Месечни архиви: юли 2016

Geo-blocking and discrimination among customers in the EU [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Tambiama Madiega (1st edition),

computer online shopping

© georgejmclittle / Fotolia

Geo-blocking practices commonly restrict cross-border sales of tangible goods as well as of electronically supplied services and electronically delivered content services in the EU. The Commission has therefore proposed a regulation which would prohibit traders from blocking access to their online interfaces to customers in another Member State or from automatically re-routing them to a different website for reasons related to the customers’ nationality, place of residence or place of establishment. Foreign customers should be offered the same terms and conditions as local customers. However, audiovisual services would not be covered, with the Commission proposing to address them under the forthcoming copyright reform. While the proposal has been broadly welcomed, a number of specific issues have been raised by stakeholders and scholars.

See also our statistical spotlight on
Cross-border online sales in the EU‘.


EU Legislation in Progress

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/18/geo-blocking-and-discrimination-among-customers-in-the-eu-eu-legislation-in-progress/

The inclusion of financial services in EU free trade and association agreements: Effects on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance

Written by Isabelle Ioannides,

A briefcase with money


The EU has increasingly opened up market opportunities for European business by negotiating trade and association agreements, as well as investment agreements, with key countries. Services, which account for approximately 70% of EU GDP, are an increasingly important part of international trade, especially with the growing role of technology and the mobility of employment. Notwithstanding, concerns are often raised in connection with financial services and regulatory transparency, which have contributed to a number of trade negotiations becoming deadlocked in the past.

Experts have shown that service trade with tax havens is approximately six times larger than with comparable countries whereas no such difference exists in goods trade. Moreover, the consequences of tax evasion are considerable for the EU market: an estimated €1 trillion is lost every year to tax evasion and avoidance. Tax evasion and avoidance by multinational companies, such as that exposed by the ‘Panama Papers’, also constitute a great loss for the developing world. African countries face up to 60% of lost revenue, which has massive implications for development aid and government budgets, and ultimately costs lives.

Against this background, this Ex-Post Impact Assessment examines the implementation and effects of the inclusion of financial services in existing EU free trade and association agreements (FTAs) and, in particular, their impact on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. In doing so, the study seeks to support the European Parliament Members’ scrutiny of ongoing trade negotiations with third partners. It also follows the revelations of the ‘Panama Papers’ affair, which disclosed the extent of the use of offshore shell companies to hide or launder wealth. This new leaked information has put added pressure on, and offered an opportunity to, policy-makers to (re-)act.

The opening analysis, prepared in-house by the Ex-Post Impact Assessment Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service, outlines the geopolitical and trade context, as well as the EU policy framework to combat money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance and the loopholes in the implementation of this framework. The analysis also examines the offshore ties of EU Member States and their relation to the ‘Panama Papers’ leaks. The ‛Panama Papers’ database has shown that every single EU Member State was implicated in the ‛Panama Papers’ affair, but with great discrepancies between the first (the United Kingdom) and the last (Slovakia) on the list. The opening analysis also assesses the consequences of tax evasion and money laundering and their link to trade in Africa. Moreover, it examines EU-Panama trade relations and evaluates the implementation of the EU-Central America Association Agreement, whose trade pillar has been provisionally applied for Panama since August 2013. Finally, it provides a synthesis of the key findings and recommendations presented in the annexed study.

The annexed expertise was drafted by a team of researchers from the Asser Institute and the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands. The analysis of illicit financial flows is at the centre of the researchers’ evaluation of the implementation and effects of the financial services provisions in selected EU FTAs with third countries, and their propensity to curb money laundering, on the one hand, or to be misused for tax evasion and avoidance reasons, on the other. The team of researchers draw conclusions from their study of the FTAs that the EU has signed with Mexico, South Africa, Serbia, the Republic of Korea and Colombia/Peru on the transposition and implementation of relevant provisions in the national legal and institutional systems of these countries. They also evaluate the actual and potential impact of the liberalisation of trade in financial services between the EU and the above-mentioned third countries on money laundering (insofar as it is linked to the use of the international financial system to conceal proceeds of crime) and tax evasion (insofar as this constitutes an aspect of money laundering).

