Месечни архиви: February 2017

Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020

Written by Vasilis Margaras,

Finding the appropriate funding sources for a local authority, a public entity, a company or a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) can be a major problem. Information is scattered across many different sources and is often confusing and outdated.

The EPRS ‘Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020’ is a basic introduction to EU funding opportunities for regional and local authorities, NGOs, businesses, professionals and citizens. The objective is to provide an accessible list of the most important EU funds, and to provide potential beneficiaries with appropriate information on the opportunities the funding offers.

Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020

Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020

The guide’s main funding themes are divided in subsections to facilitate research. A number of hyperlinks are included in the text, giving easy access to the source of funding information. NGOs usually receive funding from a number of programmes, such as the European Social Fund, Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens, Horizon 2020, Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the Connecting Europe Facility Programme. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) may be able to secure funding from EU programmes such as COSME, Connecting Europe Facility, Horizon 2020, Regional and Agricultural Policy funds, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The guide, however, also points to funding opportunities to be found in other areas. Possibilities also exist for funding through a combination of different financial resources – much depends on the nature of the project submitted, its scope and priorities.

Applying for EU funds can be a bureaucratic and difficult process, which may require specialist advice. It requires considerable effort, resources and advanced planning. For instance, the application form needs to correspond to the main priorities of the funding call and to underline clearly its planned actions in great detail. Due to the high level of competition for funding, potential beneficiaries also need to prove that their submitted projects have an added value. Even if successful, it may take time for the competent authorities to disburse allocated funding for a project. This often implies that beneficiaries may need to spend part of their own resources to run the submitted projects in their initial stage. Furthermore, as EU funding is subject to various audits, it is important to follow the rules carefully and to respect the amounts stated in the funding bid proposed.

A list of major potential beneficiaries is mentioned at the end of each section of the guide to help the reader, but the list is not exhaustive. As new funding elements emerge on a continuous basis, the guide will be updated regularly.

Download the Guide to EU Funding 2014-2020.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/20/guide-to-eu-funding-2014-2020/

Latest thinking on Brexit [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

The United Kingdom is preparing to meet the deadline it has set itself of end-March 2017 for launching the formal procedure to leave the European Union. Following a UK Supreme Court ruling, triggering Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty now requires that the UK Parliament pass legislation on the matter, a process which is now under way.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech at Lancaster House on Brexit on 17 January and the UK government’s subsequent White Paper were seen by analysts as anticipating a complicated set of negotiations between the UK and the EU, with the UK in effect prioritising control of migration over its continued membership of the single market.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks on the UK’s plans to leave the EU. More studies on issues raised by the vote can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’ in October 2016.

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

© tonsnoei / Fotolia

Devolved external affairs: The impact of Brexit
Chatham House, February 2017

Brexit: The launch of Article 50
European Policy Centre, February 2017

After Brexit: It’s a brave new world
Centre for European Policy Studies, February 2017

Making the best of Brexit for the EU27 financial system
Bruegel, February 2017

Questionable immigration claims in the Brexit white paper
Bruegel, February 2017

A well-managed Brexit is a priority for the entire EU
Centre for European Policy Studies, February 2017

Brexit: Next steps of UK’s withdrawal from the EU
House of Commons Library, February 2017

A year full of challenges (and opportunities) for the EU
Atlantic Council, February 2017

Parliamentarians in Brexit talks: Bulls in a china shop?
Centre for European Reform, February 2017

Brexit, a game of deal or no deal
Carnegie Europe, February 2017

The €60 billion Brexit bill: How to disentangle Britain from the EU budget
Centre for European Reform, February 2017

The view from Brussels: If Britain gets a bad deal, the EU also loses
Open Europe, February 2017

Theresa May sur une voie étroite
Institut Thomas More, February 2017

The process of Brexit: What comes next?
European Institute, UCL Constitution Unit, February 2017

Brexit drama in three acts: Negotiation phases & scenarios
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, January 2017

Is Brexit an opportunity to reform the European Parliament?
Bruegel, January 2017

Europe’s post-Brexit retrenchment
Egmont, January 2017

The debate over Brexit
Council on Foreign Relations, January 2017

L’Europe après le Brexit: Positions et perspectives allemandes
Institut français des relations internationales, January 2017

