Месечни архиви: February 2016

Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding in the cultural and creative sectors

Written by Magdalena Pasikowska-Schnass,

The internet offers digital spaces that can connect creators and service or content providers with consumers, and with new work, business or financing possibilities. In the sphere of arts and culture, this offers new opportunities for fundraising for events and projects, and for developing collaborative projects among artists, sometimes with public participation.

The concepts of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding in the cultural and creative sectors

© jesussanz / Fotolia

The idea of a ‘crowd’ contributing to a project via funding or creative input is not new. For example, surrealist artists used to create poems, stories or pictures jointly, each one adding a word or a picture to a sequence which, when put together, made up a single work of art. One of the first open calls for micro-donations was launched in 1884 to finance the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, while in Barcelona individuals’ charitable donations have supported the construction of Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia since 1883.

More recent technologies allow internet platforms to connect artists with other creators or with the public with the goal of mutually creating, inspiring or sharing ideas; this is often referred to as ‘crowdsourcing’. Internet platforms can also bring together those willing to provide funding for cultural or business initiatives with those who have ideas or projects but lack resources. This is called ‘crowdfunding’. The 2008 crisis increased the latter’s popularity as an alternative to bank financing. Sometimes crowdsourcing is used as a general term covering both the human (knowledge and creativity) and funding elements.

Crowdsourcing in the cultural and creative sectors

Crowdsourcing in the cultural and creative sectors (known also as the creative and cultural industries (CCIs), which range from performing and visual arts to video games and ads) can involve making contributions to creative projects or outsourcing micro-tasks linked to a project such as a new workflow or business model. For example, many open contests for logos or for interior and fashion design are presented to potential clients via dedicated internet platforms. Their organisers get plenty of contributions, take no risks and pay competitive prices or even get inspiration for free. Creators benefit less, as only a few of the best are paid for.

Crowdsourcing in cultural heritage involves public participation in collecting, describing, categorising or curating photographs or manuscripts, as an expression of democratic participation and engagement in heritage, or an attempt to complete professional expertise with the knowledge of the public at large. It takes the form of working on a project for free or performing micro-tasks for a small amount of money.

Crowdfunding in the cultural and creative sectors

Traditionally, cultural and artistic projects have been financed by wealthy individuals, enterprises or the public purse. Crowdfunding is an attractive alternative: anybody can contribute small amounts to a chosen project, and the project’s sponsors have less leverage on it. This can be a time-saving and procedurally simpler way of getting funding for CCIs.

Crowdfunding has a simple, open call mechanism. An internet platform publishes a business or artistic project to be financed, giving its description, financial objective, contribution cap, and deadline. Platform owners can charge a commission ranging from 2% to 25% of the collected sum, with a European average of 7% (4-5% specifically for CCIs). Funding can be donation-based (with no financial reward), reward-based (T-shirts, autographed CDs), lending-based (with or without interest) or equity-based (least popular in CCIs). Cost-sharing with financial contributors or fans lessens the risks for the creators. Project promotion is done via social media, the platform and those contributors who spread the word.

Cultural and artistic projects can be crowdfunded ex post, where contributors commit to provide a certain sum if and when the project is completed. Ex-ante financing, available upfront, enables creators to speed up their project’s progress to distribution and promotion. The earliest platforms were set up in 2005, mainly to finance cultural projects. Currently, many platforms fund creative ideas, mostly in the form of music projects, song albums, fashion and design, video games, dance performances, animation projects, films or the work of journalists who offer to cover topics overlooked by mainstream media.

Potential risks and benefits: legal and financial issues

Crowdfunding can entail legal uncertainty due to the lack of agreed definitions of the phenomenon, its complexity, financial and fee issues, the variety of national regulations concerned and the internet-linked risk of hacking. Conflicts over copyright may also emerge when creators, working in the context of a shared economy, disclose their ideas at an early stage of their work.

Regulators could consider ex-ante crowdfunding as gambling, where supporters of artistic projects are betting on the success of a given product. Even aside from such legal considerations, crowdfunding entails financial risks for contributors. Some platforms try CCI profit-sharing (equity) projects. This form of CCI crowdfunding is rare since in general the risk of not achieving the goal is high. The creator-donor distance is another danger. It can disconnect creators from stable funding as the choice is made on an individual project basis, typical for the arts. This is not true where family and friends contribute to a start-up or where creator-donor ties are more permanent and are based on personal relationships (as in traditional sponsoring).

The issue is complex at EU level too: a range of legislative acts can be relevant, including the Anti-money Laundering, Payment Services, Unfair Commercial Practices, Electronic Commerce and Copyright Directives, and the Capital Requirements and Intellectual Property Regulations. The European Crowdfunding Network promotes crowdfunding and assists European Commission actions in this area. Its 2014 study on relevant national regulations pointed to legal fragmentation which leads to additional costs and legal problems.

