Месечни архиви: декември 2016

Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants

Written by Joanna Apap,

Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants

© riopatuca

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has estimated that in 2015, there were globally no fewer than 100 000 unaccompanied migrant and refugee children. Europol has stated that at least 10 000 unaccompanied child refugees have gone missing after arriving in Europe. There are various reasons why a child may be unaccompanied or separated, including persecution of the child or the parents; international conflict and civil war; human trafficking and smuggling, including sale by parents; accidental separation from the parents over the course of their journey; and searching for better economic opportunities.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has identified a number of protection gaps in the treatment of such children, including that unaccompanied and separated children face greater risks of, inter alia, sexual exploitation and abuse, military recruitment, child labour (including for foster families) and detention. In many countries, unaccompanied and separated children are routinely denied entry to or detained by border or immigration officials. In other cases, they are admitted but are denied access to asylum procedures, or their asylum claims are not handled in an age and gender-sensitive manner. Some countries impede separated children who are recognised as refugees from applying for family reunification. Many such children are granted only temporary status, which ends when they turn 18, and there are few effective return programmes. The vulnerable situation of migrant unaccompanied and separated minors worldwide, and the threats they face need to be addressed, particularly with the significant increase in their number in the current ‘refugee crisis’. The 2016 State of the Union speech called for a strong and immediate protection of unaccompanied and separated minors, in line with the EU’s historical values.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Vulnerability of unaccompanied and separated child migrants‘.

Regional statistics (absolute numbers) for migrant children, 2015

Figure 1: Regional statistics (absolute numbers) for migrant children, 2015

Children on the Move Globally in 2015 (absolute numbers)

Figure 2: Children on the Move Globally in 2015 (absolute numbers)

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/23/vulnerability-of-unaccompanied-and-separated-child-migrants/

2016: A Year of Shifts and Shocks [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

2016 may rank as an ‘annus horibilis’ for the European Union – a year when it confronted several simultaneous crises, or a ‘polycrisis’ as the President of the European Commission characterised the situation, including the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, deadly terrorist attacks, migration pressures, growing Russian assertiveness, eurozone uncertainty and the shock-effect of Donald Trump’s election as U.S. President.

This note offers links to selected recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks on those biggest challenges Europe has faced in 2016.


2016: A Year of Shifts and Shocks

© Marco2811 / Fotolia

EU external action and Brexit: Relaunch and reconnect
Notre Europe, Jacques Delors Institute, December 2016

After Brexit: New association agreement between Britain and Europe
Policy Network, October 2016

The UK trade landscape after Brexit
Chatham House, October 2016

How to ensure UK and European financial services continue to thrive after Brexit
Open Europe, October 2016

Brexit: Implications for the EU’s Energy and Climate Policy
Center for Security Studies, October 2016

The impact of Brexit on the EU Budget: A non-catastrophic event
Centre for European Policy Studies, July 2016

The impact of Brexit on the EU’s international agreements
Centre for European Policy Studies, July 2016

Theresa May and her six-pack of difficult deals
Centre for European Reform, July 2016

Europe after Brexit: A proposal for a continental partnership
Bruegel, August 2016

After the UK’s EU referendum: Dedefining relations between the “two Europes”
Fondation Robert Schuman, July 2016

More publications on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in October.


Crime and terror in Europe: Where the nexus is alive and well
International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, December 2016

Global terrorism index 2016
Institute for Economics and Peace, November 2016

Europe’s new counter-terror wars
European Council on Foreign Relations, October 2016

Fear not: A critical perspective on the terrorist threat in Europe
Egmont, September 2016

An EU terrorist finance tracking system
Royal United Services Institute, September 2016

Is terrorism contagious?
Egmont, August 2016

Unveiling the structure of unconventional organized crime investigating and prosecuting criminal networks within and beyond European borders
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, September 2016

Civilian crisis management: Towards a new paradigm
European Union Institute for Security Studies, July 2016

Lessons from history for counter-terrorism strategic communications
International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, June 2016

Can Europe counter new terrorist threats?
Carnegie Europe, June 2016

The fall-out from the Brussels terrorist attacks
European Policy Centre, June 2016

More publications on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in December.


Top 10 migration issues of 2016
Migration Policy Institute, December 2016

EU migration policies after the US elections: Pushing the limits?
European Policy Centre, November 2016

Did 2016 mark a new start for EU External Migration Policy, or was it business as usual?
Institute Affari Internazionali, November 2016

The Greek refugee camps and the reality of migration
Clingendael, November 2016

Managing migration abroad: Why, where, what and how
European Union Institute for Strategic Studies, November 2016

Documenting the migration crisis in the Mediterranean: Spaces of transit, migration management and migrant agency
Centre for European Policy Studies, September 2016

Les Européens et la question migratoire
Fondation Robert Schuman, September 2016

The climate change and migration nexus in a global context: What role for the EU in protecting climate migrants?
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, July 2016

People on the move: The new global (dis)order
European Union Institute for Security Studies, June 2016

Europe and its migration conundrum
Clingendael, June 2016

More publications on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in May.


Heavy metal diplomacy: Russia’s political use of its military in Europe since 2014
European Council on Foreign Relations, December 2016

Pushing back on Russian meddling in Western elections
Carnegie Europe, December 2016

Russia’s new information security doctrine: Guarding a besieged cyber fortress
Finnish Institute for International Affairs, December 2016

Conceivable surprises in Russian foreign policy
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, October 2016

Russia’s challenge to the European security order
German Marshall Fund of the United States, September 2016

Russian Parliamentary Elections 2016: A lifeline is needed for the non-systemic opposition
European Policy Centre, September 2016

EU-Russia: Beyond rivalries?
Notre Europe, Jacques Delors Institute, July 2016

EU-Russia interaction: Dense but tense
European Union Institute for Security Studies, June 2016

Europe and United States must prioritize unity to counter Russia’s aggression
Transatlantic Academy, May 2016

Russian state mobilization: Moving the country on to a war footing
Chatham House, May 2016

More publications on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in October.

President Trump

Can Trump save the euro?
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2016

Lost in transition? US foreign policy from Obama to Trump
European Policy Centre, December 2016

America first… and Europe last? What will the Trump Presidency mean for Europe
Institut français des relations internationales, November 2016

Never waste a crisis: Trump is Europe’s opportunity
Brookings Institution, November 2016

Has Trump reshuffled the cards for Europe?
Egmont, November 2016

Trump’s election foreshadows further divisions in Europe
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

What will President Trump mean for US allies?
Hudson Institute, November 2016

Trump and Europe: The sun sets on the West
Centre for European Reform, November 2016

Europe in the Trumpworld: EU trade and security under the new US executive
European Centre for International and Political Economy, November 2016

More publications on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in November.


European insurance union and how to get there
Bruegel, December 2016

What Millennials think about the future of the EU and the euro
Bertelsmann Stiftung, December 2016

Does the eurozone need a parliament?
Jacques Delors Institute, Berlin, November 2016

Assessing the euro area’s shock-absorption capacity: Risk sharing, consumption smoothing and fiscal policy
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

Did fiscal consolidation cause the double-dip recession in the euro area?
Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, October 2016

Chances and risks of a European unemployment benefit
Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung, October 2016

What are the prerequisites for a euro-area fiscal capacity?
Bruegel, September 2016

The silent death of euro zone governance
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

Euro zone stability still under the threat of a “bad shock”
Luiss School of European Political Economy, July 2016

On the future of EMU: Targeted reforms instead of more fiscal integration
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, June 2016

More publications on the subject can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in September.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/22/2016-a-year-of-shifts-and-shocks-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

Outcome of the European Council of 15 December 2016

Written by Ralf Drachenberg and Suzana Anghel,

Outcome of the European Council of 15 December 2016


As flagged up in the EPRS Outlook for the European Council on 15 December 2016, this European Council meeting concentrated on migration and internal and external security, as well as economic and social development. As events unfolded, EU leaders discussed external relations at greater length, in particular Syria, and found a solution for the Association Agreement (AA) with Ukraine. Martin Schulz, addressing the European Council for the last time as President of the European Parliament, called upon Heads of State or Government to ‘take proper ownership’ of their decisions and to involve the European Parliament, more closely in the ‘migration compacts, the Bratislava agenda and the UK withdrawal agreement’.

1. Implementation of European Council decisions

The European Council’s new working methods include increased follow-up of previous commitments, hence the President-in-office of the Council reported on progress made. The follow-up on new commitments made at this European Council meeting (see table 1) will be reported at future meetings.

