Месечни архиви: ноември 2018

Digital democracy in the age of new technologies

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Riccardo Molinari

© plotplot /shutterstock

Technologies permeate all levels of modern society and economy, the internet and electronic devices are basic tools in our everyday lives; we are increasingly dependent on technologies. Some of these technologies – such as quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and blockchain, to name the newest and most dynamic – are now entering the democratic processes. However, none of this will benefit society unless we know whether regulation is necessary. How can we ensure that this immense potential does not damage our democracies, as well as attain a higher level of cybersecurity?

Assessing the impact of these new technologies on our democratic processes and institutions is truly relevant in the context of our ‘post-truth society’, where facts seem to be less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. This is a challenge for scientists, experts, the media, and also for policy-makers and society as a whole. Science and technology are crucial to democracy and there is a clear need to create the conditions for a vigorous dialogue between scientists, politicians and the public.


Democratic institutions must therefore face both the positive and the negative side of technological evolution that, on the one hand increases transparency and strengthens democratic processes, but on the other, facilitates the proliferation of illegal activities. These characteristics allow state and non-state actors to be both victims and perpetrators. Theft of data, fraud, industrial espionage, as well as terrorism and trafficking, are just a few examples of threats coming from the web, where technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain or quantum technologies are used to implement criminal intentions.

EPTA Conference 2018 - PosterIn this context, the European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) is organising two highly relevant and interesting events on 4 December 2018:

The EPTA Conference 2018, scheduled for the morning and entitled ‘Towards a digital democracy – Opportunities and challenges’, will focus on the topic of democracy in the era of breakthrough technologies. This event takes place in the framework of STOA’s presidency of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) network in 2018.

Following the opening by European Parliament Vice-President Ramón Luis VALCÁRCEL SISO and an introduction by STOA Vice-Chair Paul RÜBIG, representatives of EPTA members from different countries will present their contributions and share their experiences, mainly from the point of view of the impact of these new breakthrough technologies on our societies and political systems. Panel discussions will follow the individual presentations, grouped in three sessions, and opening the floor to questions from the public.

The 17th STOA Annual Lecture, which takes place in the afternoon, is thematically linked to the EPTA Conference and is entitled ‘Quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity: Catching up with the future‘. This event will focus on the opportunities and challenges created by greatly enhanced computing power, as well as other applications of quantum technologies, touching upon issues of cybersecurity and data protection at a time of widespread use of big data, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

© geralt / Pixabay

The speakers are world-renowned personalities of great authority and influence on these developments: Professor Anton ZEILINGER, Professor of Physics and President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences; and Esther WOJCICKI, American technology educator and journalist at the Palo Alto High Media Arts programme.

Technologies evolve and, with them, our vulnerabilities; measures to protect us must keep up. The very experienced and committed speakers at this year’s Annual Lecture will share their valuable insights into the development of these technologies and their impacts on our societies.

Interested? Register for the Annual Lecture and join the debate. To keep up to date with STOA activities, follow our website, the EPRS blog, Twitter and Think Tank pages.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/30/digital-democracy-in-the-age-of-new-technologies/

Discontinuing seasonal changes of time [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Ariane Debyser (1st edition),

clock face and calendar sheet with numbers closeup

© mizar_21984 / Fotolia

To end the biannual change of clocks that currently takes place in every Member State at the end of March and the end of October, on 12 September 2018 the European Commission adopted a proposal to discontinue the seasonal changes of time in the Union.

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, presented the initiative in his State of the Union address as an issue of subsidiarity, underlining that ‘Member States should themselves decide whether their citizens live in summer or winter time’.

The initiative, which would repeal existing provisions governed by Directive 2000/84/EC, proposes a timetable to end seasonal clock-changing arrangements in a coordinated way, in order to safeguard the proper functioning of the internal market and avoid the disruptions that this may cause, for instance, to the transport or communications sectors.

Stage: EESC

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/30/discontinuing-seasonal-changes-of-time-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Plenary round-up – Brussels, November II 2018

Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,

Debate with Lars Løkke RASMUSSEN, Prime Minister of Denmark on the Future of Europe

© European Union 2018 – Source : EP

The highlights of the November II plenary session were the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the discussion on the Council and Commission statements on UK withdrawal from the European Union. Debates were held on a Commission statement on the single market package and the long-term strategy for reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions. Members debated and adopted reports on five Western Balkan countries, as well as a report on the way forward for the World Trade Organization (WTO). A number of legislative reports were voted without debate, including on trade in goods that could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel treatment or punishment, the temporary reintroduction of border controls at the internal borders, and common rules for the operation of air services.