May’s Brexit will be both hard and risky
Peterson Institute for International Economics, January 2017

Europe is now Britain’s essential relationship
Chatham House, January 2017

The energy sector implications of Brexit
Institut français des relations internationales, January 2017

Theresa May’s Brexit Speech of 17 January 2017: Decoding its clarity and ambiguity
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2017

What does Theresa May’s speech tell us about how Britain will leave the EU
Centre for European Reform, January 2017

What if Mrs May had a strategy for Brexit, and her divided opponents had not?
Egmont, January 2017

What free movement means to Europe and why it matters to Britain
Centre for European Reform, January 2017

Les Européens et les conséquences du Brexit
Fondation Robert Schuman, January 2017

Brexit and the EU budget: Threat or opportunity?
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, Bertelsmann Stiftung, January 2017

Will Brexit revive the Franco-German engine?
European Policy Centre, January 2017

Brexit and the UK creative industry
Bruegel, January 2017

Europeans see more cakery on Brexit
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2017

European defence after Brexit: Flying on one engine?
Egmont, January 2017

Brexit arithmetics
European Council on Foreign Relations, January 2017

What should be Europe’s post-Brexit plan?
Friends of Europe, January 2017

British business strategy, EU Social and Employment Policy and the emerging politics of Brexit
Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, January 2017

German firms relaxed in view of upcoming Brexit
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, December 2016

What will happen with the capital markets union after Brexit?
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, December 2016

European Union Financial Regulation, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union and the UK
Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, January 2017

Scotland knows what it wants with the EU, while London seems still not to know
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2016

Brexit and free movement of people
Institute of International and European Affairs, December 2016

Brexit and Article 50 of TEU: A constitutional reading
UCL European Institute, December 2016

Brexit and Europe’s future: A game theoretical approach
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, December 2016

What next after Brexit? Considerations regarding the future relationship between the EU and the UK
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, December 2016

Six months on, Brexit is shaking up British electoral politics
Chatham House, December 2016

What Brexit and austerity tell us about economics, policy and the media
Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, December 2016

EU economic governance after Brexit: Governing a disintegrating Europe
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Policy Network, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, November 2016

Increasingly apart: Post-crisis growth trajectories in the UK and eurozone
Chatham House, November 2016

Getting Brussels right: “Best practice” for City firms in a post-referendum EU
Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, December 2016

Brexit and its aftermath: Impact and policy recommendations for Asia
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, December 2016

A European “special relationship”: Guiding principles, interests and options for the EU-27 in the Brexit talks
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, November 2016

Policy uncertainty and international financial markets: The case of Brexit
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

Scotland’s choice: Brexit with the UK, independence, or a special deal?
Friends of Europe, November 2016

Free to move: The costs and consequences of restrictions on migration
Institute of Economic Affairs, November 2016

EU external action and Brexit: Relaunch and reconnect
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, November 2016

Invest, devolve, liberate:  A new economic policy in the light of Brexit
Demos, November 2016

Mapping member states’ stances in a post-Brexit European Union
Instituto Affari Internazionali, November 2016

Brexit and the distribution of power in the Council of the EU
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

Brexit and social security in the EU
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/17/latest-thinking-on-brexit/

Ethical and social challenges of agricultural technologies

Written by Mihalis Kritikos with James Tarlton,

‘We shouldn’t hinder technological development, but we should … protect our citizens and our natural resources” is how Marijana Petir (EPP, Croatia), a member of the European Parliament’s STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment) Panel, opened the ‘ethical and social challenges of agricultural technologies – issues for decision-makers’, workshop STOA organised on 25 January 2017 in Brussels.

New agricultural technologies, including gene editing and synthetic biology, whether they modify plant genes or not, can increase yields, improve the way we use natural resources such as land and water, enhance the nutritional value of food and help to feed the world in a more sustainable and efficient way. Their diffusion and public acceptance are often deterred, however, by prospective consumers’ ethical and safety preoccupations.

