Месечни архиви: March 2017

Towards low-emission EU mobility

Written by Marketa Pape,

Illustration of an isolated ambulance icon with the text CO2

© jpgon / Fotolia

While EU transport systems provide the mobility European society needs, they also create severe environmental pressures and are responsible for a quarter of EU greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Transport activity is expected to grow still further and become the largest source of EU GHG emissions after 2030.

Meanwhile, the EU has joined global efforts to limit climate change and pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions significantly. In line with this commitment, it has set out to transform itself into a low-carbon economy. This implies a systemic change towards low-emission mobility, which in turn requires modern and clean transport without compromising European mobility and competitiveness.

The European Commission has put forward a comprehensive strategy for low-emission mobility to accelerate the transformation, focusing on three main areas. Firstly, it seeks to improve transport-system efficiency by employing digital technologies, smart road charging and promoting multimodality. Secondly, it encourages the deployment of low-emission alternative energy for transport, such as electricity and advanced biofuels. And thirdly, it outlines measures for moving towards zero-emission vehicles. In addition, several horizontal initiatives seek to provide coherence between transport and other policy areas and create an environment enabling new digital technologies, research and innovation, energy, investment, and skills.

While reactions to the strategy have mainly been positive, stakeholders also stressed the need for a technology-neutral approach, taking the whole emission cycle and the need for a level playing field between transport modes into account.


Read this complete briefing on ‘Towards low-emission EU mobility‘ in PDF.


 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/23/towards-low-emission-eu-mobility/

Spirit drinks: Definition, labelling and geographical indications [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Tarja Laaninen (1st edition),

Spirit drinks: Definition, labelling and geographical indications

© Jeff Baumgart / Shutterstock.com

In December 2016, the European Commission proposed to replace Regulation (EC) No 110/2008 – the Spirit Drinks Regulation – with a new one, with the aim of aligning it with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The proposal mainly involves grouping the provisions adopted by the Commission into delegated and implementing acts. In addition, it replaces the existing procedures for the protection of geographical indications (GIs) of spirit drinks with new ones, modelled on the recently updated procedures for quality schemes applied to agricultural products.

The purpose and scope of the existing regulation would remain unchanged; the few technical adjustments introduced to its text are only aimed at simplifying and clarifying it. However, according to spirits industry representatives, the proposal contains some substantive changes that need to be studied in detail to determine their impact. The procedure is still in its initial stages.

Interactive PDF

Stage: National parliaments

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/23/spirit-drinks-definition-labelling-and-geographical-indications-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Understanding social dumping in the European Union

Written by Monika Kiss,

schwarzarbeit

© lekcets / Fotolia

Although a recurring term in discussions related to working mobility, wages and the social security of workers, social dumping has neither a generally accepted definition, nor easily definable limits. It is rather a set of practices on an international, national or inter-corporate level, aimed at gaining an advantage over competitors, which could have important negative consequences on economic processes and workers’ social security. Examples include actions taken by actors from ‘low wage’ Member States to gain market advantage over actors from Member States with higher pay and social standards; multinational companies from ‘high wage’ countries searching for ways to avoid legal constraints by employing subcontractors from low-wage countries; and companies engaging cheaper and more vulnerable temporary and agency workers, or relocating production to lower wage and less regulated locations. Social dumping takes different forms in different sectors.

Suppressing social dumping is a component of different regulations on working mobility, undeclared work, and the status of transport workers. However, as the legislative competence of the European Union is limited in the labour law domain, soft law and social dialogue are also used to tackle the phenomenon. Several cases before the Court of Justice of the EU (such as the Viking and the Laval cases) show that the applicable EU rules can only be effective if adequate implementation and enforcement by the Member States is guaranteed.

In September 2016, the European Parliament adopted an own-initiative resolution on social dumping, calling for a number of actions to reinforce controls, close regulatory gaps, revise working conditions and promote social convergence.


