Месечни архиви: November 2018

What does the EU do?

Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament

Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament

It’s a common question. That can be answered in a mind-boggling range of ways. After all, the EU is huge. But does this necessarily mean it is distant, over-complicated and irrelevant to you and your life?

We are all familiar with the idea of getting together to purchase a better gift for a friend than we would be able to afford individually. When this concept is scaled-up to Continental size however, the scope and the sums become rather harder to grasp on a personal level.

To help you to bring the EU down to an approachable size, Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, today launched a website providing information on examples of the real-life deliveries that result from EU policies.

‘There is no one-size-fits-all response to the question of “What does Europe do for me?” – this site aims to provide citizens with answers that address their questions from their unique perspective.’

Antonio Tajani

Popping the EU bubble

Are you a cyclist? Do you use your smartphone on holiday? Are you worried about the air quality in your city? Are you a bus driver, a brewer or even a bee-keeper? Or are you a young person with a great idea for your own business? The EU has nothing to do with that, right? Wrong! While the EU leaves much of the regulation of your daily life to your national government, it tries to help where doing things together beats doing them alone.

Wherever you live in Europe, as an EU citizen you have the right to expect that EU funding is spent on improving your life. Sometimes the money spent by the EU is not easily visible, however, as it’s redistributed through a variety of programmes and by different national, regional and local players, who often add funding themselves.

Without using complicated and insider jargon, the site looks at what the EU is doing for you at the human scale: whether in your region, or in your personal life.

So, what does the EU do … for you?

In May 2019, Europeans like you get to make their views clear by voting in the European elections. Recent interference in campaigns in Europe and elsewhere underlines the dangers of people not having access to the information they need to be able to make up their own minds as to how to vote.

The researchers working for the European Parliamentary Research Service have produced 1 800 short notes on what the EU does for anyone from pet owners to parents, and brewers to bee-keepers, as well as a selection that showcase the EU projects that benefit your home region. They are used to producing independent, objective and authoritative information that is useful for all of the Members of the European Parliament, so you can be sure that the content is not linked to any particular political point of view.

Every citizen will be able to find  information about what Europe has done for them, not only major legislative initiatives but also smaller changes that have helped improve lives.’

Antonio Tajani

The site will continue to evolve – and we look forward to receiving your feedback. We continue to work on finding interesting facts and projects from your region. At the end of the year, the European Parliament will have an app available for you to download with additional news and information for citizens.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to get your own information about the policies that you pay for. Why not take a look?

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Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/14/what-does-the-eu-do/

Horizon Europe – Specific programme: Implementing the framework programme [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cemal Karakas (1st edition),

Strichfiguren / Strichmännchen: Experiment, Wissenschaft. (Nr. 81)

© strichfiguren.de / Fotolia

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe would introduce new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. While the proposal for the framework programme sets out the general and specific objective of Horizon Europe as well as the structure and the broad lines of the activities to be carried out, the specific programme aims to define the operational objectives and activities, especially for missions, the European Research Council, the European Innovation Council, work programmes, and the committee procedure.


EU Legislation in progress timeline

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/13/horizon-europe-specific-programme-implementing-the-framework-programme-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Own resources of the European Union: Reforming the EU’s financing system [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Alessandro D’Alfonso (1st edition),

Euro, EUR, Geld, Währung, Triple A, AAA, Schwäche, Abwertung, abwerten, Europäische Union, EU, Prime, Ratingcode, Buchstabe, Rating, Ratingagentur, Bonität, Kreditwürdigkeit, Bewertung, Einschätzung, Risiko, Analsye, Analysten, Moodys, Standard and Poors, Fitch Rating, Creditreform Rating, Euler Hermes Rating, triple, dreifach, Hamburg, Februar 2017

© nmann77 / Fotolia

The EU budget is financed by the system of own resources and cannot run a deficit. The current system provides sufficient revenue to cover EU expenditure, but has often been criticised as opaque and unfair. The European Parliament, which has little say in the design of the system, has long pushed for its reform, with a view to shifting the focus of budgetary negotiations from geographically pre-allocated expenditure to the policies with the highest European added value. The European Commission is proposing to modify the financing of the EU budget as of 2021, when the next multiannual financial framework should start. Proposed changes include: the simplification of existing own resources; the introduction of three new own resources linked to EU policies on climate, environment and the single market; the reduction of the share of revenue provided by the GNI-based resource, which is perceived as national contributions; the abolition of the UK rebate (following that country’s withdrawal from the EU); and the phasing-out of corrections currently granted to other five Member States. A special legislative procedure applies to the principal decision, requiring unanimity in the Council. This is considered a major obstacle to reform of the system, which has remained substantially unchanged for 30 years.


interim plenary vote

Figure 1 – Mix of EU revenue in 2018 and estimated average for 2021 to 2027 period

Mix of EU revenue in 2018 and estimated average for 2021 to 2027 period


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/13/own-resources-of-the-european-union-reforming-the-eus-financing-system-eu-legislation-in-progress/

LIFE programme for 2021-2027: Financing environmental and climate objectives [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Dessislava Yougova (1st edition),

mangrove forest planting

© ninenat / Fotolia

Launched in 1992, the LIFE programme is the only EU fund entirely dedicated to environmental and climate objectives. It supports the implementation of relevant EU legislation and the development of key policy priorities, by co-financing projects with European added value. To date, LIFE has co‑financed more than 4 500 projects.