Table 1: New European Council requests with a specific schedule

2. Migration

Partnership framework on migration

The High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP), Federica Mogherini, gave EU leaders an update on progress with priority countries (Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal), following which the European Council acknowledged the importance of the partnership framework on migration, envisaging also the possibility of additional compacts, or other forms of cooperation. Partnership framework objectives should be mainstreamed into other external instruments and policies of the EU and its Member States. EU leaders will continue to assess progress on stemming migration flows and improving return rates.

External investment plan and the external lending mandate of the European Investment Bank (EIB)

EU leaders called for swift adoption of the legislative proposal on the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), and on the EIB’s external lending mandate and welcomed the implementation of the EIB’s ‘resilience’ initiative for the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans.

Implementation of the EU-Turkey statement

The European Council endorsed the Joint Action Plan on the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement. European Council President Donald Tusk added that this ‘also requires continued efforts from Turkey’, and hinted at the possibility of an EU-Turkey summit in 2017. The European Parliament called upon the EU leaders to also be critical of Turkey and to freeze the negotiation process.

Reform of the common European asylum system

EU leaders concurred that responsibility and solidarity remain shared objectives. While progress has been achieved in the review of the common European asylum system, further work is required. They invited the Council to reach consensus on the EU’s asylum policy during the next Council Presidency. It was the fifth time in 2016 that Heads of State or Government called on Member States to accelerate their relocation efforts.

Support for Libya

EU leaders called for greater support for the Libyan coastguard including through EUNAVFOR MED / Operation Sophia. Heads of State or Government will discuss Libya and the EU’s approach to the Central Mediterranean route at the next informal European Council meeting, in Malta on 3 February 2017.

3. Security

Internal security

EU leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the European Union Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020, welcomed the agreement on the Counter-Terrorism Directive, and called for swift adoption of related legislation. They called for effective cooperation with electronic service providers based both inside and outside the EU, and called for rapid implementation of the revised Schengen Borders Code.

External security and defence

As expected, the European Council discussed a defence package, including: 1) concrete actions to implement the security and defence component of the global strategy; 2) the European Commission’s European Defence Action Plan (EDAP); and 3) the Council’s proposals to strengthen EU-NATO cooperation within the framework of the Warsaw Joint Declaration. Martin Schultz urged the Heads of State or Government to maintain this momentum. For the first time since the milestone December 2013 European Council, EU leaders have set a clear timetable for a number of specific actions (see table 1 above). The HR/VP was tasked to submit proposals for a permanent operational planning and conduct capability, aimed at streamlining the conduct of both civilian and military EU operations, which is in line with the European Parliament’s position.

The European Council’s welcoming of the Commission’s proposal on an EDAP represents far-reaching progress since, in June 2015, EU leaders called for defence research and technology expenditure to be funded from the EU budget. Previous calls to spend more on security and defence were confirmed, for those Member States that are also members of NATO.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was also invited, has underlined the importance of EU-NATO cooperation. The dialogue is based on the seven areas for cooperation identified by the Warsaw Joint Declaration and its implementing principles. Before the summit, Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Jens Stoltenberg jointly outlined the ‘complementarity’ and the need to step up work.

Security and defence will continue to feature on the agenda in the future, EU leaders said.

4. External relations


The decision taken on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA), which takes into consideration the concerns expressed in the Dutch April 2016 referendum, confirms the EU’s intention to deepen relations with Ukraine, while making clear that the country cannot be granted, now or in the future, candidate country status on the basis of the provisions of the AA. It also confirms that the EU will continue to cooperate with Ukraine on crisis management, underlining however that no ‘collective security guarantees or other military aid or assistance’ are granted. This accommodates the requests of the government of the Netherlands while respecting the aim of the AA. This decision should facilitate the ratification process in the Netherlands.

EU leaders welcomed the outcome of the November 2016 EU-Ukraine summit, which recognised progress in reforms and compliance with visa-free regime conditions. The Parliament and Council are invited to lift visa requirements for Ukraine as soon as a revision of the suspension mechanism is completed. They reconfirmed their commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and international law principles. French President, François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel informed their colleagues about Russia’s non-compliance with the Minsk ceasefire agreement, after which EU leaders agreed on the renewal of economic sanctions against Russia until 31 July 2017. The Council has since prolonged them, on 19 December 2016.


The European Council expressed its strong condemnation of the ‘continued assault’ on Aleppo and, in particular, ‘the deliberate targeting of civilians and hospitals’ by the Syrian regime and its Russian and Iranian allies. EU leaders called for three measures to be implemented as a matter of priority: evacuation of civilians, with priority given to the sick and wounded, under UN auspices; aid and protection for inhabitants of eastern Aleppo, based on principles of international humanitarian law and UN Security Council Resolution 2258; and protection of hospitals and medical personnel, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2286. The Heads of State or Government again stated that breaches of international law, particularly war crimes, cannot remain unpunished, and reaffirmed the EU’s support for post-conflict reconstruction in Syria based on a ‘credible political transition’. The message from Brita Hagi Hasan, Mayor of eastern Aleppo, reminded EU leaders of Aleppo’s needs. Donald Tusk pointed to existing ‘global limitations and problems’ hampering the process. EU leaders mandated the HR/VP to work on a negotiated political solution in view of the reopening of peace talks in Geneva.

5. Economic and social development, youth

Specific measures linked to the objective of the Bratislava declaration and roadmap were addressed.

European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)

In line with previous conclusions, the European Council asked the co-legislators to advance rapidly on the Commission proposal to prolong the duration and to increase the financial capacity of the EFSI, with the agreement reached in Council paving the way for negotiations with the European Parliament. Leaders also noted the agreement of a Council position regarding modernisation of trade defence instruments.

Single Market

EU leaders underlined the need to better exploit the potential of the common Single Market, repeating their June 2016 commitment to complete and implement the various Single Market strategies and the Energy Union by 2018. They also highlighted the importance of reducing barriers to the free flow of data.

Youth initiatives

The European Council called for the continuation of the Youth Guarantee and welcomed the proposed increase in EU financial contributions for the Youth Employment Initiative. EU leaders endorsed the Commission’s ‘Invest in Europe’s Youth‘ initiative, which includes a series of actions in the areas of developing new competences, increasing mobility and modernising education. Also noteworthy is the European Solidarity Corps, offering young people an opportunity to engage in voluntary activities across Europe.

Banking and finance

The importance of completing Banking Union was again highlighted, mentioning the Council’s roadmap. EU leaders welcomed the recent Commission package of measures on strengthening the resilience of EU banks, and called for rapid adoption so as to enhance the stability of the EU’s banking and financial sector. The President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, briefed EU leaders on recent economic developments.

6. Cyprus

Cypriote President Nicos Anastasiades updated leaders on the Cyprus Settlement negotiations. Further negotiations, in which the EU is ready to support, will take place in January 2017 in Geneva under the auspices of the UN and in the presence of the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

7. Brexit

As the informal dinner of the 27 Heads of State or Government without the United Kingdom was cancelled, the 27 leaders held only a short discussion on the procedural arrangements for the negotiation process which will follow the United Kingdom’s expected notification under Article 50 TEU. In the resulting statement, they reconfirmed their position of 29 June 2016 and reiterated their approach of negotiating as soon as the UK has notified. Any agreement will have to be based on a balance of rights and obligations, and access to the Single Market requires acceptance of all four freedoms. European Council President Donald Tusk described the organisational structure of the negotiation process on the EU’s side as ‘the European Council maintaining political control over the process and the Commission as the Union’s negotiator’. He tried to justify the limited role of the European Parliament in the negotiation process, pointing to the specific roles of the various European institutions. Ahead of the European Council, Parliament’s coordinator on Brexit matters, Guy Verhofstadt, supported by the President, Martin Schulz, had strongly criticised the intention to limit the involvement of the Parliament in the negotiation process.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/22/outcome-of-the-european-council-of-15-december-2016/

Financial instruments in cohesion policy

Written by Agnieszka Widuto,

Financial instruments in cohesion policy

© ahasoft / Fotolia

The use of financial instruments in cohesion policy is increasing, as they are considered a resource-efficient way of using public funding. They provide support for investment in the form of loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-sharing mechanisms. In the 2014-2020 programming period, financial instruments can be applied in all thematic areas and funds covered by cohesion policy, combined with grants; and the amounts allocated are expected to double in comparison to the previous period.

