Месечни архиви: June 2018

Consumers purchasing smartphones [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for consumers purchasing smartphones.

Your smartphone provides you with many very useful services, such as communication, navigation, entertainment, and payment. As smartphones have become vital accessories for many people, it is important that they are reliable, safe and available when needed.

Thanks to EU rules introduced in 2018, you can buy your device from an online store in any EU Member State, at the same price, no matter which EU country you live in. EU law provides a legal guarantee period of two years, during which defective devices must be repaired or replaced free of charge. EU rules ensure that that you receive the documentation for your device in the language of your country and that mobile telecommunication products sold in the EU bear the CE label to show that they conform to safety standards.

Smartphone addiction

© olly / Fotolia

As a smartphone is only useful when its battery is charged, the EU promoted a universal charger for smartphones sold in the EU. The industry committed to use the micro-USB connector or a charger with a USB-connected detachable cable. So now (in most cases) you only need to carry one charger for all your devices.

If you forget to unplug your charger, you need not worry about your electricity bill. EU ecodesign regulations require that external power supplies use only negligible amounts of electricity (no more than 0.3 Watts) when not in active use.

Smartphones contain materials such as tin, tungsten, and gold, whose mining and illegal trade are often controlled by armed groups. To protect human rights, new rules will oblige EU manufacturers to take responsibility for the origin of imported minerals.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/24/consumers-purchasing-smartphones-what-europe-does-for-you/

Consumers purchasing electric appliances [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for consumers purchasing electric appliances.

Electrical appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines are found in almost every European home, along with dryers, freezers, dishwashers and small appliances such as toasters and kettles.

Thanks to the internal market, EU consumers have a wide choice, as products that available in one EU country can be sold in all the others as well. EU law provides for a legal guarantee period of two years, during which defective products must be repaired or replaced without any cost to the consumer.

For the safe and effective use of your appliances, it is essential that you understand the instructions. That’s why under EU rules the manual must be available in the language of the country where the product is sold. EU rules also require electrical appliances sold in the EU to bear the CE label, to show that they conform to safety standards.

Positive salesman and adult customers in store of domestic appliances

© JackF / Fotolia

When choosing an appliance, you tend to compare the function and the price. Thanks to EU energy labels, you can also see how much energy and water the appliance will use. Each appliance is labelled with a category from F (worst) to A (best). Thanks to EU rules on ecodesign, household products are becoming more energy efficient, and many products nowadays fall into class A, which has been divided into four subclasses (A, A+, A++, A+++). In order to keep up with technological progress and make the labels easier to understand, the labelling system is going to be revised to return to the F to A system, without subdivisions. Ecodesign rules also ensure that power consumption when appliances are on standby mode is negligible (no more than 0.5 Watts).

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/24/consumers-purchasing-electric-appliances-what-europe-does-for-you/

Lawyers without borders [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for lawyers without borders.

European Union law, legislation and parliament concept with a 3d rendering of a gavel on a wooden desktop and the EU flag on background.

© niroworld / Fotolia

Divergent national rules on access to the legal professions create a barrier for lawyers wishing to benefit from the internal market. So that lawyers can move freely, the European Union has enacted two tailor-made directives (in 1977 and 1998), enabling a form of mutual recognition of legal qualifications. Under this legislation, a qualified lawyer established in an EU Member State may provide legal services to clients in other Member States. They must use their professional title from the country where they are established, and must follow the professional conduct requirements of the country of origin and the host country. While the legislation allows lawyers to practice law permanently in a different Member State, the host country may require that the foreign lawyer act jointly with a local professional when representing a client in court. After three years of practice, a lawyer may join the legal profession of the host country without any additional examinations. As of 2012, some 3 500 lawyers have established themselves in another Member State and 300 lawyers have become fully integrated with the local legal profession.

Lawyers can also benefit from the rules of the Professional Qualifications Directive (2005). Member States may require either a three year adaptation period, or an aptitude test on local law. As of 2012, some 3 500 lawyers have had their professional titles recognised under this legislation.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/23/lawyers-without-borders-what-europe-does-for-you/

Nurses without borders [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for nurses without borders.

