Месечни архиви: септември 2019

International research collaboration – a key feature of the new global science landscape

Written by Gianluca Quaglio,


World map earth infographic design

© Kolonko / Shutterstock

The phenomenal growth in collaboration between scientists and institutions located in different countries began 30 years ago, when the bipolar world, in which most internationally active scientists belonged either to the Soviet block or to Western countries, collapsed. Today, international collaboration in research is the core of contemporary higher-education and science systems. While in 1970, only 2 % of articles indexed in Web of Science were internationally co-authored papers, in 1980 the share was 5 %, in 1990, it rose to 9 %, reaching 16 % in 2000, until in 2013, almost every fourth publication (23 %) was written by authors from more than one country.

STOA study on ‘Internationalisation of European Union research organisations’

A recently published STOA study on ‘Internationalisation of EU research organisations‘ examines the changing nature of academic knowledge production in the EU-28 Member States, and its development towards radically increasing internationalisation. The report combines theory on international research collaboration (IRC) with the collection and analysis of the most up-to-date empirical data. A number of policy options for the improvement of IRC at the European level are also presented.

The number of internationally co-authored papers is on the rise both across EU-28 countries and across the world more generally, with different dynamics of internationalisation in different countries and European regions, especially in EU-15 countries (that joined the EU before 2004) compared to EU-13 countries (that joined the EU after 2004). At the same time, there are significant differences across fields of science. While the world seems to collaborate in research mostly on a nation-by-nation basis, Europe is exceptional in its long-term, large-scale, intra-regional research collaborations, including collaborations funded by consecutive EU framework programmes for research.

Collaboration enables the sharing of knowledge, skills and techniques, exchange of different views, cross-fertilisation of ideas and intellectual companionship, helping to expand networks of contacts and enhance the visibility of research work. IRC tends to increase research productivity: in general, multiple-institution papers are more highly cited than single-institution papers, and internationally co-authored papers are more highly cited than those with domestic co-authors. The STOA study shows that researchers prefer to collaborate in fields where they can share basic ideas and fundamental knowledge, rather than in those where they may develop commercially viable results.

Types of research and international research collaborations

The STOA study explores different types of research collaboration: (i) IRC, in the sense of collaboration between academics located in different countries; (ii) national research collaboration, with multi-authored research outputs, where all authors are affiliated with more than one institution within a single country; (iii) institutional research collaboration, linked to a multi-authored research output, where all authors are affiliated with the same institution; and, finally, (iv) the ‘solo research’ mode in science, i.e. a single-authored research output, where the sole author is affiliated with an institution in a given country.

Not all sciences are equally driven by the internationalisation demand. The STOA study recognised four types of international research collaboration: (i) data-driven collaboration (as in genetics, demography, epidemiology); (ii) resource-driven collaboration (as in seismology, zoology); (iii) equipment-driven collaboration (as in astronomy, high-energy physics), and (iv) theory-driven collaboration (as in mathematics, economics or philosophy).

Barriers to research internationalisation

The personal decision to engage in international collaboration in research needs to be viewed in the context of a trade-off between collaboration investments and expected collaboration effects. Maintaining too many or too demanding relations with international collaborators in research can lead to high costs, resulting from, among other things, information overload, unclear responsibility, and communication constraints. The STOA study debates types of barriers to IRC: from macro-level barriers (geopolitics, history, language, cultural traditions, country research propensity, geographical distance), to institutional barriers (reputation, resources), and individual barriers (predilections, intellectual or financial attractiveness).

Empirical data from the STOA study

The STOA report analyses the macro-level of countries and the meso-level of flagship institutions to assess the cross-national and cross-institutional differentiation in IRC in 2007-2017. The aggregates of EU-28 results are analysed in the global context of China and the United States of America (USA), the two biggest academic knowledge producers.