The annexed expertise concludes that the liberalisation of trade in goods and services with developing countries increases the threat of money laundering, and that it is therefore likely to contribute to an increase in illicit financial flows from developing countries to the EU. It does not find conclusive statistical data to support a causal link between the EU FTAs that are in force and an increase in illicit financial flows. It deduces nonetheless that the far-reaching commitments made by the EU and developing countries in the selected EU FTAs on access to the markets for goods and services, including in the financial services sector, translate into such agreements significantly increasing trade openness, and hence also the threat of money laundering facing developing countries. To remedy these threats, the annexed study provides policy recommendations on the scope, content and wording of financial services in EU FTAs, on strengthening the effectiveness of provisions on tax cooperation and anti-money laundering, and on bolstering the effectiveness of existing compliance monitoring mechanisms in EU FTAs.

Read the complete study on ‘The inclusion of financial services in EU free trade and association agreements’.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/18/the-inclusion-of-financial-services-in-eu-free-trade-and-association-agreements-effects-on-money-laundering-tax-evasion-and-avoidance/

The EU and innovation [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

The European Union has long sought ways to foster innovation, starting with support for research and industrial policies in the 1970s, through action plans in the 1990s and the Lisbon Strategy of 2000, to the Europe 2020 strategy of 2010, now updated by the 10 priorities of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to a recent study, innovation policy has evolved to be understood as an umbrella notion, which encompasses research, industrial and education policies, as well as policies key for the innovation process, such as funding, taxation, regulation, standards and intellectual property rights. Efforts to boost innovation are also part of many EU programmes, such as the Digital Single Market.

This note offers links to recent studies and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on problems faced by Europe in supporting innovation.

The innovation ecosystem

The innovation ecosystem

From distraction to action: Towards a bold Energy Union innovation strategy
Institut Jacques Delors, June 2016

How mobile is tech talent? A case study of IT professionals based on data from LinkedIn
Centre for European Policy Studies, June 2016

Rewriting Europe: Five priorities for lasting digital economy
Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, June 2016

New estimate of the size of Dutch ‘Gig Economy’
Fondation Européenne d’Etudes Progressistes, June 2016

From startup to scale-up: Growing Europe’s digital economy
Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal, June 2016

A deepened Single Market for labour and digital innovation: Proposals for higher factor mobility in the Single Market
Jacques Delors Institute, May 2016

The European Union’s Digital Single Market Strategy: A conflict between government’s desire for certainty and rapid marketplace innovation?
Brookings Institution, May 2016

Policies for innovation in times of digitalization: A comparative report on innovation policies in Finland, Sweden and Germany
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, May 2016

E-commerce in Europe: Parcel delivery prices in a Digital Single Market
Bruegel, May 2016

Text and data mining for research and innovation
Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal, May 2016

Competition, growth and regulatory heterogeneity in Europe’s digital economy
European Centre for International Political Economy, April 2016

The European Union’s growing innovation divide
Bruegel, April 2016

Mapping the regional embeddedness of the NMP programme
Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung, April 2016

EU transition towards green and smart mobility: Action toolbox to unleash innovation potentials
Clingendael, March 2016

Competition challenges in the consumer Internet industry: How to ensure fair competition in the EU
Centrum für Europäische Politik, February 2016

Getting the most from public R&D spending in times of budgetary austerity
Bruegel, February 2016

The Israeli lobby for research and innovation in the European Union: An example of efficient cooperation in the European neighbourhood?
College of Europe, February 2016

Europe’s digital future: Focus on key priorities
Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung, February 2016

Innovation in green energy technologies and the economic performance of firms
Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universität zu Köln, February 2016

Can mass migration boost innovation and productivity?
Bruegel, February 2016

Seeing the forest for the trees: Why the Digital Single Market matters for transatlantic relations
German Marshall Fund, January 2016

Digital media and society. Implications in a hyperconnected era
World Economic Forum, January 2016

Mixing and matching research and innovation policies in EU countries
Bruegel, December 2015

Digital skills for the future
Friends of Europe, December 2015

Innovation capabilities and financing constraints of family firms
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, December 2015

The importance of complementary policy for ICT in the EU
European Centre for International Political Economy, December 2015

Die EU auf dem Weg zu einer Datenschutz-Union. Bleibt die Innovation auf der Strecke?
Jacques Delors Institute, December 2015

Government of the future: How digital technology will change the way we live, work and govern
Lisbon Council for Economic Competitiveness and Social Renewal, November 2015

Integration of products and services: Taking the Single Market into the 21st century
European Political Strategy Centre, October 2015

