Месечни архиви: април 2020

EU international procurement instrument [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Jana Titievskaia (1st edition),

© sahachat / Adobe Stock

The EU has opened up its public procurement markets to third countries to a large degree, yet many of these countries have not granted the EU comparable access. In 2012, the European Commission tabled a proposal for an international procurement instrument (IPI). It then revised the proposal in 2015, taking on board some recommendations from Council and Parliament. However, the revised proposal did not advance owing to differences in Member States’ positions. In 2019, discussions in Council gained new momentum in the context of a changed global trading environment, and growing recognition of the need to take a more strategic stance vis-à-vis China. The IPI would give the EU leverage in negotiating the reciprocal opening of public procurement markets in third countries.


EU Legislation in progress timeline

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/30/eu-international-procurement-instrument-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020

Written by Ralf Drachenberg and Annastiina Papunen,

© Adobe Stock.

At the European Council’s video-conference meeting on 23 April, EU leaders demonstrated greater willingness to achieve a coordinated response at EU-level to face the coronavirus crisis than had previously been the case. Although concrete decisions were postponed, Heads of State or Government adopted a more united approach and took decisive steps towards collective action. Notably, they welcomed both the ‘Joint European Roadmap towards Lifting Covid-19 Containment Measures’ and the ‘Roadmap for Recovery’, but also agreed to ‘work towards establishing’ an urgently needed recovery fund ‘dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis’. However, whilst asking the European Commission to shape the recovery strategy and to clarify the link between the Recovery Fund and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), EU leaders gave little guidance on specific details, such as the total amount, whether it would provide loans or grants, or on a precise timetable.

Furthermore, EU leaders called on Turkey to end its illegal drilling activities off Cyprus in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone. They also announced a video-conference between EU Heads of State or Government and their counterparts from the Western Balkans, on 6 May 2020, date of the previously planned EU-Western Balkans Summit.

1. Video-conference of EU Heads of State or Government

On 23 April, the members of the European Council held their fourth video-conference meeting aimed at defining a coordinated EU response to the Covid-19 outbreak. EU Heads of State or Government stressed their ‘strong will to move forward together’. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in his invitation letter, called on EU leaders to ‘show even greater determination in overcoming our differences’. This call for unity was also shared by the President of the European Parliament, who, as at ordinary meetings of the European Council, addressed EU leaders at the start of the meeting, stressing that ‘the time has come to put blinkered self-interest to one side and to make the solidarity which is at the heart of the European project our guiding principle once again’. Other participants in the 23 April video-conference were the Presidents of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, and of the Eurogroup, Mário Centeno, as well as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP), Josep Borrell.

The video-conference working method, besides being rather challenging for discussions in the European Council, especially on technical issues, has another consequence, which is that there are in fact more people ‘in the room’ than just the members of the European Council and the above-mentioned guests. In contrast to normal ‘physical meetings’ in Brussels, some leaders had their advisors with them during the discussions.

2. Results of the video-conference

As was the case with the European Council video-conferences of 10 March and 17 March, the ‘Conclusions of the President’, rather than formal conclusions, outlined the results of the discussions. The video-conference of 26 March, on the other hand, concluded with a joint statement.

Table 1 gives an overview of the main points resulting from the video-conference, the type of action taken or answer given by the European Council as well as the envisaged follow up. The wording used in the conclusions is rather vague and less decisive, and is mostly of a reactive nature (i.e. welcoming actions of other players) rather than providing any concrete decisions.

Table 1: Overview of main elements of the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020

3. EU recovery strategy

As flagged up in the EPRS outlook, this video-conference focused on the recovery plan, which EU leaders had requested at their 26 March video-conference. EU leaders welcomed the joint roadmap for recovery presented on 21 April by Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. As previously announced by Charles Michel, it focuses on four areas for action:

  1. The internal market,
  2. an unprecedented investment strategy,
  3. a global recovery strategy, and
  4. EU resilience and governance.

The President of the European Council indicated that ‘this roadmap will be complemented by a more detailed Action Plan setting out the measures to be taken with the appropriate timings’. In this context, Charles Michel also stressed that producing ‘essential goods in Europe’ was a means of increasing the EU’s strategic autonomy.