However, crowdfunding is also an opportunity for young or new creators to develop and put in place projects that would otherwise lack resources. Thanks to the funds received from interested individuals or fans, they can attain a higher level of career development and popularity, and perhaps establish a professional career. The financial risks are shared with the fans, who are often motivated by non-financial rewards, the possibility of getting insider knowledge, or the sense of belonging and involvement.

Crowdfunding gives financial contributors the feeling of having an impact on the cultural products on the market and of participating democratically instead of just consuming. It is also expected to potentially diminish the risks of pirating, a major contributor to the difficulties faced by the music and film industries due to copyright issues resulting from digital distribution. People providing support to a musician or a film-maker become aware of the copyright and pirating issues these authors face.

Crowdsourcing in artistic projects enriches the outcome through contributions by various artists that inspire each other and bring their creation to initially unforeseeable results. Crowdsourcing as voluntary public participation in the description of photographs, manuscripts or documents, which could be difficult for an individual scientist to do, is a priceless contribution to shared history and culture.

The ownership of a shared creation could be of concern in crowdsourcing. The EU-funded InGRID project, in research on inclusive growth and working conditions in non-traditional labour markets, highlights concerns including workforce fragmentation and work division into badly paid micro-tasks (for example in cultural heritage projects) performed all over the world, which could lead to blurred borders between work and leisure in the sharing economy, and a workforce with low salaries and no social benefits.

In September 2013, the EP adopted a resolution on promoting the European cultural and creative sectors and stressed the potential of crowdfunding (including crowd investment) for the growth of CCI enterprises.

The Commission organised a public consultation with stakeholders, published a communication and guide on crowdfunding in March 2014, made a study on an EU crowdfunding market in November 2015, as well as a pilot project on crowdfunding for the cultural and creative sectors. This new financing model deserves scientific insight, economic measurement and legal definitions. To stay in public control, crowdfunding needs to be examined from an economic angle in terms of its capacity to ensure fair distribution of benefits or to be a sustainable model for funding culture. Such insight has been provided by the European Crowdfunding Stakeholder Forum expert group. Concerning crowdsourcing, InGRID researchers believe that its functioning and outcomes, as well as the risk of professional labour being replaced by volunteer amateurs, need to be studied before any legal discussions start.

Read this At a Glance on ‘Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding in the cultural and creative sectors‘ in PDF.


Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/24/crowdsourcing-and-crowdfunding-in-the-cultural-and-creative-sectors/

In it together – jobs and growth: February Brussels Plenary Agenda

Written by Clare Ferguson,

©  European Union / European Parliament

© European Union / European Parliament

The EU is committed to supporting democracy in Tunisia and helping the country to counter the political, security and economic issues it currently faces. With solidarity in mind, negotiations began last October on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. The agreement will extend the current cooperation with Tunisia, which was the first country in the Mediterranean to sign a trade agreement with the EU. Tunisia’s trade with the EU amounted to around €20 billion in 2014, access to European markets are therefore key to Tunisia’s economic recovery. In a further, exceptional and emergency measure, the EU is offering Tunisia an additional annual duty-free quota for Tunisian olive oil exports to the EU, of 35 000 tonnes for two years. Parliament will debate the Committee on International Trade’s report in Plenary on Wednesday evening, with a vote following on Thursday.

Turning to stability and economic recovery nearer to home, Parliament will debate own-initiative reports by several committees which focus on new euro area economic and fiscal policy recommendations on Wednesday. The proposals aim to align the overall EU and euro area policies with those of individual Member States. Using employment and social indicators, the measures focus on supporting economic recovery. The reports are tabled as part of the ‘revamping’ of the European Semester process. The European Semester cycle detects and monitors problematic economic trends in order to take timely steps to prevent and correct economic instability. With a more specific focus on the euro area, Parliament’s committees recommend creating a more effective European Semester, with greater democratic accountability. The reports call for more investment in people, socially responsible structural reform, and action to boost sustainable growth and investment. They also underline the importance of the Single Market in delivering jobs and growth.

Employment is also the subject of a proposal to update and improve the EURES network which comes before the Parliament on Wednesday. EURES assists EU nationals who wish to take advantage of guaranteed free movement to find a job in other EU countries. Despite the headlines in some Member States, only 3.1% of the active population have so far taken up this opportunity. Members will vote on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs report, agreed after negotiations in the Council between all Member States. The Committee proposes measures to end discrimination against workers based on their nationality, and to strengthen the advice provided by the EURES network.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/23/in-it-together-jobs-and-growth-february-brussels-plenary-agenda/

The UK ‘rebate’ on the EU budget: An explanation of the abatement and other correction mechanisms

Written by Alessandro D’Alfonso,

UK-EU flag

© Fredex / Fotolia

The UK ‘abatement’, ‘rebate’ or ‘correction’ is the ad hoc mechanism that is applied to lower the UK’s contribution to the EU budget, by reimbursing 66% of the country’s budgetary imbalance (the difference between payments and receipts). In 2014, the rebate amounted to almost €6.1 billion, reducing the UK’s national contribution by 35% – to €11.34 billion – leaving it the fourth largest national contribution. All Member States but the UK cover the costs of the rebate. Introduced in 1985, it has remained unchanged in its basic concept, and is best understood with reference to some features of the UK economy and of the common budget at that time. Each year, the amount of the rebate is determined by a complex calculation, linked to several variables and which has evolved over time to take into account developments in the EU and its financing system. Included in the Own Resources Decision, modification of which requires unanimity of the Member States, the rebate is de facto a permanent mechanism.

