Месечни архиви: December 2017

EU sport policy and issues [Topical Digest]

Sport has a significant impact on the European Union’s economy and society, and its importance is ever growing. It is a field in which the EU’s responsibilities are relatively new. In the 2014-2020 period, a specific budget line is for the first time available under the Erasmus+ programme to support projects and networks in the area of sport. 

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Physical inactivity in the EUState aid in sport: Striking a difficult balance
Briefing by Ivana Katsarova, June 2017
The European Commission decisions on state aid for sports infrastructure adopted up until recently revealed a consistent and favourable approach towards aid measures for sports infrastructure. In the process, the Commission has translated some recurring general principles into operational exemption criteria. Building on those principles, in 2014, the Commission’s General Block Exemption Regulation clarified the types of sports infrastructure investment that should be considered exempt from the EU’s general laws on state aid.

Audiovisual rights in sports events: An EU perspective
Briefing by Ivana Katsarova, March 2017
Premium live sports content attracts large audiences, drives TV subscriptions upwards and generates advertising for broadcasters. With no foreseeable end to the rush for premium sports rights, the dramatic intensification of competition in the past 20 years has led to a steep increase in the pricing levels of audiovisual rights. In 2009, EU broadcasters spent around €5.8 billion on the acquisition of rights, representing nearly 17 % of their total €34.5 billion programming spend. This briefing outlines the regulatory framework under which audiovisual sports rights agreements are negotiated in the EU.


Read this Topical Digest on ‘EU sport policy and issues‘ in PDF.


Good governance in sport
Briefing by Vivienne Halleux, January 2017
Historically, sports organisations have enjoyed considerable autonomy in running and regulating sport. This autonomy, strongly defended by sports authorities as a means to safeguard the inherent sporting values from external influence is increasingly being challenged, and made conditional on compliance with good governance principles, including those of democracy, transparency, accountability in decision-making, and representative inclusiveness. The EU’s action for good governance in sport, mainly taking the form of recommendations and financial support for specific initiatives, has delivered some concrete outcomes, including the development of a set of principles applicable to organisations across the whole sports movement.

Match-fixing: Issues and policy responses
Briefing by Ivana Katsarova, April 2016
Match-fixing, i.e. the manipulation of results of sporting contests, or elements within a game, is considered as one of the most serious problems facing sport. Globalisation has further aggravated the phenomenon, with transnational criminal organisations taking advantage of changes in regulations, and flaws in legal and judicial systems. Certain sports, notably cricket, football and tennis, seem particularly affected. In the EU, the Framework Decisions on combatting corruption and the fight against organised crime underpin the operational work carried out on this issue by Europol and Eurojust. However, their provisions are still insufficiently well enacted by EU countries, while the impact of international legal instruments, such as the United Nations and Council of Europe conventions, is also limited.

Physical education in EU schools
Briefing by Ivana Katsarova, November 2016
The low levels of physical activity among children and adolescents in the European Union are alarming and have become a matter of great concern for policy-makers, since physical inactivity is responsible for over 500 000 deaths per year and accounts for economic costs over €80 billion per year. Physical education is part of all central curricula in the EU, and is compulsory in primary and secondary education. However, on average, just under 70 hours per year are dedicated to the subject.

‘Third-party ownership’ of football players
At-a-glance note by Vivienne Halleux, January 2016
Third-party ownership, also known as third-party investment in players, has been much debated in recent years. Defenders see it as a much-needed and legitimate source of external funding for clubs. Opponents highlight ethical and moral issues regarding the treatment of players and the integrity of competition. FIFA’s decision to ban the practice has reignited the controversy, and triggered legal challenges before the European Commission. 

Anti-corruption measures in EU sports policy
At-a-glance note by Vivienne Halleux, June 2015
Corruption and good governance in sport have been a constant concern for the EU since the very beginning of its sport policy. Its approach rests mainly on structured dialogue and cooperation with relevant competent organisations, sports movement and bodies, and financial support for projects and networks.

EU sport policy – An overview
In-depth Analysis by Vivienne Halleux, September 2015
The paper describes the emergence of an EU sport policy, emphasising the developments since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. Following an overview of key policy documents, tools and structures, a few examples are presented to illustrate how the policy is evolving. Special attention is given to the issue of the integrity of sport.

Infographic Sport and physical activity in the EU, September 2017

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/31/eu-sport-policy-and-issues-topical-digest/

European Week of Regions and Cities [Topical Digest]

Modern green city powered only by renewable energy sources concept

© adrian_ilie825 / Fotolia

Organised by the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions on 9-12 October 2017, this year’s European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC) will be focusing on the theme of Regions and Cities working for a better future. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the EWRC has grown to become the world’s largest regional development event, bringing together local and regional representatives, beneficiaries of EU policy, and EU institutions, for four days of workshops and debate. As discussions get under way on the future of cohesion policy post-2020, this year’s Week of Regions and Cities provides Europe’s regions and cities with a unique platform to put forward the local perspective on the future shape of cohesion policy. The three main areas covered this year are: building resilient regions and cities, regions and cities as change agents, and sharing knowledge to deliver results. This Topical Digest contains a selection of briefings produced by EPRS on regional and cohesion policy. 

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Challenges for EU cohesion policy – Issues in the forthcoming post-2020 reform
Briefing by Vasilis Margaras, European Parliamentary Research Service, September 2017
The debate on the shape of the post-2020 cohesion policy is well under way. Stakeholders have identified a number of principal issues or questions in this regard, relating to the operation of the policy itself as well as its impact and relationship with other EU polices. These include how cohesion policy can best contribute to the twin objectives of competitiveness and cohesion, the issue of how to identify the most efficient form of support, and the way in which cohesion policy addresses new or growing challenges such as migration. Simplification of the policy for beneficiaries, flexibility, the importance of achieving better governance, and the contribution of cohesion policy to the EU’s economic governance are all widely debated as well, while the UK’s departure from the EU will likely have a significant impact on the EU budget and on the financial envelope for cohesion policy. The European Commission has published a number of white papers on the future of the EU that provide further ideas for reflection on the overall functioning and priorities of the Union. These reflections also have repercussions for cohesion policy. 

Delivering the Urban Agenda for the EU
Briefing by Christiaan van Lierop, European Parliamentary Research Service, September 2017
Our towns and cities are home to nearly three quarters of the EU’s population, and most EU policies concern them, be it directly or indirectly. With a shared vision of urban development having gradually taken shape at inter-governmental level, the European Commission launched a public consultation following its July 2014 communication on the urban dimension of EU policies, which showed broad support among city stakeholders for an Urban Agenda for the EU. Parliament has also prepared an own-initiative report on the issue, as part of a process that led to the signing of the Pact of Amsterdam on 30 May 2016, a clear political commitment to deliver an Urban Agenda. Past months have seen visible progress in delivering the Urban Agenda. Recent developments include the publication of background papers by four partnerships, whose action plans are expected soon, and the process looks set to expand further following the 2016 UN Habitat III conference in Quito, which identified the Urban Agenda for the EU as the EU’s main delivery mechanism for the UN’s New Urban Agenda, a roadmap for global sustainable urban development. 