Macro-level of countries

The number of articles written under international collaboration in the study period was 2 193 504 in the EU-28, 1 437 621 in the USA and 588 087 in China. In 2017, the share of internationally co-authored papers was 44 % for EU-28 (47 % for EU-15 countries and 39 % for EU-13 countries), 40 % for the USA and 22 % for China. The share of internationally co-authored publications in Europe is thus 4.6 percentage points higher than in the USA and 22.2 percentage points higher than in China. IRC has risen in every EU-28 country in the study period. In the EU-28, the largest number of articles published in international collaboration in 2017 was, by far, in the natural sciences, followed by the medical sciences, and the lowest number was in the humanities.

Meso-level of flagship research institutions

The analysis at the macro-level (countries) is accompanied in this report by an analysis at the meso-level for selected flagship research institutions. In the most general terms, collaboration trends over time are similar for EU-28 countries and for their flagship institutions; however, the internationalisation trends are more intense for flagship institutions than for countries. The percentage share of international collaboration is on average lower for flagship universities located in EU-13 countries than for those located in EU-15 countries. While no flagship universities located in EU-13 countries exceeded the level of 60 % of international collaboration, five flagship universities in EU-15 exceeded this level.

Policy options

The study identifies a number of broad policy options for supporting the internationalisation of EU research organisations. They can be briefly summarised as follows:

IRC should be at the centre of national research policies: Placing the internationalisation of research at the centre of national research policies refers to all levels of operation of higher education systems, from national to institutional, to departmental, to individual. Internationalisation-supportive research policies should promote international publication channels both in direct block funding to their institutions and in indirect, individual-level competitive research funding.

Large-scale funding should be provided for IRC: Internationalisation costs are increasing across all national systems in Europe. The rise of internationalisation-related costs needs to be noted and reflected in both budget size and its internal distribution.

Individual scientists should be at the centre of national internationalisation agendas: Today, the individual scientist matters greatly for IRC. A bottom-up approach, with maximum flexibility as to how, with whom, and on which topic to collaborate internationally in research, unreservedly combined with the hard line of research excellence as defined through top publications only, should always work better than any other set of recommendations for IRC programmes and should be strengthened.

Your opinion counts. Let us know what you think, get in touch via email stoa@europarl.europa.eu

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/30/international-research-collaboration-a-key-feature-of-the-new-global-science-landscape/

Understanding European Parliament delegations

Written by Naja Bentzen,

Members of the European Parliament form official groups – delegations – with ties to regions and organisations, as well as parliaments, in non-EU countries. Parliament has expanded its impact EU in foreign policy in recent decades, and its delegations are a key component of its diplomatic work.

Parliament delegations: parliamentary actors with a global reach

European Union flags in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

© artjazz / Fotolia

The European Parliament’s delegations are official groups of Members who build ties to countries, regions or organisations outside the European Union (EU). There are two main types of delegations: permanent (‘standing’) delegations and ad-hoc delegations, which Parliament can create on a case-by-case basis to focus on particular developments in a country or region. Standing delegations belong in three subgroups: parliamentary assemblies, interparliamentary committees, and other interparliamentary delegations (see below). Standing delegations meet regularly in Brussels and Strasbourg to assess and discuss the situation in their partner countries and on their respective ties to the EU. The delegations invite external experts to share their views: representatives from embassies or universities, or staff from the European Union’s External Action Service (EEAS), for example. The delegations also invite members of the political opposition or civil society in a given country, to give them a voice at their meetings. In addition, delegations hold meetings with parliaments from the relevant countries: ‘interparliamentary meetings’. These activities help form and further relations between Members and their counterparts in countries outside the EU.

Rules and responsibilities

According to Rule 223(5) of Parliament’s Rules of Procedure, the Conference of Presidents adopts the rules for the delegations on a proposal from the Conference of Delegation Chairs. The rules applying to the delegations are set out in the Conference of Presidents’ decision of 29 October 2015. The delegations maintain and develop Parliament’s international contacts and contribute to enhancing the role and visibility of the European Union in the world. The rules also specify that delegation activities shall aim at maintaining and enhancing contacts with parliaments of states that are traditionally EU partners. On the other hand, they shall contribute to promoting in third countries the fundamental values of the European Union: the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law (Article 6 of the Treaty on the EU). Parliament’s international contacts foster, wherever possible and appropriate, the parliamentary dimension of international relations.