Statements on United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union

In advance of the European Parliament vote on the withdrawal agreement expected in early 2019 (pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union), Parliament heard a statement from the Council, and Michel Barnier as chief negotiator, on the conclusions of the special European Council meeting of 25 November. While regretting the UK decision to leave the EU, Heads of State or Government backed the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration regarding future relations with the UK, negotiated respecting the ‘red lines’ set down by both the UK and the EU. Noting that the withdrawal leads to losses on both sides, the political declaration nevertheless provides for ambitious future cooperation with the UK.

World Trade Organization: the way forward

A strong supporter of the multilateral trading system, the Parliament supports WTO reform. Responding to serious challenges to the body’s legitimacy and effectiveness, Members debated and voted (by 471 to 80 with 86 abstentions) to approve an INTA committee report on an approach to keep the WTO relevant and efficient. Of particular concern is US blockage of new appointments to the Appellate Body, which fulfils a key role in the WTO dispute settlement system. This impasse could paralyse practical enforcement of multilateral trade rules, undermining the rules-based system. Other issues include the lack of possibilities for recourse against contentious trade practices and uneven compliance with transparency rules.

Country reports – Western Balkans

Parliament debated and adopted resolutions on five enlargement reports from the European Commission on Western Balkan countries: Albania (459 votes to 112, with 62 abstentions), Montenegro, (484 to 80, 63 abstentions), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (470 to 116, 46 abstentions), Serbia (503 to 85, 47 abstentions) and Kosovo (393 to 139, 71 abstentions). Members endorsed the process to open EU accession negotiations with Albania in June 2019, once conditions are met. Members called for more progress in Montenegro on outstanding border disputes. Members expect the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to progress on implementing the Prespa agreement with Greece. While Serbia’s accession process shows progress, Members consider the country should align itself closer to EU foreign and security policy, and normalise relations with its neighbour, Kosovo. Limited success on EU-related reforms in Kosovo itself mean progress on the conditions for visa liberation is an urgent step in moving closer to the EU.

Opening of trilogue negotiations

The decisions of nine parliamentary committee (ECON, EMPL, IMCO, ITRE, JURI, LIBE and PECH) to enter into interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations were confirmed. Two further decisions, of the EMPL committee, will be the subject of a vote during the December session.

Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘Plenary round-up – Brussels, November II 2018‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/30/plenary-round-up-brussels-november-ii-2018/

Outcome of the special European Council (Article 50), 25 November 2018

Written by Ralf Drachenberg,

Vector image UK and EU flags partly zipped together - Brexit


On 25 November 2018, EU-27 leaders met to finalise and formalise the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. They endorsed the withdrawal agreement, as presented by the negotiators of the EU and the United Kingdom (UK), and approved the political declaration on future EU-UK relations, accompanying the withdrawal agreement. Last minute statements regarding Gibraltar and clarification on a possible extension to the transition period removed all obstacles, so that the European Council (Article 50) was able to agree unanimously to move to the ratification phase. The agreement is due to enter into force on 30 March 2019.

1. European Council (Article 50) meeting

EU-27 Heads of State or Government endorsed the withdrawal agreement and approved the accompanying political declaration at their special European Council (Article 50) meeting of 25 November 2018. Commenting on the results, the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, stressed that ‘this is the best deal possible for Britain, this is the best deal possible for Europe, this is the only deal possible’. He added that, whilst he was very satisfied with the results of the negotiations, ‘this was a very sad day’. Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, for her part acknowledged that ‘many people are sad at this moment’, but that she did not personally share this feeling, stressing her ‘full optimism’ for the future of the UK.

EU-27 Heads of State or Government also adopted a declaration regarding the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration, in which they recalled that ‘the Union negotiated and will conclude the Withdrawal Agreement in the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council under Article 50 TEU’. They pledge to ‘continue to provide the necessary political direction in respect of the implementation of this agreement’. For example, ‘as regards the negotiations of agreements governing the future relationship with the UK, the negotiating directives will be elaborated on the basis of the previously agreed European Council guidelines’.

In their conclusions from the meeting, EU-27 Heads of State or Government thanked the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, ‘for his contribution to maintaining the unity among EU27 Member States throughout the negotiations on the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.’