Read this complete briefing on ‘Understanding social dumping in the European Union‘ in PDF.


Social policy fields relevant for the movement of workers

Social policy fields relevant for the movement of workers

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/23/understanding-social-dumping-in-the-european-union/

Hybrid mismatches with third countries [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cécile Remeur (1st edition),

Two scissors with the word tax on the wooden background

© eskay lim / Fotolia

Hybrid mismatch is a situation where a cross-border activity is treated differently for tax purposes by the countries involved, resulting in favourable tax treatment. Hybrid mismatches are used as aggressive tax planning structures, which in turn trigger policy reactions to neutralise their tax effects.

When adopting the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive in July 2016, the Council requested that the Commission put forward a proposal on hybrid mismatches involving third countries. The amendment proposed by the Commission on 25 October broadens the provisions of the directive accordingly. It seeks to neutralise mismatches by obliging Member States to deny the deduction of payments by taxpayers or by requiring taxpayers to include a payment or a profit in their taxable income.

As this is a tax measure, Parliament is consulted only, and the proposal will be adopted by the Council. The Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee is preparing Parliament’s opinion.

Versions

Stage: National Parliaments opinion

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/22/hybrid-mismatches-with-third-countries-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Risk-preparedness in the electricity sector [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Gregor Erbach (1st edition),

Risk-preparedness in the electricity sector

© piotrszczepanek / Fotolia

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation on risk-preparedness in the electricity sector. This proposal addresses shortcomings in the existing legislation, notably a lack of regional coordination, and differing national rules and procedures. It would replace the existing legislation, and establish common rules on crisis prevention and crisis management in the electricity sector. Regional interdependencies would be taken into account in the preparation of national risk-preparedness plans and in managing crisis situations. The proposed regulation would enhance transparency by requiring an ex-post evaluation of crisis situations.

In the European Parliament, the proposal has been referred to the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), which has appointed its rapporteur.

Versions

Stage: National parliaments

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/21/risk-preparedness-in-the-electricity-sector-eu-legislation-in-progress/

EU support for social entrepreneurs

Written by Agnieszka Widuto,

Web

© Julien Eichinger/ Fotolia

Social enterprises combine social goals with entrepreneurial activity. They represent a business model focused on having a positive social or environmental impact rather than simply making profit for shareholders. Social enterprises make a valuable contribution to the economy and society, operating mainly in local communities and covering areas such as education, healthcare, social services, work integration and environmental protection. They are also an increasingly popular choice for outsourcing certain public services of general economic interest.

Social enterprises encounter challenges in their operations, mostly related to regulatory obstacles and difficulties in accessing funding. At EU level the momentum gained by the Social Business Initiative of 2011 is currently being supplemented by regulatory changes such as the review of the regulation on the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds, improving access to public procurement and developing methodologies for measuring social impact. The EU is also making efforts to improve funding opportunities, for instance via the Social Impact Accelerator and the ‘microfinance and social entrepreneurship’ axis of the Employment and Social Innovation programme. Additional funding is made available under the European Structural and Investment Funds, as well as programmes tailored to small and medium-sized enterprises. Expansion of the social economy, however, requires further development of a supportive regulatory environment, a tailored financial ecosystem, and also increased visibility and recognition.


Read this complete briefing on ‘EU support for social entrepreneurs‘ in PDF.