Read this Topical Digest on ‘European Week of Regions and Cities‘ in PDF.


Harnessing globalisation for local and regional authorities: Challenges and possible solutions
Briefing by Vasilis Margaras, European Parliamentary Research Service, September 2017
Globalisation has various positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, economic opportunities can emerge. Exports may flourish, companies may find new global customers, knowledge may be easily circulated, and trade may pick up, thus stimulating economic growth. However, globalisation can also have disadvantages. For instance, various EU industries (e.g. coal, steel, iron, shipbuilding, automotive and textiles) have been affected by global competition, and have had to downsize their activities. Cheap imports of non-EU manufactured goods have led to the decline of various EU industrial sectors, but also to relocations, closures and redundancies. In addition, globalisation has an environmental, demographic, technological and cultural dimension. The impact of globalisation therefore affects the activities and development of regional and local entities within the EU. In order to address all these issues, the European Commission has presented a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation. This briefing addresses some of the most important challenges that globalisation brings to EU regions, with ideas for tackling these challenges. 

Cities: Front line of climate action
Briefing by Vivienne Halleux,, European Parliamentary Research Service, October 2017
Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change challenge and delivering on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In the European Union (EU), many cities are leading the way in this regard, taking action in three areas central to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions – namely, buildings, energy supply, and transport – and acting as living laboratories of climate-change-related innovation. The EU supports cities in their efforts by providing guidance, promoting experience- and knowledge-sharing, fostering cooperation, and funding climate action. Climate-relevant initiatives are in place in various policy fields, the most high-profile being the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, which currently counts some 7 600 signatories. Easing access to climate funding and strengthening the role of cities in climate governance are among the main challenges ahead, and the main demands of city associations. The latter issue is being examined by the European Parliament, notably in relation to the proposal for a regulation on energy union governance. Two own-initiative reports exploring the role cities play, first, in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and, second, in the EU’s institutional framework, are also under preparation. 

Implementation of macro-regional strategies
Briefing by Christiaan van Lierop, European Parliamentary Research Service, September 2017
While each macro-regional strategy is unique in terms of the countries it brings together and the scope of its policies, they all share the same common aim: to ensure a coordinated approach to issues that are best tackled together. Building on the success of the pioneering 2009 European Union strategy for the Baltic Sea region, this form of cooperation has since become firmly embedded in the EU’s institutional framework, with four strategies now in place. Every two years, the European Commission publishes a report to assess the implementation of these strategies, most recently in 2016. With the views of stakeholders and other players helping to complete the picture, it is possible to identify a number of challenges common to all macro-regional strategies, in areas such as governance, funding, political commitment and the need to be more result oriented. Parliament is also involved in this debate, with the Committee on Regional Development now preparing a report on the implementation of macro-regional strategies. As plans for a new Carpathian strategy emerge, the importance of consolidating the position of macro-regional strategies within the future cohesion policy framework has arguably become more important than ever. 

Partnership within cohesion policy
Briefing by Christiaan van Lierop, European Parliamentary Research Service, September 2017
Lying at the heart of the EU’s cohesion policy, the partnership principle was strengthened in the 2014-2020 cohesion policy framework, with the Common Provisions Regulation requiring the creation of partnerships for all European structural and investment fund (ESIF) programmes and introducing a new European Code of Conduct on Partnership. Problems remain, however, with stakeholders voicing concerns about how partners are selected, the quality of the consultation process and the low take-up of stakeholders’ views, leading to calls for the partnership principle to be strengthened post-2020. In June 2017, Parliament adopted a resolution on increasing engagement of partners and visibility in the performance of European structural and investment funds. Appreciating the value that partnership adds to the implementation of EU public policies, Parliament argues that the partnership principle and multi-level governance model can contribute to better communication of EU policy objectives and results. 

EU support for social entrepreneurs
Briefing by Agnieszka Widuto, European Parliamentary Research Service, March 2017
Social enterprises combine social goals with entrepreneurial activity and 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. Expansion of the social economy, however, requires further development of a supportive regulatory environment, a tailored financial ecosystem, and also increased visibility and recognition. 

Regional competitiveness in the EU
Briefing by Agnieszka Widuto, European Parliamentary Research Service, July 2017
Competitiveness has been an important issue on the EU’s agenda for several decades. Understood in a more comprehensive way – as including both productivity and prosperity – it can be seen as a way to create favourable business conditions for companies and to increase people’s living standards. In the 2016 edition of its Regional Competitiveness Index, the European Commission presents a ranking of regions according to their attractiveness for both firms and residents. Data on the diverse dimensions of the Index, such as innovation, education and institutions, can help authorities to identify regional strengths and aspects to be improved. Increasing regional competitiveness is also a task relevant to EU cohesion policy. While the main role of EU regional funding is to ensure cohesion and reduce disparities between regions, competitiveness is important for supporting dynamic regional development. Therefore, the right balance in the policy mix between supporting competitiveness and convergence is required. 

EFSI and ESI funds – Complementarity or contradiction?
Briefing by Vasilis Margaras, European Parliamentary Research Service, January 2017
Shortly after beginning its 2014-2019 mandate, the European Commission proposed a new Investment Plan for Europe, often referred to as the ‘Juncker Plan’. It is based on three mutually reinforcing strands: firstly, the mobilisation of at least €315 billion in additional investment over the next three years, maximising the impact of public resources and unlocking private investment through the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI); secondly, targeted initiatives to ensure that this extra investment meets the needs of the real economy; and thirdly, measures to provide greater regulatory predictability and to remove barriers to investment. The European Parliament was generally positive regarding EFSI, however, there were criticisms regarding its scope, remit and overall output in the European economy. One of the issues raised in policy fora is the complex relationship between EFSI and the European structural and investment funds as well as EFSI’s overall impact on the territorial cohesion objective of EU regional policy. 

Financial instruments in cohesion policy
Briefing by Agnieszka Widuto, European Parliamentary Research Service, December 2016
With their use increasing in cohesion policy, financial instruments provide support for investment in the form of loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-sharing mechanisms. In the 2014-2020 programming period, they may be applied in all thematic areas and funds covered by cohesion policy, combined with grants, while the amounts allocated are expected to double in comparison to the previous period. Their revolving nature can increase the efficiency and sustainability of public funds in the long term and improve access to finance by 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. 

Research for REGI Committee – Building Blocks for a Future Cohesion Policy: First Reflections
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, April 2017
The reform of the EU budget and policy priorities in the post-2020 MFF comes at a difficult time for the EU, with major internal and external challenges. The challenges for economic, social and territorial cohesion remain profound. However, there are also competing pressures on the EU budget, such as keeping net payers’ contributions within acceptable limits and striking the right balance between overarching EU goals and new challenges. Once again, cohesion policy is under pressure to justify its value in relation to EU political objectives. This study discusses the main themes relating to post-2020 cohesion policy, the rationale and overall framework of the policy, current and future challenges, and the post-2020 delivery system. 

