ThinkTank logo The documents that help shape new EU legislation
Posted on 05-06-2020

World Oceans Day 2020

05-06-2020

Every year, 8 June marks World Oceans Day, celebrated since 1992 and officially designated by the United Nations in 2008. Its aim is to raise global awareness of the crucial role oceans play in sustaining life on earth and our duty to protect its rich marine biodiversity and to use its resources sustainably. This year's specific theme, 'Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean', highlights the need for innovative solutions to deal with the challenges oceans are facing. World Oceans Day also offers an opportunity ...

Every year, 8 June marks World Oceans Day, celebrated since 1992 and officially designated by the United Nations in 2008. Its aim is to raise global awareness of the crucial role oceans play in sustaining life on earth and our duty to protect its rich marine biodiversity and to use its resources sustainably. This year's specific theme, 'Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean', highlights the need for innovative solutions to deal with the challenges oceans are facing. World Oceans Day also offers an opportunity to take stock of progress, globally and in the EU.

Sakharov Prize laureates in difficulty: Facing repression for defending human rights

05-06-2020

The Sakharov Prize is awarded by the European Parliament each year for outstanding achievements in the service of human rights. Defending human rights in countries where they are most under pressure does however come with significant risks for defenders, who are often harassed, persecuted, and deprived of personal freedom. Since its beginning, the Prize has been awarded to human rights defenders, some of whom were behind bars, serving long prison sentences because of their fight, such as Nelson Mandela ...

The Sakharov Prize is awarded by the European Parliament each year for outstanding achievements in the service of human rights. Defending human rights in countries where they are most under pressure does however come with significant risks for defenders, who are often harassed, persecuted, and deprived of personal freedom. Since its beginning, the Prize has been awarded to human rights defenders, some of whom were behind bars, serving long prison sentences because of their fight, such as Nelson Mandela. This has not changed much today. Several Sakharov laureates of recent years were in jail when they were awarded the Prize and are still not free today. Others suffered new or additional prison terms because of their activity. The Sakharov Prize brings the cause and the fight of its laureates to world attention. On the occasion of awarding the Prize, Parliament, through the voice of its President, usually calls for jailed laureates to be released from prison. Parliament also uses all the means in its parliamentary diplomacy toolbox to protect from state repression those that it honours through the Prize. The steady follow-up by Parliament of the situation of Sakharov laureates and the urgency resolutions which mention those in difficulty regularly help to keep their struggle in the spotlight. EU diplomacy complements Parliament's efforts through statements, dialogues, and démarches, in line with the general EU policy on protecting human rights defenders. While such actions add to international pressure to secure the release of human rights defenders, they do not always succeed in moving repressive regimes. 2019 saw the liberation of Oleg Sentsov, the Ukrainian film-maker who received the Prize in 2018, from a Russian jail, but other countries such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Venezuela have been relentless in their repression of Sakharov laureates, not giving in to EU calls for their liberation. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic puts jailed laureates at particular risk, but none of those in prison has benefited from the conditional release awarded on a large scale to common criminals, for example in Iran.

Public hearing with Christine Lagarde, Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board

05-06-2020

This note is prepared in view of a public hearing with the Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), Christine Lagarde, which will take place on 8 June 2020. This will be the first hearing with Ms Lagarde in her capacity as a Chair of the ESRB. The aim of the meeting is to discuss recent developments in macroprudential policy field and the impact of the corona crisis. The briefing addresses the ESRB and national macroprudential authorities’ response to the pandemic outbreak, including recent ...

This note is prepared in view of a public hearing with the Chair of the European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB), Christine Lagarde, which will take place on 8 June 2020. This will be the first hearing with Ms Lagarde in her capacity as a Chair of the ESRB. The aim of the meeting is to discuss recent developments in macroprudential policy field and the impact of the corona crisis. The briefing addresses the ESRB and national macroprudential authorities’ response to the pandemic outbreak, including recent ESRB Recommendation to ESMA; latest ESRB systemic risk assessment and other macroprudential policy concerns.