If you are one of the nearly 3.5 million nurses practicing in the EU and you are wondering which European countries offer the best job prospects in your line of work, here is a tip for you! In 2015, there were between 400 1 000 nursing professionals per 100 000 inhabitants in most of the EU countries, peaking at 1 191 in Luxembourg and Ireland, and falling as low as 260 or less in Slovenia, Greece, Croatia and Romania.

Under EU law, the training requirements for nursing staff in general care were harmonised across all EU countries. To prove you are qualified to work as a nurse in your new country of choice, you only need to apply to the relevant authorities in that EU country. Within a few months, these should be recognised automatically, and you can start looking for work.

two medical professionals talking in the hallway

© auremar / Fotolia

To further ease your move, the authorities in the EU country where you choose to move cannot ask you for certified translations of your professional qualifications, nor may they require certified translations of standard documents, such as identity cards, or passports. Obtaining a European Professional Card enables you to communicate with the authorities within a secure network. The card is electronic proof that your professional qualifications have been recognised. Finally, the EU also introduced Europass, a tool that helps you to present your skills and qualifications clearly and easily, to help you move for work throughout Europe.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/23/nurses-without-borders-what-europe-does-for-you/

Cultural heritage in EU policies

Written by Magdalena Pasikowska-Schnass,

Norcia

© Samuele Gallini / Fotolia

2018 is devoted to the European Union’s cultural heritage. This paper focuses on the evolution of the very notion of cultural heritage, its role and place in society, as well as the way it is perceived and interpreted in the context of related EU prerogatives. The European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 is a result of this evolution, and allows EU citizens to gain a broad understanding of their cultural heritage in all its aspects, democratically share responsibility for it, celebrate it and benefit from the creation it inspires.

Despite the fact that the EU has limited powers in respect of cultural heritage – the role of the European institutions is generally limited to financial support, coordination of joint projects and efforts, and sharing of knowledge – it has contributed to raising awareness about preservation, conservation and restoration issues, technological research (for example 3D reconstructions) and scientific progress in technological solutions. Furthermore, the EU has become an international expert in the field.


See also our Topical Digest on Cultural heritage in Europe: linking past and future


Cultural heritage has been taken into consideration in numerous EU funding programmes, which has allowed Member States to undertake action to revive their national or local heritage, keep their traditions and crafts, and thereby develop their cultural tourism.

The European Parliament has adopted resolutions highlighting, inter alia, the dangers from which cultural heritage is to be protected both in the EU and the world, and underlining the necessity to address trafficking and looting of cultural heritage artefacts, the protection of cultural heritage, including traditional crafts, and the role of cultural heritage in sustainable tourism.


Read this briefing on ‘Cultural heritage in EU policies‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/22/cultural-heritage-in-eu-policies/

The migration challenge [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Flagge der Europäischen Union EU, Puzzle und das Asyl

© stadtratte / Fotolia

Next week, European Union Heads of State or Government will discuss the politically charged issue of reforming the EU’s migration and asylum policies. Divisions among EU members over how to handle migrants were exposed again earlier this month when Italy’s new government tightened its migration policy, while the German ruling coalition faced a potentially destabilising rift over the issue.

The EU’s southern borders remain under pressure from irregular migrants escaping poverty and war in the Middle East and Africa. Although the 2016 agreement between the EU and Turkey significantly slowed the influx of migrants into Europe, the problem continues to be used for political gain by nationalist, anti-immigrant and populist movements across the EU.

This note offers links to commentaries and studies on migration by major international think tanks. Earlier papers on the same topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in March 2018.

Merkel’s options, Europe’s future
Carnegie Europe, June 2018

The Conte government: Radical change or pragmatic continuity in Italian foreign and defence policy?
Istituto Affari Internazionali, June 2018

Flexible solidarity: A comprehensive strategy for asylum and immigration in the EU
Centre for European Policy Studies, June 2018

Italy’s new maverick government: Mixed signals for the EU, bad news for asylum seekers
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, June 2018

Social innovation for refugee inclusion conference report: Maintaining momentum and creating lasting change
Migration Policy Institute, June 2018

Africa-Europe ties need a reset, but not just because of migration
Friends of Europe, June 2018

Refugees are a ‘win-win-win’ formula for economic development
Brookings Institution, June 2018

Syrian refugees in Turkey: Beyond the numbers
Brookings Institution, June 2018

Annual report on migration and asylum EU 2017
European Migration Network, May 2018