Research for REGI Committee – Cohesion policy and Paris Agreement Targets
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, June 2017
This study examines experience of the mainstreaming of climate policy objectives into cohesion policy in the current (2014-2020) and earlier programming periods, including with respect to its urban dimension, and to territorial cooperation. It identifies the implications of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and makes recommendations for further development of climate mainstreaming in cohesion policy in future programming periods.

Research for REGI Committee – Integrated use of ESI funds to address social challenges
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, July 2017
The study aims to analyse the implementation of integrated approaches under the ESI funds in addressing challenges to social inclusion, such as integration of migrants and refugees. Programme logic of intervention, combinations of thematic objectives, synergies with other EU policy instruments and the use of integrated tools are analysed for a set of programmes. Conclusions and recommendations are set out for 2014-2020 and the next programming period. 

Research for REGI Committee – Indicators in Cohesion Policy
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, May 2017
GDP per capita is the sole criterion for identifying specific conditions of eligibility to benefit from the structural funds. This criterion does not really reveal the well-being of local people. This study examines alternative measures, such as final consumption expenses or a more sophisticated synthetic index, and their impact on the eligibility of the regions. The impact of the UK referendum is examined, using both the current criterion and alternative ones.

More in the Graphics Warehouse

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/30/european-week-of-regions-and-cities-topical-digest/

EU integration process of the Western Balkans [Topical Digest]

Word cloud for European integration

© intheskies / Fotolia

The Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have developed long-lasting relations with the EU in their efforts to join the Union. At the 2003 Thessaloniki Summit, the six received unequivocal confirmation of a future within the EU. However, over the years, the EU has adjusted its conditionality, putting a stronger focus on key areas such as rule of law, and democratic governance, to name just two, but expected progress has faltered. Economies have not developed fast enough, either. The overall slow pace of reforms, the increasingly uncertain domestic context, coupled with growing influence of external actors like Russia, Turkey and others, and the EU’s own difficulties have complicated the case for enlargement. In recent months, the Western Balkans have come under the spotlight of EU attention. In January 2017, the European Parliament’s AFET committee held a debate on the tensions in the region. In March, the European Council sent a positive signal of support to the Western Balkan Six, and the Commission President, in his State of the Union address, highlighted their credible enlargement perspective.
Many challenges remain, but 2018 promises new dynamics in the enlargement process. The Western Balkans are a priority of the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. The European Commission will adopt a strategy for the region in early 2018, and the next enlargement package is due in the spring. Moreover, two dedicated summits will be held in Sofia and in London, the latter as part of the Berlin process. This renewed EU engagement, if backed with strong local determination to carry out reforms, could lead to advances on each country’s EU path. Accession talks are ongoing with Montenegro (now a NATO member) and Serbia. Albania expects to start accession talks soon, and FYR Macedonia is striving to catch up with reforms and resolve its name issue with Greece to unblock its EU bid. BiH is completing its questionnaire for obtaining candidate status, and Kosovo plans to apply for it in 2018.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

2016 Enlargement package: Prospects for the Western Balkans
Briefing by Velina Lilyanova, January 2017
The Commission’s 2016 enlargement package focused on complex long-term reforms as part of the ‘fundamentals first’ approach, and highlighted that enlargement policy continues to deliver results, albeit slowly and unevenly.

Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II)
‘How the EU budget is spent’ briefing by Martin Svášek, June 2017
IPA II helps candidate and potential candidate countries to adopt the reforms needed to qualify for EU membership. Under the current MFF (2014 to 2020), the IPA II allocation is €11 698.67 million, or 1.8 % of the total MFF.


Read this Topical digest on ‘EU integration process of the Western Balkans‘ in PDF.


Anti-corruption efforts in the Western Balkans
Briefing by Velina Lilyanova, April 2017
Anti-corruption reform is a key EU requirement and while it has proven to be an incentive for reforms, the latest assessments show that corruption continues to permeate the region.

Media freedom trends 2017: Western Balkans
‘At a glance’ note by Velina Lilyanova, May 2017
Media freedom continues to be undermined by systematic shortcomings, and remains a priority reform area. In recent years, the region has seen a trend of media deterioration and has not made progress in addressing challenges.

Youth challenges and opportunities in the Western Balkans
Briefing by Velina Lilyanova, September 2017
Young people from the region are confronted with multiple challenges: high unemployment levels, outdated education systems, ‘brain drain’ and poor intra-regional mobility, all of which require urgent measures to be taken.

External actors influence in the Western Balkans
‘At a glance’ notes by Gisela Grieger, Velina Lilyanova, Philippe Perchoc and Martin Russell
The six Western Balkan states aspire to join the EU, but a variety of external actors, such as the United States, Russia, Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia, are also active in the region and their role is not be under-estimated. Some of them, building on historical, cultural, economic or religious ties, have sought greater involvement in recent years, raising controversy and concerns about the potential consequences for the region.

Further reading

The Berlin Process and the Trieste summit 2017
‘At a glance’ note by Velina Lilyanova, July 2017
The Western Balkans’ Berlin process: A new impulse for regional cooperation
Briefing by Velina Lilyanova, July 2016
Rights and empowerment of women in the Western Balkans
Briefing by Velina Lilyanova, June 2017
EU enlargement, Western Balkans and Turkey: What Think Tanks are thinking
Briefing by Marcin Grajewski, October 2017
The Western Balkans and the EU: Enlargement and challenges
Briefing by Velina Lilyanova, September 2016

More in the Graphics Warehouse

Enlargement: state of play

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/29/eu-integration-process-of-the-western-balkans-topical-digest/

Social Summit – Gothenburg 2017 [Topical Digest]

Social Summit 2017Deepening economic and monetary union (EMU) and achieving ‘Social Triple A’ status, which should be a tool to contribute to fair and balanced growth, decent jobs and labour protection, is one of the priorities of the current Commission. In this context, in April this year, it presented the European Pillar of Social Rights, to serve as a reference for a renewed process of convergence. It sets out 20 principles and rights to support the renewal of current labour markets and welfare systems. The main issue around the Pillar and the broader topic of the future of Social Europe is how these principles and rights will be implemented, so that they reach all and lead to real upward convergence. Related to this issue is the rather limited competence of the EU in the social field, and the very different developmental paths of EU Member States. In this context, the Gothenburg Social Summit will provide an open forum for EU Heads of State or Government, the social partners and other key stakeholders to discuss how to promote fair jobs and growth across the different EU Member States.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Reflection paper on the social dimension of the EU
Briefing by Nora Milotay, June 2017
The paper addresses two major issues in the social and employment fields: the main challenges that Member States are facing, and the added value of the various EU instruments available to tackle them. The Commission is proposing three alternative scenarios: an exclusive focus on the free movement of workers, development of a multispeed Europe, and genuine deepening of economic and monetary union across the EU-27. The successful implementation of the European pillar of social rights and related initiatives will depend a great deal on the outcome of this reflection process.

NEETs: Who are they? being young and not in employment, education or training
Briefing by Marie Lecerf, March 2017
In 2015 in the European Union, 12 % of 15 to 24-year-olds (6.6 million people) were not in a job, training or an internship. This social group is highly diverse, including short- and long-term unemployed people, young people in transition, young people with family responsibilities, and people with disabilities or medical conditions. In response to the NEET situation the European Commission drew up an EU Youth Strategy for the 2010-2018 period, whilst the European Parliament defended the NEET cause. The Youth Guarantee scheme created as a result is the European Union’s key measure to provide support to NEETs.


