the Court in which the child-friendly justice guidelines are cited, since their adoption by the Committee of Ministers on 17 November 2010.

See also :

For more information on existing case law of the European Court of Human Right and the Court of Justice of the EU, see: Handbook on European Law relating to the rights of the child , Op. cit.


Data on Children in Judicial Proceedings in EU28 / DG Justice, European Commission.
This site presents an online database containing the results of the study commissioned by DG Justice to collect data on children’s involvement in judicial proceedings in the EU (see: Criminal Justice ; Civil and Administrative Justice ).

EU programmes and projects

Justice Programme (2014-2020).

Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020).

Action grants to support transnational projects aiming to build capacity for professionals in child protection systems and legal professionals representing children in legal proceedings / Open call for proposals – deadline: 04/05/2016.
This call will fund activities for three priorities: Capacity-building for practitioners/professionals working with or for children in alternative care or detention; Capacity-building for lawyers/legal advisers representing children in criminal, administrative and civil justice; Capacity-building for legal and other practitioners such as social and health workers, youth workers and the police to pilot and roll out multi-disciplinary evidence-based child-friendly practices.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/25/child-friendly-justice-in-the-eu/

Women and domestic work in the EU

Written by Ulla Jurviste and Irene Penas Dendariena,

domestic work

©shotsstudio / Fotolia

Domestic work , as defined in the ILO Convention (2011), is work performed in or for a household or households;  domestic worker – a person engaged in domestic work within an employment relationship. A person who performs domestic work only occasionally or sporadically and not on an occupational basis is not a domestic worker. ILO  statistics claim that globally 83% of domestic workers are women. More than half of all domestic workers have no statutory limitation of their working hours, more than 2 out of 5 are not entitled to be paid a minimum wage, and more than a third have no right to take maternity leave. Moreover, 29% of domestic workers are excluded from labour legislation with the consequences of not being considered as regular workers. For that matter, domestic workers performing their job undeclared are isolated from others workers executing the same tasks and, therefore, are “invisible”.

According to Eurostat, domestic work includes the activities of households as employers of domestic personnel, such as maids, cooks, waiters, valets, butlers, laundresses, gardeners, gatekeepers, stable-lads, chauffeurs, caretakers, governesses, babysitters, tutors, secretaries etc. It allows the domestic personnel employed to state the activity of their employer in censuses or studies, even though the employer is an individual. The product produced by this activity is consumed by the employing household.

In January 2014 the EU Council adopted a decision authorising Member States to ratify the ILO Convention. Currently, EP FEMM Committee is preparing a Report Women domestic workers and carers in the EU (2015/2094(INI)).


Domestic workers across the world: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection / ILO, 2013; 147 p.
This report presents an overview of the size of the domestic work sector and the extent of legal protection enjoyed by domestic workers. Its findings reflect that domestic work represents a significant share of global wage employment, but domestic workers remain to a large extent excluded from the scope of labour laws and hence from legal protection enjoyed by other workers.

Women, men and working conditions in Europe / EUROFOUND, 2013; 104 p.
This report, based on the 5th European Working Conditions Survey, underlines the case for a gender-sensitive analysis of employment patterns and trends on European labour markets.

International Domestic Workers’ Federation – homepage
A membership-based global organization of domestic and household workers. As of January 2014, includes 47 affiliates from 43 countries. Most of these are trade unions, associations and workers co-ops.

Domestic Workers: Vulnerable Workers in Precarious Work / Malcolm Sargeant; E-Journal of International and Comparative Labour Studies, January 2014; 25p.
This paper introduces the meaning of precarious work and vulnerable workers and, due to the nature of the contractual relationship, classifies domestic work as precarious work.

Universal service employment cheque, France – homepage
Due to complicated administrative procedures required under French law to employ a domestic worker, many households have found it easier to employ undeclared workers. In order to simplify procedures for recruiting domestic workers legally and to combat undeclared work, the French government has introduced various incentive schemes over the last 15 years. The most recent scheme is the ‘Universal service employment cheque’ introduced in 2006.

Titres-services, Belgium – homepage
This system was created in 2004 in order to create jobs and to combat undeclared work in the domestic work sector in Belgium.


Domestic workers in Europe. Getting Organised! / European Federation of Food, Agriculture and tourism trade unions (EFFAT), February 2015
EFFAT booklet co-financed by the European Commission presents the findings of the study showing the good practice examples of what trade unions do and can do for domestic workers.

ILO Domestic Work Policy Brief nr 7 / Claire Hobden; ILO, November 2013; 8 p.
“By virtue of living in the household, live-in domestic workers, mainly young women, and their employers are likely to build close ties, working and living together for many years. However, living in the homes of their employers has also meant that live-in domestic workers on average work far more hours per day and per week than almost any other category of workers. In some cases, the isolation of domestic workers in the household has meant that they are expected to be available to work around the clock, with very little rest.”