The standing delegations: composition and work

The European Parliament currently – at the beginning of the ninth legislature (2019-2024) – has 44 standing delegations; the same number as in the previous legislature. Following the 2019 election, Parliament adopted a decision on the numerical strength of its interparliamentary delegations. It lists the delegations operating during this term, and the number of Members each one includes. The distribution and size of delegations may differ from one term to the next. For example, a single delegation covered Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo in the seventh legislative term (2009-2014). Since 2014, four separate delegations have dealt with relations with these countries.

The number of Members in a given delegation corresponds to the number of parliamentarians from the respective partner country/countries. The work of the delegations also varies according to the partner. For example, the Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) delegation is established under the Cotonou Agreement. In the ACP delegation, two plenary sessions with the entire joint assembly are complemented with regional meetings. In some delegations, the work is mainly based on invitation, where some countries are prioritised for visits. The voice of the delegations has major potential to amplify messages.

See also EPRS Briefings on ‘Connecting parliamentary and executive diplomacy at EU and Member State level’ and ‘The European Parliament’s evolving soft power’, September 2019.

What are the different types of standing delegations?

Parliamentary assemblies are regular, formal meetings of elected representatives from several parliaments. Currently, 5 of Parliament’s 44 delegations participate in parliamentary assemblies, namely the Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (DNAT), the Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. In most cases, Parliament’s delegation is the largest single delegation at the assembly. The number of Members constitutes approximately half the total number of delegates. One exception is the DNAT, where the delegation size is limited to ten Members.

Interparliamentary committees are mostly bilateral. European Parliament delegations meet their counterparts from a country/countries in formal meetings, held on a regular basis. Interparliamentary committees differ according to the type of bilateral agreement establishing them, between the EU and the respective country. These include Parliamentary Association Committees, Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, Joint Parliamentary Committees or Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committees. Parliament currently has 15 delegations participating in 23 parliamentary committees.

Other interparliamentary delegations form the largest group of delegations (25 out of the total number of 44 delegations), which work with relations with individual countries or a group of countries. The ‘interparliamentary meetings’ – in which the delegations meet with their counterparts – are not held on a regular basis, and do not have their own rules, although they follow the general provisions for delegations.

On 17 July 2019, Members voted on the composition of interparliamentary delegations. Following the approval of the nature and numerical strength of interparliamentary delegations, the political groups and non-attached Members appoint delegation members. The composition of these delegations must ensure that EU Member States, political views and genders are represented fairly. The constituent meetings of the delegations, on 26 September 2019, were held to elect chairs and vice-chairs. The interparliamentary delegations include:

Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey: EU-North Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) (13 members); EU-Turkey JPC (25); Delegation for Northern cooperation and for relations with Switzerland and Norway and to the EU-Iceland JPC and the European Economic Area JPC (17); Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (15); Delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (PAC, 14); Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (14); Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo (13).

Russia and the Eastern Partnership: Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (31); Delegation to the EU-Ukraine PAC (16); Delegation to the EU-Moldova PAC (14); Delegation for relations with Belarus (12); Delegation to the EU-Armenia Parliamentary Partnership Committee, the EU-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee and the EU-Georgia PAC (18).

Maghreb, Mashreq, Israel and Palestine: Delegations for relations with Israel (18); Palestine (18); the Maghreb countries and the Arab Maghreb Union, including the EU-Morocco, EU-Tunisia and EU-Algeria Joint Parliamentary Committees (18); the Mashreq countries (18).

The Arab Peninsula, Iraq and Iran: Delegations for relations with: the Arab Peninsula (15); Iraq (7); Iran (11).