Environmental policies, innovation and productivity in EU
LUISS Lab of European Economics, September 2015

Why is Europe lagging on next generation access networks?
Bruegel, September 2015

R&D networks and regional knowledge production in Europe: Evidence from a space-time model
Europainstitut, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, September 2015

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/15/the-eu-and-innovation-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

Combating terrorism [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Sofija Voronova (1st edition),

Stop terrorism

© makaule / Fotolia

The phenomenon of foreign fighters travelling to conflict zones, mostly in Syria and Iraq, represents a growing threat for the EU and its Member States. Most of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe were perpetrated by ‘home-grown’ terrorists, and at least some of the perpetrators proved to be returned foreign fighters.

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive on combating terrorism, aimed at updating the current framework on criminalising terrorist offences and at bringing EU legislation into line with international developments, such as the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 and the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. The proposal extends the list of offences, to cover receiving of terrorist training, travelling and attempting to travel abroad for terrorism, and funding or facilitating such travel, and also includes provisions on the protection of victims.

The proposed directive has been criticised by several human rights and civil liberties defenders for its possible impact on fundamental rights.


Stage: plenary

Foreign fighters (FF) and returnees by Member State, 2015

Foreign fighters (FF) and returnees by Member State, 2015


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/15/combating-terrorism-eu-legislation-in-progress/

EU-US negotiations on TTIP: State of Play

Written by Laura Puccio,

At the conclusion of the 13th round of negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), held in New York in April 2016, discussions between the European Union and the United States had succeeded in covering all of the agreement’s chapters. The 14th round of negotiations takes place in Brussels from 11–15 July 2016.

See also our Topical Digest on
US Politics and Transatlantic Relations

The USA remains the EU’s top trading partner and export market. Exports of goods to and imports from the USA by EU-28 firms amounted respectively to €371 and €249 billion in 2015. And it is not just ‘big business’ which benefits from the relationship – some 88% of EU firms exporting to the USA were reported to be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 2012. The European Commission has reported that over 10 million European jobs already depend on exports to the USA. In addition to these economic arguments, TTIP has been championed for commercial aims – as a means for building a new model for trade rules – and for geopolitical reasons.

Previous rounds of negotiations

Previous rounds of negotiations

During their 13th round, TTIP negotiations achieved significant progress, especially on regulatory cooperation. By the end of April 2016, there were 17 consolidated documents on the negotiation table; for the remaining chapters there were textual proposals from either the EU or the US side. The USA would like to see the negotiations concluded before the end of the Obama mandate in 2016; the EU Chief Negotiator, Ignacio García Bercero, has stated the commitment of the EU to work toward finalising negotiations in 2016, but only if the substance of the negotiation is right.

However, there is a considerable way to go if agreement is to be reached, as several problematic issues remain:

  • views diverge on the (negative or positive) approach to adopt with regard to offers on the liberalisation of services and the extent of concessions in this area;
  • the extent of US concessions regarding the public procurement chapter;
  • discussions on data flows, which were suspended until the Privacy Shield agreement was confirmed, should have restarted during this July 2016 round, after approval of the Commission’s adequacy decision on the Privacy Shield by the article 31 Committee;
  • EU proposals for extending geographical protection beyond the existing EU-US wine agreement remain controversial for the USA;
  • the investment chapter and the EU proposal for an investment court to replace the US-favoured arbitration system, where discussions have recently re-started;
  • and, finally, EU-US divergence on the sanitary and phyto-sanitary chapter and food safety questions, which remain one of the most controversial issues in the negotiations.

EPRS Publications

Our newly-published in-depth analysis summarises the main EU positions and, depending on the information available, the US positions with respect to the different issues tabled for discussion. We also look at how the Commission took the July 2015 EP recommendations into account in its negotiating positions.

Overview of results from studies on TTIP's economic impact on the EU and the USA

Overview of results from studies on TTIP’s economic impact on the EU and the USA

In addition, a further briefing looks into access to consolidated documents in TTIP. In recent years, trade negotiations have aroused a great deal of public debate, with growing calls for greater transparency. The European Commission responded by making negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) more transparent, and publishing the EU’s official negotiating position. To the contrary, the US position has not been published, as US authorities take the view that releasing classified TTIP documents would impede the negotiations. As a result, access to the consolidated TTIP negotiating documents also remains restricted for the general public.