4. EU recovery fund and the next Multiannual Financial Framework

One of the core topics of the video-conference meeting was the long term recovery of the EU. The leaders asked the Commission to submit urgently a proposal for the financing of the EU recovery strategy, possibly combining two instruments: 1) a recovery fund, based on Article 122 TFEU, and ‘dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis’, and 2) a strengthened 2021-2027 MFF.

EU Heads of State or Government agreed ‘to work towards establishing a recovery fund’ which ‘shall be of a sufficient magnitude, targeted towards the sectors and geographical parts of Europe most affected, and be dedicated to dealing with this unprecedented crisis’. Yet, the mechanics and the size of the fund, questions which were left unresolved following the Eurogroup meeting of 7-9 April – as countries could not agree on the financing modalities – were again left open. Thus, the Commission was tasked with analysing the exact needs, and with clarifying the fund’s link with the EU’s long-term budget or MFF.

Ursula von der Leyen expressed her conviction that ‘there is only one instrument that can deliver this magnitude of tasks behind the recovery and that is the European budget clearly linked to the recovery fund’. Therefore she was glad that the Heads of State or Government had demonstrated unity and encouraged the Commission to explore innovative financial instruments in relation to the MFF. She announced that the Commission would propose to increase the headroom (i.e. the space between the existing ceiling in the MFF and the own resources ceiling). Based on ‘the legal guarantee of the Member States, the European Commission will be able to raise funds which will then be channelled through the European budget into the Member States’. The current estimates by the Commission assume that ‘an Own Resources ceiling of around 2 per cent of GNI for two or three years instead of the current 1.2 per cent will be required’. President von der Leyen announced that the money would be concentrated in four areas which would receive increased investment:

  1. increased financial support for investment and reforms in Member States and cohesion;
  2. modern policies: the European Green Deal, digital transition and increased strategic autonomy;
  3. the EU’s common crisis response; and
  4. strengthening the support to the EU’s neighbourhood and partners.

She indicated the investment should be front-loaded in the first years. According to some estimates, the new recovery fund and MFF package could amount to up to €2 trillion.

The Commission President indicated that her aim was to present the revised MFF proposal in the second or third week of May. However, many questions will need to be answered before the Commission can actually do so. Next to legal considerations linked to the strict rules applying to the MFF, consensus will need to be achieved on issues such as the required balance between loans and grants.

5. Main messages from the European Parliament President

When addressing the European Council, the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, relayed Parliament’s recently adopted resolution to the Heads of State or Government. He stressed that Parliament supported the idea of a dedicated ‘recovery fund’, provided that certain key conditions be met, first and foremost, the embedding of the recovery fund in the MFF. For Parliament, this requires a significantly strengthened MFF, which draws on existing EU funds as well as on innovative financial instruments, such as recovery bonds backed by the EU budget. President Sassoli underlined that this fund needed to come quickly, and promised that ‘the European Parliament, as the democratic representative of EU citizens and one arm of the budgetary authority, will do its part, and it expects to be fully involved’.

6. Other items

Turkey’s illegal drilling activities

EU leaders reaffirmed their ‘full solidarity’ with Cyprus, and recalled their previous conclusions condemning Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and calling for their end.

Western Balkans

EU Heads of State or Government will hold a video-conference with their counterparts from the Western Balkans on 6 May 2020, the first day on which an informal EU-Western Balkans summit had initially been scheduled to take place in Zagreb. President Michel stressed that Albania and North Macedonia had recently been given the green light to open accession negotiations, and that the meeting would consider the EU’s priorities for the Western Balkans.

Secretary-General of the Council

Member States also agreed to renew the mandate of Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen as Secretary-General of the Council, to be formally confirmed subsequently by written procedure.

7. Next steps

Apart from the Western Balkans video-conference scheduled for 6 May, no date has been set for a follow-up meeting of the European Council on the roadmap for recovery. However, the European Council has announced that it would monitor progress on all the elements of the strategy in close cooperation with other EU institutions. And since a revised MFF proposal is expected early in May, another meeting of Heads of State or Government can be expected in mid- to late May. Charles Michel reported the political will of the EU leaders to work together on the MFF and the recovery fund, and take decisions in the coming weeks. In this context, EU Heads of State or Government have promised to complement the roadmap with ‘a more detailed Action Plan setting out the measures to be taken with the appropriate timings’. What form this roadmap takes remains to be seen.

Incidentally, as a result of this new crisis, Charles Michel will probably not be able to publish his own work programme for the European Council anytime soon, and is likely to find himself in a similar situation to his two predecessors, who could only present their own work programmes in their second mandates once the respective crises they had faced (i.e. the economic and financial, and the migration crises) had receded.