Following the creation of the rebate, other Member States argued that their EU budgetary burden was excessive, asking for reductions in their contributions, including to their financing of the UK rebate itself. This has led to a complex system of ad hoc permanent and temporary corrections. For 2014-2020, Member States other than the UK benefiting from explicit corrections on the revenue side of the EU budget are: Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Correction mechanisms have attracted a number of criticisms, not least that they make the finances of the EU more complex, less transparent, less fair and harder to reform. Past proposals to replace the existing ad hoc mechanisms with a single new one, open to any Member State meeting defined conditions in terms of budgetary imbalances, have not been successful.

Read the complete publication on ‘The UK rebate on the EU budget: An explanation of the abatement and other correction mechanisms‘ here.

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Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/21/the-uk-rebate-on-the-eu-budget-an-explanation-of-the-abatement-and-other-correction-mechanisms/

Cross-border portability of online content services [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Tambiama Madiega (1st edition),

Multimedia Internet Laptop

© Nmedia / Fotolia

The provision of copyright-protected online content services is still largely characterised by territorial and exclusive licensing practices which result in a lack of cross-border portability in the EU. To remedy this, the Commission proposed a regulation on the cross-border portability of online content services.

According to the proposed regulation the provision of online content services would be deemed to take place only in the country in which the subscriber is a permanent resident. This would require online content service providers to offer cross-border portability to their customers when they are temporarily present in other Member States, and would make unenforceable all contrary contractual restrictions in the licences between rights-holders and service providers.

Stakeholders and commentators have generally welcomed the proposed regulation but some concerns have been raised with regard to elements of the current wording which leaves too much room for interpretation.


Stage: Commission proposal


Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/20/cross-border-portability-of-online-content-services-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU

Written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva

Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU

© Gino Santa Maria / Fotolia

The right of a Member State to withdraw from the European Union was introduced for the first time with the Lisbon Treaty; the possibility of withdrawal was highly controversial before that. Article 50 TEU does not set down any substantive conditions for a Member State to be able to exercise its right to withdraw, rather it includes only procedural requirements. It provides for the negotiation of a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the withdrawing state, defining in particular the latter’s future relationship with the Union. If no agreement is concluded within two years, that state’s membership ends automatically, unless the European Council and the Member State concerned decide jointly to extend this period.

The legal consequence of a withdrawal from the EU is the end of the application of the EU Treaties (and the Protocols thereto) in the state concerned from that point on. EU law ceases to apply in the withdrawing state, although any national acts adopted in implementation or transposition of EU law would remain valid until the national authorities decide to amend or repeal them. A withdrawal agreement would need to address the phasing-out of EU financial programmes and other EU norms.

Experts agree that in order to replace EU law, specifically in any field of exclusive EU competence, the withdrawing state would need to enact substantial new legislation and that, in any case, complete isolation of the withdrawing state from the effects of the EU acquis would be impossible if there is to be a future relationship between former Member State and the EU. Furthermore, a withdrawal agreement could contain provisions on the transitional application of EU rules, in particular with regard to rights deriving from EU citizenship and to other rights deriving from EU law, which would otherwise extinguish with the withdrawal.

The complete briefing on ‘Article 50 TEU: Withdrawal of a Member State from the EU‘ can be found here.


Step by Step Article 50 of a Member State applicaiton to leave the EU

Step by Step Article 50 of a Member State applicaiton to leave the EU


Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/19/article-50-teu-withdrawal-of-a-member-state-from-the-eu/

Differentiated integration in the European Union

Written by Aidan Christie and Giulio Sabbati,

As the number of European Union Member States has increased and the competences of the Union have widened, some Member States have on occasion been exempted from joining their partners in new fields of integration. Whilst the single market and its ‘four freedoms’ remain at the heart of the Union, it has found ways to allow the majority to move forward, notably in the fields of Economic and Monetary Union and Justice and Home Affairs, without all Member States taking part.

The graphics below illustrate the differing arrangements for Member States’ participation in EMU and JHA. This is variously known as differentiated integration, variable geometry, multi-speed or à la carte Europe. Even if some see the current situation of the United Kingdom as further entrenching the practice, the Union has always maintained the possibility for non-participating Member States to re-join their partners. Furthermore, new Member States do not immediately participate fully in certain policy areas, such as the euro area.