The Americas: Delegations for relations with: the United States (63); Canada (16); the Federative Republic of Brazil (14); Central America (15); the Andean Community (12); Mercosur (19); Delegation to the EU-Mexico JPC (14); Delegation to the EU-Chile JPC (14); Delegation to the Cariforum-EU Parliamentary Committee (15).

Asia/Pacific: Delegations for relations with: Japan (24); the People’s Republic of China (37); India (23); Afghanistan (7); South Asia (15); Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN, 26); the Korean Peninsula (12); Australia and New Zealand (12); Delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Cooperation Committees, and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia (19).

Africa: Delegations for relations with: South Africa (15); the Pan-African Parliament (12).

Multilateral assemblies: Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (78); Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (49); Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (75); Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly (60); Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (10).

Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Understanding European Parliament delegations‘ in m$the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/27/understanding-european-parliament-delegations/

End of the Draghi era at the ECB [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

© kamasigns / Fotolia

The European Central Bank will shortly see a ‘change of the guard’ at a time of stagnating economic growth and fears of recession sparked partly by global trade conflicts. Current ECB President, Mario Draghi’s eight-year term in office ends on 1 November, and he is to be replaced by Christine Lagarde, former head of the International Monetary Fund and previously Minister of Finance in France.

Some analysts say the the ECB’s recent decisions aimed at propping up faltering growth in the euro area will limit Lagarde’s room for manoeuvre as regards a possible change in policy direction. On 12 September, the ECB’s Governing Council cut interest rates deeper into negative territory and decided to extend its bond purchases, without giving any indicative end for the programme.

This note offers links to a series of some recent commentaries and reports from major international think tanks and research institutes on the ECB and related issues.

ECB’s easing package is a call for European fiscal reform
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, September 2019

The ECB’s half-baked supervision mandate or, how to get serious about shadow banking again
Fondation Européenne d’Etudes Progressistes, September 2019

Changing guard of the ECB
Institute of International and European Affairs, September 2019

The ECB’s deflation obsession
Centre for European Policy Studies, September 2019

The role of the European Central Bank
Council on Foreign Relations, August 2019

The coming regime of the ECB: Radical centrism
Ludwig Von Mises Institute, August 2019

Preparing for uncertainty
Bruegel, July 2019

Why critics of a more relaxed attitude on public debt are wrong
Peterson Institute for International Economy, July 2019

Handlungsspielraum der EZB – von Zinspolitik bis Helikoptergeld
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, July 2019

Introducing dominant currency pricing in the ECB’s global macroeconomic model
Kiel Institute of the World Economy, July 2019

A pragmatic new European leadership team could supply tools to face the next downturn
Peterson Institute for International Economy, July 2019

ECB monetary policy in the post-Draghi era
Peterson Institute for International Economy, June 2019

The evolution of the ECB governing council’s decision-making
Bruegel, June 2019

The Eurozone 20 years from now: Utopia or dystopia?
Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, May 2019

20 years of common European monetary policy: Reasons to celebrate
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung,

Vom ESM zum EWF – Klare Regeln bei der Weiterentwicklung vom Krisen- zum Vorsorgemechanismus für eine stabile Euro-Zone
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, May 2019

Who’s afraid of low inflation?
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2019

The Economic and Monetary Union: Past, present and future
Center for Economic and Social Research, March 2019

For a geopolitics of the euro
Fondation Robert Schuman, March 2019

Monetary policy in the world of cryptocurrencies
LUISS School of European Political Economy, February 2019

20 Jahre Euro: Verlierer und Gewinner
Centrum für Europäische Politik, February 2019

Greening monetary policy: An alternative to the ECB’s market-neutral approach
Bruegel, February 2019

Whose (fiscal) debt is it anyway?
Bruegel, February 2019

Can the euro rival the dollar?
Centre for European Reform, December 2018

Rebalancing the Euro Area: A proposal for future reform
Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, December 2018

Holding the supervisor to account: The European Parliament and the European Central Bank in banking supervision
Bertelsmann Stiftung, November 2018

Comment la Banque centrale européenne a perdu son âme
Institut Thomas More, November 2018

Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘End of the Draghi era at the ECB‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/27/end-of-the-draghi-era-at-the-ecb-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

#EPhearings2019: Learn about the portfolios of Commissioners-designate

Over the next two weeks, the candidates for posts as European Commissioners, at the top of the European Union’s executive will face three-hour public hearings in the European Parliament. Each of the nominees, put forward by their national governments, but seeking to take up a portfolio crafted by President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, will face questions on their suitability for a post in the Commission in general, as well as on their specific competence for the portfolio allocated to them. Prior to their hearing, each candidate has to satisfy the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) that their financial affairs present no conflict of interest.

From the very beginnings of the European Union, the Parliament has had the power to dismiss the European Commission as a bloc, by means of a motion of censure. However, in 1992, Parliament also gained a role in the appointment of a new College of Commissioners every five years. Under the Maastricht Treaty, Members of the European Parliament vote first on the candidate for Commission President, and subsequently to confirm the appointment of the Commission as a body.

The hearings are due to take place from 30 September to 8 October 2019, at the European Parliament in Brussels. Prior to the public hearings, each candidate is invited to respond to written questionnaires from the committee(s) that are to conduct the hearings. Moreover, each has to provide a declaration of financial interests, and satisfy Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee that there is no possible conflict of interests.

Under the Treaties, Parliament may reject the nomination of the new College as a body, but cannot reject individual Commissioners-designate. However, based on their performance in the hearings, Parliament may exercise its influence on the selection of individual candidates or the allocation of portfolios, as it has done in the past.

Each briefing in this set provides an overview of one of the candidates whose hearings are expected to take place as scheduled, and of the key issues and recent developments in the portfolios of the nominated Commission.


Frans Timmermans – European Green Deal

Margrethe Vestager – A Europe fit for the Digital Age

Valdis Dombrovskis – An Economy that Works for People

Josep Borrell Fontelles – A Stronger Europe in the World (High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy)

Maroš Šefčovič – Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

Věra Jourová – Values and Transparency

Dubravka Šuica – Democracy and Demography

Margaritis Schinas – Protecting our European Way of Life


Johannes Hahn – Budget and Administration

Phil Hogan – Trade

Mariya Gabriel – Innovation and Youth

Nicolas Schmit – Jobs

Paolo Gentiloni – Economy

Janusz Wojciechowski  – Agriculture

Elisa Ferreira – Cohesion and Reforms

Stella Kyriakides – Health

Didier Reynders – Justice

Helena Dalli – Equality

Sylvie Goulard – Internal Market

Ylva Johansson – Home Affairs

Janez Lenarčič – Crisis Management

Jutta Urpilainen – International Partnerships

Kadri Simson  – Energy

Virginijus Sinkevičius – Environment and Oceans

Overview of the parliamentary hearings

Overview of the parliamentary hearings

Read also

Overview of the parliamentary hearings, EPRS Infographic, September 2019

Parliamentary hearings of the Commissioners-designate: A decisive step in the investiture process [Policy podcast], EPRS Briefing, September 2019

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/26/commissioner_hearings_2019/

European Parliament’s role in hearings of the 2019 Commissioner-designates

Meeting of the EP Conference of Presidents in presence of Ursula von der LEYEN - President-elect of the European Commission

© European Union 2019 – Source : EP / DAINA LE LARDIC

The European Parliament regularly receives enquiries from citizens about its role in the approval process of a new European Commission.

Under the Treaty on European Union, the European Parliament intervenes twice in the approval process of a new European Commission.

In a first phase, the European Parliament elects the President of the new Commission, based on a proposal by EU leaders in the European Council.

On 16 July 2019, the European Parliament elected, with 383 votes in favour, Ursula von der Leyen as President of the next European Commission. Individual governments of EU countries subsequently put forward candidate members of the European Commission. On 10 September 2019, President-elect von der Leyen presented her team, along with the proposed allocation of portfolios.