In the final days leading up to the European Council (Article 50) meeting on 25 November 2018, Gibraltar became a major issue. The Spanish government wanted to ensure that any future trade deal between the EU and the UK would not apply to Gibraltar, unless explicitly agreed between the UK and Spain bilaterally.

An agreement was reached on 24 November 2018, consisting of four components: an interpretative declaration of the European Council (Article 50) and Commission on Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement; a second declaration by the two on the territorial scope of the future agreements; a letter from the UK Government; and a joint letter from Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker.

The first declaration gives an interpretation of Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement, stating that the obligation to negotiate future agreements does not impose any obligation on the territorial scope to which they would apply. The UK Government’s letter confirms that it shares the same interpretation. In the second declaration, on the territorial scope of the future agreements, the European Council (Article 50) and the European Commission state that ‘Gibraltar will not be included in the territorial scope of the agreements’ to be concluded between the EU and UK. ‘However, this does not preclude the possibility to have separate agreements between the Union and the United Kingdom in respect of Gibraltar’. This reflects the negotiation position already outlined in the guidelines for Brexit negotiations adopted by the European Council (Article 50) on 29 April 2016. This solution alleviated Spanish concerns and paved the way for the EU-27 to unanimously approve the Withdrawal Agreement. After the meeting, President Juncker recalled the importance of the issue for Spain and emphasised that the agreement reached was good for Spain.

2. Withdrawal Agreement

As flagged up in the EPRS outlook for the meeting, the Withdrawal Agreement addresses the main issues for the EU – namely citizens’ rights, the financial settlement, and governance of the agreement itself – while also including provisions on a transition period to run from the point of UK withdrawal until 30 December 2020 (21 months). Provisions on a possible extension to the transition period were completed in the run-up to the 25 November meeting, with an extension of ‘up to one or two years’ from 1 January 2021 being able to be agreed by June 2020. The issue is controversial in the UK since throughout the transition period the UK would be a rule-taker, no longer having any say in making those rules.

In his invitation letter to this special European Council (Article 50) meeting, President Tusk recalled the EU-27 negotiating guidelines which had set the following objectives:

  • ‘to minimise the uncertainty and disruption caused by Brexit for our citizens, businesses and Member States;
  • to settle the status of EU citizens who live, work and study in the UK, with reciprocal guarantees [for UK citizens in EU Member States];
  • to make sure that the UK honours all financial commitments and liabilities;
  • to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland;
  • to prevent a legal vacuum for our companies.’

In Mr Tusk’s view the withdrawal agreement ‘ensures that the rights of our citizens are fully protected, the peace process in Northern Ireland should not be affected, the UK will continue its payments to the EU budget during the transition period, and legal certainty will be secured’. While the withdrawal agreement is still subject to final legal revision in the coming days, Michel Barnier underlined that it will give ‘legal certainty to all those affected: citizens, businesses and Member States’.

Main messages of the EP President: In his speech at the opening of the European Council (Article 50), Antonio Tajani expressed the Parliament’s satisfaction with the Withdrawal Agreement, as it sets out the appropriate responses on the European Parliament’s three priority issues: citizens’ rights, finances, and the border issue in Ireland. Concerning the governance of the agreement, he stressed that the ‘Parliament must be consulted before changes to the withdrawal agreement necessitated by new circumstances are made and before important provisions, such as Article 132 on extending the transition period, are activated’. This would require a mechanism which ensures that Parliament has a say in decisions which the Union takes within the Joint Committee provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. He suggested drawing up a common understanding with the Council on the arrangements for such a mechanism before the consent procedure concludes in Parliament.

3. Future EU-UK relationship

The political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and UK calls for an ‘ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defence and wider areas of cooperation’. But, the declaration also clearly stresses that the future relationship ‘cannot amount to the rights or obligations of membership’. The scope of issues reflects the guidelines on the framework for post-Brexit relations with the UK adopted on 23 March 2018 by the European Council (Article 50), which called for a free trade agreement, including socio-economic cooperation and specific partnerships regarding police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, security, defence and foreign policy.

Table 1: Overview of topics covered in the political declaration

Topic Overview
Areas of shared interest UK participation in some EU programmes; ‘innovation, youth, culture and education, overseas development and external action, defence capabilities, civil protection and space’. This participation should also be accompanied by a fair and appropriate financial contribution.