The lessons learnt so far from the implementation of financial instruments show that they present both advantages and challenges. Their revolving nature can increase the efficiency and sustainability of public funds in the long term. The requirement to repay can stimulate better performance and quality of investment projects. They can improve access to finance, through targeting financially viable projects that have not been able to obtain sufficient funding from market sources. However, financial instruments can also entail high management costs and fees, as well as complex set-up procedures. Although financial instruments may be a beneficial way to optimise the use of the cohesion budget, in some situations grants can be more effective. It is also important to bear in mind that the primary goal of financial instruments is to support cohesion policy objectives rather than just to generate financial returns. These considerations are likely to feed into the debate on the post-2020 cohesion policy framework.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Financial instruments in cohesion policy‘.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/21/financial-instruments-in-cohesion-policy/

Smart appliances and the electrical system

Written by Nikolina Šajn,

set of flat icons for household appliances

© kira2517 / Fotolia

Smart appliances could help shift demand away from peak periods, which is important for an electricity system that relies on variable renewable energy sources. Most of this move will have to be automated, with smart appliances communicating with the electricity system. However, this is contingent on solving issues regarding the interoperability necessary for coordinating multiple smart appliances and households. It will also require the roll-out of smart meters and dynamic electricity prices, as well as making ‘demand response’ possible in various energy markets.

While consumers seem to have a positive attitude to smart appliances, they are not willing to change their habits unless they achieve substantial financial savings, and are not inclined to deal with control interfaces that are too complicated. Studies show that they are worried about the reliability, privacy and security of these new technologies.

Use of smart appliances could significantly benefit the electricity system when it comes to matching supply and demand in the grid, short-term balancing of the system, and reducing consumption. It could reduce the need for fossil fuel back-up and be conducive to an increased use of wind power. While the benefits seem to be many, the costs are not always clear. The European Commission recognises the potential of smart appliances and advocates development of smart infrastructure. The European Parliament seems to agree, as long as this benefits the consumer and affords a high level of data and privacy protection.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Smart appliances and the electrical system‘.

Smart appliances in smart homes

Smart appliances in smart homes

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/21/smart-appliances-and-the-electrical-system/

Roam like at home by default

Written by Mar Negreiro,

SIM cards represented as flags of European Union countries

© xpiollia / Fotolia

The end of roaming costs within the EU – promised at the political level for over a decade – seems near. Four successive regulations decreased (but did not end) roaming charges for calls, text messages and data by more than 90 %. In 2015, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament agreed on abolishing roaming charges in the EU from 15 June 2017. After that date, the ‘roam-like-at-home’ (RLAH) system should become a reality for all European citizens travelling within the EU.

Before RLAH is fully implemented, an agreement has to be reached on: a regulation on wholesale roaming markets, which reviews the prices that operators charge each other. The Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), in charge of the proposed wholesale roaming markets regulation, has suggested a substantive reduction of the data roaming caps proposed by the Commission, while the Council has suggested in its general approach an increase to the proposed wholesale roaming cap. Trilogue negotiations, started on 14 December 2016, will have to find an agreement by early 2017 to meet the deadline. A related Commission implementing act, which defines a ‘fair use policy’ (FUP) for operators with a view to avoiding ‘permanent roaming’ and other abuses was adopted by the Commission on 15 December 2016, with significant changes from its earlier draft.

While consumers look forward to the prospect of free roaming, small and large telecom operators are worried about recovering their costs at the wholesale level. They also fear that RLAH will bring disruption to competition dynamics and infrastructure investments. The Commission review shows that there is still too much fragmentation in the digital single market (DSM), which poses many challenges.

Policy-makers have to deal with the complex trade-offs that RLAH involves, such as having to balance between protecting consumer interests, keeping political promises and realising the DSM, while promoting competition and investments and preventing market distortions.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Roam like at home by default‘.

estimated wholesale data costs

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/20/roam-like-at-home-by-default/

Japan: Economic indicators and trade with EU

Written by Enrico D’Ambrogio and Giulio Sabbati (both EPRS),

In cooperation with Laura Bartolini (from GlobalStat | EUI),

Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world. Its per capita GDP, though lower than in the past, is still higher than that of the EU. Unemployment is traditionally low. In terms of the Human Development Index (HDI), Japan is better placed than many EU Member States. However, it also has the largest public debt among the OECD countries and slow GDP growth.

The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated may exploit the untapped potential of economic relations. For instance, Japanese FDI inflows to the EU are decreasing, while EU investment in Japan is far from significant, despite a generally favourable Japanese business environment.

Download this infographic on ‘Japan: Economic indicators and trade with 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/2016/12/20/japan-economic-indicators-and-trade-with-eu/

European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility

Written by Balazs Hopp,

European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility

© Fotolia

In 2014 the EU agreed to a clear commitment : to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels across all sectors of the economy. As transport is responsible for 33% of final energy consumption and 23% of total EU emissions, the transition to low-emission mobility is essential to reach the EU’s ambitious climate objectives and to improve the quality of life in our cities.

To set clear and fair guiding principles to Member States to prepare for their future climate actions, on 20 July 2016 the European Commission decided on a package of measures to reduce emissions in the sectors transport, buildings, agriculture, waste, land-use and forestry.

The Package consists of four elements:

  • An overarching message “Accelerating Europe’s transition to a low carbon economy” [ COM(2016) 500 ]
  • A legislative proposal on binding annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions by Member States from 2021 to 2030 [ COM(2016) 482 ] (the Effort Sharing Proposal)
  • A legislative proposal on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change into the 2030 climate and energy framework [ COM(2016) 479 ]
  • A European Strategy for Low – Emission Mobility [ COM(2016) 501 ].

The Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility includes the following main points:

  • Increasing the efficiency of the transport system (digitalisation, road pricing, e-toll systems, multimodality)
  • Speeding up the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport (low emission alternative fuels, second generation biofuels, charging infrastructure)
  • Moving towards zero-emission vehicles (common standards for electromobility, stricter emission standards, emission measuring systems).

This Keysource focuses on the Strategy itself, and contains:- Overviews on the Strategy; – Analysis on the main thematic points of the Strategy; – Stakeholder views (EU Instititutions and NGOs positions);- Statistical publications with focus on enviromental impact of transport.


A European Strategy for low-emission mobility / European Commission (EC), Fact Sheet, 2016

Towards Low-Emission Mobility – Driving the Modernisation of the EU Economy / European Political Strategy Centre, 2016, 7 p.


Digitalisation, road charges, e-toll systems

Study on the Deployment of C-ITS in Europe: Final Report / Ricardo Energy & Environment for EC, 2016, 218 p.
“In recognition of the high potential of С-ITS, the Commission has taken the initiative to develop a strategy on the deployment of С-ITS. This study supports the development of this strategy, principally by carrying out an analysis of the costs and benefits that different deployment scenarios could deliver.” p 7.

Key Performance Indicators for Intelligent Transport Systems – Final Report / AECOM for EC, 2015, 185 p.
“This study was commissioned by DG MOVE to establish a set of common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for road transport Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), with supporting guidance on their application, presentation and reporting.” [from the executive summary]

Road charges for private vehicles in the EU / European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), 2016, 8 p.
“Charging for road infrastructure is an option to implement basic principles of EU policy such as the ‘user-pays principle’ or the ‘polluter-pays principle’. It can serve different functions such as financing, managing traffic flow or making all costs perceptible so as to influence the behaviour of road users.” [from the summary]

Collection and Analysis of Data on the Structure of Road Haulage Sector of the EU / AECOM for EC, 2014, 216 p.
See in particular: Road user charging, p 112-121.
“Although an increasing number of Member States are putting in place road user charging systems, there is a clear and recognised problem with the diversity of current road user charging systems in place. The lack of interoperability between systems and differences in charging principles cause increased burdens for hauliers and administrators and represent a clear barrier to what could be described as a harmonised road charging system. However, a distance based charging system is generally accepted as an ideal solution in the long term.“ [from the executive summary]

Study on “State of the Art of Electronic Road Tolling” / Steer Davies Gleave for EC, 2015
“The principal objective of this study is to provide an overview of those electronic tolling solutions that are available at the current time and those that have potential for the near future. Those solutions are placed in the context of their use in different types of scheme, and to analyse them against a number of different criteria. This provides – for each solution – an evaluation of their cost and relative strengths.” [from the introduction]