Read this Topical digest on ‘Social Summit – Gothenburg 2017‘ in PDF.


Understanding social dumping in the European Union
Briefing by Monika Kiss, March 2017
With no existing definition, social dumping is considered to be a set of practices on an international, national or inter-corporate level, aimed at gaining an advantage over competitors, which could have significant negative consequences for economic processes and workers’ social security. Suppressing social dumping is a component of different regulations on working mobility, undeclared work, and the status of transport workers. Applicable EU rules can only be effective if adequate implementation and enforcement by the Member States is guaranteed.

Fostering social innovation in the European Union
Briefing by Nora Milotay, January 2017
Social innovation is gaining increasing importance in the public, private and third (i.e. non-profit) sectors, and can contribute greatly to addressing the growing challenges, such as migration, poverty and global warming. The EU particularly promotes social innovation through employment and social policies, as well as policies on the single market. The main initiatives explicitly target the governance and funding mechanism of social innovation with varied impact. To make these initiatives more effective, it is important to know more about the impact of social innovation, including its social and environmental value and the importance of these for the economy.

Further reading

Measuring social progress in EU regions
Briefing by Agnieszka Widuto, EPRS, November 2017
Measuring social impact in the EU
Briefing by Nora Milotay, EPRS, May 2017
Risk of precariousness: Results from a European working conditions survey 2010-2015
In-depth analysis for the EMPL Committee, Policy Department for Economic and Scientific Policy, European Parliament, March 2017
The collaborative economy: Socioeconomic, regulatory and policy issues
In-depth analysis for the IMCO Committee, Policy Department for Economic and Scientific Policy, European Parliament, February 2017
Digital skills in the EU labour market
In-depth analysis by Monika Kiss, January 2017

Source: EPRS Graphics Warehouse

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/28/social-summit-gothenburg-2017-topical-digest/

Implementing the Paris Agreement – EU and global climate action [Topical Digest]

A year after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, implementation by the EU, its Member States and other parties, is well under way. The EU is in the process of adopting legislation and other measures to implement its climate and energy policy for the next decade, in line with its international commitments.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

COP23 Bonn 2017

© Fijian Presidency of COP23

Domestic implementation through EU climate action

Post-2020 reform of the EU Emissions Trading System
‘Legislation in progress’ briefing by Gregor Erbach, April 2017
Reform of the EU Emissions Trading System for the period 2021-2030, contributing to the achievement of the 2030 EU climate targets while protecting European energy-intensive industries from the risk of carbon leakage.

Effort sharing regulation, 2021-2030: Limiting Member States’ carbon emissions
‘Legislation in progress’ briefing by Gregor Erbach, July 2017
Proposal for a regulation to limit post-2020 national emissions of greenhouse gases in the sectors not covered by the EU emissions trading system, such as transport, buildings and agriculture.


Read this Topical digest on ‘Implementing the Paris Agreement – EU and global climate action‘ in PDF.


Financing the transition to clean energy in Europe
Briefing by Gregor Erbach, October 2017
To meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions must be near zero in the second half of this century.

Land use in the EU 2030 climate and energy framework
‘Legislation in progress’ briefing by Gregor Erbach, September 2017
The proposed regulation regards the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from the land-use and forestry sectors in the EU 2030 climate and energy framework.

CO2 emissions from aviation
‘Legislation in progress’ briefing by Gregor Erbach, September 2017
In October 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization adopted a global market-based measure (GMBM), to start operating in 2021. In February 2017, the European Commission proposed a regulation to prepare for the implementation of the GMBM and temporarily exempt certain international flights from emissions trading.

Towards low-emission EU mobility
Briefing by Marketa Pape, March 2017
The European Commission has put forward a comprehensive strategy to accelerate the transformation towards low-emission mobility, without compromising European mobility and competitiveness.

Revised Energy Efficiency Directive
‘Legislation in progress’ briefing by Nikolina Šajn and Alex Benjamin Wilson, October 2017
Revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, aiming to align it with the 2030 EU climate and energy framework.

Promoting renewable energy sources in the EU after 2020
“Legislation in progress” briefing by Alex Benjamin Wilson, October 2017
Revision of the Renewable Energy Directive to meet the goals of the 2030 EU climate and energy framework.

Climate Action – Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the EU Emissions Trading System
‘Implementation Appraisal’ briefing by Gertrud Malmersjo, September 2015
The EU ETS is the first and largest international trading system for greenhouse gas emission allowances. The implementation appraisal provides a succinct overview of material publicly available on its implementation, application and effectiveness.

Improving energy performance of buildings
‘Legislation in progress’ briefing by Alex Benjamin Wilson, March 2017
The proposed directive modernises and streamlines the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

International agreements and conferences

COP 23 climate change conference in Bonn
At a Glance note by by Gregor Erbach, September 2017
The COP 23 climate change conference, presided by Fiji, will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 6 to 17 November 2017. The programme is focused on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Paris Agreement: United States withdrawal
At a Glance note by Gregor Erbach, June 2017
In June 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Outcomes of COP 22 climate change conference
At a Glance note by Gregor Erbach, November 2016
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and agreed to finalise the detailed rules for its implementation within two years.

Using the Montreal Protocol for climate action
At a Glance note by Gregor Erbach, November 2016
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol sets out targets for phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, very potent greenhouse gases that are used in refrigeration equipment and other applications.

IMO: Reducing global emissions from shipping
At a Glance note by Marketa Pape, November 2016
The Marine Environment Protection Committee, a body of the International Maritime Organization, took steps to cut sulphur emissions, but progress on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping has been slower.

The Paris Agreement: A new framework for global climate action
Briefing by Gregor Erbach, January 2016
The Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015, provides a framework for global actions to address climate change in the period after 2020.

Further reading

Cities: Front line of climate action, Briefing by Vivienne Halleux, October 2017
EU sustainability criteria for bioenergy, Briefing by Gregor Erbach, August 2017
Advanced biofuels: Technologies and EU policy, Briefing by Didier Bourguignon, June 2017
Promotion of renewable energy sources in the EU: EU policies and Member State approaches , In-depth analysis by Gregor Erbach, June 2016

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/27/implementing-the-paris-agreement-eu-and-global-climate-action-topical-digest/

Tax: tackling tax avoidance and fighting tax evasion [Topical Digest]

Two scissors with the word tax on the wooden background

© eskay lim / Fotolia

Tax avoidance and tax evasion have once again hit the headlines, with an outcry across the world over the leaked ‘Paradise Papers’. This demonstrates that the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal was just the tip of the iceberg. Both tax scandals highlighted that tax avoidance and evasion is practised by individual taxpayers, and not just by multinational enterprises (which were already under scrutiny following the ‘Lux-leaks’ affair). As shown by the report of the Parliament’s ‘Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion’ (PANA committee), tax evasion and avoidance, as well as money-laundering, take place on a global stage where global taxpayers and intermediaries are playing beyond national and EU borders, with whistle-blowers drawing the public’s attention. As the recommendation prepared by the PANA committee, on the basis of hearings and studies, indicates, there is a need for action matching the scale and the nature of these situations. Some of the necessary action is already under way. This Topical Digest offers a sample of recent publications and graphics, produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service, on tackling tax avoidance and fighting tax evasion.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Understanding the rationale for compiling ‘tax haven’ lists
Briefing by Cécile Remeur, December 2017
One can ask why establishing a list of tax havens is relevant. Establishing such a list started with actions to stop harmful tax practices. Whatever the name used (tax haven, offshore centre, non-cooperative jurisdiction) they have common features, though each list represents an assessment on the basis of specific criteria at a certain point in time. In the European Union, the process towards the adoption of a common list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was initiated as part of tax good governance, and their external dimension. On 5 December 2017, a first common list was adopted by the Council.