In a second phase, the European Parliament approves or rejects the new European Commission as a whole. Although it does not vote on individual Commissioners-designate, the threat to vote down the designated Commission has proven a powerful means to influence the composition of the European Commission.

To evaluate individual Commissioners-designate, the European Parliament organises hearings before the relevant parliamentary committees. Apart from initial hearings before the Legal Affairs Committee to examine any potential or actual conflict of interests of the Commissioners-designate, which are held in camera, these are held in public and are broadcast live. Hearings aim to evaluate Commissioners-designate on the basis of their general competence, European commitment and personal independence.

Hearings, which generally last three hours, start with an opening speech by the candidate, followed by up to 25 questions from Members of the European Parliament. The commissioner-designate can make a brief closing statement.

The public hearings on the commissioners-designate of the von der Leyen Commission will take place between 30 September and 8 October 2019.

Immediately after each hearing, the chair and leaders of political groups in the parliamentary committee responsible for the hearing meet in camera to evaluate the Commissioner-designate. If they are unable to reach a consensus, the chair will convene a committee meeting and, as a last resort, call a vote by secret ballot. The committee’s evaluation statement is made public within 24 hours of the hearing.

The European Parliament is expected to vote on the new Commission as a whole on 23 October 2019. After approval by the European Parliament, EU leaders in the European Council can formally appoint the new Commission. The term of the new European Commission starts on 1 November 2019.

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

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/26/commissioners-hearings-in-2019/

Women in the maritime community – Closing a gender gap as wide as the ocean?

Written by Marketa Pape,

Side view of female engineer using walkie-talkie in shipping yard

© biker3 / Fotolia

The maritime industry lacks qualified personnel. Traditionally male-dominated, women today make up about 2 % of the global maritime workforce. Onshore professions taken up by women include work in ship inspection, port services, logistics, research, legal and accounting services, ship classification and marine insurance. In comparison, few women are to be found among seafarers and most of these work in support services on ferries and cruise ships.

Sea-going jobs are very demanding, not least due to long hours and irregular rest periods. Once trained, women choosing to work at sea need to overcome difficulties linked to getting hired, gender stereotypes and isolation, but often also face sexual harassment, violence, discrimination and unequal employment opportunities. Nevertheless, sea-going experience is highly valued in the sector and opens further career opportunities.

Promoting gender equality in its policies, the EU began to pay attention to links between gender and transport only recently. In 2012, it funded a project under which transport trade unions prepared a ‘gender training package‘ to make transport a better place to work for both women and men. In 2017, the European Commission launched the Women in Transport – EU platform for change. Focusing on the barriers that prevent women from taking up and retaining jobs in transport, it also helps exchange information on measures that companies can adopt to improve their gender balance.

To attract more women, transport trade unions argue, working conditions for all seafarers need to improve. The global nature of shipping makes it difficult to enforce seafarers’ rights. Working conditions on board are determined by the country of registration, whose flag the ship flies. For cost reasons, many ships owned by EU companies trade in European waters while flying a flag of a non-EU country and, as such, do not have to respect EU labour laws. To eliminate the low labour standards, EU trade unions have proposed to set up a European Maritime Space, where all shipping companies operating in EU waters would have to follow EU rules.

In general, workers’ rights can be better enforced under EU law than under international instruments. That said, seafarers had been excluded from EU several labour laws and their rights were only recently aligned with those of workers based onshore. Somewhat inconsistently, the 2019 EU rules for transparent and predictable working conditions again treat them as a special category, to whom some provisions do not apply. Nevertheless, better working conditions at sea for all maritime workers would also benefit women in the industry.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/26/women-in-the-maritime-community-closing-a-gender-gap-as-wide-as-the-ocean/

Multilingualism: The language of the European Union

Written by Ivana Katsarova,

© cristinn / Fotolia

Some 7 000 languages are spoken globally today. However, half of the world’s population shares just six native languages, and some 90 % of all languages may be replaced by dominant ones by the end of the century.