Read this briefing on ‘Outcome of the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Read all EPRS publications on the coronavirus outbreak

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/30/outcome-of-the-european-council-video-conference-of-23-april-2020/

Addressing shortages of medicines

Written by Nicole Scholz,

© s-motive / Adobe Stock.

Medicines shortages have been a growing problem in the European Union (EU) in recent years. As the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, the risk of bottlenecks in the supply of medicines to patients has become particularly high. More broadly, problems with the availability of, and access to, new medicines – most frequently associated with high-priced medicines – have also been a central topic in political debates for some time now.

The causes underlying medicines shortages are complex and multi-dimensional. The European Commission links them to manufacturing problems, industry quotas, legal parallel trade, but also to economic aspects, such as pricing (which is a competence of the Member States). The coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore the geopolitical dimension of these shortages, that is, the EU’s dependency on countries beyond its boundaries, especially China and India, for the production of many active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines.

Solutions to the problem are believed to entail collaboration and joint action, as well as the involvement of multiple stakeholders, including regulators, industry, patients, healthcare professionals, and international players. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Health Organization, in particular, are conducting work to improve access to medicines. Medicines supply-chain stakeholders have all weighed in on the debate, offering explanations and recommendations for addressing the problem.

Key EU institutions, several Council presidencies and the Member States have addressed the challenge of shortages and more broadly, that of safeguarding access to medicines, through various initiatives. The European Parliament has specifically addressed the issue in a March 2017 resolution. Ensuring the availability of medicines and overcoming supply-chain problems revealed by the coronavirus crisis are also expected to be important topics in the Commission’s forthcoming pharmaceutical strategy.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Addressing shortages of medicines‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/30/addressing-shortages-of-medicines/

The role of armed forces in the fight against coronavirus

Written by Tania Latici,

© Jörg Hüttenhölscher / Adobe Stock

While armed forces may find it difficult to distance themselves from what is perceived as their primary mission, the coronavirus pandemic largely challenges society’s vision of their role. This has been showcased through the vital contributions of the military to civilian authorities’ responses to contain and stop the spread of coronavirus.

Exchanging guns for bags of food supplies and disinfectant spray, military personnel have been among the first responders in the coronavirus pandemic. Whether distributing food, building hospitals or shelters for the homeless, European armed forces were mobilised early. Trained to react quickly in highly dangerous conditions, the military carried out missions of repatriation and evacuation of citizens and transported medical supplies and protective equipment. Almost all European Union (EU) Member States have mobilised their armed forces in one way or another.

Discouraging post-crisis economic projections indicate that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will not spare the defence sector, nor will it weaken geopolitical tensions. With resources further under strain, countries’ abilities to meet the EU’s defence ambitions with the required investments is under question. However, current EU defence initiatives, if appropriately financed, could see the EU being better prepared to face future pandemics among other threats. Examples include various projects under the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) mechanism, as well as the European Defence Fund, whose precursor already envisioned pandemic-relevant projects. While EU missions and operations abroad continue, they too have seen their activities limited. However, this has not stopped the EU from deploying staff to help locals in host countries to tackle the virus.

In coordination with the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has also provided vital assistance to Allies and partners. Its disaster relief coordination centre, as well as the strategic lift platform and rapid air mobility mechanism, successfully ensured the swift provision of essential equipment and supplies. Around the world, armed forces have demonstrated their added value by closely assisting authorities and citizens in battling the pandemic.

Read this briefing on ‘The role of armed forces in the fight against coronavirus‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/29/the-role-of-armed-forces-in-the-fight-against-coronavirus/

Members of the European Parliament from February 2020

Written by Giulio Sabbati,

In May 2019, on a turnout of 51%, European Union citizens elected their representatives to the European Parliament for the next five years. On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the Union. Of the 73 seats vacated by Members elected in the UK, 27 have been redistributed among 14 Member States, while 46 remain available for potential EU enlargements and/or the possible creation of a transnational constituency in the future. The number of seats in the Parliament has fallen from 751 to 705. The 705 MEPs elected have an average age of 50 years (with the youngest being 21 and the oldest 83). A majority of MEPs (414) are new to the Parliament. Women now represent 39.5% of all MEPs.