Alternative fuels

Deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure / EPRS, At a glance, 2014
“The European Commission has proposed a directive which requires Member States to set in place an infrastructure framework to guarantee supply of the alternative energies for road and waterway transport.” [from the introduction]

Clean Transport – Support to the Member States for the Implementation of the Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Good Practice Examples / D’Appolonia, Ramboll, TM Leuven for EC, 2016, 137 p.
“According to research, the use of alternative/clean fuels is one of the solutions that produce the most significant effects, mainly in the reduction of GHG emissions. This objective will be reachable by breaking the over-dependence of European transport on oil and then with the introduction of the necessary alternative fuels infrastructure.
The build-up of alternative fuel infrastructure will contribute to economic growth and support job creation in a sector of growing importance for Europe and worldwide. This will improve the competitiveness of EU industry in the fields of alternative fuel technologies for all modes of transport – in particular the automotive and shipping industries.” [from the introduction]

Fact Sheets on Alternative Fuels in Member States / D’Appolonia, Ramboll, TM Leuven for EC, 2016, 106 p.
“In order to assess the current state of development of the market as regarding alternative fuels and the implementation of the Directive in each Member State, a questionnaire was prepared and delivered to all Member States to collect information and statistical data. This document provides information and statistics for each EU Member States.” [from the summary]

State of the Art on Alternative Fuels Transport Systems in the European Union / COWI for EC, 2015, 128 p.
This report provides an update of the latest developments in the field of alternative fuels and the market uptake of alternative fuel transport systems and related infrastructure in the EU.

Emission standards, emission measuring

Motor vehicles: new approval and market surveillance rules / EPRS, Legislation in Progress, 2016
“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.” [from the summary]

Measuring on-road air pollution from cars / EPRS, At a glance, 2016
“Although emissions of air pollutants from transport have fallen considerably in recent decades, current levels still have adverse effects on health and the environment. In an implementing regulation on new tests that better reflect real on-road emissions, the Commission sets higher limits than current standards, but below current levels of emissions. A motion for a resolution blocking the Commission draft is due to be submitted to the plenary in January.” [from the summary]

Legal obligations relating to emission measurements in the EU automotive sector study / European Parliament (EP), Policy Department A, 2016, 69 p.
“This study looks at the discrepancy in NOx emissions between type-approval tests and real-world driving. It examines the legal stakeholder obligations with regard to emission measurements in the European type-approval process and offers insights into the practical implementation of type-approval procedures throughout the EU. This study was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS)” [from the abstract]

Evaluation of Directive 1999/94/EC (“the car labelling Directive”) / Ricardo for EC, 2016, 276 p.
“This document summarises the findings from an independent study that has been carried out in support of the ex-post evaluation of Directive 1999/94/EC relating to the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions in respect of the marketing of new passenger cars (the Car Labelling Directive). The scope of the evaluation is all 28 EU Member States, taking into account the wider international context, while the period examined is that since the adoption of the Directive in 1999.” [from the executive summary]

Ex-post Evaluation of Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles / Ricardo for EC, 2015, 252 p.
“This ex-post evaluation covers Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy efficient road transport vehicles (the “Clean Vehicles Directive”). The Directive aims to stimulate the market for clean and energy-efficient vehicles by requiring various procurers to take account of lifetime environmental and energy impacts when purchasing road transport vehicles.” [from the summary]

Stakeholder views

EU Institutions

COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Accompanying the document COMMUNICATION – A European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility / SWD/2016/0244 final, 20.7.2016

Decarbonisation of Transport – Working Document / European Economic and Social Commission (EESC), TEN/609, 2016
The adoption is forseen for the Plenary Session of the EESC of 25-26 January 2017.

Other stakeholders

CLEPA statement on ‘Low-Emission Mobility Strategy’ / European Association of Automotive Suppliers

European Shipowners endorse the global commitment of the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility / The European Community Shipowners’ Associations

EUROBAT welcomes the European Strategy for Low-Emission Mobility / Association for the European manufacturers automotive, industrial and energy storage batteries

European Commission’s “Low-emission mobility strategy” goes through cities / Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

FuelsEurope – Position Paper Transport and GHG reductions / FuelsEurope

EU low-emission strategy a step in the right direction / Freight Transport Association

Auto industry reacts to European Commission’s decarbonisation strategy / European Automobile Manufacturer Association

Policy makers should adopt ‘whole-vehicle’ approach to reducing CO2 from trucks / European Automobile Manufacturer Association

Europe crawls towards low-carbon transport / Transport & Environment

Europe puts up good plan for cleaner transport but forgets to sell it | / Transport & Environment

EIM welcomes the European Commission’s Communication on a low-emission transport sector. / European Rail Infrastructure Managers

Communication on low-emission mobility: Road pavement sector highlights role of road infrastructure / EUPAVE (the European Concrete Paving Association), EAPA (the European Asphalt Pavement Association) and FEHRL (the Forum of European National Highway Research Laboratories)

Reacting to EU Commission plans for a European Strategy for low Emission / European Agri-Cooperatives

EC shows ambition for low-emission transport / European Distribution System Operators’ Association for Smart Grids


SIGNALS 2016 – Towards clean and smart mobility / European Environment Agency, 2016, 65 p.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes Signals annually, providing a snapshot of issues of interest to the environmental debate and the wider public. Signals 2016 focuses on transport and mobility. It looks into how Europe’s carbon-dependent transport sector can be turned into a clean and smart mobility system.

Energy, transport and environment indicators / Eurostat, 2016, 231 p.
The publication provides data for the European Union and its Member States, while some indicators include also data for the EFTA countries and candidate countries and potential candidates to the EU.

Climate change – driving forces / Eurostat, Statistics Explained, 2016
This article analyses underlying driving forces behind greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU. See in particular: 1.3, Transport related emissions.

Sustainable development – transport / Eurostat, Statistics Explained, 2015
This article provides an overview of statistical data on sustainable development in the area of sustainable transport.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/19/european-strategy-for-low-emission-mobility/

Effort Sharing Regulation

Written by Dessislava Yougova,

Effort Sharing Regulation

© iQoncept / Fotolia

The European Union aims to reduce at least 40% of its greenhouse gases emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The main instruments to achieve this target are the EU ETS and the effort sharing exercise that covers the non-ETS sectors, mainly transport, buildings, waste and agriculture. On 20 July 2016 the European Commission presented a legislative proposal to regulate the GHG emissions from these sectors for the period from 2021 to 2030 by setting out binding emission reductions for Member States. The proposed Regulation follows up on the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD), which established national emissions targets for Member States in the non-ETS sectors between 2013 and 2020. The new Commission proposal is a part of a package of measures to accelerate the transition to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the European economy in the context of the recently ratified Paris Agreement on climate change.

According to the latest national projections , the emissions from non-ETS sectors will be lower than the 2020 targets in most Member States. For environmental groups this means that the targets are too weak. They also consider that the new proposal for an Effort Sharing Regulation weakens the EU target of 40% emission reduction by 2030. According to experts , even the 40% target is not enough in view of the Paris Agreement and the commitment to limit the increase in global temperature to well below 2°C. At the same time, some Member States argue that the cost of making the necessary emissions reductions in the non-ETS sectors is too high. Several points from the Commission proposal will be under debate in the Council and Parliament. The rapporteur, MEP Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL) plans to publish his draft report before the end of this year , in order to submit it for voting in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee in May 2017.

See also EPRS briefing Effort sharing regulation, 2021-2030: Limiting Member States’ carbon emissions , September 2016


Objectifs de GES de l’UE pour 2030: la révision de la décision du “Partage de l’effort” entre les états-membres , Charlotte Vailles, I4CE, octobre 2016
Présentation détaillée de la proposition de la Commission

7 takeaways on the Commission’s emissions-cutting package , Kalina Oroschakoff, Sara Stefanini, Politico, July 2016
Introduction to the main points to be negotiated and the Member States’ first reactions to the proposal

Factsheet on the Commission’s proposal on binding greenhouse gas emission reductions for Member States (2021-2030), 20 July 2016
Questions and answers related to the Commission’s proposal


EU Effort Sharing after 2020: Review and ratcheting up EU climate targets , Nils Meyer-Ohlendorf, Ralph Bodle, Ecologic, October 2016, 22 p.
The Paris agreement requires Parties to scale up their commitments every five years. According to this paper, the Commission proposal does not support adequately continuous scaling up of the EU greenhouse gas reduction targets. See also the  comments (September 2016, 4 p.) that overview the positive elements in the proposal as well as the elements that should be improved.