In June 2018, the European Commission submitted a proposal on a regulation establishing a new LIFE programme for 2021-2027. The programme would support projects in the areas of nature and biodiversity, circular economy and quality of life, clean energy transition, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. A total of €4.83 billion in 2018 prices (€5.45 billion in current prices) would be earmarked to the new programme.

In the European Parliament, the proposal has been referred to the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). The Environment Council considered the information provided by the Commission on the proposal in a public session on 25 June 2018.


EU Legislation in progress timeline


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/12/life-programme-for-2021-2027-financing-environmental-and-climate-objectives-eu-legislation-in-progress/

EU support for human rights defenders around the world

Written by Ionel Zamfir,

Man holding cardboard paper with HUMAN RIGHTS title, conceptual image

© igor / Fotolia

Twenty years after the UN General Assembly adopted its Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to enhance recognition of their role and encourage states to create a more protective environment, many human rights defenders still face significant threats, and the situation of those working in certain areas has even deteriorated.

Support for human rights defenders is a long established component of the EU’s external human rights policy and one of its major priorities. The EU guidelines on HRDs adopted in 2004 outline concrete measures for protecting HRDs at risk, including the provision of emergency aid, and encourage EU diplomats to take a more proactive approach towards HRDs. The European Commission manages a financial instrument in support of HRDs working in the world’s most dangerous situations.

The European Parliament is a long-standing advocate of a comprehensive EU policy on HRDs and has actively contributed to its shaping. Its urgency resolutions on human rights breaches around the world, some of which have focused on individual HRDs and the particular threats they face, have drawn attention to the difficulties facing HRDs in many countries. Parliament has also organised hearings with HRDs, issued statements about cases of HRDs at risk, and highlighted the plight of HRDs during visits by its delegations to the countries concerned. The Parliament’s Sakharov Prize is the EU’s most visible action in favour of HRDs. It has a significant impact on laureates, providing them with recognition and, in many cases, indirect protection.

This a further updated version of a briefing from December 2017: PE 614.626.

Read the complete briefing on ‘EU support for human rights defenders around the world‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/12/eu-support-for-human-rights-defenders-around-the-world/

Online shoppers [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 online shoppers.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

Like many of us, you probably shop online. The use of devices connected to the internet like computers, mobile phones and tablets to buy goods (e.g. clothes and toys), access digital content (movies, e-books), and book services (e.g. hotel booking, car rental) online is increasing. More than 65 % of European internet users shop online, and e commerce is a growing phenomenon especially amongst young people.

online shopping with smart phone in woman hand

© Stanisic Vladimir / Fotolia

However, EU internet users often complain that they cannot access what they want because geo-blocking practices restrict access to websites, content and services offered online in another country. As a result, on average two in three cross-border online shopping attempts made in the EU fail, and online shoppers must accept different conditions and prices for the same product or service, depending where they live.

The EU supports e-commerce and ensures European consumers can buy the goods and access the digital content and services they want online with less restrictions. Since April 2018, EU internet users benefit from new rules on cross-border portability for streaming their favourite TV series online when they travel, or are on holiday in another EU country. Furthermore, thanks to the EU, many geo-blocking practices restricting access to websites and online services are prohibited. By 2019, if you’re shopping online, you will be able to buy gifts for Christmas, book a hotel, or rent a car online, wherever you live in the EU without being blocked or paying unfair prices.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/11/online-shoppers-what-europe-does-for-you/

Cyclists [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 cyclists.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

As a means of transport over short distances, cycling helps reduce congestion and pollution, lessens our dependence on fuels, brings new jobs and improves public health. It also involves some challenges, such as improving cyclists’ safety, coordinating mobility planning and securing financing for cycling infrastructure. While in some EU countries, people use their bikes for more than a third of their daily trips, in others this is the case for less than 5 % of journeys. The proportion of regular cyclists is higher in cities.

cycling in the city

© archimede / Fotolia

Cycling policies are a national – not EU – matter, each country providing its own regulatory framework in addition, in many cases, to country-wide cycling programmes; practical measures are generated mostly at local or regional levels, notably in cities.