Members of the European Parliament from February 2020

© European Union 2020, EPRS

Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Members of the European Parliament from February 2020‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/29/members-of-the-european-parliament-from-february-2020/

Coronavirus crisis support for EU farmers

Written by Rachele Rossi,

EU farmers are among the few key workers who have not seen a dramatic change in their daily routines since the coronavirus crisis began. They are still farming to supply EU citizens with food. Some public health protection measures have however affected farming activities and sales badly. While the EU has taken a number of measures to mitigate this impact, the possibility of further measures is high on the agricultural policy agenda.

Impact on farming activities

Farmer standing in his field while wearing a mask, coronavirus pandemic concept

© Minerva Studio / Adobe Stock

Although farming has continued during the pandemic, farming activities are in distress. Disruptions to the EU agri-food supply chain range from difficulties accessing supplies and farm workers, to limitations or closures of the destination markets for produce. The situation varies by product and region, with the crisis hitting at different times. Seasonal labour plays an important role in various stages throughout the production process for fruit and vegetables, wine and other permanent crops. Beyond supply chains, the crisis is also affecting prices and final demand. The absence of the demand normally sparked by springtime religious festivities and private celebrations has already had a major impact on sectors as diverse as sheep-meat production and floriculture. The closure of restaurants and catering services is having a dramatic effect on meat and wine consumption. The European Commission’s April 2020 outlook notes the effects of consumers neglecting high-value bovine meat cuts in favour of less expensive poultry meat. Farmers’ representatives have highlighted costs relating to the seasonal nature of certain products (such as flowers and ornamental plants, the sector worst affected with demand falling by up to 80 %) and to the loss of usual markets (such as for eggs and egg products). Surplus volumes of milk are resulting from a drop in demand, and some dairies cannot process all milk deliveries. Although agricultural production is on track for this year, the final impact will depend on how the crisis develops and on the strategies put in place.

EU support measures

The EU has taken several measures to alleviate the impact of the crisis on farmers and farming activities.

Preserving the food supply chain: The guidelines issued by the Commission in mid-March – on ensuring the availability of goods and essential services and the free movement of workers – are helping Member States to work together despite the restrictive border management measures adopted to protect health. The objectives are to let lorries transporting goods pass through fast-track border crossings (‘green lanes’), and to allow workers in critical occupations (including seasonal farm workers) to travel to their workplaces.

Supporting activities and simplifying business operations: Recent legislative initiatives have adapted common agricultural policy (CAP) rules to the crisis. Farmers and rural development players now have more time to apply for EU subsidies, as the deadline has been postponed from 15 May to 15 June 2020 (several Member States have decided to take advantage of this extension and allow CAP beneficiaries more time). Increased advances on payments of EU subsidies for the year 2020 will help to augment cash flows (such increases mean higher advances on both direct payments, from 50 % to 70 %, and rural development payments, from 75 % to 85 %). The reduction of physical on-the-spot checks for CAP aid, accompanied by flexibility on checking requirements needed prior to payments, will help to cut red tape and avoid delays in payments, while minimising physical contact between farmers and inspectors.

The Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus (CRII+) introduces flexibility and simplification to the use of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), including favourable conditions for loans and guarantees, cover for operational costs of up to €200 000, and leeway for EU countries to amend their rural development programmes so as to reallocate residual funds.

In addition to CAP measures, the temporary framework for State aid enables Member States to secure liquidity for businesses through a range of measures, such as public loans and direct grants. Farmers can benefit from up to €100 000 each, topped up by de minimis aid (national support for agriculture granted without the need for prior Commission approval) of €20 000 (or in some cases €25 000) per farm.

Sustaining agricultural markets: On 22 April, the Commission announced a series of measures to support those agricultural markets worst hit by the crisis. The package of proposals would provide aid for the withdrawal from the market and private storage of certain products (skimmed milk powder, butter, cheese, beef, and sheep and goat meat). The crisis management measures would become a priority in the use of funds in the market support programmes for wine, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, apiculture and the EU’s school scheme. Derogations from competition rules would also allow milk, floriculture and potato sector operators to cooperate on production planning or product withdrawal.

Investing in agriculture and the bioeconomy: In early April, the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched a programme of loans worth €700 million with a view to unlocking close to €1.6 billion in investment in the agriculture and bioeconomy sectors. The financing initiative aims to support a wide range of projects, for investments ranging from €15 million to €200 million by companies operating in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, or in the up- or downstream value chain.