The 2030 Effort Sharing Regulation: How can the EU’s largest climate tool spur Europe’s low-carbon transition?, Carbon Market Watch Policy Briefing, September 2016, 8 p.
According to this briefing, the current 2030 target for reducing emissions in the sectors not covered by the EU ETS is too low to address the global warming challenge and the introduction of loopholes will limit in reality the emissions reduction to 23% instead of targeted 30%.

Starting point + banking: a fatal combination for the ESR?, Transport & Environment, September 2016, 8 p.
This paper explains what the starting point is, why it is important for the achievement of the 2030 target, and what the options to fix it are.

Holding on to the EU’s climate ambition?, Sini Eräjää, BirdLife, September 2016
This brief points out the issue of flexibilities that can be useful, in theory, to ensure cost-efficiency of the measures taken to reduce national emissions but lead, in practice, to the creation of loopholes which allow less reduction of emissions.

National 2021–2030 climate targets for non-ETS sectors , Moritz Bonn, Götz Reichert, CEP, 2016, 4 p.
According to this policy brief all economic sectors should be included in the EU ETS “because only the ETS guarantees that the agreed GHG reduction will be achieved at the lowest possible cost.” Some positive options in the Commission proposal for ESR are highlighted, notably “the ability to transfer excess GHG emission allocations to subsequent years, the ability to sell excess GHG emission allowances to other Member States and the use of emission allowances in non-ETS sectors.”

Evaluation of the European Commission’s Effort Sharing Regulation proposal , CAN Europe, September 2016, 8 p.
According to this brief “the proposed Regulation is not the most ambitious interpretation of the Council’s at least 40% 2030 reduction target, which in itself is too weak to be in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement to keep temperature rise well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.”
See also: A trick list of how countries can avoid climate action in their non-ETS sectors, 15 July 2016, 7 p. and No cheating from the start: 2030 climate targets for EU Member States , July 2016, 9 p.

Première évaluation de la proposition de la DRE pour l’atténuation des émissions de GES en Europe, Nicolas Berghmans, IDDRI blog, 31 août 2016
Ce blog post analyse la proposition de la Commission à la lumière du but des objectifs nationaux qui doivent « inciter les états-membres à adopter d’autres politiques entraînant des réductions plus importantes ». La conclusion est que les dispositions d’assouplissement prévues dans la proposition et les valeurs modestes des objectifs peuvent provoquer un « comportement attentiste » de la part des  états-membres.

Europe, do you dare to share?: Essentials of the draft Effort Sharing Regulation , Thomson Reuters Point Carbon, 22 July 2016, 7 p.
This paper analyses the impact on the effort sharing task of some options such as the distribution of the targets according to member states’ GDP performance, the way the starting point for the ESR reduction pathway is fixed in the proposal, and the Brexit vote.
See also the article in ENDS Europe

Analysis: How UK leaving the EU would increase climate targets for others , Simon Evans, Carbon brief, 20 July 2016
The proposal for ESR is analysed in the context of the 2030 EU climate targets and possible flexibilities, the Brexit vote, and the Paris agreement.

Bend it, don’t break it: Introducing new flexibilities into the EU Effort Sharing Decision , Sandbags, July 2016, 23 p.
This report, written before the publication of the Commission proposal, highlights the issue of enhanced flexibilities and their role in achieving more ambitious cost-effective emissions reductions. The analysis shows that 50% reduction in emissions by 2030 against 2005 levels are achievable and can be delivered cost-effectively.

Stakeholder views

Environment Council: Debate on two proposals on greenhouse gas reductions in the sectors not covered by the EU emissions trading system , 17 October 2016 -video
See also the article in ENDS Europe from 18 October

NGOs: Open letter to environment ministers on the Effort Sharing and the LULUCF Regulations , 14 October 2016
29 organizations from across Europe call MS to ensure that the EU delivers its commitments in the Paris Agreement by taking effective and ambitious action to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
See also Infographic

European Parliament: The coordinators of the ENVI Committee for seven political groups in the European Parliament wrote in June 2016 a letter , asking the Commission to “ensure real world delivery of the proposed targets and make it consistent with the outcomes of the Paris Agreement”.

Stakeholder consultation held from 26 March to 18 June 2015: analysis of the contributions

Related legislative procedure

Procedure file in the EP Legislative observatory

Procedure 2016/0231/COD in EUR-Lex

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/19/effort-sharing-regulation/

Rural areas and poverty

Written by Ana Martinez Juan,

A definition…

Old house in rugged landscape

biker3 / Fotoalia

When it comes to poverty, one of the key issues is defining what it means and how it can be measured. Two types of poverty are generally categorised: absolute or extreme poverty, that identifies the number of people below a fixed real poverty threshold (euros/person/day) and relative poverty, that identifies the number of people whose income is less than a concrete percentage (i.e.: 60%) of the medium household income. The Joint report by the Commission and the Council on social inclusion (March 2004) defines people as living in poverty if “their income and resources are so inadequate as to preclude them from having a standard of living considered acceptable in the society in which they live. Because of their poverty they may experience multiple disadvantage through unemployment, low income, poor housing, inadequate health care and barriers to lifelong learning, culture, sport and recreation”.

Poverty is interrelated with social exclusion , a condition defined by the joint report as “a process whereby certain individuals are pushed to the edge of society and prevented from participating fully by virtue of their poverty, or lack of basic competencies and lifelong learning opportunities, or as a result of discrimination. This distances them from job, income and education opportunities as well as social and community networks and activities”.

Another term associated with poverty is vulnerability . “People are in a vulnerable situation when their personal well-being is put at risk because they lack sufficient resources, are at risk of being in debt, suffer poor health, experience educational disadvantage, or live in inadequate housing and environment” (European Anti-Poverty Network ( EAPN ))

Poverty in the European Union Agenda

Since 2000 the European Union (EU) has provided a framework for the fight against poverty and social exclusion with the Lisbon Strategy (Lisbon European Council, March 2010). The Strategy asked Member States (MS) and the Commission to take actions to contribute on the eradication of poverty by 2010, adopting an Open Method of Coordination in this area. The EU designated 2010 as the “ European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion “. Its main objectives were to raise public awareness and understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and social exclusion and to renew the commitment and practical action of the EU and MS to combat poverty and social exclusion. In 2010, the Lisbon Strategy came also to an end. Since then, the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (March 2010) has included poverty reduction in its five headline targets for 2020. The goal is to  to reduce the number of Europeans living below national poverty lines by 25%, lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020 compared to the year 2008 (116.2 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU-27 in 2008). The achievements of this target are monitored by the indicator “ At risk of poverty or social exclusion ”, consisting in three sub-indicators monetary poverty , severe material deprivation , and very low work intensity .

Rural areas and poverty

Around 119 million people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU in 2015 (Eurostat, October 2016), representing more than 23% of the EU population.

Poverty is not uniformly distributed across the EU and differs among social groups and geographical areas. Focusing on its spatial dimension, in the majority of MS inhabitants of rural areas are more at risk of poverty or social exclusion than urban inhabitants.  In 2014, 27.2% of the rural population were at risk of poverty and social exclusion compared with 24.3 % of the population living in urban areas. These figures vary considerably between MS. The countries with the highest poverty rates in rural areas compared with urban areas are Romania, Bulgaria and Malta. Within rural areas, poverty levels are higher in remote and sparsely populated areas , especially in the Southern and Eastern MS, where poverty is associated to rural isolation .

The report Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rural Areas (2008) identifies four categories of problems that characterise rural areas and determine the risk of poverty and social exclusion. They include: demography (for example, the exodus of residents and the ageing population), remoteness (such as lack of infrastructure and basic services), education (for example, lack of preschools and difficulty in accessing primary and secondary schools), and labour markets (lower employment rates, persistent long-term unemployment and a greater number of seasonal workers). The most vulnerable groups are children, young people, women , older workers, lower skilled workers and the unemployed.

Two concepts commonly used encompass the nature of the poverty facing rural areas: poverty of rural areas and poverty in rural areas . “Poverty of rural areas refers to the existence of certain disadvantages of rural regions, which result in a higher risk of poverty in those areas, when compared to urban areas (for example remoteness, level and quality of education, and labour market opportunities). Poverty in rural areas is a human extension of those disadvantages and it concerns the poverty of people living in rural areas” ( Employment and social inclusion , 2010).