Economic and Monetary Union

Economic and Monetary Union

Economic and Monetary Union

Although all 28 Member States participate in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) to some degree, at its heart is the euro area – from the initial 11 at the launch of the new currency in 1999, it has grown to 19 countries today. All but two of the remaining Member States (Denmark and the United Kingdom) are formally committed to steering their economies towards joining the euro area, meeting the convergence criteria required. Whilst the monetary side of EMU was strong from the outset, the economic dimension has seen major developments in recent years. In particular, putting in place tools for ‘economic governance’, and strengthening the EU’s instruments for fiscal surveillance through the Stability and Growth Pact was seen as essential in the wake of the economic crisis.

The euro-area Member States established the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in 2012 as an instrument to provide financial assistance and loans for resolving crises in public finances. At the same time, Member States sought to develop further coordination in the area of economic policies, through the voluntary Euro Plus Pact. Like its binding successor, the intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance (TSCG or ‘Fiscal Compact’), it was opened to Member States beyond the euro area. The TSCG includes provisions on economic policy coordination (chapter IV) and imposes limits on government’ budget deficits and public debt (chapter III), but Member States outside the euro area can choose whether to be bound by those two chapters. Most recently, the development of a Banking Union, including tools for bank resolution, has made the European Central Bank the ultimate regulator of banks within the euro area. Again, Member States outside the euro area may choose to participate in the Banking Union. Thus all but two Member States have signed the intergovernmental agreement which creates a common resolution fund to deal with bank failures which threaten the stability of the financial system.

Download this publication on ‘Differentiated integration in the European Union‘ in PDF.

Schengen area

Schengen area

Schengen area

From 1995 on, the development of the Schengen area has made cross-border travel with no formalities the norm for much of Europe. Schengen members rely on each other to manage the external borders of the area, including through the issue of visas to third-country nationals, and have developed a range of tools to share information among immigration and law enforcement agencies. Apart from the UK and Ireland, the Schengen area should extend to all EU Member States; those that have yet to be integrated have to comply with certain conditions in border management and law enforcement cooperation before they can join. The Schengen area extends also to the associated Nordic countries plus Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

Three Member States have specific arrangements in respect of EU policies in this area, covering border checks, asylum and immigration, and police and judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters. Ireland and the UK are not automatically bound by any legislation in this field, but may choose to opt in to such acts either before or after their adoption. Denmark is not bound by any legislation in this field, but after its adoption may seek to participate by means of a complementary agreement. The table shows a number of key legal acts in this field, with the participation status of the three Member States.

Key Legal Acts: Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

Key Legal Acts: Area of Freedom, Security and Justice


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Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/19/differentiated-integration-in-the-european-union/

The United Kingdom and the European Union [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

European Union leaders meet on 18-19 February to discuss Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiation of the United Kingdom’s EU membership, ahead of an in-or-out referendum on the outcome.

This note provides links to recent commentaries, studies, reports and books from major think tanks on Britain’s relations with the EU and renegotiation of the terms of the country’s membership.

Jigsaw puzzle flag of European Union with United Kingdom flag piece.

© viperagp / Fotolia

Brexit and EU regulation: A bonfire of vanities
Centre for European Reform, February 2016

Britain in Europe: Renegotiation scorecard
European Council on Foreign Relations, February 2016

Can the European Parliament scupper David Cameron’s renegotiation deal?
Open Europe, February 2016

The risk of Brexit: An opportunity for the EU?
Policy Network, February 2015

Brexit and the special relationship
Council on Foreign Relations, February 2015

If the UK votes to leave: The seven alternatives to EU membership
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2016

Brexit: Legally effective alternatives
Institute for International and European Affairs, January 2016

Core Europe and the United Kingdom
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, January 2015

Brexit and defence: Where is the strategy?
Egmont, January 2016

One market, two monies: the European Union and the United Kingdom
Bruegel, January 2016

Scotland and Brexit: Shockwaves will spread across EU
Friends of Europe, January 2016

The Brexit equation: EU minus UK = ?
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2016

Britain and Europe: The endgame
Institute for International and European Affairs, January 2016

Brexit and the City
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2016

Cameron’s security gamble: Is Brexit a strategic risk?
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2015

Britain, the European Union and the referendum: what drives euroscepticism?
Chatham House, December 2015

Brexit: The leave narrative
Institute of International and European Affairs, December 2015

Cameron’s EU reforms: Will Europe buy them?
Centre for European Reform, December 2015

Unlocking the EU free movement debate
Institute for Public Policy Research, December 2015

The costs and benefits of large-scale immigration: Exploring the economic and demographic consequences for the UK
Civitas, December 2015

The United Kingdom: Remaining at the heart of Europe?
Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, December 2015