Debate on further EU instruments and action

Both national authorities and stakeholders welcomed the initial EU measures. However, many have pushed for further and more targeted measures and for funding outside the CAP budget. Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and EU agriculture ministers have urged the Commission to make further efforts to address the difficulties of EU farmers. The Commission has stressed the need to use up any unspent rural development funds, given the lack of money at a time when most of the funds have run out and the future budget has not yet been agreed.

Market measures: The rules on common organisation of the markets in agricultural products (the CMO Regulation) provide that the Commission can activate exceptional and emergency measures, such as those announced on 22 April and presented above, to address market disturbances. Such measures have been the most common and pressing request of all stakeholders, together with more specific proposals, such as crisis support for the distillation of wine into ethanol for the manufacture of disinfectant.

Crisis reserve: The CAP’s financial rules (CAP horizontal regulation) provide for a reserve for crises in agriculture, based on an annual reduction of direct payments to farmers to finance exceptional measures. If not used, such amounts are reimbursed to farmers at the end of the year. The deployment of the reserve could free up to €478 million, but such a decision would mean less money for farmers later on.

Rural development: The EU’s rural development policy is based on multiannual national (sometimes regional) programmes, co-financed by Member States. According to the Commission some €6 billion is still available in programmes ending in 2020, or more than double that if calls for applications not yet finalised are considered. Adjustments are possible to redirect the remaining funds towards measures that could help those farmers and rural areas hardest hit by the crisis, such as support for investment in restoring the production potential of farms or setting up medical facilities in rural areas. Moreover, when the programmes include risk management tools, these can compensate farmers for their losses.

Future agricultural budget: EU support for farmers and rural areas still plays a major role in the EU budget, with direct payments to farmers representing the bulk of total CAP expenditure. Such payments help to make farming more profitable, but they can also function as a safety net in cases of agricultural income loss in difficult times. Their hectare-based nature directs them towards certain types of farm. Proposals under discussion for the post-2020 EU budget and CAP envisage a reduction in agricultural funds for the 2021-2027 period. If resources are redirected owing to the current crisis, safeguarding an adequate post-2020 CAP budget that gives full consideration to agricultural policy’s key role will prove extremely challenging.

Trade: The role of trade in the EU’s food system goes beyond food and drink exchanges, to include trade in agricultural inputs, packaging materials, machinery, and any supplies that contribute to food security. As food security is not achievable at local level, and self-sufficiency cannot work everywhere, the EU can act to prevent the restrictive measures adopted to protect health from limiting trade in the internal market, while also outlawing unfair trading practices. In addition, the EU can act at global level to favour exchanges, by means of bilateral talks with trade partners (for instance regarding US customs tariffs on EU exports) and the promotion of EU products on the market. On the defensive side, there are calls to revise the rules on EU import quotas from third countries, and to put agriculture-sensitive trade negotiations aside.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Coronavirus crisis support for EU farmers‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/29/coronavirus-crisis-support-for-eu-farmers/

Coronavirus: Implications for the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

© wernerimages / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic poses a serious challenge to the European Union, arguably testing at once its solidarity, resilience, capacity and even relevance. Some analysts see the current crisis as an ‘existential’ threat to the Union, whilst others sense it to be a significant opportunity to assert the need for collective solutions and to build greater systemic strength for the future. A lively debate has broken out among thinkers and commentators about the implications of the crisis for the future of European integration, the policy priorities of the Union, and the capabilities and resources of its institutions.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on the challenges of the coronavirus for the EU and related issues. The papers gathered here have all been written before the European Council video-conference of 23 April 2020.

Covid-19: A turning-point for the EU?
European Policy Centre, April 2020

Corona will kill or cure the EU
Friends of Europe, April 2020

Covid-19: Lessons from the ‘euro crisis’
European Policy Centre, April 2020

The great lockdown: Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global economy
Polish Institute for International Affairs, April 2020

European vision and ambition needed: Italy and Germany must promote a global EU response to Covid-19
Istituto Affari Internazionali, April 2020

Why the EU should take the global lead in cancelling Africa’s debt
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2020

How the EU should co-ordinate an end to the Covid-19 lockdown
Centre for European Reform, April 2020

Defence against the coronavirus, or the soldier and the welfare state
Egmont, April 2020