Despite this, the EU takes an active role in favour of more cycling. EU support consists principally of guidance, exchange of best practice, and financial support, for instance in helping to build the European cycle route network Eurovelo.

European countries and the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to develop an EU Cycling Strategy to get more people to cycle more often. Cycling organisations have recommended measures that can make a cost-efficient impact, including more EU investment in cycling projects, vehicle regulations which would make motorised vehicles safer for people walking and cycling, and giving Member States the possibility to introduce reduced VAT for bicycle purchases through a reform of EU law.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/11/cyclists-what-europe-does-for-you/

Young chess players in school [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 young chess players in school.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

The benefits that school pupils can reap from learning chess are numerous and well-documented. Chess can help children to develop essential cognitive skills, such as concentration, memory, logical and critical thinking, and enhance their creativity, through problem solving. Playing chess also teaches planning, determination and sportsmanship – all positive aspects in a child’s personal development.

EU countries are solely responsible for organising their educational system and its content. Nevertheless, those countries agree that the EU should contribute to the development of quality education, by encouraging cooperation between countries. This means that it supports or supplements national education systems, and develops an exchange of experiences on common educational topics.

Two cute children playing chess at home

© spass / Fotolia

The social virtues of chess in schools, like helping social integration, were emphasised in a March 2012 European Parliament declaration, endorsing the introduction of the ‘Chess in School’ programme in all EU countries. This programme is a cooperation between the European Chess Union (ECU), an independent association with 54 national federation members, and the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe. Since then, according to ECU, the number of pupils learning chess at school is expanding.

As this game is classified as a sport, it is more accessible to pupils as an option during sports periods at school. It is also eligible for funding under the not-for-profit sport events strand of Erasmus+, the EU funding programme dedicated to education, youth and sport.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/10/young-chess-players-in-school-what-europe-does-for-you/

Young people involved in politics [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 young people involved in politics.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

Young politicians have recently been elected to the highest positions of power in several EU countries, yet many young people still choose to stay away from politics.

If you’re a young activist, or simply follow politics, the European Union has taken steps to encourage your participation in political life, in line with the obligation introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. European cooperation in the youth field aims at promoting young people’s participation in representative democracy. The Erasmus+ funding programme finances youth exchanges and projects to promote participation in democratic life and active citizenship in Europe, particularly through its youth chapter. Encouraging young people to take part in politics comes from the highest EU levels.

Unidentified young demostrator with megaphone and notebook protesting against austerity cuts

© juan_aunion / Fotolia

To involve young people in decision making, the EU has built specific channels. The EU provides numerous young people with opportunities to make their views known on selected policy topics during 18-month policy cycles. Do you want to take part? Have a look at the Youth Portal (Have your say!).

European young people are also involved in shaping EU external policies, together with their counterparts from Africa or the Eastern Partnership.

The European Parliament has also launched its own initiatives. The Euroscola Day allows high school students to experience first-hand what it means to be a parliamentarian for a day in Strasbourg. The biennial European Youth Event (EYE) provides young Europeans with the opportunity to share their ideas on the future of Europe.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/10/young-people-involved-in-politics-what-europe-does-for-you/

Election of the President of the European Commission: Understanding the Spitzenkandidaten process

Written by Laura Tilindyte,

EE2014 - Eurovision debate between candidates for the Presidency of the European Commission

© European Union 2014 – Source EP / Eve VAN SOENS

Originally, the nomination of the President of the European Commission was firmly in the hands of national governments, with the influence of the European Parliament (EP) initially non-existent and later only limited. However, inspired by the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, in the run-up to the 2014 European elections, the Parliament announced that ‘this time, it’s different’: by voting in European elections, European citizens would not only elect the Parliament itself, but also have a say over who would head the EU executive – the European Commission. What became known as the ‘Spitzenkandidaten process’ is a procedure whereby European political parties, ahead of European elections, appoint lead candidates for the role of Commission President, with the presidency of the Commission then going to the candidate of the political party capable of marshalling sufficient parliamentary support.

Establishing a direct link between EP elections and the Commission President is intended to increase the legitimacy of the Commission and the EU as a whole, foster transparency in the nomination process and encourage increased turnout in EP elections. However, the procedure has not been without its critics, who have raised concerns about both its legal and political implications. The Parliament remains firmly committed to repeating the process in 2019 and, with EP elections now only months away, attention is shifting to the European political parties. Which parties will nominate lead candidates and when, and who will be their nominees?

Read the complete briefing on ‘Election of the President of the European Commission: Understanding the Spitzenkandidaten process‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Turnout in European Parliament elections, 1979-2014

Turnout in European Parliament elections, 1979-2014

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/11/08/election-of-the-president-of-the-european-commission-understanding-the-spitzenkandidaten-process/