Poverty reduction and EU Rural Development Policy Instruments

While combating poverty and social exclusion is one of the objectives of the Social Policy , especially though the European Social Fund and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived , the purpose of this keysource is not to focus on Social Policy. It intends to describe the instruments provided by EU Rural Development Policy (co-funded by the EU and MS) aimed at promoting social inclusion and poverty reduction. This keysource also provides a selection of information sources about rural areas and poverty.

EU Rural Development Policy 2014-2020 ( Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 ) goes beyond agriculture and forestry and targets wider rural economic development. The inclusion of the priority “ promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas ” as one of the six EU priorities for rural development, plays an important role in creating a wider variety of better quality jobs and in improving the overall local development.  Its specific areas of intervention or focus areas are a) facilitating diversification, creation and development of small enterprises, as well as job creation; b) fostering local development in rural areas; c) enhancing the accessibility, use and quality of information and communication technologies in rural areas. The relevant measures to contribute to this priority are “ basic services and village renewal in rural areas ” and “ LEADER ”, the community-led local development method for mobilising and developing rural communities through local public-private partnerships (local action groups). In a wider scope, one of the three long-term objectives of the EU Rural Development Policy 2014-2020 is to achieve a balanced territorial development in rural areas, including creating and maintaining jobs.

MS have incorporated the EU Rural Development Policy priorities and measures through their Rural Development Programmes (RDPs) of which adoption was completed by the Commission in 2015 (in total 118 RDPs in the 28 MS). According to the Commission, targets for social inclusion, poverty reduction, economic development allocated by MS represent 15% of rural development expenditure.  This budget aims to create 123,500 non-agricultural new jobs in rural areas. 77,500 of these are in relation to diversification actions and creation and development of small enterprises, while 46,000 are from actions aiming at fostering local development in rural areas.

Networking opportunities provided by the European Network for Rural Development ( ENRD ) and the National Rural Network can enhance the cooperation of local actors and improve the quality of the RDPs. ENRD has defined three main areas as working themes for the 2014-2020 programing period, being social inclusion one of them.


Poverty in the European Union the crisis and its aftermath / Marie Lecerf. EPRS publications, in depth analysis, March 2016.
This publication aims to provide recent statistics on poverty and social exclusion in the European Union and to describe how poverty has hit some specific subgroups of European society since the onset of the ‘Great Recession’. The document also aims to analyse what were the main determinants of poverty since 2008 and to discuss recent developments in European poverty reduction policies.

Poverty risk, inequality and social exclusion / Eulalia claros and Verena Kern. DG EPRS, Infographic. December 2014.
The distribution of poverty, inequality and social exclusion varies significantly across EU Member States. Based on 2013 data, this infographic shows who is at risk, how equally disposable income is distributed, and how much MS spend on specific measures to combat poverty and social exclusion.

Simulating Poverty in Europe: the Potential Contributions of Employment and Education to Reducing Poverty and Social Exclusion by 2020 / Mohamed Ihsan Ajwad (et al.). The World Bank, October 2013.
This paper sheds light on the impact of improving employment and education conditions on poverty and social exclusion indicators. More specifically, it answers the following question: Will achieving the Europe 2020 national targets on employment and education lead countries to achieve the Europe 2020 poverty and social exclusion target with no other policy interventions? The simulation model analyzes poverty and social exclusion outcomes in response to changes in education completion rates and employment rates. The model is applied to ten of the European Union’s new Member States — Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia — and the model’s performance is evaluated through a validation exercise.

Structural and Cohesion Policies and the Fight against Poverty / Gonçalo Macedo (et al.). European Parliament, Policy Department B Structural and Cohesion Policies, 2011. See pages 19-26 for the Common Agricultural Policy.
This note examines what role, if any, the EU’s ‘structural policies’ play in fighting poverty and social exclusion. The latter include regional policy, the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy, the Common Transport Policy and education/culture policies. It also analyses these policies and sectors against the background of the economic and financial crisis.


ENRD Workshop on “ The role of LEADER/CLLD and networking in supporting social inclusion in rural areas ”, 17 March 2016. Factsheets of the workshop:

Rural isolation of citizens in Europe / Volonteurope. March 2016.
This report bring together key findings from Volonteurope’s two years campaign on rural isolation, showing that rural regions across Europe do not represent a uniform group. While they are economically and demographically very important, they often lag behind urban and intermediate ones in a number of socio-economic indicators. An ageing and declining rural population is a growing problem in many Member States and improving access to services and infrastructure should be the cornerstone of all rural development initiatives in Europe. Rural isolation is a multidimensional issue requiring a multidimensional response, to combat it governments, businesses, citizens and civil society need to be pulling in the same direction. Rural communities have tremendous development potential, and it is important to recognise and foster this.Diversified investment in rural areas is needed to boost economic growth and employment opportunities.

International day of rural women 2015 compilation of an in-depth analysis and a study: workshop 15 October 2015: study / European Parliament, Policy Department C. October 2015. See particularly 2.3. Income distribution and poverty (pages 16-18).
Women play a major role in civil society and in economic growth in rural areas all over the world and their work is crucial for survival and provides means for households to escape poverty or to improve living conditions. The lowest employment rates among women in predominantly rural areas were found in Italy, Greece, Spain and Hungary. Increasing the rate of employment can help to reduce poverty and thereby improve economic, social and territorial cohesion. The share of population at risk of poverty in thinly populated areas is particularly high in those Member States with high poverty risk in general, particularly in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Spain.

Rural isolation of citizens in Europe / Volonteurope, Policy Brief. December 2014.
This brief aims to introduce the problem of rural isolation, reflect on its realities and negative impact and assess its different dimensions. It also sets out current EU policies that address rural isolation and includes a series of successful and innovative case studies from civil society. The document also sets out a range of recommendations for addressing the problem of rural isolation.

The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: examples of projects supporting social inclusion / European Network for Rural Development, Projects brochure 2013.
Social inclusion projects co-financed by the EAFRD provide support that is tailored to the specific needs of rural areas. This covers dedicated assistance for priority groups from the countryside such as (among others) children in need, disabled people, elderly generations, those suffering from poverty including small farmers in certain Member States, immigrants and ethnic minorities such as the Roma. The projects reveal how EU rural development policy is playing an important role in promoting a more inclusive society and making rural areas a better place to live for everyone. This role will grow in the next programming period (between 2014-2020) since promoting social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas will be one of the EU rural development priorities.

The Territorial Dimension of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe: interim report / ESPON, December 2012.
This report clarifies the concepts of poverty and social exclusion and analyses the policy structures and ethos, the indicators of poverty and social exclusion, the poverty mapping and rationale for social exclusion mapping and some case studies.

The Territorial Dimension of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe: Annex I – Working Paper 1: Review of Concepts of Poverty and Social Exclusion / Hilary Talbot, Ali Madanipour, Mark Shucksmith. ESPON, December 2012.
This report is Working Paper 1 of the TIPSE (The Territorial Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe) project. Its aim is to review the concepts of poverty and social exclusion as evidenced by both academic and policy literature, and to draw out socioeconomic characteristics commonly associated with poverty and social exclusion to provide a theoretical basis for the search for proxy indicators in subsequent work packages of the TIPSE project.

The Territorial Dimension of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe: inception report / ESPON, June 2012.
Poverty and social exclusion are not ubiquitous, there is a high degree of variability across space, both between and within Member States. In addition to this many studies have shown that there are important micro-scale patterns of variation within NUTS 3 regions, and within cities. Achieving an overview, and a better understanding of these patterns is crucial to the success of continuing interventions in support of inclusive growth, for two reasons: (i) Because the geographic patterns provide many clues to the processes which underlie poverty and social exclusion, not least because they point to associations with other socio-economic indicators. (ii) Because it facilitates smarter targeting of policy, and thus minimises “deadweight” effects. The ultimate goal of this project is therefore to improve the evidence base for policy to promote inclusive growth. Reports and annexes of the project Territorial Dimension of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe (TIPSE) are available in its webpage (EPSON).

Poverty in rural areas of the EU / Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, May 2011.
This economic brief examines the latest statistics on the number and percentage of people at risk of poverty in the EU, focusing on thinly populated (rural) areas, and analyses the risk for different age groups and gender.