Lastly, we have also published an infographic in cooperation with Globalstat (EUI), where we provide essential data on existing trade between the world’s two largest economies.



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Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/15/eu-us-negotiations-on-ttip-state-of-play/

Saving the lives of critically ill children

Written by Gianluca Quaglio with Sarah McCormack,

Approximately one in seventy children face critical illness or injury each year in Europe. While there has been substantial improvement in the survival rates of critically ill children in EU Member States over the past three decades, more can be done. Opening a workshop on ‘Improving Outcomes for Critically Ill Children: Innovation and Research Translated to Save Lives’ on 29 June 2016, hosted by the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel, MEP and STOA Chair Paul Rübig highlighted that standards of care need to be raised in Europe.

Moderating the workshop was Professor Peter Rimensberger from the European Critical Care Foundation (ECCF), an organisation that works specifically to improve the care of critically ill patients. The event was co-organised by the European Society of Paediatric of Neonatal Intensive Care (ESPNIC), who are dedicated to promoting and advancing the art and science of paediatric and intensive care.

Leading experts in the field addressed the workshop, including Professor Dan Longrois, board member of ECCF and chair of the National Anaesthesiologists Societies Committee. Professor Longrois explained that ECCF focuses on improving treatment at that crucial point in time when it can make a ‘critical’ difference to mortality and morbidity. ECCF campaigns to trigger action throughout Europe to overcome barriers that affect the way care is delivered.

Paolo Biban from the World Federation of Paediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies, and Verona University Hospital in Italy, underlined that appropriately trained and equipped staff, and specially designated facilities, where parents are constantly involved are vital to the care of critically ill children. However, it was acknowledged that, as a highly specialised service with a relatively small number of child patients, paediatric intensive care is very demanding in terms of resources and staffing qualifications.

Shelley Marsh, a parent representative from the Paediatric Intensive Care Families Group, made a deeply moving speech, sharing her own experience as a mother of a child in intensive care. Highlighting the challenges her family faced, and the support they received, Mrs Marsh brought the issues vividly to life in explaining how specialist staff across four intensive care units saved her daughter’s life.

Joe Brierley, medical president of ESPNIC and consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care and Bioethics in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, examined the dangers of sepsis. Dr Brierley explained that cases of European children with sepsis report mortality rates of 10-20%. The risks of severe sepsis increase due to factors such as chemotherapy and lack of immunisation. Tackling sepsis successfully is highly dependent on early recognition and treatment by trained professionals. Dr Brierley urged better education regarding the dangers and symptoms of sepsis for both healthcare professionals and parents.

Padmanabhan Ramnarayan, consultant with the Children’s Acute Transport Service at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, explained the importance that transport services for critically ill children plays in their treatment outcomes. The existence of specialised teams has been found to improve survival rates. Dr Ramnarayan stressed that data gathering on specialised transport teams, such as that carried out by PICANet, will feed into service improvements.

Dr Karin Becke, chair of the Scientific Subcommittee on Paediatric Anaesthesia of the European Society of Anaesthesiology (ESA) and head of department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Cnopf Children’s Hospital, examined safety issues regarding the use of anaesthesia in children. Acknowledging that incidences of mortality and morbidity in paediatric anaesthesia is higher than that of adults, Dr Becke noted that the risk rises significantly the younger the child, and the less experienced the team. ESA has a paediatric anaesthesia network across 33 countries, providing a foundation for the establishment of unified standards of practice. It also provides the building blocks for a paediatric anaesthesia registry.

Registry-driven studies have also contributed to the improvement of cancer treatment, the second largest cause of death in children. Cases of childhood cancer are on the increase, from 13 children per 100 000 in 1975 to 17 children per 100 000 in 2005. Franco Locatelli, head of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology in the Bambino Gésu Hospital in Rome, urged the EU to invest in innovative, targeted therapies for cancer.

The treatment of critically ill children naturally requires medicines, however less that 8% of pharmaceutical research funding goes to paediatrics. Dick Tibboel, chair of Pharmacology of ESPNIC and director of ICU at the Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam explained that the industry is reluctant to invest in paediatrics – associated with high development costs and low benefits. Evidence-based pharmacotherapy for critically ill children requires better industry collaboration and data transfer freedom within academia.