Economic partnership

Goods The EU and UK envision their relationship on trading goods will be ‘as close as possible’. To facilitate this they will work towards ‘comprehensive arrangements that will create a free trade area, combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation’. This would include tariffs, regulatory aspects, customs and implications for check and controls.
Services and investment Both parties will aim for ‘ambitious, comprehensive and balanced arrangements on trade in services and investment in services and non-services sector’, while respecting each party’s right to regulate.
Digital The EU and UK aim to assist ‘electronic commerce, address unjustified barriers to trade by electronic means, and ensure an open, secure and trustworthy online environment for businesses and consumers’. This will also include cross border data flows, telecommunications services and exchange of information on emerging technologies.
Mobility Free movement of people will no longer apply to the UK, and the parties should establish mobility arrangements based on non-discrimination between Member States and full reciprocity. Issues include short-term visits, family law and social security coordination.
Transport Cooperation in areas of aviation, road transport, rail transport and maritime transport and establish agreements such as a ‘Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement’, to enable cooperation in the area of transport.
Energy Both parties agree they should ‘cooperate to support the delivery of cost efficient, clean and secure supplies of electricity and gas’, and address their future relationship regarding civil nuclear and carbon taxing.
Fishing opportunities The parties agree that they should cooperate on fishing opportunities, including sustainability, clean healthy marine environments, and regulatory autonomy.
Level playing field for open and fair competition To provide open and fair competition, provisions ‘should cover state aid, competition, social and employment standards, environmental standards, climate change, and relevant tax matters’, in line with relevant EU and international standards.

Security Partnership

Law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters The future relationship will support ‘comprehensive, close, balanced and reciprocal law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters’ keeping in mind the ‘geographic proximity, shared and evolving threats the Parties face’. Cooperation areas: data exchange, operational cooperation between law enforcement authorities and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing.
Foreign policy security and defence Future relationship would ‘provide for appropriate dialogue, consultation, coordination, exchange of information and cooperation mechanisms’. Topic covers consultation and cooperation, sanctions, cooperation and missions, defence capabilities development, intelligence exchanges, space and development cooperation.
Thematic cooperation Both parties aim to cooperate in the future on cybersecurity, civil protection, health security, illegal migration, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.

The political declaration is not a legally binding document that could be relied upon in court. Rather it is more an outline for the commencement of negotiations after 29 March 2019. President Tusk noted that ‘we will have around two years to work out and agree a precise framework for such cooperation. And if, in spite of our best efforts, additional time is needed to negotiate the future relationship, an extension of the transition period by up to two years will be possible’.

Main messages of the EP President: President Tajani stressed that the European Parliament ‘welcomes the Political Declaration on the future relationship and regards it as an excellent basis on which to develop [the EU’s] post-Brexit cooperation with the United Kingdom’. He recalled the European Parliament’s suggestion to use an association agreement as the legal basis for the future relationship.

4. Next steps in the ratification process

The meeting of the European Council (Article 50) was followed by a meeting with the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, at which the next steps were considered. After the meeting, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, emphasised that ‘the difficult process of ratification’ still lies ahead. He reported that ‘the European Council invited the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to take the necessary steps to ensure that the agreement can enter into force on 30th March 2019’.

According to Theresa May, the House of Commons will vote on the withdrawal agreement before Christmas 2018, probably on 11 December. The European Parliament is expected to vote on a Brexit resolution in December 2018, and on the Withdrawal Agreement itself in early 2019.

Main messages of the EP President: Antonio Tajani welcomed the outcome of the negotiations, seeing this as ‘balanced and comprehensive’. However, he also expressed his ‘regret at seeing the United Kingdom leave’ and argued that ‘no-one can be in any doubt that there is no upside to any of this: it is a lose-lose situation’.

Read this briefing on ‘Outcome of the special European Council (Article 50), 25 November 2018‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/29/outcome-of-the-special-european-council-article-50-25-november-2018/

Protecting the EU budget against generalised rule of law deficiencies [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Rafał Mańko (1st edition),

Gericht - es geht um viel Geld

© Tanja Esser / Fotolia

On 3 May 2018 the Commission put forward a proposal for a regulation on the protection of the Union’s budget in the event of generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in a Member State. The proposal addresses, from a budgetary perspective, generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law, including threats to the independence of the judiciary, arbitrary or unlawful decisions by public authorities, limited availability and effectiveness of legal remedies, failure to implement judgments, or limitations on the effective investigation, prosecution or sanctions for breaches of law. The proposal provides for the possibility for the Commission to make proposals to the Council on sanctions measures with regard to EU funding. These include suspension of payments, suspension, reduction or even termination of legal commitments (to pay), suspension of programmes, and the transfer of money to other programmes. Such a proposal would be deemed to have been adopted if the Council failed to reject it by a qualified majority. On 17 August 2018, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) delivered its opinion on the proposal and on 3 October 2018, Parliament’s co-rapporteurs presented their draft report on the proposal. While sharing the broad objectives put forward by the Commission, they have proposed a number of amendments.