Refugee integration: Millennials do it differently
Friends of Europe, May 2018

Calls to begin returning refugees to Syria must be resisted
Chatham House, May 2018

Plugging in the British: EU justice and home affairs
Centre for European Reform, May 2018

Cinq thèses sur la ‘crise des réfugiés’ en Allemagne
Institut français des relations internationales, May 2018

On the way to a global compact on refugees: The ‘Zero Draft’, a positive, but not yet sufficient step
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, April 2018

EPIM policy update
European Policy Centre, European Programme for Integration and Migration, April 2018

L’impact budgétaire de 30 ans d’immigration en France: (I) une approche comptable
Centre d’études prospectives et d’informations internationales, April 2018

Avoiding the sandstorm in the Sahel: A reflection on security, migration and development
Istituto Affari Internazionali, April 2018

La politique migratoire de l’UE, facteur d’instabilité au Sahel?
Confrontations Europe, April 2018

Europe’s great challenge: Integrating Syrian refugees
Rand Corporation, April 2018

Social distance, immigrant integration, and welfare chauvinism in Sweden
Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, April 2018

Intelligente Grenzen und interoperable Datenbanken für die innere Sicherheit der EU
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, April 2018

Migrationsprofiteure? Autoritäre Staaten in Afrika und das europäische Migrationsmanagement
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, April 2018

The cost of remittances
Bruegel, April 2018

The EU remains unprepared for the next migration crisis
Carnegie Europe, April 2018

Responding to the ECEC needs of children of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and North America
Migration Policy Institute, April 2018

It’s relative: A cross-country comparison of family-migration policies and flows
Migration Policy Institute, April 2018

Leading the way? Italy’s external migration policies and the 2018 elections: An uncertain future
Istituto Affari Internazionali, March 2018

The future of the Schengen Area: Latest developments and challenges in the Schengen governance framework since 2016
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2018

Complaint mechanisms in border management and expulsion operations in Europe: Effective remedies for victims of human rights violations?
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2018

Les partenariats entre l’Union européenne et les pays africains sur les migrations: Un enjeu commun, des intérêts contradictoires
Institut français des relations internationales, March 2018

Scaling up refugee resettlement in Europe: The role of institutional peer support
Migration Policy Institute, March 2018

Balanced migration: A progressive approach
Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, March 2018

Oversight and management of the EU Trust Funds: Democratic accountability challenges and promising practices
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2018

On International Women’s Day: More focus needed on integrating migrant women
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2018

Cracked foundation, uncertain future: Structural weaknesses in the Common European Asylum System
Migration Policy Institute, March 2018


Read this briefing on ‘The migration challenge‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/22/the-migration-challenge-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

US tariffs: EU response and fears of a trade war

Written by Roderick Harte,

United states of america flag on a wooden door locked with a padlock, concept background with copy space

© Maren Winter / Fotolia

On 1 June 2018, US tariffs entered into force for steel and aluminium imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico, following US President Donald Trump’s decision not to extend temporary exemptions. Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea managed to obtain permanent exemptions as a result of deals struck with the Trump Administration. For all other countries, the US tariffs had already taken effect at the end of March 2018. After talks with the Trump Administration failed to result in a permanent exemption, the EU responded to the new tariffs by lodging a complaint at the WTO and instituting rebalancing measures on specific US exports. A safeguard investigation on steel imports into the EU is also on-going. Other US trading partners have responded in similar ways, raising fears that this could be the start of a full-blown trade war that would harm economic growth.

Background

On 23 March 2018, US tariffs of 25 % on steel imports and 10 % on aluminium imports took effect, following two Section 232 investigations that had concluded that such imports threatened to impair US national security. One day earlier, however, President Trump had decided to grant exemptions until 1 May 2018 to the EU as well as to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea. The purpose of these exemptions was to provide these trading partners with an opportunity to discuss and address the Trump Administration’s security concerns. On 30 April 2018, the US President decided to extend these temporary exemptions for another 30 days. This ultimately resulted in US agreements with Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea that warranted permanent exemptions from the tariffs in one form or another (see Box 1).