PANA committee of inquiry
‘At a glance’ note by Cécile Remeur, December 2017
The European Parliament’s ‘Committee of Inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion’ (PANA committee) was established in June 2016. Its report and the recommendation submitted for adoption by the European Parliament’s December plenary session now pave the way for further monitoring and follow-up actions.


Read this Topical digest on ‘Tax: tackling tax avoidance and fighting tax evasion‘ in PDF.


Paradise papers’ in a nutshell
‘At a glance’ note by Cécile Remeur, November 2017
The latest leak of tax-related documents, known as the ‘Paradise papers’, was made public on 5 November 2017. The results of a joint investigation are now being released in instalments. The papers provide additional evidence on the involvement of offshore law firms in tax optimisation practices.

Tax transparency for intermediaries
‘EU legislation in progress’ briefing, by Cécile Remeur, October 2017
Situations highlighted by the ‘Panama papers’ and analysed in the related report of the PANA inquiry committee show how certain intermediaries and other providers of tax facilitate companies’ and individuals’ tax avoidance, often through complex cross-border schemes involving routing assets to, or through, offshore entities. Among the tools to fight this is the obligation on those tax intermediaries to report cross-border arrangements they design for their clients. This provides tax authorities with early information on such situations, once included in the automatic exchange of information within the European Union. The proposal is currently being discussed by the legislators, and the Parliament is preparing its opinion on it.

Member States’ capacity to fight tax crimes
Study by Amandine Scherrer and Elodie Thirion, July 2017
National provisions against tax avoidance and tax evasion, and money laundering laws, as well as their enforcement, vary widely from one Member State to the next. This study examines the administrative capabilities of EU Member States when it comes to tackling these challenges, and reviews the specific measures they have taken in response to the publication of the Panama papers. The main objectives are to evaluate whether the legal framework and the institutional configurations in place are adequate, to pinpoint deficiencies and to suggest ways in which they could be addressed.

Tax evasion, money laundering and tax transparency in the EU Overseas Countries and Territories: Ex-Post Impact Assessment
Study by Isabelle Ioannides and Jan Tymowski, April 2017
This study aims to present the legal, political and institutional framework governing offshore practices in the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the European Union, which are under the sovereignty of four Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The institutional arrangements of the OCTs with the relevant EU Member States directly affect the possibility to establish policies and adopt regulations, including on taxation and money laundering. Regardless of the level of control of the EU Member States over their OCTs, implementation of the law by the local authorities is of concern in a number of the UK and Dutch OCTs, both in terms of structural weaknesses, and also because of limited financial and human resources. In the case of the French OCTs, suboptimal oversight controls and lack of information make it difficult to supervise financial activities. The opening analysis compares the French, Dutch and British cases in terms of combating tax evasion, money laundering and enhancing tax transparency; explores the case of Greenland; and draws conclusions on how the EU could better use its leverage in these overseas territories.

EU-US trade and investment relations: Effects on tax evasion, money laundering and tax transparency
In-depth Analysis by Isabelle Ioannides, March 2017
This ex-post impact assessment analyses EU-US trade and investment relations to assess whether and, if so, to what extent these relations have impacted on tax evasion, money laundering and tax transparency. The EU and US economies are highly intertwined, generating together half the world’s gross domestic product and more than 30 % of global trade. Overall, trade and investment relations between the European Union and the United States do not seem to have impacted on US efforts to combat tax evasion, strengthen anti-money-laundering legislation, and its implementation, and boost tax transparency. While some progress had been made in the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which also aimed to establish regulatory cooperation between the EU and the USA on financial services, progress has been below expectations. The United States has set up mechanisms for information exchange with EU Member States, has signed tax treaties with almost all EU Member States, and has developed a robust legal framework to address money laundering and combat terrorism financing. Despite being largely compliant with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, however, challenges remain on questions of beneficial ownership, cross-border exchange of information, privacy issues, and designated non-financial businesses and professions.

Fighting tax crimes – Cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units
Study by Amandine Scherrer, March 2017
Financial intelligence units (FIUs) are the national structures responsible for the receipt, analysis and dissemination of financial information to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Given the strong cross-border dimensions of money laundering, the exchange of information across FIUs is key to ensure illicit flows of money are properly detected and subsequently investigated by law enforcement authorities. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the current state of play in relation to the role, powers and activities of FIUs in fighting financial crime in general and tax crimes in particular, both at European and International level.

The inclusion of financial services in EU free trade and association agreements: Effects on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance
Study by Isabelle Ioannides, June 2016
This study examines the implementation and effects of the inclusion of financial services in existing EU free trade and association agreements (FTAs) and, in particular, their impact on money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. The study first outlines the geopolitical and trade context, and the EU policy framework to combat money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance. It examines the effects of the ‘Panama papers’ leaks; assesses the consequences of tax evasion and money laundering and their link to trade in Africa; and evaluates the implementation of the EU-Central America Agreement. The annexed expertise investigates the implementation and effects of financial-services provisions in selected EU FTAs with third countries, with a particular focus on their propensity to curb money laundering, tax evasion and elusion. It concludes that the liberalisation of trade in goods and services with developing countries increases the threat of money laundering, and that it is therefore likely to contribute to an increase in illicit financial flows from developing countries to the EU. The study does not find conclusive statistical data to support a causal link between the EU FTAs that are in force and an increase in illicit financial flows. Nonetheless, the far-reaching commitments made by the EU and developing countries in the selected EU FTAs regarding access to the markets for goods and services, including in the financial-services sector, translate into such agreements significantly increasing trade openness, and hence also the threat of money laundering facing developing countries. To remedy these threats, the study provides a number of policy recommendations.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/26/tax-tackling-tax-avoidance-and-fighting-tax-evasion-topical-digest/

EU policy for persons with disabilities [Topical Digest]

A silhouette of a woman in a wheelchair and a man with a prosthetic leg standing to support each other. The concept of people with disabilities

Prazis / Fotolia

Estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest that 15 % of the world’s population live with some form of disability. This makes people with disabilities the world’s largest minority. EU-wide, some 80 million EU citizens have a disability. Disability is complex and multi-dimensional: it denotes impairments, limitations on activity and restrictions on participation – a combination of medical and contextual factors. Some people are born with a disabling condition, others develop a disability through injury, chronic disease, or in older age. The EU’s disability policy strives for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, by respecting the key principles of non-discrimination, self-determination and unconditional equal treatment. The EU’s disability policy framework is set out in the European Disability Strategy, which serves to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), to which the EU and its Member States are party.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020
Briefing by Irmgard Anglmayer, July 2017
The European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (EDS) constitutes a comprehensive multiannual framework for implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at EU level. The EDS and CRPD are thus closely intertwined. Given that the current strategy ends in 2020, preparatory work on the future disability framework has started. The European Parliament is providing input to it by means of an own-initiative report (‘Implementation of the European Disability Strategy’), which was voted in plenary on 30 November 2017.