EU Legislation in progress timeline

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/27/protecting-the-eu-budget-against-generalised-rule-of-law-deficiencies-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Velina Lilyanova and Martin Svášek (1st edition),

Concept of salvation. Image of the hands of two people at the time of rescue (help).

© svetazi / Fotolia

On 14 June 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) III as part of a set of external action instruments under the new 2021 to 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF). The proposed financial envelope represents a 1.1 % decrease compared with current funding (€12.9 billion in 2018 prices). Beneficiaries include the Western Balkan countries and Turkey.

The IPA, set up for the 2007 to 2013 MFF, aims to prepare candidate and potential candidate countries for EU membership and supports them in adopting and implementing the necessary political, institutional, legal, administrative, social and economic reforms. IPA III is clearly positioned in the context of the new Western Balkan strategy, adopted in February 2018, and builds in flexibility via à vis the evolving situation in Turkey. It is also designed to complement the EU’s internal policies.

In Parliament, the file has been allocated to the Committee for Foreign Affairs (AFET), with José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (EPP, Spain) and Knut Fleckenstein (S&D, Germany) as co-rapporteurs. The draft report presented by the rapporteurs on 30 October 2018 is now awaiting adoption by AFET.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/27/instrument-for-pre-accession-assistance-ipa-iii-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Relations between the European Council and the European Parliament

the european union in your hands


The most notable change in the European Union’s institutional architecture since the beginning of the European project was the launch in 1975 of the European Council, which became a formal institution in 2009. From the outset, the European Council has had a profound impact on the EU’s development. The dynamism of the EU system is apparent also in the rising prominence of the European Parliament (EP). Both institutions were major beneficiaries of successive rounds of Treaty reform; both benefited as well from the EU’s rapidly widening policy scope and growing political importance, with the European Council assuming more and more responsibility for setting the agenda, providing direction, and taking key decisions, and the EP acquiring greater power and prestige as the only directly elected institution at the European level.

The differences between the two institutions are nonetheless striking. The European Council, consisting principally of the Heads of State or Government of the Member States, is a forum for promoting and reconciling national interests; the EP is a supranational body, the majority of whose members sit in trans-national political groups. The European Council is the EU’s emergent political executive; the EP is part of the EU’s legislature. The European Council surveys EU affairs from on high; the EP is deep in the trenches of European integration.

Despite their different character and purpose, the European Council and the EP view each other with circumspection. Their relationship is not inherently antagonistic, but nonetheless generates friction. Specifically, the EP is wary of the European Council’s increasing involvement in a range of policy areas going well beyond those traditionally associated with intergovernmentalism. The EP is also concerned about accountability and transparency regarding the work of the European Council. For its part, the European Council is happy to keep the EP at arm’s length. Subject, in most cases, to national parliamentary scrutiny of their activities, the Heads of State or Government enjoy operating in the European Council relatively free of EP scrutiny.

Although the European Council and the EP occupy separate spheres of EU activity, the conduct of certain policies and procedures brings them together, as does the interaction between the President of the European Council and the leadership of the EP, notably the speech by the EP President at the beginning of every regular meeting of the European Council, and the report by the European Council President to the EP after every such occasion, followed by a Parliamentary debate. The onset of the crisis years added a layer of complexity to European Council-EP relations, with the European Council meeting more frequently and acting more decisively in a range of policy areas, and the EP chafing at the European Council’s apparent high-handedness, opacity, and unaccountability. Personal factors have sometimes complicated this political and institutional rivalry, as various European Council Presidents and European Parliament leaders have interacted with each other in different ways.