Beyond coronabonds: A new constituent for Europe
Istituto Affari Internazionali, April 2020

Covid-19 : En qu(o)i les Français ont-ils confiance?
Fondation Jean Jaurès, April 2020

Protecting employment in the time of coronavirus
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2020

Will Covid-19 reduce the resistance to Eurobonds?
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2020

Européaniser notre relance économique
Fondation pour l’innovation politique, April 2020

A global agreement on medical equipment and supplies to fight Covid-19
European Centre for International Political Economy, April 2020

Covid-19 and the liberal international order: Exposing instabilities and weaknesses in an open international system
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, April 2020

Why the EU should lead talks between Kosovo and Serbia
European Council on Foreign Relations, April 2020

The EU needs a more comprehensive vision to tackle pandemics
Carnegie Europe, April 2020

Coronavirus does not mean the end of globalisation
European Centre for International Political Economy, April 2020

Covid-19: La fin du leadership américain?
Institut français des relations internationales, April 2020

10 ways of thinking about crisis resilience
Heinrich Böll Stiftung, April 2020

Coronavirus: Trends and landscapes for the aftermath
Real Instituto Elcano, April 2020

From Strategic Autonomy to the internationalization of the euro: Europe’s challenges and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis
Istituto Affari Internazionali, April 2020

The pandemic and the toll of transatlantic discord
German Marshall Fund, April 2020

L’UE face au coronavirus: Comment financer l’économie européenne en temps de crise?
Confrontations Europe, April 2020

A coordinated, unlimited and flexible insurance policy to respond to the pandemic
Real Instituto Elcano, April 2020

Eurozone passes coronavirus rescue plan, but political unity remains elusive
Atlantic Council, April 2020

Europe’s missing coronavirus exit strategy
Carnegie Europe, April 2020

Take me to your leader! Or how the EU could emerge stronger from the corona crisis
Egmont, April 2020

Corona: EU’s existential crisis
Clingendael, April 2020

The EU can emerge stronger from the pandemic if Merkel seizes the moment
European Council on Foreign Relations, April 2020

Debt monetization and EU recovery bonds
Fondation Européenne d’Etudes Progressistes, April 2020

A joint effort to increase production of medical masks in Europe
Clingendael, April 2020

Climate ambition in times of corona
Friends of Europe, April 2020

Covid-19: Can the EU avoid an epidemic of authoritarianism?
Centre for European Reform, April 2020

Europe’s debate on fiscal policy: Too much yet too little
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 20

A proposal for a coronabond: The Pandemic Solidarity Instrument
Centre for European Reform, April 2020

Boosting Europe’s resilience with better health systems: Lessons from the Covid-19 crisis
European Policy Centre, April 2020

Will SURE shield EU workers from the corona crisis?
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2020

EU trade in medical goods: Why self-sufficiency is the wrong approach
Bruegel, April 2020

How is the Covid-19 crisis serving the EU?
European Policy Centre, April 2020

A European approach to fund the coronavirus cost is in the interest of all
Bruegel, April 202

Bouncing back again: How past crises can help Eastern Europe fight Covid-19
European Council on Foreign Relations, April 2020

Trouble for the EU is brewing in coronavirus-hit Italy
Centre for European Reform, April 2020

Kaczynski’s folly: Time for Europeans to speak out
European Council on Foreign Relations, April 2020

The coronavirus crisis: An opportunity to mend Polish-Ukrainian relations
European Council on Foreign Relations, April 2020

In the corona crisis, who is the more reliable international partner?
Bertelsmann Stiftung, April 2020

The ripple effects of the coronavirus in Turkey
Carnegie Europe, April 2020

Why an inclusive circular economy is needed to prepare for future global crises
Chatham House, April 2020

Coronavirus and the future of democracy in Europe
Chatham House, April 2020

Read this briefing on ‘Coronavirus: Implications for the EU‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Read all EPRS publications on the coronavirus outbreak

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/28/coronavirus-implications-for-the-eu-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

State aid and the pandemic: How State aid can back coronavirus economic support measures

Written by Cécile Remeur,

© Thomas / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic and its financial and economic consequences have caused a major economic downturn, and the European Union (EU) has moved rapidly to respond with monetary and fiscal policy measures. The fiscal policy instruments deployed include the adaptation of State aid rules to the exceptional circumstances to allow Member States to support their economies by means of direct or indirect intervention.