Posted on 04-06-2020

Digital culture − Access issues

04-06-2020

The digital shift has touched all aspects of human activity, and culture is no exception. Cultural assets and works have been digitised and digital technology has become a tool for novel creations. Digital-born works have enriched the resources available to those interested in culture. Technology has huge potential to facilitate and democratise access to cultural resources. However, certain technical conditions are required to allow access to these cultural resources, for example webpages devoted ...

The digital shift has touched all aspects of human activity, and culture is no exception. Cultural assets and works have been digitised and digital technology has become a tool for novel creations. Digital-born works have enriched the resources available to those interested in culture. Technology has huge potential to facilitate and democratise access to cultural resources. However, certain technical conditions are required to allow access to these cultural resources, for example webpages devoted to digitised cultural heritage and its hidden treasures as well as those devoted to novel creations. These conditions include an internet infrastructure, computers, tablets, or, more frequently, a smartphone − all of which has a price tag. Moreover, the deployment of such infrastructure needs to be evenly distributed so as to provide equal and democratic access to cultural resources − which is not yet the case. Access to costly technology is not sufficient. The technology used must go hand in hand with digital skills that are not evenly acquired by all ages and social groups. Persons with disabilities are in a particularly difficult situation, since ICT equipment often does not suit their specific needs. Moreover, cultural resources are often not available in suitable formats for them. European Union policies and strategies in many areas take all these challenges and access barriers into consideration. EU funds finance connectivity infrastructure in areas in need, training, and educational initiatives across policy areas going from culture and education to innovation and technology. The relationship between technology, science, the arts, and culture is becoming increasingly close in the digital era.

Study in focus: Improving Anti-Money Laundering Policy

03-06-2020

The study evaluates four measures discussed by the European Parliament, the European Commission and others to improve anti-money laundering policy: identifying high-risk countries through blacklisting, reducing laundering through letterbox or shell companies, harmonising EU AML policies through regulations and strengthening the European executive. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and ...

The study evaluates four measures discussed by the European Parliament, the European Commission and others to improve anti-money laundering policy: identifying high-risk countries through blacklisting, reducing laundering through letterbox or shell companies, harmonising EU AML policies through regulations and strengthening the European executive. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

External author

Prof. Dr. Brigitte UNGER

The e-commerce Directive as the cornerstone of the Internal Market

15-05-2020

The e-commerce Directive was adopted in 2000 and has played a key role in the development of online platforms in Europe. The study assesses the effects of the Directive as a cornerstone of the Digital Single Market. On that basis, it proposes some reforms for the future Digital Services Act.

The e-commerce Directive was adopted in 2000 and has played a key role in the development of online platforms in Europe. The study assesses the effects of the Directive as a cornerstone of the Digital Single Market. On that basis, it proposes some reforms for the future Digital Services Act.

External author

Alexandre de STREEL and Martin HUSOVEC

Impact of coronavirus on EU aid to the most deprived

04-06-2020

Around 24 million people in the EU, or 5.6 % of the population, are 'severely materially deprived'. Fighting poverty and social exclusion is therefore a key priority, and to this end the EU supplements its Member States' aid to those most in need through the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), which has a budget of €3.8 billion. Partner organisations selected by the Member States manage this support, providing food (e.g. distribution of food packages and meals) and material assistance ...

Around 24 million people in the EU, or 5.6 % of the population, are 'severely materially deprived'. Fighting poverty and social exclusion is therefore a key priority, and to this end the EU supplements its Member States' aid to those most in need through the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), which has a budget of €3.8 billion. Partner organisations selected by the Member States manage this support, providing food (e.g. distribution of food packages and meals) and material assistance (e.g. clothes), or activities to improve inclusion (e.g. better access to support and social services) to those in need. In parallel, the European Social Fund (ESF) remains the broader funding instrument fighting poverty and social exclusion. The coronavirus crisis poses specific risks for the most deprived and unparalleled challenges for the activities supported by the FEAD and the ESF. To safeguard the most vulnerable, and aid workers and volunteers, against the coronavirus disease, emergency measures have been taken to provide them with protective equipment. Changes, launched in April 2020, have sought to adapt the FEAD to the challenging situation. For instance, electronic vouchers have been introduced to deliver food aid and basic material assistance, to reduce the risk of contamination during delivery. Furthermore, FEAD money has been made available for buying protective equipment for those delivering the aid. Yet again, partner organisations and other players involved in the implementation of the FEAD have been enabled to quickly address the additional needs of the most deprived arising from the crisis. During the crisis, the fund will be 100 % EU-financed, including the 15 % normally paid by the Member States. Moreover, to face the acute labour crisis and its social consequences on the most deprived, the EU has taken initiatives to address immediate needs and mitigate negative impacts on employment and social policy, including measures to support the most vulnerable or deprived groups. Since the onset of the pandemic, the European Parliament has been at the forefront of initiatives to protect the most deprived.