This study analyses European Council-EP relations, a crucial though so far under-researched part of the EU’s institutional evolution, largely in the post-Lisbon Treaty period. It begins with a discussion of the recent rise of the two institutions, notably in the form of new intergovernmentalism and assertive parliamentarianism, and the implications of this development for the EU’s institutional landscape. This section also links the European Council and the EP in the ways that they help to strengthen the EU’s democratic legitimacy, both formally and informally. The next section outlines the Lisbon Treaty framework, which embeds European Council-EP relations. The study goes on to identify key interlocutors in European Council-EP relations, before assessing the quality of their interaction. The penultimate section explores points of contention in the relationship. The conclusions reiterate key topics and themes previously discussed in the study, and raise the possibility of the EP President’s greater participation in the European Council.

Read the complete study on ‘Relations between the European Council and the European Parliament‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/26/relations-between-the-european-council-and-the-european-parliament/

Prudential requirements and supervision of investment firms [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by David Eatock (1st edition),

Finance and business concept. Investment graph and rows growth and of coins on table

© ipopba / Fotolia

Investment firms play an important role in capital markets, facilitating savings and investment flows across the EU. However, the current EU rules are seen as fragmented, overly complex, inconsistently applied and often a poor fit for the actual risks taken by the various types of investment firms. The Commission has proposed a new regulation on the prudential requirements of investment firms and a new directive on the prudential supervision of investment firms. These proposals update the framework for investment firms, making it more effective and more closely calibrated to the size and nature of the various investment firms and their risks. Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) agreed its report and negotiating mandate on 24 September 2018. Work in Council is ongoing.


Stage: Trilogue

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/26/prudential-requirements-and-supervision-of-investment-firms-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Inequality [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Inequality - Increasing graph on white background

© Hepta / Fotolia

Inequality has diminished on a global scale in the last 30 years, as more than two billion people have been lifted out of poverty in countries such as China or India. However, in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Western Europe and other developed regions, inequality whithin individual countries has often increased in recent years after decades of general growth in prosperity. Many analysts attribute the latter phenomenon both to globalisation and inadequate policy responses to the pace of technological change.

This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on economic and social inequality. Reports on gender or racial inequalities will be covered in greater detail in a future edition in these series.

Inequality.org reports
Institute for Policy Studies, November 2018

Factors driving wealth inequality in European countries
Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, November 2018

Examining interrelation between global and national income inequalities
Bruegel, November 2018

The relative impact of different forces of globalisation on wage inequality: A fresh look at the EU experience
Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, November 2018

Economic convergence or divergence in the EU?
Centre for Economic Policy Studies, October 2018

Health inequalities in Europe: Setting the stage for progressive policy action
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, October 2018

Women’s workplace equality index
Council on Foreign Relations, October 2018

3 problems with how the media looks at inequality
Ludwig Von Mises Institute, October 2018

Inequality in China
Bruegel, September 2018

Inequity aversion, welfare measurement and the Gini Index
Kiel Institute for the World Economy, August 2018

Urbane Sicherheit(en): Thesen zur Verbindung von sozialer und innerer Sicherheit
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, August 2018

Reducing inequalities and strengthening social cohesion through inclusive growth: A roadmap for action
Kiel Institute for the World Economy, August 2018

EU income inequality decline: Views from an income shares perspective
Bruegel, July 2018

An equal exit? The distributional consequences of leaving the EU
Institute for Public Policy Research, July 2018

Which places have the highest concentration of billionaires?
Peterson Institute for International Economics, June 2018

Slower productivity and higher inequality: Are they related?
Peterson Institute for International Economics, June 2018

Manufacturing jobs: Implications for productivity and inequality
Brookings Institution, May 2018

Unequal chances and unjust outcomes: Confronting inequality in Southeast Europe
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, May 2018

The dynamic effects of fiscal consolidation episodes on income inequality
Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, April 2018

Raising the bar: How household incomes can grow the way they used to
Fabian Society, April 2018

Global income inequality is declining: Largely thanks to China and India
Bruegel, April 2018

Freedom, inequality, primitivism, and the division of labor
Ludwig Von Mises Institute, April 2018

A G20 agenda for technological justice
Real Instituto Elcano, March 2018

Social location matters: Inequality in work and family life courses at the intersection of gender and race
Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, March 2018

Why is it so hard to reach the EU’s poverty target
Bruegel, March 2018

The new tax law’s impact on inequality
Peterson Institute for International Economics, February 2018

Deliberative structures and their impact on voting behaviour under social conflict
Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, February 2018

Has global trade liberalisation left Canadian workers behind?
Centre for International Governance Innovation, February 2018