Brexit: Whatever must the neighbours think?
Policy Network, December 2015

UK Government must not fudge red card for national parliaments in its EU renegotiation
Open Europe, December 2015

What are the facts about EU migration to the UK?
Rand, December 2015

Britain, immigration and Brexit
Centre for European Reform, November 2015

The UK renegotiation from an EU perspective: The dog that hasn’t yet barked?
European Policy Centre, November 2015

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

Royaume-Uni/Union européenne: négociations à 28, pas à 27 contre un
Institut français des relations internationales, November 2015

Britain and the spectre of geopolitical irrelevance
German Marshall Fund, November 2015

The risk of Brexit
Policy Network, November 2015

What would ‘out’ look like? Testing Eurosceptic alternatives to EU membership
Policy Network, November 2015

Brexit to nowhere: The foreign policy consequences of “Out”
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2015

Italy and the renegotiation of the UK’s EU membership
Istituto Affari Internazionali, November 2015

Cameron’s EU gamble: Five reforms he can win, and ten pitfalls he must avoid
Centre for European Reform, October 2015

Brexit: un compromis possible entre le Royaume-Uni et les Etats-membres?
Fondation Robert Schuman, October 2015

Britain’s EU renegotiation: The view from our partners
Policy Network, October 2015

Britain, Europe and the world: Rethinking the UK’s circles of influence
Chatham House, October 2015

The Belgian view on the UK’s renegotiation is that European challenges can only be tackled through deepening European integration
Egmont, October 2015

Safeguarding the rights of non-Eurozone state in a multi-currency EU
Open Europe, September 2015

Ending the ratchet: From ever closer union to a two way street
Centre for Policy Studies, September 2015

How to deal with Europe’s British problem
European Policy Centre, September 2105

The Brexit negotiations: Stretching Europe to fit UK public opinion?
Barcelona Centre for International Relations, September 2015

Cameron’s renegotiation plans: The view from Warsaw
Centre for European Reform, August 2015

Could it be ‘Brexpulsion’ rather than ‘Brexit’?
Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, July 2015

Differentiated view of differentiated integration
Jacques Delors Institute, July 2015

The UK’s EU vote: The 1975 precedent and today’s negotiations
Bruegel, June 2015

Britain’s EU referendum: Cameron cannot please two audiences any longer
Centre for European Reform, June 2015

Brexit: Lessons from four referenda on the European Union (EU) in Denmark
European Union Centre in Singapore, June 2015

Should the UK withdraw from the EU: Legal aspects and effects of possible options
Fondation Robert Schuman, May 2015

EU reform index: Evaluating 30 potential proposals for EU renegotiation
Open Europe, May 2015

Cameron’s EU reforms: You can’t always get what you want
Centre for European Reform, May 2015

Brexit: Views from Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and Warsaw
German Marshall Fund, May 2015

Britain and the EU: A negotiator’s handbook
Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, May 2015

Brexit: Potential economic consequences if the UK exits the EU
Bertelsmann Stiftung, April 2015

Disunited Kingdom: Why ‘Brexit’ endangers Britain’s poorer regions
Centre for European Reform, April 2015

Cameron: Taking a gamble on Europe
Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, March 2015

Britain’s future in Europe: Reform, renegotiation, repatriation or secession?
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2015

Britain and Europe: The endgame: An Irish perspective
Institute of International and European Affairs, March 2015

Hard bargains or weak compromises: Reforming Britain’s relationship with the EU
Civitas, March 2015

The British problem and what it means for Europe
European Council on Foreign Relations, March 2015

Brexit: directions for Britain outside the EU
Institute of Economic Affairs, February 2015

Download this publication on ‘The United Kingdom and the European Union [What Think Tanks are Thinking]‘ in PDF.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/19/the-united-kingdom-and-the-european-union-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

Multiannual plan for Baltic fisheries [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Jean Weissenberger (1st edition),

Lighthouse of Warnemunde with fishing boat

© Wolfgang Zwanzger / Fotolia

Multiannual plans for fisheries management are an essential tool to ensure the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks and marine ecosystems. They also offer increased predictability to fishermen in the long run. In October 2014, the European Commission proposed a multiannual plan for stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea and for the fisheries exploiting them. This Baltic multiannual and multispecies plan is the first proposed plan to build on the principles of the 2013 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Seen as a test case, it may have some spill-over effect on new proposals for multiannual plans, some of which are expected from the European Commission in the near future.

The Council adopted its general approach on 20 April 2015, and the European Parliament voted on legislative amendments in plenary on 28 April, before referring the matter back to the Committee on Fisheries. Interinstitutional trilogue negotiations, which started in May 2015, have however proven lengthy and difficult. While discussing the priorities of the Council Presidency at the meeting of the Committee for Fisheries in mid-January 2015, the Dutch Fisheries Minister and the Parliament’s rapporteur expressed their willingness and hope to come to a satisfactory agreement.