Revenue streams for social enterprises in Europe

Revenue streams for social enterprises in Europe

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/21/eu-support-for-social-entrepreneurs/

Recovery and resolution of central counterparties (CCPs) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Carla Stamegna (1st edition),

Vibration Damper isolated on white background Clipping Paths

© wichientep / Fotolia

In recent years, the role and systemic importance of central counterparties (CCPs) has expanded with the gradual implementation of the obligation to centrally clear liquid and standardised over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives. The relevant EU regulatory framework lays down prudential requirements for CCPs, as well as requirements regarding their operation, oversight and risk management. No harmonised EU rules, however, exist for the unlikely situations in which these standards prove insufficient to address major financial or operational difficulties that CCPs may incur or their outright failure. The international standard-setting organisations have developed standards for the recovery and resolution of financial market infrastructures, including CCPs. In a 2013 own-initiative resolution, the Parliament called on the Commission to prioritise the recovery and resolution of CCPs and reiterated this request in a 2015 resolution on building a capital markets union. In November 2016 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation requiring CCPs to prepare recovery measures and providing resolution authorities with early intervention and resolution powers.

Versions

Stage: Commission proposal

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/21/recovery-and-resolution-of-central-counterparties-ccps-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Costica Dumbrava (1st edition),

Refugees need help

© route55 / Fotolia

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a large-scale information database that supports external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen states. It enables competent authorities, such as police and border guards, to enter and consult alerts on certain categories of wanted or missing persons and lost or stolen property. In December 2016, the European Commission put forward a legislative package containing several proposals aimed at responding more effectively to new migration and security challenges. One of these proposals is focused on extending the use of the SIS for returning illegally staying third-country nationals. In particular, this proposal introduces an obligation for Member States to enter all return decisions in the SIS. The main aims of the proposal are to enhance the enforcement of the EU return policy and to reduce the incentives to irregular migration to the EU. The other parts of the package concern making more effective use of SIS in border checks and allowing access for law enforcement purposes.

 

Versions

Stage: EESC

 

Illegally staying third-country nationals, return decisions and effective returns

Illegally staying third-country nationals, return decisions and effective returns

SIS alerts on persons

SIS alerts on persons

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/20/use-of-the-schengen-information-system-for-the-return-of-illegally-staying-third-country-nationals-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Revision of the Schengen Information System for border checks [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Costica Dumbrava (1st edition),

circular border with Table with check sheet vector illustration

© laufer / Fotolia

The Schengen Information System (SIS) is a large-scale information database that supports external border control and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen states. It enables competent authorities, such as police and border guards, to enter and consult alerts on wanted or missing persons and lost or stolen property.

In December 2016, the European Commission put forward a legislative package containing several proposals aimed at responding more effectively to new migration and security challenges. One focuses on improving and extending the use of the SIS in the field of border checks. It provides for more effective use of fingerprints and facial images in the SIS and would oblige Member States to record all entry bans issued to third-country nationals staying illegally in their territory. The package also includes proposals to revise the rules of the SIS in the field of police cooperation and judicial cooperation in criminal matters and to establish a new role for the SIS in the return of third-country nationals staying illegally in the territory of a Member State.

Versions

Stage: EESC

Detections of illegal crossings of EU external borders (in millions)SIS alerts (in millions)

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/20/revision-of-the-schengen-information-system-for-border-checks-eu-legislation-in-progress/

The Western Balkans and the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

View of the historic town of Pocitelj, Bosnia and Herzegovina

© dinosmichail / Fotolia

European Union heads of state and government reiterated support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans at their meeting on 9 March, and underlined that the situation in the region was fragile due to internal and external challenges. Despite relatively good economic growth prospects, the Western Balkans’ reform progress has been slow, rule of law weak, and corruption persistent. Many Western and local politicians are also concerned about the increasingly prominent role of external players in the region, mainly Russia, but also China, Turkey and the Gulf states.

From the Western Balkans, only Croatia has so far joined the EU, in 2013. Accession talks continue with Montenegro and Serbia. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are official candidates, with Albania hoping to formally open negotiations soon. Bosnia and Herzegovina formally applied for EU membership in 2016, but along with Kosovo, it has a potential candidate status at present.

This note offers links to a series of recent studies from major international think tanks and research institutes on problems faced by the Western Balkans. More reports on the EU enlargement process can be found in a previous edition of ‘What think tanks are thinking’.