The economy and coronavirus: Weekly Picks

04-06-2020

This paper provides a summary of some recent analyses of the economic and financial effects of the coronavirus, an overview of the grants component included it the Commission’s proposal for a new EU recovery and resilience facility, and some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate the negative economic effects of the pandemic.

This paper provides a summary of some recent analyses of the economic and financial effects of the coronavirus, an overview of the grants component included it the Commission’s proposal for a new EU recovery and resilience facility, and some policy recommendations made in the public domain to mitigate the negative economic effects of the pandemic.

National COVID-19 contact tracing apps

15-05-2020

While the coordination of cross-border interoperable COVID-19 contact tracing apps is a competence of the European Commission, their development is a national competence. This short briefing summarises the current efforts towards, functionalities of and technical decisions on the development of national COVID-19 apps, with a focus on the ongoing centralised vs. decentralised approach and the interoperability of different apps across Europe. All Member States and the Commission consider the interoperability ...

While the coordination of cross-border interoperable COVID-19 contact tracing apps is a competence of the European Commission, their development is a national competence. This short briefing summarises the current efforts towards, functionalities of and technical decisions on the development of national COVID-19 apps, with a focus on the ongoing centralised vs. decentralised approach and the interoperability of different apps across Europe. All Member States and the Commission consider the interoperability of the apps and backend servers to be essential for the effective tracing of cross-border infection chains, especially for cross-border workers and neighbouring countries. Ultimately, this effort will support the gradual lifting of border controls within the EU and the restoration of the single market’s integrity.

Collection of studies for the IMCO Committee - Digital Services Act

15-05-2020

While the E-commerce directive has been the cornerstone of the Internal Market for the last twenty years, Members of the European Parliament´s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committe noted that the Digital Single Market is affected by increasing fragmentation in tackling illegal content online, difficulties to promote market entry and consumer welfare, and ineffectiveness of enforcement and cooperation between Member State. In order to improve functioning of the Single Market, IMCO Committee ...

While the E-commerce directive has been the cornerstone of the Internal Market for the last twenty years, Members of the European Parliament´s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committe noted that the Digital Single Market is affected by increasing fragmentation in tackling illegal content online, difficulties to promote market entry and consumer welfare, and ineffectiveness of enforcement and cooperation between Member State. In order to improve functioning of the Single Market, IMCO Committee took the initiative to prepare a legislative report with recommendations to the Commission on a Digital Services Act (Rapporteur: MEP Alex Agius Saliba) and organised a workshop on “E-commerce rules, fit for the digital age” during which MEPs discussed with experts, stakeholders and consumer protection organisations possibilities of efficient reforms of regulation and consumer protection on online marketplaces in the European Union. This collection of studies presents workshop proceedings and expert studies resulting from the ongoing interest of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection in improving the functioning of the Digital Single Market and developing e-commerce rules based on scientific evidence and expertise.

Upcoming events

11-06-2020
CONT Public Hearing: Implementation of EU funds
Hearing -
CONT
11-06-2020
STOA Roundtable on Digital Sovereign Identity
Workshop -
STOA
15-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | A Certain Idea of France: The life of Charles de Gaulle
Other event -
EPRS

Infographics

Publications of the Think Tank

The content of all documents contained in the Think Tank website is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work.

The Think Tank is on...