Employment and social inclusion / European Network for Rural Development. Rural Review Magazine n° 6, winter 2010.
The magazine focuses on three major aspects of the linkage between rural development policy and combating unemployment and social exclusion, namely:

  • Understanding the key employment and poverty challenges facing rural areas and rural stakeholders;
  • Exploring what rural areas and rural stakeholders can do to enhance employment, reduce rural poverty and strengthen social inclusion ; and
  • Identifying what role EU rural development policy and programmes can play in combating poverty and

Rural poverty and health systems in the WHO European Region . World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, 2010.
Globally, poverty tends to have a rural face. In disadvantaged rural areas, the drivers of poverty are also the drivers of ill health. The health system, a determinant of health, is often not sufficiently equipped in rural areas to respond to the needs of the population, contributing to rural−urban health inequities. This short analysis of rural poverty and health systems in the WHO European Region is divided into four main sections: rural poverty in the Region; selected social determinants of health in disadvantaged rural areas; differences in health system performance and health between rural and urban areas; and the implications for health systems. This briefing is a follow-up to key European resolutions, charters and communications on how to reduce health inequities.

Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion in Rural areas . Conference organised by European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, 2009.
The conference aims to highlight the need for enhanced cooperation with the different actors in the field of social policies, agricultural development, regional policy and statistics to fight poverty and social exclusion in rural areas.
Papers of the conference:

Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: final report / Paola Bertolini, Marco Montanari, Vito Peragine. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, August 2008. Summary , main findings and leaflet .
The study, after identifying rural areas in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA), concentrates on fifteen countries for the description of the main features of poverty in rural areas. The fifteen countries are selected in order to present a balanced sample of different geographical regions (Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Europe) and social models. The fifteen countries are fourteen EU countries – Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania – and one EEA country – Norway.

Member States


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Bulgaria / Lilia Abadjieva. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
The Report attempts an overview analysing the background and current situation in Bulgarian rural regions and rural economy. Traditionally, Bulgaria was a rural country where agriculture has been and continues to be an important sector. Agriculture is the dominant activity in the rural household economy. In Bulgaria, poverty in rural areas is extensive, about twice as high as in urban areas. Poverty reduction in the country as a whole requires a substantial emphasis on poverty reduction in rural areas. This in turn depends on progress in generating broadbased agricultural growth, as at least one component of a poverty reduction strategy.


Pauvreté et précarité dans les espaces ruraux: quelle voie pour une lecture géographique du phénomène? / Hélène Tallon. 52e colloque de l’ASRDLF Territoires méditerranées, agriculture, alimentation et villes, Julliet 2015, Montpellier.
L’analyse des dynamiques actuelles des espaces ruraux français apporte au chercheur son lot de paradoxes et de difficultés méthodologiques. Dans bien des cas, indicateurs de précarité et représentations positives de la qualité de vie ne convergent pas. Cette communication pose de manière très exploratoire la question de la prise en main de la problématique de la pauvreté rurale, telle qu’elle se présente aujourd’hui au géographe, en partant d’une analyse de la littérature et des études les plus récentes sur le sujet, couplée à nos observations de terrain.

Les pauvres en milieu rural et notamment les jeunes ruraux et néo-ruraux / Hélène Tallon (et al.). Observatoire national de la pauvreté et de l’exclusion sociale, Novembre 2015.
L’objectif de ce rapport est de mieux comprendre les difficultés vécues par les jeunes et les néo-ruraux dans leur milieu de vie, d’appréhender la représentation de l’espace de ces personnes ainsi que la manière dont ces représentations et ces pratiques spatiales impactent leur processus d’entrée dans la vie professionnelle pour les jeunes ou dans le territoire pour les néo-ruraux. L’audit fait ressortir la nécessité d’objectiver le rôle des collectivités locales et des associations dans leur aide et leur accompagnement des jeunes ou néo-ruraux en difficulté, en particulier dans leurs démarches d’insertion, en observant en particulier le phénomène de non recours aux prestations sociales et dispositifs d’accompagnement.

Pauvreté, précarité, solidarité en milieu rural / Inspection générale des affaires sociales; Conseil général de l’alimentation, de l’agriculture et des espaces ruraux. Ministère de l’alimentation, de l’agriculture et de la pêche, Décembre 2009.
Les phénomènes de pauvreté et de précarité sont, en milieu rural, moins bien documentés qu’en milieu urbain. Dans un premier tome ce rapport dresse un état complet des connaissances sur les phénomènes de pauvreté en milieu rural, notamment : la typologie des habitants concernés, la nature des difficultés rencontrées, leurs effets sur l’activité économique et sur le mode de vie de ces habitants, la nature des réponses apportées. Le deuxième tome est consacré à l’analyse détaillée de la situation dans cinq départements, Nord, Ariège, Seine-et-Marne, Hérault et Creuse.

Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: France / Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
In France, poverty rates are higher in rural districts than in small cities, and slightly higher than in large cities: poverty and social exclusion are persistent phenomena in rural France. this report shows that, after having been neglected for decades, the territorial dimension of poverty and social exclusion has been widely recognized in France, as well as the need for locally specified policy measures. The risk now seems that these measures may be insufficiently focused, unequally activated by the least organized territories and groups, and not everywhere efficiently implemented. More efficient policy interventions could be based upon less ex ante monitoring, better ex post evaluation – including true impact evaluations of some key policy measures – and a real involvement of the State in providing tools and expertise, and in disseminating to the whole territory the lessons learnt by local, experimental projects.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Germany / Achim Vanselow, Claudia Weinkopf and Thorsten Kalina. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
German policies against poverty focus primarily on improving access to work and on certain groups but do not differentiate by regional categories: In its second “Report on Poverty and Wealth” the German Government states that poverty is highly correlated to unemployment and that measures against poverty should primarily aim at creating employment and integrating the unemployed into the labour market. Particular policies for rural areas in Germany remain to be strongly focused on the agricultural sector.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Greece / Nikolaos Bouzas. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
Five main features characterise rural areas in Greece: aging population with low pensions, difficulties in accessing services, gender, age and ethnicity inequalities in entering the labour market. The elderly are becoming a dominant feature of the population, especially in more remote rural areas. Problems in access to services and low pensions (generally low financial means) are the other common features of more peripheral rural areas. Concentration of the main services in urban areas can impact on the quality of life of groups already at risk of social exclusion: health services for elderly or disabled, child care facilities for female workers. The accessibility of schools is an other important question for pupils living in remote and small insular rural areas. Lack of opportunities of jobs and career, that is particularly severe for women and young people, often compels to choose between migrating in semi-urban areas or remaining unemployed/underemployed leading to human resources waste.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Hungary / Gabriella Vukovich. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
In Hungary, inhabitants of villages are more at risk of poverty than inhabitants of towns and cities (the difference between the capital and villages is almost threefold). The smallest settlements have larger proportions of risk groups, which have implications for income poverty and deprivation. Poverty is strongly influenced by household structure. Poverty and social exclusion is more likely in larger families; the risk of poverty in families with more than 3 children is 2.5 times higher than in childless families. There are other factors, such as: level of education, activity status which have a strong influence on the poverty rate.


Older People in Rural Ireland: Income, Poverty and Deprivation / Irish Centre for Social Gerontology,  2012.
This paper is the second in a series that seeks to summarise key features associated with various aspects of ageing in rural Ireland. The paper aims to examine income, poverty and deprivation as experienced by older rural residents. It begins by outlining some of the evidence on income, poverty and deprivation of older Irish rural and urban people, before going on to explore issues associated with deprivation and poverty in rural areas.

Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Ireland / Patrick Commins. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
Over the past decade, Ireland has had a strategic process in motion for combating poverty and social exclusion. This has been developed through various national partnership agreements and expressed through national action plans incorporating key targets and commitments. Institutional structures have been established to support implementation and monitoring, and to provide research information. Consistent poverty rates have declined. A considerable number of programmes and measures contribute, either directly or indirectly, to building an inclusive society. Some, such as housing policy, happen to have the opposite effect. The most effective measures include: employment and job training, EU farm-based payments, increases in social welfare transfers, and community- based programmes implemented locally by representative partnership structures. This overall positive picture cannot be taken to mean that poverty and social exclusion are no longer problematic in Ireland.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Italy / Paola Bertolini (et al.). Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
In Italy rural areas have followed highly differentiated paths resulting in many kinds of rurality: the great variety of social conditions has had implications on the quality of life, which ranges from rural “paradises” (like in Tuscany) to very disadvantaged areas. The Italian Statistical Institute (ISTAT) does not distinguish between rural and urban poverty. The most significant cleavage as regards the risk of poverty is found to be between Northern and Southern regions; this is confirmed by various indicators of deprivation, such as the general conditions of housing or access to services (hospitals, nursery). With regard to specific risks of poverty and social exclusion, three main features characterise rural areas in Italy: aging population, difficulties in accessing services, and gender inequalities in entering the labour market. The elderly are becoming a dominant feature of the population, especially in more remote rural areas. Problems in access to services are the other common feature of more peripheral rural areas.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Lithuania / Ruta Braziene. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
In Lithuania the rural population’ poverty risk was three times higher than for inhabitants of the biggest cities. Rural population are more dependent on social transfers. The highest relative poverty rate is in rural areas and the lowest is in the biggest cities. Below relative poverty rate is almost three times higher for rural than for urban population. Rural areas in Lithuania could be characterized by emigration of young people, decreasing birth rate and ageing of population. Specific rural poor groups are the following: small scale agriculture workers, pensioners, multi child families and social risk families.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Poland / Elzbieta Tarkowska. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
Polish poverty is largely recognized as rural poverty. Surveys conducted by the Central Statistical Office and other institutions show the extent of poverty in rural areas, which surpasses the respective values for urban areas. The research studies (both quantitative as well as qualitative) show also different forms of rural poverty, connected with former state agriculture or with fragmentation of land and lack of financial capital. Specific risks of poverty and social exclusion in rural areas have been identified. Children and youngsters from poor families find it difficult to access education (pre-school and school education); disability represents an important barrier; low labour market opportunities in local areas resulted in mass labour migration; and also, in certain villages, there is an apparent de-population and aging of the population. Another important problem is limited access of rural population to services (pre-school, health service, communication).


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Portugal / Florindo Ramos. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
In Portugal socio-economic features of rural households, housing conditions and demographic indicators do not display any significant difference between rural and urban areas. With regard to specific risks of poverty and social exclusion, two main features characterise rural areas in Portugal: children and aging population. The elderly are becoming a dominant component of the population, especially in more remote rural areas. Problems in access to services represent another common problem of more peripheral rural areas. Concentration of the main services in urban locations can impact on the quality of life of groups already at risk of social exclusion: health services for elderly or disabled, child care facilities for female workers.


Community Centres for Lifelong Learning – An integrated approach to overcome economic, social and educational disparities in rural areas from the West Region of Romania (16-06-2015).
The Romanian Institute for Adult Education (IREA), together with the partners Swiss Federation for Adult Learning (SVEB) , the Romanian-German Foundation (FRG) and the Foundation Centre for Rural Assistance (CAR) , are implementing the project Community Centres for Lifelong Learning . The project has started in January 2015 and will be completed in January 2018. The purpose of the project is to enhance access to education for disadvantaged adults in rural areas.

Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Romania / Oana Gherghinescu. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
In Romania rural population is much more endangered by poverty and social exclusion than urban inhabitants. Rural income per capita is lower with at least 22% than in the urban areas and this gap is increasing. The relative poverty risk in rural areas is more than double as compared to the one in urban areas (42% and 18%, respectively). The rural poor include: Roma households; households with more than 3 children; self-employment and unemployment; low educated people


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Slovenia / Mateja Sedmak, Blaz Lenarcic. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
Three main features which characterize poverty and social exclusion in Slovenia are: access to services, aging population and (youth) unemployment. It is important to stress that the recently proposed draft of The Rural Development Programme for 2007-2013 does not include any issues or actions concerning poverty or social exclusion in rural areas. Likewise, The Reports on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion do not pay any attention to poor or excluded individuals in rural areas. Therefore the main role of agricultural and rural development policies in responding to current dynamics in rural areas is to include groups at risk.


Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: Spain / Elvira Gonzalez. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
Spain is mainly a rural country, with more than 47% of its territory considered predominantly rural, according to the OECD methodology. Despite the importance of rural areas, only 15% of the population live in those areas and they contribute to just 12% of total Spanish GVA. The most worrying trends in terms of rural poverty can be found in the so-called non-competitive inland territories, whereas the coastal and periurban regions have achieved advantageous economic and social conditions. A large share of those areas is located in the northern tableland of the peninsula and in mountainous regions. The excessive population aging, the exodus of youth (especially women), and the decline of the agrarian sector are the main socioeconomic handicaps, which in turn are reflected in the lack of essential social services, transport infrastructures and communications.

The United Kingdom

Poverty and social exclusion in rural areas: UK – Scotland / Philomena De Lima. Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission, 2008.
It is widely acknowledged that rural Scotland is not a single entity and encompasses a wide range of areas from remote rural and island areas to those closer to larger urban settlements and towns. It is recognised that there are a number of risk factors associated with some rural areas in Scotland that results in increasing the vulnerability of some groups and individuals to poverty/disadvantage. These include: weak research and innovation capacity and lack of universities in some rural areas; lack of a strong diverse economic base; limited transport infrastructure increases the isolation and distance from markets for some rural areas; limited employment opportunities and the concentration of poorly paid and seasonal work; and demographic trends which include, ageing population, low birth rates and out migration of young people (DTI, 2006).

Rural isolation, poverty and rural community/farmer wellbeing – scoping paper / Mark Allen. Northern Ireland Assembly, Research and Information Service Briefing Paper, June 2014.
This scoping paper explores the topical issues of rural isolation, poverty and rural community/farmer wellbeing, which have been identified as topics of interest by the Members of the ARD Committee.

Third countries

Sustainable Poverty Escapes: Spotlight on Multidimensional Poverty / Vidya Diwakar. Chronic Poverty Advisory Network, November 2016.
This report focuses on multidimensional poverty, as measured by household deprivations in health, education, and living standards, using panel datasets for Uganda, rural Ethiopia, and rural Bangladesh. The aim of this study is to understand why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it -that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty- while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again, and yet others remain trapped in chronic poverty. In particular, the report investigates the contextual drivers of households that build their resilience capacities, enabling them to escape multidimensional poverty sustainably and minimize the likelihood of remaining in poverty, returning to living in poverty after an escape, or becoming impoverished.

The State of Food and Agriculture: social protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty . FAO, 2015. 151 p.
Key messages:

  • Social protection programmes reduce poverty and food insecurity;
  • Programmes targeted at women have stronger food security and nutrition impacts;
  • Social protection stimulates investment in agricultural production and other economic activities. Social protection enhances nutrition, health and education, with implications for future productivity, employability, incomes and well-being;
  • Social protection does not reduce work effort;
  • Social protection has virtuous impacts on local communities and economies;
  • Social protection, by itself, is not enough to move people out of poverty;
  • There are clear opportunities to leverage social protection and agriculture programmes to further rural development;
  • A national vision is needed of how agriculture and social protection can gradually move people out of poverty and hunger.

Rural Poverty Report 2011 . International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), 2010. Summary of the report.
Released on 6 December 2010, the report contains updated estimates by IFAD regarding how many rural poor people there are in the developing world, poverty rates in rural areas, and the percentage of poor people residing in rural areas.

Platforms, networks and tools

European platform against poverty and social exclusion ( COM/2010/0758 final and SEC/2010/1564 final of 16/12/2010). The European platform against poverty and social exclusion is one of seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is designed to help EU countries reach the headline target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion . The platform was launched in 2010 and will remain active until 2020.

European Anti Poverty Network (EAPN). The EAPN is the largest European network of national, regional and local networks, involving anti-poverty NGOs and grassroot groups as well as European Organisations, active in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. It was established in 1990. At present, EAPN is a network of 31 national networks of voluntary organisations and grassroots groups and 18 European organisations.

Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT). The Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission supports this initiative. More information in the FAQ and in this brochure .


Europe 2020 indicators – poverty and social exclusion / Eurostat, March 2016.

In the majority of Member States, people in rural areas are more at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In 17 Member States, people living in rural areas were at the highest risk of being poor or socially excluded. The countries with the highest poverty rates in rural areas compared with urban areas are Romania (27.1 percentage points higher), Bulgaria (21.4 percentage points higher) and Malta (20.6 percentage points higher). In other countries, such as Austria and Belgium, the opposite is true: a clearly larger share of urban residents live in poverty or social exclusion compared with residents in rural areas or towns. There are also countries, such as the Czech Republic, Finland and Slovenia, where the poverty rates in urban, rural or suburban areas differ only slightly.

Employment and Social Developments in Europe 2011 / Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission, 2011.
Chapter 5.8. Risk of poverty in sparsely populated areas of Southern Europe and New Member States, low work intensity in the towns of Western Europe (pages 130-133).

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/12/16/rural-areas-and-poverty/