Stage: Approved in plenary


Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/18/multiannual-plan-for-baltic-fisheries-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Niger: paysage politique avant les élections

Écrit par Eric Pichon

Alors que l’accession au pouvoir de Mahamadou Issoufou en 2011 avait été saluée comme un modèle de transition démocratique, le climat politique du pays s’est fortement dégradé à l’approche des élections présidentielle et législatives du 21 février 2016. Le Président sortant se représente contre une opposition qu’il a contribué à diviser et affaiblir.

Contexte: menaces terroristes et tensions politiques

Le Président de la République du Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, a annoncé son intention de briguer un second mandat lors de l’élection présidentielle du 21 février, couplée au scrutin législatif. À

Niger: paysage politique avant les élections

© bogdanserban / Fotolia

son bilan, le Président sortant cite la réussite économique de son programme “Renaissance du Niger” qui a permis de développer les infrastructures et d’assurer la sécurité alimentaire du pays, avec l’aide de l’Union européenne. Les avancées économiques sont cependant ralenties par l’afflux de réfugiés (principalement du Mali et du Nigeria) et l’accroissement des dépenses militaires, engendrés par la lutte contre le terrorisme islamiste. Le Niger, déjà engagé dans la force internationale régionale contre Boko Haram, est désormais confronté à la montée en puissance du radicalisme sur son propre territoire, via la région de Diffa, frontalière avec le Nigeria, où les attaques de Boko Haram et l’état d’urgence ont fortement précarisé la situation des habitants et des réfugiés. La politique sécuritaire du gouvernement est dénoncée par l’opposition comme un instrument de limitation de la liberté d’expression: les organisations de défense des droits de l’homme ont relevé plusieurs cas de détention arbitraire de journalistes et de membres d’organisations de la société civile. Les émeutes de janvier 2015 contre l’hebdomadaire français “Charlie Hebdo” ont contribué à l’accroissement des tensions politiques. Des églises, des commerces non musulmans, des bars servant de l’alcool ont été vandalisés, ainsi que des établissements français et un local du parti présidentiel. Le président Issoufou, qui avait participé quelques jours auparavant à l’hommage aux victimes des attentats islamistes à Paris, a accusé l’opposition d’avoir utilisé ces émeutes pour le déstabiliser. Depuis lors, les manifestations de l’opposition ont été interdites à plusieurs reprises. En décembre 2015, le Président a annoncé qu’un coup d’État avait été déjoué, ce qui a conduit à l’arrestation de plusieurs responsables militaires, mais aussi de civils et de journalistes. Les candidats à l’élection présidentielle Hama Amadou, par ailleurs arrêté pour une affaire de trafic d’enfants, et Amadou Boubacar Cissé, qui avait émis des “réserves” sur la réalité de ce coup d’État, ont été entendus par la justice.

Ces affaires judiciaires affaiblissent encore l’opposition, déjà divisée depuis la formation d’un gouvernement “d’union nationale” en 2013 qui a entraîné une recomposition des forces politiques du pays. Un regain de tension est à craindre lors des élections législatives et le premier tour de l’élection présidentielle qui auront lieu le 21 février 2016. Le deuxième tour de l’élection présidentielle est fixé au 20 mars 2016 et des élections locales se dérouleront en mai 2016. Les principaux partis de l’opposition ont dénoncé le manque de consensus au sein de la Commission électorale nationale indépendante sur ce calendrier – notamment l’inversion des élections locales et présidentielle, contraire à la pratique nigérienne. L’impartialité de la Cour constitutionnelle a aussi été mise en cause par l’opposition. Toutefois, le fichier électoral validé par l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie a été approuvé par l’ensemble des partis politiques.

Institutions de la septième République

Le Niger a vu alterner élections et coups d’État depuis son indépendance en 1960. Fruit de la période de transition qui a suivi le renversement du président Tandja après qu’il eut tenté de prolonger son mandat au-delà de la limite constitutionnelle, la Constitution de la septième République du 25 novembre 2010 contient des dispositions destinées à limiter les abus de pouvoir: le Président de la République ne peut exercer plus de deux mandats; la Cour constitutionnelle ne peut être dissoute et le non-respect de ses décisions par le Président de la République est un cas de “haute trahison”. La Constitution contient également des clauses garantissant les droits des femmes et des minorités, la liberté religieuse et la transparence dans la gestion des ressources naturelles. Le Président de la République, élu pour cinq ans au suffrage direct (en 2016, quinze candidatures ont été validées), nomme le Premier ministre et les ministres et promulgue les lois.

Le parlement du Niger comporte une seule Chambre: l’Assemblée nationale. 113 députés (98 hommes, 15 femmes) ont été élus en 2011 mais ils seront 171 après les prochaines élections, soit un député pour 100 000 habitants, avec un minimum de 15% pour chaque sexe: 158 élus au scrutin proportionnel à un tour dans 9 circonscriptions – dont une pour 5 représentants des Nigériens de l’étranger – et 8 représentants des minorités, élus au scrutin uninominal à un tour.