Balkans: Boosting connections on the road to the EU
Friends of Europe, March 2017

The demise of EU enlargement policy
Hellenic Foundation for European Foreign Policy, March 2017

Between survival and development: Think tanks in the Western Balkans
On Think Tanks, February 2017

The Western Balkans on their way to the EU: Status quo regardless of refugees
Europeum, February 2017

Noch mehr Distanz zum Westen. Warum sich Ankara nach Moskau orientiert
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, January 2017

Examining the role of constitutional courts in Post-Yugoslav transitions: Conceptual framework and methodological issues
Analitika, January 2017

The Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU: Unbreakable ties with the candidate countries
European Policy Centre (Belgrade), January 2017

Turkey’s role in the Western Balkans
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, December 2016

Advocacy strategy for the EU integration of the Western Balkans
Slovak Foreign Policy Association, January 2017

The EU’s enlargement strategy: Is it working?
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2016

The Western Balkans migratory route: Perspectives and persisting challenges
European Policy Centre, December 2016

Back to basics: Re-affirming the rule of law in the Western Balkans
Institut Alternativa, December 2016

Hidden economy in Southeast Europe: Building regional momentum to mitigate its negative effects
Centre for the Study of Democracy, December 2016

Fighting corruption in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Priorities for reform
Transparency International, November 2016

Policymaking in the Western Balkans: Creating demand for evidence beyond EU conditionality
Centre of Excellence on Policymaking Systems in the Western Balkans, November 2016

Economic governance in the Balkans: Towards a more sustainable path of economic development?
European Policy Centre, November 2016

EU enlargement after Brexit: Temporary turmoil or the final nail in the coffin of enlargement?
EUROPEUM, November 2016

The future of the EU and the Western Balkans: A view from Serbia
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, European Movement in Serbia, November 2016

Europe reaches its Balkan crossroads
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, October 2016

Why is the EU enlargement stuck?
Confrontations Europe, October 2016

EU enlargement in the Western Balkans in a time of uncertainty
Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, September 2016

Shadow power: Assessment of corruption and hidden economy in Southeast Europe
Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity, September 2016

Why Croatia matters to the Western Balkans
Carnegie Europe, September 2016

Effects of the pre-accession assistance (IPA) on strengthening of administrative capacities in the Western Balkans: A meta-audit of the European Court of Auditors
European Policy Centre (Belgrade), September 2016

Neuer Islamismus und islamische Radikalisierung am Balkan: Aktuelle Entwicklungen und Gefahrenpotentiale
Österreichische Institut für Internationale Politik, June 2016

Elusive development in the Balkans: Research findings
Österreichische Institut für Internationale Politik, June 2016

Improving competitiveness in the Balkan region: Opportunities and limits
Österreichische Institut für Internationale Politik, June 2016

A narrative explanation of breakpoints and convergence patterns in Yugoslavia and its successor states 1952-2015
Österreichische Institut für Internationale Politik, June 2016

Studies on individual countries

Macedonia at the crossroads: Is peaceful transfer of power possible in authoritarianism?
The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, March 2017

Economic cooperation between Albania and Serbia
Albanian Institute for International Studies, January 2017

How effective is the EU as a mediator? The case of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
College of Europe, January 2017

Elections in FYROM: The end of the two-year political crisis or more of the same?
Hellenic Foundation for European Foreign Policy, December 2016

Dynamics of radicalization and violent extremism in Kosovo
United States Institute of Peace, December 2016

Montenegro: Elections aftermath and the European Commission’s 2016 country progress reports
Open Society European Policy Institute, November 2016

Challenges of local government units in the fight against corruption: An assessment of the anti-corruption system in 20 municipalities of Albania
Institute for Democracy and Mediation, October 2016

The shadow worker: Hidden economy and undeclared labor in Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo
Centre for Research and Policy Making, Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Democracy for Development, October 2016

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/03/17/the-western-balkans-and-the-eu-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/