EU implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
In-depth analysis by Irmgard Anglmayer, February 2016
The CRPD is a legally binding instrument that aims to protect and promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The comprehensive catalogue of rights for people with disabilities, enshrined in the Convention, seeks to pull down the barriers disabled persons are facing in their daily lives – barriers that often prevent them from enjoying their fundamental rights on an equal basis with others. The EU ratified the CRPD in 2010 in its capacity as a regional integration organisation. It entered into force for the EU in January 2011. Since then, the Convention’s provisions have become an integral part of the EU’s legal order. Accordingly, all EU legislation, policies and programmes must comply with the CRPD’s established obligations. This in-depth analysis looks into the state of play of the EU’s implementation of the CRPD, after the first round of the review process.


Read this Topical digest on ‘EU policy for persons with disabilities‘ in PDF.


European Accessibility Act
‘EU Legislation in progress’ briefing by Marie Lecerf, November 2017
The European Commission has put forward a proposal for a European Accessibility Act. This proposed directive aims to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities in society and to reduce the fragmentation of legislation governing access to products and services. Many stakeholders welcome the European Union’s wish to honour its responsibilities under the CRPD, but they have been divided on the means to reach this objective. In the European Parliament, the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) adopted its report on 25 April 2017. The report was then discussed in plenary on 15 September. At the same time, Parliament gave a mandate to start negotiations with Council. Although the Council has published three progress reports, in June and December 2016 and in June 2017, it has yet to agree on its position on the proposal.

Assistive technologies to support people with disabilities
Briefing by Nicole Scholz, June 2015
The way disability is addressed has shifted from a purely medical approach to one that focuses on maximum functioning and well-being. Assistive technologies in support of people with disabilities have considerably evolved throughout the five broad categories of motor, vision, hearing, cognitive and communication disabilities. They now cover sophisticated ICT, software, cyber-physical and stem-cell applications. They include non-invasive and invasive brain-computer interfaces, wearable devices, stem-cell applications, neuroprosthetics, humanoid robots and applications (apps). The EU has funded several research projects on the development of assistive technologies under its research and innovation framework programmes.

What if technology helped society to become more inclusive?
At a glance by Philip Boucher, June 2016
There are already many assistive technologies available, which can help people with disabilities participate more fully in society. More advanced assistive technologies are under development, but is technology the key to a more inclusive society?

Further reading

The obligations of the EU public administration under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
In-depth analysis by Irmgard Anglmayer, March 2016

European disability policy: From defining disability to adopting a strategy
In-depth analysis by Marie Lecerf, June 2017

The employment equality directive
Study by Jan Tymowski, February 2016

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/25/eu-policy-for-persons-with-disabilities-topical-digest/

High-level conference on tourism [Topical Digest]

High-level conference on tourismAs the third-largest economic activity in the EU, tourism is a major source of economic growth, regional development and employment. Although the sector was badly affected by the recent economic crisis, tourism has proved resilient, as witnessed by the growing number of visitors to the EU. Nonetheless, the industry faces a number of challenges and mounting competition, including from emerging non-European destinations, whose share in the global tourist market is gradually increasing.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Major challenges for the tourism industry and policy responses
Briefing by Vasilis Margaras, European Parliamentary Research Service, May 2017
Tourism is the third largest economic sector in the European Union. It employs an estimated total of 17 million people, and its overall contribution to the economy is close to 10 % of EU gross domestic product. This briefing outlines the various challenges the sector faces, as well as the policy responses and measures taken at EU level.

Celebrating European year of cultural heritage in 2018
At a glance note by Magdalena Pasikowska-Schnass, European Parliamentary Research Service, September 2017
Following a recommendation from the European Parliament, 2018 will be dedicated to celebrating European cultural heritage and its role in the continent’s shared history and values.

Sources of EU funding for tourism-related activities
At a glance note by Vasilis Margaras, European Parliamentary Research Service, July 2017
No specific EU fund is dedicated to tourism as such. However a number of EU funds may be harnessed in support of tourism-related activities. This note provides a short overview of the principal potential sources of EU funding for different actors, such as public bodies, companies, SMEs, research organisations, universities, non-governmental organisations, and tourism cluster initiatives.

Sustainable tourism: the environmental dimension
Briefing by Vivienne Halleux, European Parliamentary Research Service, March 2017
Tourism has a special, two-way relationship with the environment. On the one hand, the quality of the environment is essential to tourism’s success; on the other hand, tourism can create significant pressures and impacts on the environment. Potential adverse effects of tourism development relate to three main areas: strain on natural resources; pollution; and physical impacts, typically involving the degradation of ecosystems. Climate change and tourism are closely interlinked. While the tourism sector contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, for the most part derived from the transport of tourists, it also faces profound impacts from global warming.


Read this Topical digest on ‘High-level conference on tourism‘ in PDF.


Tourism and the sharing economy
Briefing by Maria Juul, European Parliamentary Research Service, January 2017
The tourism sector is one of the most affected by the rise of the sharing economy. Arguably, the sharing economy has a positive impact on tourism, as well as a negative one. Advocates propose that the sharing economy provides easy access to a wide range of services that are often of higher quality and more affordable than those provided by traditional business counterparts. Critics, on the other hand, claim that the sharing economy provides unfair competition, reduces job security, avoids taxes, and poses a threat to compliance with safety, health, and disability standards.

Low cost air carriers and tourism
At a glance note by Ariane Debyser, European Parliamentary Research Service, July 2017
The liberalisation of air transport and the development of low-cost carriers has led to lower fares and wider access to air transport, which, in many countries, is a catalyst for tourism development. As low-cost carriers in the EU have experienced substantial growth, serving mostly short-haul destinations, they are increasingly looking into investing in the long-haul market for their future development.

Research for the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism – Health tourism in the EU: a general investigation
Study by European Parliament‘s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, June 2017
The study defines and explores health tourism and its three main components: medical, wellness, and spa tourism. Health tourism comprises around 5 % of general tourism in the EU28 and contributes approximately 0.3 % to the EU economy. Health tourism has a much higher domestic share than general tourism does. Increasing the share of health tourism may reduce tourism seasonality, improve sustainability and labour quality, and may help to reduce health costs through prevention measures and decreased pharmaceutical consumption.

Research for the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism – From responsible best practices to sustainable tourism development
Study by European Parliament‘s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, March 2016
This report explores sustainable development in EU tourism and concludes that there is a lack of up-to-date data concerning both the environmental and social effects of tourism. Furthermore, most sustainable tourism initiatives depend on public funding, highlighting the industry’s failure to internalise sustainable development costs.