The harmonious co-existence of 24 official languages is one of the most distinctive features of the European project. Multilingualism is not only an expression of the EU countries’ cultural identities but it also helps preserve democracy, transparency and accountability. No legislation can enter into force until it has been translated into all official languages and published in the Official Journal of the EU. Crucially, the provisions relating to the EU language regime can only be changed by a unanimous vote in the Council of the EU.

The EU is committed to promoting language learning but has limited influence over educational and language policies, as these are the responsibility of the individual EU countries. A 2012 poll suggests that a slim majority of Europeans (54 %) can hold a conversation in at least one foreign language, but worryingly, nearly half of all Europeans (46 %) cannot, and only four in 10 pupils attain the basic level of competence allowing them to have a simple conversation in a foreign language.

The European Parliament is committed to ensuring the highest possible degree of multilingualism in its work. Based on the 24 official languages that constitute the public face of the EU, the total number of linguistic combinations rises to 552, since each language can be translated into the 23 others. Currently, over 1 000 staff employed in translation and over 500 in interpretation care for the translation and interpretation needs of the 751 Members of the European Parliament. Internally, the EU institutions mostly use just three working languages: English, French and German.

The overall cost for delivering translation and interpretation services in the EU institutions is around €1 billion per year, which represents less than 1 % of the EU budget or just over €2 per citizen.

Following the success of the European Year of Languages (2001), the Council of Europe designated 26 September as the European Day of Languages.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Multilingualism: The language of the European Union‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/26/multilingualism-the-language-of-the-european-union/

Overview of the parliamentary hearings

Written by Giulio Sabbati,

This infographic presents an overview of the schedule of hearings of the Commissioners-designate of the von der Leyen Commission. The parliamentary committees take the lead for the hearings, with each Commissioner-designate invited to a single hearing of three hours duration. All the hearings are to be held in the József Antall building, in rooms 2Q2 and 4Q2, in the period from 30 September to 8 October 2019.

Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Overview of the parliamentary hearings‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/24/overview-of-the-parliamentary-hearings/

EU sports policy: Going faster, aiming higher, reaching further [Policy podcast]

Written by Vivienne Halleux and Ivana Katsarova,

© giorgos245 / Fotolia

Sport has a growing impact both on the European Union (EU) economy and on society as a whole. Over 7 million people work in sport-related jobs, and sport-related goods and services amount to nearly 3 % of total EU gross value added.

It was not until 2009, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, that the Union received a clear mandate to build up and implement an EU-coordinated sports policy supported by a specific budget, and to develop cooperation with international bodies in the area of sport.

However, EU competence in sport is limited and only allows the EU to support, coordinate or complement sports policy measures taken by national governments. This rules out the adoption of legislation or any other legally binding measure. The EU has therefore opted to act via ‘soft’ policy tools, such as guidelines, recommendations and – most importantly – funding, to support its sport-related objectives.

Over the years, the EU has been actively involved in tackling transnational issues such as doping, match-fixing and lack of physical activity. In recent years, various health-related EU initiatives have grown increasingly popular. In 2018, the European Week of Sport attracted nearly 14 million people to over 50 000 events across Europe, with the Western Balkans and the countries from the Eastern Partnership joining the initiative in 2019. The #BeActive Night, a new feature first introduced in 2018, will continue encouraging participants to discover and try the different sports activities available in their area.

None of this would have been possible without the introduction of a specific budget for sport, in which the European Parliament played a key role. As the popularity of sport-related initiatives grows, so do the Commission’s plans and ambitions for the broader role of sport in society. The executive’s proposal for the 2021-2027 Erasmus programme confirms this ambition. Accordingly, the amount available for Erasmus would be doubled, to reach €30 billion, with €550 million dedicated to sport.

Listen to this podcast on YouTube.

Read the complete briefing on ‘EU sports policy: Going faster, aiming higher, reaching further ‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2019/09/23/eu-sports-policy-going-faster-aiming-higher-reaching-further-policy-podcast/