Ethical and social challenges of agricultural technologies

©Shutterstock/science photo

For some time, societal actors and a wide range of stakeholders have flagged up the need to broaden the scope of authorisation and regulatory frameworks for agricultural biotechnologies, to take into account the relevant socioeconomic and ethical impacts. The principle of including socioeconomic and ethical considerations in biosafety decision-making is a widely debated issue at international, regional and national level, with a considerable impact on the way technologies are introduced and disseminated in society. The speakers at the workshop discussed the grounds for this principle, and how EU policy-makers may adapt it to better account for the potential benefits of new technologies.

Agricultural challenges

European agriculture is currently experiencing considerable strain. Julian Kinderlerer of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, told the audience that 80 % of European land is used for settlements or production systems (such as farms and forestry). European farms use four times more chemicals per hectare than farms in the United States of America. Despite this intensification, concerns remain about ensuring food security in a future of challenges, such as population growth and global warming. Kinderlerer argues that an impact assessment should be performed that takes into account product safety, security and sustainability, how technology may impact on the environment, and the human cost of changing the manner in which food is produced, whenever new technologies are introduced.

‘Synthetic biology’ covers a range of bio-engineering approaches, many of which introduce new potential risks that are not present for traditional GMOs. Helge Torgersen of the Austrian Academy of Sciences noted that some of these technologies result in organisms that are indistinguishable from those developed from breeding, leading to issues with the definition of what should be regulated. Torgersen’s view is that, although new technical containment concepts are necessary, society ultimately needs a political solution: a definition of goals followed by a choice of the adequate organisms for pursuing them.

Anne Ingeborg Myhr of the GenØk-Centre for Biosafety in Tromsø, Norway analysed the Norwegian Gene Technology Act, as a case study illustrating the details of existing biosafety regulations. Myhr noted that the Act establishes that socioeconomic criteria sustainability, the benefit to society, and ethics are important in GMO assessment, prior to cultivation, import and use as food or feed. Myhr discussed the different factors that are currently taken into account in authorisation decisions on GMOs, and the challenge of acquiring all relevant information. Using late potato blight – which accounts for half of all fungicide application in Norwegian agriculture – as an example, Myhr introduced a list of questions that may be considered when deciding whether to approve GMO potatoes that are resistant to the fungus, including the consideration of socioeconomic issues, sustainability and the role of participatory involvement.

The final challenge was introduced by Amir Muzur of the University of Rijeka, Croatia, who spoke about the history of bioethics, focusing on the difference between European and American approaches. In the USA, GMOs are used more widely than in the EU, as European policy-makers are generally more cautious about the use of new agricultural technologies. Muzur successfully demonstrated the congruity of the precautionary principle with the European bioethical tradition.

Comprehensive impact assessment

A recurring theme throughout the workshop was more comprehensive assessment of the potential impacts of new technologies. This could involve policy-making which accounts for public perception and societal acceptance, as well as the potential benefits to society.

A recent STOA study on precision agriculture investigated how new technologies can be used to monitor crops and animals, through targeted intervention, with the aim of addressing some of the major challenges faced by European farming systems. Biotechnologies may also have a part to play in achieving this objective. To get the most out of the new technologies, we may need to reconsider how they are regulated and the terms of their authorisation.


If you missed the event, you can watch it here.


 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/17/ethical-and-social-challenges-of-agricultural-technologies/

Governance of the energy union [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Alex Benjamin Wilson (1st edition),

Long shadow EU map with a wind turbine

© jpgon / Fotolia

On 30 November 2016, the Commission proposed a regulation on governance of the energy union, as part of its ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’ package. The proposal is designed to integrate and simplify planning, reporting and monitoring obligations of the Commission and EU Member States, to make it easier to monitor overall progress and address weaknesses in implementing the goals of energy union, in particular the EU targets on renewables, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions set out in the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework. National energy and climate plans are to be prepared for the 2021-2030 period, followed by progress reports. Both plans and reports will use binding templates, and gain early input from the Commission. The reform includes enhanced measures for public and regional consultation. It also proposes to set up national and EU registries and inventories on greenhouse gas emissions, as a means to assess progress in meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The proposal also outlines some additional measures the Commission can take to ensure EU targets on renewables and efficiency are met.