The Cost of Non Europe in the Sharing Economy: Economic, Social and Legal Challenges and Opportunities
Study by Pierre Goudin, European Parliamentary Research Service, January 2016
This ‘Cost of Non-Europe’ study examines the current economic, social and legal state of play regarding the sharing economy in the European Union, and identifies the cost of a lack of further European action in this field.

Fact Sheets on the European Union: Tourism
Fact sheet by Christina Ratcliff, European Parliament‘s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, June 2017

More in the Graphics Warehouse

Nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments, by NUTS 2 regions, 2014

Nights spent in tourist accommodation establishments, by NUTS 2 regions, 2014 (in million)

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/24/high-level-conference-on-tourism-topical-digest/

High-level conference on clean energy financing [Topical Digest]

High-level conference on clean energy financingThe EU has ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions, improving energy efficiency and leading in renewable energies. Achievement of these targets – in the context of the Energy Union strategy – will require huge investment in clean energy sources and a smarter energy system. The following publications of the European Parliament’s Research Service and its Policy Departments provide background information and analysis.

 

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Financing the transition to clean energy
Briefing by Gregor Erbach, European Parliamentary Research Service, November 2017
In order to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, emissions of greenhouse gases must be near zero in the second half of this century. For the energy sector, this means that fossil fuels must be phased out and replaced by low-carbon energy sources. This is an unprecedented transition in energy production and consumption, requiring trillions of euros in investment. This briefing gives an overview of EU policy and funding measures in support of this objective.

Promotion of renewable energy sources in the EU: EU policies and Member State approaches
In-depth analysis by Gregor Erbach, European Parliamentary Research Service, June 2016
This paper analyses the development of renewable energy sources (RES) in the EU, presenting the principal support mechanisms for RES, as well as developments in selected Member States. It outlines the main technical and regulatory challenges associated with an increasing share of renewable energy and highlights the involvement and positions of the European Parliament.


Read this Topical digest on ‘High-level conference on clean energy financing‘ in PDF.


Cities, frontline of climate action
Briefing by Vivienne Halleux, European Parliamentary Research Service, October 2017
Cities have a crucial role to play in addressing the climate change challenge and delivering on the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. In the European Union, where nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas, many cities are leading the way in this regard, taking action in three areas central to increasing energy efficiency and reducing emissions – namely, buildings, energy supply and transport.

Assessing the state of Energy Union
Briefing by Alex Benjamin Wilson, European Parliamentary Research Service, May 2017
The European Commission’s second report on the state of the Energy Union, delivered in February 2017, paints a picture of considerable progress just two years into the Energy Union strategy. This briefing provides an overview of the wider picture as far as the numerous components of the strategy are concerned.

Research for ITRE committee – European Energy Industry Investments
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Economic and Scientific Policies, February 2017
This paper provides an overall assessment of European investments in the electricity sector, and provides policy recommendations to facilitate investment in the electricity sector which is needed to enable the transition to a low-carbon energy supply, while realising a fully integrated and interconnected electricity system, enhancing competitiveness and ensuring security of electricity supply.

Research for REGI committee – Financial instruments for energy efficiency and renewable energy
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, August 2017
This study analyses ESIF financial instruments (FIs) for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and their implementation. The results suggest that, because implementation is highly context-dependent, transferability of lessons and good practice is limited. Energy efficiency and renewables FIs require specialist support and are constrained by operational programme lifecycles.

Research for ECON committee – Competition Policy and an Internal Energy Market
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Economic and Scientific Policies, July 2017
This study identifies selected important competition-related issues in the internal energy market. It discusses the role of competition law with respect to the following issues: state aid, congestion management, capacity remuneration mechanisms, balancing markets, effective competition between suppliers, integration of new players in the market, and energy poverty.

Fact Sheets on the European Union: Financing the Trans-European Networks
Fact sheet by Beata Tuszyńska / Frédéric Gouardères, European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, June 2017

Further reading

Research for ENVI committee – Implementing the Paris Agreement: New Challenges in View of the COP 23 Climate Change Conference
Study by European Parliament’s Policy Department for Economic and Scientific Policies, October 2017
Internal market for electricity
‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefing by Gregor Erbach, EPRS, March 2017
Promoting renewable energy sources in the EU after 2020
‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefing by Alex Benjamin Wilson, EPRS, October 2017
Revised Energy Efficiency Directive
‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefing by Nikolina Šajn, EPRS, March 2017
Governance of the energy union
‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefing by Alex Benjamin Wilson, EPRS, October 2017
Initial appraisal of a European Commission Impact Assessment: Governance of the Energy Union
Briefing by Vadim Kononenko, EPRS, February 2017

More in the Graphics Warehouse

Types of instruments to support renewable energy, EEA-32, 2012

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/23/high-level-conference-on-clean-energy-financing-topical-digest/

High-level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with Africa [Topical Digest]

High-level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with AfricaFor ten years, the African Union and the EU have shared a common strategy (JAES, Joint Africa-EU Strategy) on several global challenges, such as migration, security issues and climate change. The times when EU-Africa relations were based on a donor’s agenda are over: Africa is also a world of opportunities the EU is keen not to miss – but not at the cost of forgetting the fight for democratic values. The European Parliament has organised a high level conference to promote its vision, one week before the 5th African Union-EU Summit, which takes place in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) on 29-30 November 2017. The European Parliament champions this partnership and would like more ambitious goals to be adopted. A broad investment plan could help Africa and the EU develop closer cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, technology, resources… Promoting legal migration while better tackling the root causes of illegal migration should be shared priorities. This will be possible if a safe, conducive economic environment is created, and if African youth is given the opportunity to benefit from better education, lifelong training and possibilities for entrepreneurship. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the JAES, this selection of European Parliament research publications addresses some of the most pressing issues at stake between the two continents.

The 751 Members of the European Parliament represent EU citizens’ interests on an extremely wide range of, often complex, policy issues. To help them in their work, the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) provides independent, objective and authoritative analysis of and research on these issues. As Members’ time is very limited, and the amount of analysis available sometimes overwhelming, EPRS publishes short Topical Digests of published material whenever an issue arrives at the top of the policy agenda.
In 2017 this included providing digests to coincide with High-Level Conferences organised by Parliament’s President, Antonio Tajani (EPP, Italy), on topics such as EU relations with Africa, clean energy for Europe, and tourism. A digest of analytical material was also prepared for the European Week of Regions and Cities, as well as for the Social Summit in Gothenburg. Other major issues which warranted a digest of coverage during the year include developments in EU security and counter-terrorism policies and tax avoidance and tax evasion in the wake of the Paradise and Panama papers scandals. Digests were also prepared on EU development policy, and the EU’s relations with the Western Balkans. EU policy on sport, and the EU disability strategy complete this year’s collection of handy guides to EPRS publications – designed with Members of the European Parliament in mind, but available to everybody.