Exploring order and disorder: Womens experiences balancing work and care / Louise Wattis, Liz James; European Journal of Women’s Studies, Vol 20, Issue 3, 2013
This article explores how working mothers negotiate the often competing spheres of paid work and unpaid domestic and care work. Drawing upon qualitative data from a varied sample of women, it discusses the impact of workplace demands on home life, women’s attempts to contain the domestic sphere so as not to disrupt paid work, and the emotional conflicts inherent to combining dual roles. In addition, the article applies Bauman’s concepts of order and disorder to women’s experiences of work–care negotiation. Whilst it is recognized that Bauman’s work largely ignores gender, his discussion of solid modernity with its emphasis on order and the transition to liquid modernity with its emphasis on disorder provide a useful theoretical lens through which to illuminate women’s accounts of managing dual roles.

Domestic Workers Across the World : Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection / ILO, January 2013; 134 p.
More than 50 million people worldwide, mostly women, are employed as domestic workers. This publication sheds light on the magnitude of domestic work, a sector often “invisible” behind the doors of private households and unprotected by national legislation. For too long, this group – a large majority of whom are women – has remained outside the realm of policy-making on social and labour issues, and has largely been confined to the informal economy. (repeated)

Ending child labour in domestic work and protecting young workers from abusive working conditions / ILO, 2013; 104 p.
The report by ILO outlines why involvement of children in domestic work should be a global concern and presents the basic concepts in this area as well as the required responses. It looks into child domestic work as a social development priority, a human rights concern and a gender equality challenge.

Claiming Rights. Domestic Workers’ Movements and Global Advances for Labor Reform / Human Rights Watch, 2013
This joint report, co-produced by the International Domestic Workers’ Network (IDWN), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Human Rights Watch, traces the progress made in labor law reform in several governments between the years 2011 and 2013 and the increasing importance of domestic workers’ rights movements.

Irregular migrant domestic workers in Europe : who cares? / Anna Triandagyllidou, Farnham, Ashgate, 2013; 235 p.
The book traces the issue of domestic work, with specific attention to irregular migrant workers, introducing studies achieved in ten European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain). Moreover, it gives a comparative analysis of the engagement of irregular migrants in different kinds of domestic work.

Migrants in an irregular situation employed in domestic work: Fundamental rights challenges for the European Union and its Member States / European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, July 2011, 68 p.
The report accounts the situation of irregular migrants in the European Union. This is one of the two thematic reports complementing an upcoming comprehensive overview of irregular migrant’s fundamental rights in the 27 Member States of the European Union.

Extension of social protection of migrant domestic workers in Europe / ILO, 2013; 16 p.
This keysource presents the legal framework of social protection for migrant domestic workers in Europe.

Abused Domestic Workers in Europe: The case of au pairs: Study / Policy Department C, PE 453.209, October 2011; 139 p.
This study analyses au pair arrangements in six EU Member States (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain) through descriptions of national and international legal frameworks and practices of au pairing. The findings show different patterns of au pair migration and different situations of au pairing as well as different strategies to protect the au pairs. The overall recommendation is to separate current au pair immigration into two programmes: one of cultural exchange and one of domestic and care work.

Stakeholder views


ILO website Domestic Workers and  publications on domestic work

ILO Resources on Domestic Work: Catalogue

Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and R201 – Domestic Workers Recommendation, 2011 (No. 201)

Follow up to the adoption of the resolution concerning efforts to make decent work a reality for domestic workers worldwide (GB.312/INS/3)

ILO strategy: Making decent work a reality for domestic workers


Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on unpaid care work / Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, United Nations General Assembly, Document A/68/293, 9 August 2013, 24 p.
In this report unpaid care work is positioned as a major human rights issue. Focusing on women caregivers, particularly those living in poverty, the Special Rapporteur argues that heavy and unequal care responsibilities are a major barrier to gender equality and to women’s equal enjoyment of human rights, and, in many cases, condemn women to poverty. Therefore, the failure of States to adequately provide, fund, support and regulate care contradicts their human rights obligations, by creating and exacerbating inequalities and threatening women’s rights enjoyment. The report analyses the relationship between unpaid care and poverty, inequality and women’s human rights; clarifies the human rights obligations of States with regard to unpaid care; and finally provides recommendations to States on how to recognize, value, reduce and redistribute unpaid care work. Ultimately, it argues that State policies should position care as a social and collective responsibility, in particular through improving women’s access to public services, care services and infrastructure.”

UN instruments relevant on domestic work

Checklist to Protect and Support Domestic Workers / UN Women, 2012; 4 p.