Versions

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/15/governance-of-the-energy-union-eu-legislation-in-progress/

How will evolving global shifts impact us in 2017?

Written by Naja Bentzen,

Following 2016, a year of shifts and shocks, there is little doubt that 2017 holds potential for much uncertainty. A new EPRS publication, Ten issues to watch in 2017, explores a number of issues – internal and external security, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU (Brexit), the new United States administration, the question of rising inequalities, among other things – that are likely to impact Members’ work in 2017. The publication was launched at an event in the European Parliament Library Reading Room on 7 February 2017.

Forecasting what will happen in 2017 is a particularly tricky task, following the surprises of 2016, noted David McAllister, the newly elected Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, in his keynote speech. We cannot predict what can happen in 2017, but we can certainly prepare for it; we must be ready for the different scenarios that can unravel around major world event, McAllister urged, speaking at an EPRS event for the first time since his election as AFET Chair.

Video: 2017: Another year of shifts and shocks?, David McALLISTER, 7 February 2017

 

The debate was organised by the EPRS in cooperation with Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik; the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) that advises the German parliament (Bundestag) and the German government, as well the EU, NATO and the United Nations. Leading forecast experts from SWP, Oxford Analytica and The Economist Intelligence Unit joined the discussion on the external, internal and institutional challenges we face in 2017.

Politics as usual is not an option

Lars Brozus, senior researcher at SWP, where he coordinates foresight activities, expects another year of radical political uncertainty, characterised not only by the elections in the Netherlands, Germany and France, but also by great power realignments and military and possibly economic wars. Brozus outlined multiple threats to democracy, not least the global democratic recession, evident since 2006, with decreasing voter turnout and less satisfaction with institutions and governance in consolidated democracies. Brozus also sees increasing support for political ‘challengers’; similar to the new voters mobilised in German state elections in 2016; in the UK referendum (with an unexpected turnout of 2.6 million voters, many of whom had not voted for a long time); and in the USA, where the Clinton/Trump race achieved record voter mobilisation in the Primaries. The central message is that politics as usual is not an option. For Brozus, democratic recession will continue in 2017. If the trend towards economic inequality increases and there are further lay-offs in the manufacturing sector – under the assumption that inequality leads to more instability and dissatisfaction with democratic governance – we must brace ourselves for further radical political uncertainty.

Video: 2017: Another year of shifts and shocks?, Lars BROZUS, 7 February 2017

 

‘It’s the politics, stupid’, Joan Hoey, senior analyst and regional manager with the Europe team of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), rephrased Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign phrase ‘it’s the economy, stupid’. The broad anti-establishment backlash seen across Europe and the USA is not simply a reaction to the 2008 economic and financial crisis and the following austerity measures. Hoey explained that its roots go back before the crash: to the end of the post-war boom in the 1970s; the repercussions of the collapse of communism; transformation of the traditional Christian-democrat Conservative right-wing parties, and on the left, the Social-Democratic/Labour parties of the 1980s; the increasingly technocratic nature of politics; and the erosion of representative democracy resulting in growing distrust. This is an expression of a growing crisis of representative democracy, discussed for some years now in the EUI Annual Democracy Index. The crisis has become manifest in the growing divide in values between the political elite and the electorates. Unless we grasp that, the response is going to be inadequate, Hoey warned. Politics will not return to normal once the euro area recovery has gathered pace. The medium and long-term outlook is hardly inspiring, and this can only exacerbate current political fragility.

Video: 2017: Another year of shifts and shocks?, Joan HOEY, 7 February 2017

A race between catastrophe and creative solutions

Graham Hutchings, Principal of Oxford Analytica, a leading international provider of strategic analysis of world events, noted that, even if mainstream candidates from mainstream parties win in the Netherlands, in France, in Germany and elsewhere, this will not be the end of the story. Global society, global economy and the notion of power are experiencing deep, ‘subterranean’ changes. This is manifested in the ‘Brexit’ and Trump ‘dramas’, and the political tremors we see in Turkey, Moscow and Beijing.