Principaux partis politiques et représentation à l’Assemblée nationale élue en 2011

(37 sièges) Le Parti nigérien pour la démocratie et le socialisme (PNDS/Tarayya) est membre de l’internationale socialiste. M. Issoufou sera à nouveau candidat du PNDS à l’élection présidentielle (il avait obtenu un peu plus de 58% des voix au second tour en 2011).

Principaux partis politiques et représentation à l'Assemblée nationale élue en 2011

Principaux partis politiques et représentation à l’Assemblée nationale élue en 2011

(26 sièges) Le Mouvement national pour la société de développement (*) (MNSD/Nassara), le parti du Président de la République renversé en 2010, s’est divisé lorsque certains de ses membres se sont ralliés au gouvernement d’union nationale en 2013. Candidat à la présidentielle: Seini Oumarou (près de 42% en 2011).

(25 sièges) Le Mouvement démocratique nigérien pour une fédération africaine (*) (Moden Fa/Lumana) avait soutenu le candidat Issoufou au deuxième tour de la présidentielle de 2011, mais s’est opposé – à l’exception de certains dissidents – à la formation d’un gouvernement d’union nationale en 2013. Son leader, Hama Amadou, a perdu son poste de président de l’Assemblée nationale en août 2014 après s’être exilé: suspecté d’être impliqué dans un trafic d’enfants, il a été arrêté à son retour au Niger en novembre 2015; il considère son arrestation comme une manœuvre politique du Président Issoufou. Il a également été interrogé dans le cadre de l’enquête sur la tentative présumée de coup d’État de décembre 2015. Sa candidature à la présidentielle a été validée par la Cour constitutionnelle, mais il n’a pas été libéré pour faire campagne.

(8 sièges) L’Alliance Nigérienne pour la démocratie et le progrès (ANDP/ Zaman Lahia) soutient la candidature du Président de la République sortant.

(7 sièges) Le Rassemblement pour la démocratie et le progrès (RDP/Jama’a) est le parti du Premier ministre Brigi Rafini, un touareg. En 2011, sa nomination a marqué une volonté d’apaisement avec le nord du pays.

(6 sièges) L’Union pour la démocratie et la république  (*) (UDR/Tabbat) est née en 1999 d’une scission du RDP/Jama’a. Son leader, et candidat présidentiel, Amadou Boubacar Cissé, s’est retiré du gouvernement de coalition en octobre 2015. Il a été entendu par la justice dans le cadre de l’affaire du coup d’État de décembre.

(3 sièges) Convention démocrate sociale (*) (CDS/Ramaha). Candidat à la présidentielle: Abdou Labo, ancien ministre de l’agriculture, également mis en cause dans l’affaire de trafic d’enfants. Évincé de la CDS, l’ancien Président de la République Mahamane Ousmane est candidat pour une autre formation politique, le MNRD.

(1 siège) Union des Nigériens indépendants.

* Le MNSD, le Moden-Fa, l’UDR et la CDS sont alliés au sein du Front patriotique et républicain (FPR) qui envisage de présenter des listes communes aux élections législatives et de soutenir un seul candidat au deuxième tour de l’élection présidentielle.

Source pour le nombre de sièges à l’Assemblée nationale: Union interparlementaire.


Lire le En Bref ‘Niger: paysage politique avant les élections‘ complet en PDF.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/18/niger-paysage-politique-avant-les-elections/

Circular economy: the second round

Written by Dessislava Yougova,

Circular economy

© Design Praxis / Fotolia

This dossier is an update to the previous version published in June 2014, in the context of the first Commission proposal on the circular economy. The aim is to provide a selection of recent and relevant studies on the topic.

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission presented a new circular economy package , announced as a ‘more ambitious’ version of the 2014 proposal. Considered in the framework of the Commission’s priority for jobs, growth and investment, the proposals in the 2015 package ‘cover the full lifecycle of products: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. This transition will be supported financially by the European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF), which include €5.5 billion for waste management. In addition, support will be provided by €650 million under Horizon 2020 and investments in the circular economy at national level’. For more information about the 2015 package on circular economy and the legislative process, see the EPRS publications below.

During the December 2015 plenary session, a debate was held on the circular economy package in the European Parliament. In January 2016, MEP Simona Bonafè (S&D, Italy) was appointed as rapporteur for the four legislative proposals .

EPRS publications:

Circular economy 1.0 and 2.0: A comparison , At a glance, January 2016, 2 p.
Circular economy package: Four legislative proposals on waste , briefing EU legislation in progress, January 2016, 12 p.
Closing the loop: new circular economy package , briefing, January 2016, 9 p.
Review of the EU waste management targets: ‘Circular Economy Package’ , Initial Appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment, January 2016, 8 p.
New circular economy package , At a glance, December 2015, 1 p.
Turning waste into a resource: moving towards a ‘circular economy’ , briefing, December 2014, 8 p.