Background

New priorities for EU–Africa cooperation
‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, November 2017 (also in French, Portuguese)
The EU and Africa are preparing to redefine their priorities for cooperation at a summit at the end of November bringing together the Heads of State or Government from the two sides. The focus this time will be on the need to invest in youth. The issue has become prominent against the background of demographic growth in Africa and increasing irregular migration from the continent to Europe.

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy
Study, Policy Department for External Relations, presented to the DEVE Committee on 20 November 2017
Ten years after its adoption and with a view to the next AU-EU Summit, being held in Abidjan on 29-30 November 2017, it is crucial to re-assess the strategy’s validity on the basis of achievements and shortfalls, including in its parliamentary dimension, with regard to the fulfilment of its objectives in an evolving context.

The Pan-African Parliament: Getting ready for the 2017 AU-EU Summit
Briefing by Valérie Ramet, Policy Department for External Relations, November 2017
The fifth EU-Africa Summit, which will be held in November 2017, will assess the implementation of the Joint Africa EU Strategy (JAES) roadmap for 2014-2017 and identify new priorities for the future The EP and the PAP enjoy a long-standing partnership and both have an important role to play in monitoring the JAES and its roadmap. Thematic priorities for the forthcoming summit include youth, peace and security and migration, which are now at the heart of the relationship between the two continents.

ACP-EU relations and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy
‘At a glance’ note by Eric Pichon, EPRS, November 2017
The Cotonou Agreement, a broad treaty binding the EU and 78 ACP countries, most of them sub-Saharan African countries, is set to expire in 2020. Since its inception in 2000 much has changed, new issues have emerged and need a broader approach. For the African states parties to the Cotonou Agreement, the Joint-Africa EU strategy might be an appropriate platform to reflect on their relations with the EU.

Further reading:

Relations beyond the neighbourhood: Africa, Fact Sheet by Valérie Ramet and Gonzalo Urbina Treviño, Policy Department for External Relations, 2017, all EU languages
A general survey of development policy, Fact Sheet by Valérie Ramet, Policy Department for External Relations, 2017, all EU languages
Humanitarian aid, Fact Sheet by Gonzalo Urbina Treviño, Policy Department for External Relations, 2017, all EU languages
How the EU budget is spent: Development Cooperation Instrument, Briefing by Matthew Parry, EPRS, October 2017.


Read this Topical digest on ‘High-level conference: Towards a renewed partnership with Africa‘ in PDF.


Peace and Security – Democracy, good governance and human rights

EU support to democracy and good governance in Africa
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, November 2017, EPRS
Support to democracy and good governance is a central component of EU cooperation with and development aid to the African continent. Against the background of democratisation processes that are still fragile, but also of continuous popular support for democratic systems in Africa, EU support remains vital. Various mechanisms are at the EU’s disposal, although questions of their effectiveness remain as complicated as ever.

How the EU budget is spent: Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace
Briefing by Alina Dobreva with Philipp Wegner, EPRS, March 2017
The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace was established in 2014 to support the European Union’s external policies. It contributes funding for crisis response, conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis preparedness, and to address global and trans regional threats. The instrument thus plays a role in both EU foreign and development policy.

Le Sahel: un enjeu stratégique pour l’Union européenne
Briefing by Eric Pichon, EPRS, November 2017, in French
The EU’s Strategy for security and development in the Sahel represented the first integrated approach aimed at refocusing the various programmes and external policy instruments on common objectives. The lessons learned led to the revision of this strategy in 2015. The revised strategy can thus serve as a model for broader European development and security policy, and help in the development of the joint African Union-EU strategy.

Further reading:

EU strategy in the Horn of Africa, ‘At a glance’ note by Eric Pichon, EPRS, December 2016.
The African Union: Defending peace, democracy and human rights, ‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS November 2017.
Actions of the African Union against coups d’état, ‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, November 2017.
Democracy in Africa: Power alternation and presidential term limits, Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, April 2016.

Attracting investments for sustainable and inclusive development and growth

Understanding SDGs
‘At a glance’ note by Marta Latek, EPRS, November 2017
For two years now, the international community have engaged in unprecedented common action on a path defined in the comprehensive set of Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). Taking into account the high ambition of the new agenda, it was crucial to start implementation as quickly as possible, and as coherently as possible at all levels.

European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD)
‘EU Legislation in progress’ Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, November 2017
The EFSD is part of the partnership framework for cooperation with countries with high irregular emigration, and is one of the pillars of the new external investment plan, inspired by the success of the investment plan for Europe. The new fund aims to mobilise EU grants to catalyse investment from public and private sources, to tackle the root causes of migration in the European neighbourhood and Africa, while helping to achieve the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.

Further reading:

Understanding ‘development effectiveness’: An overview of concepts, actors and tools, Briefing by Eric Pichon, EPRS, April 2017.
New European consensus on development: Will it be fit for purpose?, Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, April 2017.
Economic integration under the African Union, ‘At a glance’ note by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, November 2017.
Africa’s economic growth: Taking off or slowing down?, In-depth analysis by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, January 2016 [On the necessity of investments in Africa] (also in French and German).

Migration, Youth, and human development

Towards a Global Migration Compact: The human rights dimension
Briefing by Joanna Apap, EPRS, forthcoming, December 2017
One of the main outcomes of the UN General Assembly in 2016 was a declaration demanding greater international cooperation on managing migration, which was widely endorsed, including in the EU. Two global compacts are to be adopted in 2018, for refugees and for other migrants. At the very heart of the debate on opportunities and challenges of the debate on migration management is how to ensure that the different interests and needs are addressed within a strong human rights framework.

Refugee policies in Africa: Open borders but limited integration
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, September 2017
As Europe struggles with the migration crisis, the EU is trying to develop a new relationship with African countries, in order to try to curb the influx of people fleeing war, poverty or persecution, as well as to address the situation of refugees in Africa. Indeed, while some African countries are transit countries, Africa also hosts significant numbers of displaced people.

Reintegration of returning migrants
Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, October 2017
Returning more and more migrants with irregular status to their countries of origin has become a key European Union aim in efforts to reduce chaotic and dangerous migration flows. To make the return option more attractive for migrants with irregular status, the EU’s return policy promotes voluntary returns through reintegration assistance packages. Close cooperation with local partners is necessary to include reintegration assistance within existing development initiatives.

Empowering Africa’s youth: The new focus of EU-Africa cooperation
Briefing by Ionel Zamfir, EPRS, November 2017
Today, over 60 % of Africans are under the age of 25. One in four working age persons in the world by 2050 could be African. As the EU prepares to redefine its cooperation with Africa, the issue of youth is thus inescapable. The most urgent challenge for the EU is to channel foreign investment and development efforts towards Africa’s youngest populations, which most often are located in its most fragile states.

Further reading:

What has the European Union done in the field of migration since 2014?, Briefing by Daniela Adorna et al., Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs and Policy Department for External Relations, June 2017
Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation, Briefing by Marta Latek, EPRS, November 2017
How the EU budget is spent: EU Aid Volunteers initiative, Briefing by Alina Dobreva, EPRS, December 2016.

More in the Graphics Warehouse

Total population and working age population forecasts: Africa versus the world

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/12/22/high-level-conference-towards-a-renewed-partnership-with-africa-topical-digest/