Hutchings remarked on the coincidence of major questions arising of a kind that we do not often see in the history of international relations. The global role of the USA and the future of Europe are uncertain. The fragmentation of global power – political, military, cultural, soft, hard – is on the move. Technology is changing the labour market, impacting trade and manufacturing, while we see a simultaneous departure from ‘orthodox’ international values, as exhibited by Russia with regard to the treatment of its neighbours, and illustrated by Turkey’s attitude to democratic norms. China further demonstrates the trend in its challenge to the widely held assumption that a country inevitably becomes more democratic when it reaches a certain level of wealth. Countries with enormous domestic problems, but with the aspiration and potential to influence their neighbours, such as Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Vietnam, and Indonesia, are growing in influence. All these are features of a new international landscape, in which the EU and the US must negotiate, engage – and understand.

Hutchings concluded that the world today is rich in opportunities as much as rich in risk and peril; in a race between catastrophe and creative solutions: ‘The hour has come for visionary leaders, new frameworks, for thinking about the world as it is; not as it might or should be. When did we last hear a really good foreign policy speech? When will the next one come? Who is going to give it? And wouldn’t it be marvellous, if it came from Europe?’

Video: 2017: Another year of shifts and shocks?, Graham HUTCHINGS, 7 February 2017

 

Further reading:

Ten issues to watch in 2017

Economic and budgetary outlook

Photos

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/15/how-will-evolving-global-shifts-impact-us-in-2017/

Promoting renewable energy sources in the EU after 2020 [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Alex Benjamin Wilson (1st edition),

Renewable Energy - Sunlight with solar panel. Wind with wind turbines. Water with dam for hydropower

© Alberto Masnovo / Fotolia

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission launched a legislative package entitled ‘Clean energy for all Europeans’. This includes a recast of the existing Directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources (‘RES Directive’) to help meet the goals of the 2030 EU Climate and Energy Framework, in particular the binding target of a 27 % EU share of RES in final energy consumption by 2030. The recast directive would be aligned to related legislation on governance of the energy union and electricity market design, also proposed as part of the clean energy package.

The recast RES directive provides guiding principles on future financial support schemes for RES, renewable energy self-consumption, renewable energy communities, and district heating and cooling systems. The directive enhances mechanisms for cross-border cooperation, simplifies administrative processes, strengthens the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions savings criteria for biofuels, and outlines measures to mainstream the use of RES in the transport and heating and cooling sector.

Versions

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/15/promoting-renewable-energy-sources-in-the-eu-after-2020-eu-legislation-in-progress/

CETA: Final vote in the plenary session

Written by Krisztina Binder and Wilhelm Schöllmann,

The EU-Canada negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) began in May 2009 and were concluded in September 2014. For the EU, CETA represents the first comprehensive economic agreement with a highly industrialised Western economy.

What’s in the text?

Fig 7 - EU import and export of services to Canada

EU import and export of services to Canada

The agreement’s overall aim is to increase flows of goods, services and investment, to the benefit of both partners. Except for a few sensitive agricultural products, the agreement would remove practically all tariffs on goods exchanged between the two partners. Under the agreement, Canada would substantially open up its public procurement, thereby eliminating a major asymmetry in access to each party’s public procurement markets. The EU also succeeded in securing protection for a large number of European Geographical Indications (GIs) on the Canadian market. Furthermore, provisions on sustainable development seek to ensure that trade and investment supports, rather than damages, environmental protection and social development.

Signature of the agreement

The EU and Canada signed CETA on 30 October 2016, after long discussions. In a total of 38 statements and declarations, Member States, the European Commission and Council explain the basis on which they have signed CETA. Moreover, the Joint Interpretive Instrument declares the negotiating parties’ understanding that CETA does not, among other things, limit countries’ rights to regulate, or endanger public services, workers’ rights, and environmental protection.

Provisional application

As CETA is a ‘mixed agreement’ it needs to be ratified by both the EU and (all) Member States to enter into force permanently. The Council decided in favour of provisional application, on the condition that the European Parliament gives prior consent. Provisional application can only cover those parts of the agreement falling under EU competence. The Council therefore excluded from provisional application, among other parts, investment protection and the Investment Court System, as well as certain elements of the chapter on financial services. The Council envisages provisional application as of 1 March 2017. It states that ‘if the ratification of CETA fails permanently and definitively because of a ruling of a constitutional court, or following the completion of other constitutional processes and formal notification by the government of the concerned state, provisional application must be and will be terminated’.