The EU also pursued intense talks with the Trump Administration to obtain a permanent exemption. Among other things, it made a specific offer for trade talks (see Box 2), but this ultimately did not satisfy the US Administration. Similarly, the USA did not achieve any major breakthrough in its ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. President Trump therefore decided on 31 May 2018 that these three trading partners would not be granted any further temporary exemptions. The US tariffs subsequently entered into force on 1 June 2018 for the EU, Canada and Mexico.

EU response to the US tariffs

The EU’s response has been three-pronged, in line with the strategy outlined by the Commission in March:

  1. On 26 March 2018, the Commission initiated a safeguard investigation in relation to the EU’s imports of 26 steel This investigation is on-going and enables the Commission to impose safeguard measures to protect EU producers in case of excessive imports due to trade diverted from the USA. Temporary measures could be applied as of July and potential exemptions are being discussed.
  2. On 1 June 2018, the EU launched legal proceedings against the USA at the WTO by filing a request for consultations. Despite the Trump Administration’s justification of its measures on grounds of national security ( XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT), the EU considers these tariffs to be safeguard measures (in disguise) to which GATT security exceptions do not apply.
  3. EU rebalancing measures will apply to imports of selected US products as of 22 June 2018, and could ultimately target up to €6.4 billion in US exports to the EU (see Box 3). In May, the EU notified the WTO of a list of US products that could become subject to duties. This list was subsequently approved by the Member States and adopted by the Commission in June 2018.

Box 3 – Two stage-approach of EU rebalancing measures

(1) The initial rebalancing measures taking effect on 22 June 2018 will be applied to around 180 products worth up to €2.8 billion in US exports. These include agricultural (e.g. bourbon, orange juice, corn), industrial (mainly steel and aluminium items) and manufactured goods (e.g. make-up, clothes, motor cycles, boats).

(2) After three years or after a positive WTO outcome, the EU will target an additional 150+ American products worth around €3.6 billion in US exports. These again include agricultural, industrial and manufactured goods.

The total amount of US exports that could eventually be targeted by the EU’s rebalancing measures would correspond to the amount of EU steel and aluminium exports hit by the US tariffs (based on 2017 figures). These measures are in line with the WTO Agreement on Safeguards, according to the Commission.

Global responses to the US tariffs and potential trade wars ahead

In response to the US tariffs, other countries have taken steps similar to the EU, raising fears of a trade war:

  • China imposed duties in April on 128 US products (mostly agricultural and industrial goods) worth US$3 billion in US exports. In June Mexico instituted duties on US exports worth US$3 billion, and Canadian duties targeting C$16.6 billion in US exports will take effect in July. Both countries’ measures target 100-200 agricultural, industrial and manufactured goods. On 21 June 2018, Turkey became the latest country to impose tariffs on US goods (worth US$1.8 billion in exports). Japan, Russia and India have notified the WTO of their intention to take similar action against the USA.
  • Five countries have initiated WTO proceedings: China was the first to do so on 5 April, followed by India (18 May), Canada (1 June), Mexico (5 June) and Norway (12 June). Japan is reportedly also considering launching a WTO case and Canada filed an additional legal challenge under NAFTA.
  • Turkey has notified the WTO of a safeguard investigation on iron and steel products.

At their recent summit, G7 leaders were unable to resolve their differences on trade. Initially, it had looked as if they had agreed on a joint communiqué that included a reference to ‘a rules-based international trading system’ and a vow to ‘fight protectionism’. Shortly after the summit, however, President Trump withdrew his support. It is not yet clear what this means for transatlantic cooperation on trade matters. Until recently, regular trilateral meetings between the EU, Japan and USA to discuss common trade concerns suggested that cooperation with the USA was still possible. On 14 June, the USA (and Japan) also requested to join WTO proceedings that the EU recently initiated against China in relation to technology transfers.

Fears of a trade war have also been stoked by rising trade tensions between the USA and China. Following the findings of a US Section 301 investigation, the two countries have been in talks for some time to address US concerns about Chinese trade practices related to technology. On 15 June, however, President Trump followed through on prior threats and imposed tariffs on up to US$50 billion of Chinese imports starting on 6 July, to which China responded in kind. The US President has threatened to target an additional US$400 billion in Chinese imports should China retaliate, which could result in a sharp response from China.