Circular economy in Europe: developing the knowledge base , EEA, January 2016, 42 p.
This report describes the concept and the main characteristics of the circular economy. It outlines the benefits and the challenges regarding the transition to such an economy and highlights possible ways to measure progress.

EU circular economy package , Sara Priestley, House of Commons Library, December 2015
This brief summarizes the new circular economy package, notably key targets, timelines, and legislative proposals. It includes also initial reactions to the EC proposal.

Circular economy: a commentary from the perspectives of the natural and social sciences , EASAC, November 2015, 18 p.
This commentary considers the benefits foreseen for a circular economy and potential risks for the transition phase. It analyses the barriers to shifting from a linear to a circular economy, the uncertainties over models used in quantifying the benefits, and the potential impact of a circular economy on international competitiveness.

Economic analysis

Towards a circular economy: business rationale for an accelerated transition , Ellen MacArthur Foundation, December 2015, 20 p.
This document is an executive summary of the analysis that the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has conducted to date.
See also all publications

Economic growth potential of more circular economies , WRAP, September 2015, 45 p.
The report outlines how a growing circular economy can deliver economic benefits such as job creation, lower unemployment and increased productivity with examples from the UK and Europe.

Waste to Wealth: Peter Lacy, Jakob Rutqvist, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015 – Executive Summary , 8 p.
This book describes five circular business models based on analysis of more than 120 companies that are generating resource productivity improvements in innovative ways.

Growth within: a circular economy vision for a competitive Europe , McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, July 2015, 98 p.
According to this study “the circular economy, enabled by the technology revolution, allows Europe to grow resource productivity by up to 3 percent annually. This would generate a primary resource benefit of as much as €0.6 trillion per year by 2030 to Europe’s economies. In addition, it would generate €1.2 trillion in non-resource and externality benefits, bringing the annual total benefits to around €1.8 trillion versus today”.
See also the article

Case studies

The New Plastics Economy: rethinking the future of plastics , World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey & Company, January 2016, 118 p.
This report presents the vision of a New Plastics Economy which offers a new way of thinking about plastics as an effective global material flow according to the principles of the circular economy. It provides with examples from the plastic packaging value chain. The report is the result of a three-year effort led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the World Economic Forum and supported by McKinsey & Company.

Unemployment and the circular economy in Europe: a study of opportunities in Italy, Poland and Germany , Emily Coats, Dustin Benton, Green Alliance, December 2015, 32 p.
This analysis shows how development of the circular economy in Europe could impact the jobs market in Italy, Poland and Germany and bring 270 000 people back into work.

Remanufacturing market : study, ERN, November 2015, 146 p.
Remanufacturing is considered an important component of a resource-efficient manufacturing industry and a key strategy within the circular economy. The rapport, written for the European Remanufacturing Network (ERN), provides an overview of the current and potential structure and size of the European remanufacturing industry. Data on remanufacturing is gathered across nine key sectors to reveal economic value, numbers employed and approximate carbon benefits.

The circular economy: barriers and opportunities for SMEs , Vasileios Rizos [et al.], CEPS, September 2015, 25 p.
Analysing two SME circular business models, this paper identifies main barriers and enablers to adopting circular economy business practices. It also overviews the circular economy concept and the EU policy context related to SMEs.

The carbon impacts of the circular economy: summary report , Kimberley Pratt, Michael Lenaghan, Zero Waste Scotland, June 2015, 10 p.
The report quantifies the potential carbon impacts of a more circular economy in Scotland. One of the key findings is that, “regardless of carbon accounting methodology (territorial vs. consumption), a more circular approach could significantly reduce Scotland’s carbon footprint without sacrificing economic prosperity”.

Rethinking the water cycle: how moving to a circular economy can preserve our most vital resource , Martin Stuchtey, McKinsey, May 2015
This article considers water as a product, a resource, and an infrastructure system. It concludes that “since water is the single most important shared resource across all supply chains, and wastewater is the largest untapped waste category – as big as all solid-waste categories taken together – it is the natural starting point for the circular revolution”.

A circular economy for smart devices: Opportunities in the US, UK and India , Dustin Benton, Jonny Hazell, Emily Coats, Green Alliance, February 2015, 42 p.
This report identifies how laptops, tablets and smartphones, which are up to five years old, can be profitably recovered and resold in the UK, US and India. It describes six business models that companies can use to adapt to consumer preferences for lower cost, longer-lasting electronics, and how reuse can bring the benefits of internet connected devices to new consumers in the developing world.

Source Article from http://epthinktank.eu/2016/02/18/circular-economy-the-second-round/