European Parliament

The Council can conclude the agreement on behalf of the EU only after Parliament gives its consent. The European Parliament has launched the consent procedure, with Artis Pabriks (EPP, Latvia) as rapporteur. On 24 January 2017, the lead Committee on International Trade (INTA) voted in favour of the EP consenting to CETA. The vote in plenary will take place in Strasbourg on 15 February 2017.

Background

Fig 6 - EU import and export of goods to Canada

EU import and export of goods to Canada

Total trade in goods between Canada and the EU grew to €64 billion in 2015, making Canada the EU’s eleventh most important trading partner. In turn, the EU is Canada’s second most important trading partner, after the USA. With investments totalling €165.9 billion (2014), Canada is the third largest investor in the European Union. European foreign investment in Canada reached €274.7 billion, making this country the EU’s fourth most important investment destination.

EPRS Publications:

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/14/ceta-final-vote-in-the-plenary-session/

Double taxation dispute resolution mechanisms in the European Union [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cécile Remeur (1st edition),

Double taxation happens when two (or more) tax jurisdictions impose comparable taxes on the same cross-border taxable event. This can happen since taxation is a sovereign right for individual countries.

© eskay lim / Fotolia

Two scissors with the word tax on the wooden background

The proposal for a directive on double taxation dispute resolution mechanisms in the European Union is instrumental to reducing compliance costs and administrative burdens. It contributes to the broader objective of building a deeper and fairer internal market as well as a fair and efficient corporate tax system in the European Union. The proposal builds on the Union Arbitration Convention, which needs to be updated to improve the existing mechanisms and make them fit the current global tax environment better. This will be done by adding a limited number of rules, and ensuring coordination within the European Union.

Versions

publication of draft report

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/13/double-taxation-dispute-resolution-mechanisms-in-the-european-union-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Safety rules and standards for passenger ships [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Marketa Pape (1st edition),

Big yellow passenger ferry ship, bow fragment

© eugenesergeev / Fotolia

The European Commission, in line with its regulatory fitness and performance programme (REFIT), has evaluated existing EU legislation on passenger ship safety and presented three proposals for directives, aimed at simplifying rules and cutting administrative costs, while at the same time making sea travel safer.

This proposal seeks to clarify the technical requirements introduced by Directive 2009/45/EC, which vessels must respect in areas of construction, stability and fire protection. The Commission proposes to exclude passenger ships below 24 metres in length from the scope, but include ships built from aluminium, and simplify the definition of sea areas. The newly defined standards should provide for uniform national interpretations and make the rules easier to update, monitor and enforce.

Interactive PDF

Timeline

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/13/safety-rules-and-standards-for-passenger-ships-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Outcome of the informal European Council and informal meeting of 27 Heads of State or Government on 3 February 2017

Written by Ralf Drachenberg,

outcome

Ionut Catalin Parvu/Shutterstock

The Maltese capital, Valletta, hosted an informal European Council meeting, as well as an informal meeting of EU-27 leaders on 3 February 2017. The first meeting concentrated on migration on the Central Mediterranean route, while the second looked at the future of the EU and preparations for the approaching 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties on 25 March 2017. EU leaders also discussed the challenges for Europe in the wider global context. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, and the Maltese Prime Minister and President-in-office of the Council, Joseph Muscat, stressed that the Members of the European Council agreed that ‘transatlantic cooperation remains an absolute priority for the EU’. On the eve of the informal European Council, President Tusk met with Prime Minister Muscat, the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

1. Migration

The Members of the European Council issued a declaration on the external aspects of migration, underlining their determination to take additional measures to stem migration flows on the Central Mediterranean route. As foreseen in the EPRS outlook for this meeting, EU leaders welcomed the joint communication on migration of the Commission and High Representative, and agreed to step up cooperation with Libya and other countries in North and sub-Saharan Africa. They reiterated their commitments from previous European Council meetings (16-17 March 2016, 28 June 2016 and 15 December 2016) to the Libyan Political Agreement, and to support the Government of National Accord in Libya and the Libyan coast guard.