The differences in quality of paediatric intensive care across Europe are unwarranted. To fix the situation, real-world data is needed, according to Professor Jan Hazelzet, Chief Medical Officer of Erasmus University, and past medical president of ESPNIC. Professor Hazelzet presented the concept of Value-Based Health Care, which seeks to increase the ‘value’ – the best possible outcome from the perspective of the patient at the lowest possible cost – of a therapy. Professor Hazelzet also stressed that improving patient outcomes requires gathering of data.

Summing up, Paul Rübig, reiterated the importance of research in advancing the treatment of critically ill children, and called for greater collaboration between researchers and policy-makers to help improve the outcomes for critically ill children.

If you missed the event, the proceedings are available via webstream.

PaediatricSTOA banner

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/15/saving-the-lives-of-critically-ill-children/

Agriculture in the European Union and United States

Written by Christian Dietrich with Pieter Devuyst,

The EU and the USA are currently negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), an agreement which could have major consequences for trade in agricultural products. In a document explaining the EU’s TTIP proposal on agriculture , the European Commission said that it is aimed at increasing EU-US imports and exports by reducing tariffs and non-tariff protection, while respecting the individual agricultural models and standards of the EU and USA. This infographic gives an overview of EU-US trade in agri-food products, their differences in agricultural structure and policy measures, and their respective shares in global agricultural production.

Download this infographic on ‘Agriculture in the European Union and United States‘ in PDF.

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Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/14/agriculture-in-the-european-union-and-united-states/

US: Economic indicators and trade with the EU

Written by Odile Maisse and Giulio Sabbati (both EPRS),
In cooperation with Laura Bartolini (from GlobalStat | EUI),

Amid an intense public debate on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks, this Infographic provides you with essential data on trade between the world’s 2 largest economies.

This product was jointly produced by EPRS and the European University Institute as part of the GlobalStat Project.

Download this infographic on ‘US: Economic indicators and trade with the EU‘ in PDF.

GlobalStat, a project of the EUI’s Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation aims to offer the best available gateway to statistical data. It is easily accessible, intuitive to use, and free of charge. In just three clicks it offers data from 1960 onwards for 193 UN countries, five continents and 12 political and regional entities – including the European Union – gathered from over 80 international sources. The project, presents data as diverse as income distribution, water resources, housing, migration, land use, food production, nutrition, or life expectancy, which contributes to a better understanding of the interrelations between human living conditions and globalisation trends.

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Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/14/us-economic-indicators-and-trade-with-the-eu/

Cross-border parcel delivery services [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Jana Valant (1st edition),

heap of stacked corrugated cardboard package boxes with trolley on laptop keyboard with selective focus.

Sveta / Fotolia

High prices and the inconvenience of cross-border parcel delivery have been identified as being among the main obstacles to a bigger uptake of e-commerce among European consumers and retailers. Research shows that current cross-border parcel delivery prices charged by universal service providers can be almost five times higher than domestic parcel delivery prices.

To remedy the situation, the European Commission in May 2016 presented a legislative proposal on cross-border parcel delivery services as part of its new e-commerce package. The proposal, which is set to increase the transparency of cross-border parcel delivery prices and improve regulatory oversight, should cost under €500 000 to implement according to Commission estimates.

In their initial reactions, stakeholders have welcomed the move to improve price transparency in the sector, but have been more cautious regarding some other measures. The EU consultative committees have not issued opinions at this stage and national parliaments have until 25 July to react. Within the European Parliament, the file has been assigned to the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) and the appointment of a rapporteur is pending.



Stage: Commission proposal

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/14/cross-border-parcel-delivery-services-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Imports of Belarusian textile products [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Naja Bentzen (1st edition),

Belarus flag with european union flag

Argus / Fotolia

In the light of the ‘positive political developments’ in relations between the European Union and the Republic of Belarus – not least due to Belarusian authorities’ release of six political prisoners in August 2015 – the Commission proposes scrapping the existing autonomous quotas on imports of textiles and clothing originating in Belarus.

To this end, the Commission proposes amending Regulation (EU) 2015/936, which lays down the rules for imports of textile products from certain third countries not covered by bilateral agreements, protocols or other arrangements, or by other specific Union import rules.

As the use of autonomous quotas on imports of Belarusian textile products is very limited, their abolition is deemed to have limited impact on EU trade. The move aims to improve EU-Belarus bilateral relations which have long been impaired by Belarus’s poor human rights record.


Stage: EESC

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/07/13/imports-of-belarusian-textile-products-eu-legislation-in-progress/