From a competition law point of view, measures that constitute State aid are in principle illegal, unless issued under an exemption, such as the De minimis Regulation or the General Block Exemption Regulation, subject to notification and European Commission approval. The State aid rules do, however, already allow for aid to compensate for damage caused by natural disasters and exceptional events, such as a pandemic.

State aid can also be used to remedy serious disturbances to the economy. The temporary framework adopted by the Commission in March 2020 sets out temporary State aid measures that the Commission will consider compatible with the State aid rules, allowing Member States full flexibility in supporting their coronavirus-stricken economies. The temporary framework is in place to address Member States’ various needs more effectively.

The framework initially focused on measures to ensure liquidity. In early April, it was broadened to include measures to support the economy and coronavirus-related medical investment, research and production, as well as measures to ease the social and tax liabilities of companies and the self-employed and measures to subsidise workers’ wages.

Read the complete briefing on ‘State aid and the pandemic: How State aid can back coronavirus economic support measures‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/28/state-aid-and-the-pandemic-how-state-aid-can-back-coronavirus-economic-support-measures/

Coronavirus and the world of work

Written by Monika Kiss,

© Angelov / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to curb its spread have had far-reaching and lasting consequences in different sectors of the economy, in the form of job and income losses or significantly modified working conditions.

This briefing gives an overview of the host of problems confronting workers and employers due to the pandemic and its consequences, and presents possible solutions that can be applied at different levels. A set of solutions concerns the level of the individual worker or the company employing them. Certain types of occupations, for instance, allow ‘going digital’ (even if teleworking also has its challenges). In other cases, the company can pay partial or total wages or sick leave to its employees.

At yet another level, that of the Member States, short-time work schemes can be introduced or have their scope further extended. Governments can also regulate parameters of teleworking or extend income replacements to groups of workers benefiting from lesser social protection.

Through initiatives such as the Support to Mitigate Unemployment Risks in Emergency (SURE) and the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives, the European Union is taking an active part in tackling the coronavirus crisis by supporting Member States, companies and workers to face the challenges. At its 16-17 April plenary session, the European Parliament voted on and adopted a number of important coronavirus-related proposals, concerning among others workers in certain sectors (healthcare, fishermen and aquaculture farmers) as well as more flexible use of the European structural and investment funds.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Coronavirus and the world of work‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/27/coronavirus-and-the-world-of-work/

Developing a pandemic emergency purchase programme: Unconventional monetary policy to tackle the coronavirus crisis

Written by Carla Stamegna and Angelos Delivorias,

© bluedesign / Adobe Stock

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union specifies the maintenance of price stability in the euro area as the primary objective of EU single monetary policy. Subject to that, it should also contribute to the achievement of the Union’s objectives, which include ‘full employment’ and ‘balanced economic growth’. Responsibility for monetary policy conduct is attributed to the Eurosystem, which carries out its tasks through a set of standard instruments referred to as the ‘operational framework’. To tackle the financial crisis, the Eurosystem has complemented its regular operations by implementing several non-standard monetary policy measures since 2009.

The first strand of these measures had the primary objective of restoring the correct functioning of the monetary transmission mechanism by supporting certain distressed financial market segments, playing an important role in the conduct of monetary policy. A second strand of non-standard measures was aimed at sustaining prices and fostering economic growth by expanding the size of the Eurosystem balance sheet through massive purchases of eligible securities, including public debt instruments issued by euro-area countries. Net purchases were conducted between October 2014 and December 2018, after which the Eurosystem continued to simply reinvest repayments from maturing securities to maintain the size of cumulative net purchases at December 2018 levels. Due to prevailing conditions, however, in September 2019, the European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council decided to recommence net purchases in November of the same year ‘for as long as necessary to reinforce the accommodative impact of its policy rates’.

The spread of the coronavirus in early 2020 has impaired growth prospects for the global and euro-area economies and made additional monetary stimulus necessary. In this context, the ECB has increased the size of existing asset purchase programmes, and launched a temporary, separate and additional pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP).

Read this briefing on ‘Developing a pandemic emergency purchase programme: Unconventional monetary policy to tackle the coronavirus crisis‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Simplified representation of the primary and secondary market for public debt securities

Simplified representation of the primary and secondary market for public debt securities

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2020/04/27/developing-a-pandemic-emergency-purchase-programme-unconventional-monetary-policy-to-tackle-the-coronavirus-crisis/