Read this At a glance on ‘US tariffs: EU response and fears of a trade war‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/22/us-tariffs-eu-response-and-fears-of-a-trade-war/

Towards a global compact on refugees: Strengthening international cooperation to ease the plight of refugees in the world

Written by Ionel Zamfir,

Syrian unofficial refugee camp in Reyhanli. This camp is for syrian people from Idlib, Aleppo and Rakka. September 9, 2017, Reyhanli, Turkey.

© radekprocyk / Fotolia

The recent large-scale flows of refugees and migrants have brought to the world’s attention more forcefully than ever the plight of persons who are forced to flee their homes due to war, insecurity or persecution. They have also exposed how ill-prepared the international community has been to deal with this challenge and how disproportionate the distribution of the burden of caring for such people has been among countries.

In 2016, to enhance preparedness for refugee crises, improve the situation of refugees and relieve the burden on host societies, the UN member states convened in New York and adopted a declaration paving the way for a non-binding international compact on refugees. They annexed to this declaration a comprehensive refugee response framework that spelled out a series of short and longer-term measures to address refugee crises. The framework has been applied in several pilot countries and the lessons learnt have fed into a global compact on refugees, which is being drafted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) through broad consultations with various stakeholders. The second draft was published at the end of April; consultations on it took place from 8 to 10 May 2018. A third draft was published on 4 June.

The global compact focuses on international-, regional- and national-level mechanisms for achieving a fairer distribution of the responsibilities related to refugees, and on areas where action can be improved. It has been criticised, among other things, for its non-binding character and for excluding victims of natural disasters from its scope.


Read this briefing on ‘Towards a global compact on refugees: Strengthening international cooperation to ease the plight of refugees in the world‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/21/towards-a-global-compact-on-refugees-strengthening-international-cooperation-to-ease-the-plight-of-refugees-in-the-world/

New EU insolvency rules give troubled businesses a chance to start anew [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Carla Stamegna (1st edition),

Restructuring word cloud

© ibreakstock / Fotolia

In 2012, the Commission proposed to recast the 2000 Insolvency Regulation in order to address the cross-border aspects of insolvency in the EU. Adopted in 2015, the recast regulation introduced clear rules on the jurisdiction and law applicable to a debtor’s insolvency proceedings and made mandatory the recognition of those proceedings in other EU Member States. Its remit was expanded to include not only bankruptcy but also hybrid and pre-insolvency proceedings, as well as debt discharges and debt adjustments for natural persons (consumers and sole traders).

In late 2016, as a further step and a follow up to the Insolvency Recommendation of 2014, the Commission proposed to adopt a directive on business restructuring, which would provide new legal tools to rescue viable businesses in distress and give honest but bankrupt entrepreneurs a second chance. The proposal focuses on three key elements: common principles on early restructuring tools, which would help companies to continue operating and preserve jobs; rules to allow entrepreneurs to benefit from a second chance through a discharge of debt; and targeted measures allowing Member States to increase the efficiency of insolvency, restructuring and discharge procedures. The initiative is a key deliverable under the capital markets union action plan. It will also contribute substantially to addressing the high levels of non-performing loans in banks’ balance sheets. The draft report was presented to the Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) in September 2017. In May 2018 the Council reached agreement on part of the proposal.

Versions

Stage: Committee vote

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/20/new-eu-insolvency-rules-give-troubled-businesses-a-chance-to-start-anew-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Modernisation of EU consumer protection rules: A new deal for consumers [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Nikolina Šajn (1st edition),

Online Shopping Theme with man using a laptop in a modern gray chair

© Tierney / Fotolia

On 11 April 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a directive on better enforcement and modernisation of EU consumer protection, as part of its ‘new deal for consumers’ package of measures. The proposal comes after a fitness check of consumer legislation and an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive showed that the EU consumer legislation is fit for purpose, but could benefit from certain aspects being clarified and brought into line with the reality of the digital economy. The proposal focuses on various consumer issues, including penalties for infringements, transparency on online marketplaces, protection for consumers of ‘free’ digital services and dual quality of products. It would amend the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Consumer Rights Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the Price Indication Directive. The proposal is in now under consideration in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

Versions

Stage: Commission proposal

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/06/20/modernisation-of-eu-consumer-protection-rules-a-new-deal-for-consumers-eu-legislation-in-progress/