General Comments of Committee on Migrant Workers:

  • General Comment No. 1 on Migrant Domestic Workers
  • General Comment No. 2 on the Rights of Migrant Workers in an Irregular Situation and Members of their Families

European Parliament

Resolution on the proposed ILO Convention supplemented by a Recommendation on domestic workers ( RSP/2011/2678 )

Resolution of 19 October 2010 on precarious women workers ( 2010/2018(INI) )

Resolution of 13 September 2011 on the situation of women approaching retirement age ( 2011/2091(INI) )

Resolution of 4 February 2014 on undocumented women migrants in the European Union ( 2013/2115(INI) )

Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)

European Economic and Social Committee

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘The professionalisation of domestic work’ (additional opinion), 12 May 2010 ( 2011/C 21/07 )

Human Rights Watch

The ILO Domestic Workers Convention. New standards to fight discrimination, exploitation and abuse / Human Rights Watch Brief, 2013; 8 p.

Map: Global Progress for Domestic Workers , 2013

European Network of Migrant Women

ENoMW Statement for International Domestic Workers’ Day 2014 , 16 June 2014.

“On the occasion of International Day of Domestic Workers, the European Network of Migrant Women [ENoMW] draws the attention of the European Union institutions and all national andEuropean stakeholders to the situation and treatment of Domestic Workers within the European Union member states, as well as their contribution to European society.”

International Domestic Workers Federation

IDWF Website and publications

Respect Network European

Press Release of RESPECT Network Europe: The narrative of human rights and labour migration unpacked

Case law

ECHR, Case of Siliadin v. France, Application no. 73316/01 , 26 July 2005 and related information .

ECHR, Case of C.N. v. The United Kingdom, Application no. 4239/08 , 13 November 2012 and related information .

ECHR, Case of C.N. et V. v. France, Application no. 67724/09 , 11 October 2012 and related information .

The United Kingdom Supreme Court, Case Hounga , 30 July 2014.

Queen’s Bench Division Court, Case O.O.O. and others v. Commissioner , 20 May 2011.


Domestic workers across the world: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection / ILO, 2013; 147 p.
This report presents an overview of the size of the domestic work sector and the extent of legal protection enjoyed by domestic workers. Its findings reflect that domestic work represents a significant share of global wage employment, but domestic workers remain to a large extent excluded from the scope of labour laws and hence from legal protection enjoyed by other workers.

Women and men in the informal economy: a statistical picture / ILO, 2013; 219 p.
This publication provides statistics on the composition and contribution of the informal economy, also, presents statistics on specifics groups of urban informal workers, including domestic workers.

EU programmes and projects

Decent Work for Domestic Workers . The state of labour rights, social protection and trade union initiatives in Europe / Programme for Workers’ Activities of International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation (ACTRAV/ITC-ILO), 2012; 36 p.

Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and their Families. Promoting decent work for migrant workers worldwide

Migrant Domestic Workers Act Against Violence – Acting Together !
This project aimed at improving the conditions of migrant domestic workers in Europe and raising awareness of the issue. It is a project funded under the Daphne Funding Programme.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/25/women-and-domestic-work-in-the-eu/

Motor vehicles New approval and market surveillance rules [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Didier Bourguignon (1st edition),

Motor Vehicles: New approval and market surveillance rules

© vectorace / Fotolia

The automotive industry is a major player in the European economy, accounting for 6.4% of gross domestic product and 2.3 million jobs in the European Union (EU). However, it has been facing difficulties as a result of the economic crisis.

In September 2015, the Volkswagen (VW) case highlighted weaknesses in the implementation of type-approval rules for motor vehicles in the European Union, in particular as regards standards on emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide.

In 2016, as part of preparations from previous years but also in response to the VW case, the European Commission proposed strengthening the type-approval system for motor vehicles. Its goal is to ensure effective enforcement of rules (including through market surveillance), to strengthen the quality and independence of technical tests and to introduce EU oversight on the type-approval process.




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Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/24/motor-vehicles-new-approval-and-market-surveillance-rules-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Animal health law: Rules on transmissible animal diseases [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Beata Rojek-Podgórska (1st edition),

Vaccination of piglets

© Budimir Jevtic / Fotolia

Transmissible animal diseases can have a significant impact on animal and public health and on the economy. Current EU legislation in the field developed over decades and consists of a large number of acts. In an evaluation initiated by the Commission, the legislation was assessed as generally well-functioning and effective, but also as complex and lacking an overarching strategy. The rules, often adopted in response to crises, focus on combating diseases rather than on prevention.

The Commission has proposed to create a single regulatory framework for rules related to the control of transmissible animal diseases. Most current provisions would be adapted, aligned and made more coherent. The proposed regulation would introduce prioritisation and categorisation of diseases, clarify responsibilities and place stronger focus on disease prevention. Most of the existing acts would be repealed.

After trilogues in view of an early second reading agreement, Parliament is expected to vote in plenary to confirm the agreed text in March 2016.


Stage: Second reading


Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/24/animal-health-law-rules-on-transmissible-animal-diseases-eu-legislation-in-progress/