Inequality in Europe
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, January 2018

The right question about inequality and growth
Peterson Institute for International Economics, January 2018

Pauvreté, un combat européen à mener avec les démunis
Jacques Delors Institute, December 2017

Inventions and inequality: Class gaps in patenting
Brookings Institution, December 2017

How governments tax reduces inequality more than how they spend
Peterson Institute for International Economics, November 2017

Recessions, income inequality and the role of the tax and benefit system
Institute for Fiscal Studies, November 2017

Income inequality and the labour market in Britain and the US
Institute for Fiscal Studies, November 2017

Inégalités économiques et populisme aux États-Unis
Institut français des relations internationales, November 2018

Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2017-18 to 2021-22
Institute for Fiscal Studies, November 2017

Reducing inequality: The key to a strong and cohesive social Europe
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, October 2017

Inequalities, growth and the future of liberal democracies
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, October 2017

Tax reform in the age of inequality
Brookings Institution, October 2017

Income inequality and growth in Europe
European Ideas Network, September 2017

Middle class: Winners or losers in a globalized world?
Center for Global Development, August 2017

Does rising income inequality threaten democracy?
Heritage Foundation, June 2017

Financial systems and income inequality
College of Europe, April 2017

Wealth inequality is a barrier to education and social mobility
Urban Institute, April 2017

An investment and equality-led sustainable development strategy for Europe
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, April 2017

Understanding wealth inequality in Canada
Fraser Institute, April 2017

Power and inequality in the global political economy
Chatham House, March 2017

Reasons for rejecting globalisation: Beyond inequality and xenophobia
Real Instituto Elcano, March 2017

Inefficient inequality: The economic costs of gender inequality in Europe
Centre for European Policy Studies, February 2017

Explaining inequality
Bruegel, December 2016

The connection between a slow-down in productivity and growing inequality
Foundation for European Progressive Studies, December 2016

The welfare costs of well-being inequality
National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2016

Globalization and wage inequality
National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2016

Read this briefing on ‘Inequality‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/26/inequality-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

European elections: common rules and national provisions

Citizens are asking what are the main common rules and national provisions for electing Members of the European Parliament. The procedures for electing Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are governed both by European Union (EU) legislation, which defines certain rules common to all Member States, and by provisions specific to each Member State.

Common rules

European elections 23-26 May 2019

© Momius / Fotolia

Common rules for electing MEPs are defined in Article 14 of the Treaty on European Union, Articles 20, 22 and 223 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union, Article 39 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Act of 20 September 1976, amended in 2018, concerning the election of the representatives of the Assembly by direct universal suffrage.

The main common rules include:

  • Representation of the EU’s citizens shall be digressively proportional, with a minimum threshold of 6 members per Member State and a maximum of 96 seats. The overall total number of seats shall not exceed 751.
  • MEPs shall be elected for a term of 5 years by direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot.
  • MEPs shall be elected on the basis of proportional representation, using the list system or the single transferable vote, where the voter has one vote, but can rank the candidates.
  • Elections to the European Parliament are held within the same period in all Member States, starting on a Thursday morning and ending on the following Sunday, with the exact date and times being fixed by each Member State.
  • Member States may provide for the possibilities of advance voting, postal voting, and electronic and internet voting. They shall ensure the reliability of the result, secrecy of the vote and protection of personal data. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure the prevention of double voting.

Furthermore, Directive 93/109/EC lays down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals.

National provisions

In addition to the common rules, Member States set up their own provisions. For instance, Member States may establish constituencies for elections to the European Parliament and/or may set a minimum threshold for the allocation of seats. At the national level, this threshold may not exceed 5 % of valid votes cast.

Voting is compulsory in five Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, Cyprus and Greece): both nationals and registered non-national EU citizens are under a legal obligation to vote.

Other matters are also governed by national provisions, such as the minimum voting age or the minimum age for standing as a candidate.

More information

The ‘2019 European elections: National rules‘ infographic provides an overview of the national provisions for electing MEPs.

More information is available on the European Parliament website, in the section entitled ‘EU fact sheets – The European Parliament: electoral procedures‘.

The ‘European elections‘ section of the ‘Your Europe‘ website offers further insight into the various aspects of the European elections.

Continue to put your questions to the Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (Ask EP). We reply to you in the EU language that you use to write to us.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/23/european-elections-common-rules-and-national-provisions/