EU leaders outlined a list of priority elements for increased EU cooperation with, and assistance to, Libyan authorities, and with international organisations active in the country. These include:

  • supporting the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in increasing assisted voluntary return activities;
  • supporting Libya’s border-management capacity;
  • further disrupting the business model of smugglers through enhanced operational action in cooperation between Libya, international partners, Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations, Europol and the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG);
  • improving the socio-economic situation of local communities in Libya and enhancing their resilience as host communities;
  • ensuring adequate reception capacities and conditions in Libya for migrants, working with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and IOM.

In order to fund these activities, existing instruments, such as the EU-Trust Fund for Africa and the European Neighbourhood Instrument, will be used. European Council Members welcomed the Commission’s intention to mobilise an additional €200 million for the ‘North African window of the Fund’ as a first step for the most urgent funding needs. They also welcomed the memorandum of understanding between Libya and Italy on cooperation to combat illegal migration, human trafficking and contraband and on reinforcing the border, of 2 February 2017, and agreed to support Italy in this cooperation. Prior to the informal European Council meeting, the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj, met with President Tajani, President Tusk, President Juncker and High Representative/Vice President, Federica Mogherini, to discuss the political and security situation in Libya and the support the European Union provides to the Government of National Accord and to the Libyan people.

With the aim of further developing the EU’s external migration policy, EU leaders agreed to ‘identify potential barriers, for example in relation to conditions to be met for returns, and reinforce EU return capacities, while respecting international law.’ They also welcomed the Commission’s intention to update the EU Action Plan on return and to provide guidance for more operational returns by Member States and effective readmission based upon the existing acquis. Heads of State or Government also pledged to be vigilant on the other migration routes, stressing their continued commitment to the EU-Turkey Statement and to support for the countries along the Western Balkans route.

EU leaders agreed that the March and June European Council meetings will review progress on the overall approach to migration. The annotated draft agenda for the 9-10 March 2017 European Council originally did not include migration, which would have made this the first time since April 2015 that a European Council meeting had not addressed this issue.

2. Meeting of 27 Heads of State or Government

Leaders used the occasion of meeting in Valletta to hold discussions among the 27 Heads of State or Government without the United Kingdom, with the objective of preparing for the forthcoming 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties and the planned ‘Rome Declaration’. The discussions were based on an informal concept paper and President Tusk’s letter of invitation outlining his views on the future of Europe. The informal concept paper mentions the ‘renewal of cooperation within the EU’ as the essence of the vision to be presented in Rome. This includes the reaffirmation of the fundamental values of the EU, the need to deliver on the issues which most concern European citizens, and the determination of the 27 Member States to remain united. Prior to the meeting, Mr Tusk stated that ‘the challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome’. He believes that ‘the most important signal that should come out of Rome is that of readiness of the 27 to be united’ and calls for ‘assertive and spectacular steps that would change the collective emotions and revive the aspiration to raise European integration to the next level’.

EU leaders expect the ‘Rome declaration’ to be similar to the Berlin declaration on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the signature of the Treaties of Rome, emphasising the EU’s values and achievements to date. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, indicated that the leaders had focused their discussion on what the EU wants to be in 10 years and the role it should play in the global context. EU leaders are expected to acknowledge in the Rome declaration that there will be a European Union of different speeds, where Member States will not always participate in the same phases of integration. The ‘Rome declaration’ is expected to be further discussed in the margins of the 9-10 March 2017 European Council meeting, whereas the 22-23 June 2017 European Council will examine its operational follow-up.

In his 2016 State of the Union Address, Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, announced the Commission would publish a White Paper in March 2017 on the Future of Europe, setting out ‘a vision for the long term’, including how to strengthen and reform the Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission promised close involvement of the European Parliament, which will hold a debate on the future of the EU on 14 February 2017.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/02/10/outcome-of-the-informal-european-council-and-informal-meeting-of-27-heads-of-state-or-government-on-3-february-2017/