255

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EU agricultural policy and health: Some historical and contemporary issues

23-10-2020

This paper examines the links between agriculture and health in the EU. Following an explanation of the links between agriculture, nutrition and diet, a chronology of some of the key studies and developments in this field is provided. This begins with an examination of efforts in the early 1970s to address high rates of cardiovascular disease before moving onto more recent assessments of the role of the EU's common agricultural policy in relation to nutrition-related public health matters, and the ...

This paper examines the links between agriculture and health in the EU. Following an explanation of the links between agriculture, nutrition and diet, a chronology of some of the key studies and developments in this field is provided. This begins with an examination of efforts in the early 1970s to address high rates of cardiovascular disease before moving onto more recent assessments of the role of the EU's common agricultural policy in relation to nutrition-related public health matters, and the extent to which the policy has influenced current dietary patterns. A brief overview is provided of the health status of EU citizens, including some key features and trends in EU health, diets and nutrition. The paper also takes account of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including its implications for health considerations across all policies. Drawing on the range of studies and commentaries consulted, the paper concludes with a number of ways in which agriculture and agricultural policies can address or have an impact on the EU's public health challenges.

Coronavirus: The second wave [What Think Tanks are thinking]

22-10-2020

A resurgence in the number of coronavirus infections since the summer has evidently turned into a second wave of the pandemic, which has now hit many European Union countries. The pandemic is putting renewed pressure on European health systems, and authorities are introducing stringent but targeted preventive measures in a bid to cushion the negative economic impacts while preserving people's health and ensuring hospitals are not once again overwhelmed. An increasing number of EU countries are clamping ...

A resurgence in the number of coronavirus infections since the summer has evidently turned into a second wave of the pandemic, which has now hit many European Union countries. The pandemic is putting renewed pressure on European health systems, and authorities are introducing stringent but targeted preventive measures in a bid to cushion the negative economic impacts while preserving people's health and ensuring hospitals are not once again overwhelmed. An increasing number of EU countries are clamping down on travel and imposing strict social distancing measures, such as night-time curfews in major cities and limits on social contacts, although most schools and businesses remain open throughout Europe. The International Monetary Fund said in its October World Economic Outlook (WEO) that global growth in 2020 is projected at -4.4 per cent owing to the pandemic, a less severe contraction than forecast in the June 2020 WEO. The revision reflects better than anticipated second quarter GDP outturns – mostly in advanced economies, where activity bounced back sooner than expected following the scaling back of national lockdowns in May and June – as well as indications of a stronger recovery in the third quarter. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on pandemic related issues. Earlier think tank studies on the issue can be found in the 'What Think Tanks are Thinking' of 25 September.

EU/EA measures to mitigate the economic, financial and social effects of coronavirus State-of-play 20 October 2020

21-10-2020

This document compiles information, obtained from public sources, on the measures proposed and taken at the EU or Euro Area level to mitigate the economic and social effects of Covid19. It will be regularly updated, following new developments.

This document compiles information, obtained from public sources, on the measures proposed and taken at the EU or Euro Area level to mitigate the economic and social effects of Covid19. It will be regularly updated, following new developments.

Amending the European Fund for Sustainable Development

19-10-2020

The EU is in the process of adapting its budgetary instruments to respond to the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, in particular in raising the established ceilings for some financial instruments. The proposed adjustments include, among other things, measures aimed at helping the most fragile third countries recover from the consequences of the pandemic. In particular, on 28 May 2020, the European Commission put forward a proposal concerning the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD ...

The EU is in the process of adapting its budgetary instruments to respond to the consequences of the coronavirus crisis, in particular in raising the established ceilings for some financial instruments. The proposed adjustments include, among other things, measures aimed at helping the most fragile third countries recover from the consequences of the pandemic. In particular, on 28 May 2020, the European Commission put forward a proposal concerning the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) in order to expand its coverage and raise the funds dedicated to leverage private investment for sustainable development and the guarantees to de-risk such investment. On 21 July 2020, the European Council rejected the draft amending budget that would have provided increased EFSD funding for the current year.

Minimum wage in the EU

19-10-2020

In 2020, most European Union (EU) Member States have a statutory minimum wage (21 of 27), while six others have wage levels determined though collective bargaining. Expressed in euros, monthly minimum wages vary widely across the EU ranging from €312 in Bulgaria to €2 142 in Luxembourg (July 2020). The disparities are significantly smaller when price level differences are eliminated. Expressed in purchasing power standard, the minimum wage ranges from PPS 547 in Latvia to PPS 1 634 in Luxembourg. ...

In 2020, most European Union (EU) Member States have a statutory minimum wage (21 of 27), while six others have wage levels determined though collective bargaining. Expressed in euros, monthly minimum wages vary widely across the EU ranging from €312 in Bulgaria to €2 142 in Luxembourg (July 2020). The disparities are significantly smaller when price level differences are eliminated. Expressed in purchasing power standard, the minimum wage ranges from PPS 547 in Latvia to PPS 1 634 in Luxembourg. The question of setting a minimum wage is one of the most analysed and debated topics in economics. Over recent years and in the context of the economic and social crisis engendered by the Covid 19 outbreak, the creation of a European minimum wage is increasingly considered as a useful instrument to ensure fair wages and social inclusion. In November 2017, the EU institutions jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights, setting out the European Union's commitment to fair wages for workers. Since then, the European Commission has shown its willingness to address this issue. In particular, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated in her political guidelines that she will propose a legal instrument to ensure that every worker in the Union has a fair minimum wage. Such minimum wages should be set according to national traditions, through collective agreements or legal provisions. On 14 January 2020, the Commission launched the first phase of consultation with social partners on fair minimum wages for workers in the EU, to gather social partners' views on the possible direction of EU action. Based on the replies received, the Commission concluded that there is a need for EU action. The second phase of consultation was launched on 3 June 2020; with a deadline of 4 September 2020 for social partners to provide their opinion. A Commission proposal is expected by the end of 2020. The European Trade Union Confederation welcomed the European Commission's initiative and called for the Commission to propose a directive. Conversely, employers' organisations believe wage-setting should be left to social partners at national level. In their view, if the Commission wished to act, only an EU Council recommendation would be acceptable. The European Parliament has often debated the issue of low income and minimum income over the last decade, advocating a more inclusive economy.

World Food Programme: Food for peace

15-10-2020

On 9 October 2020, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) 'for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict'. Adding to a worrying rise in food insecurity, the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have pushed millions more people to the brink of famine. The WFP's ...

On 9 October 2020, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) 'for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict'. Adding to a worrying rise in food insecurity, the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have pushed millions more people to the brink of famine. The WFP's expertise on emergencies, often in conflict areas, has provided relief to the most fragile populations. The EU supports the WFP through funding, knowledge-sharing, and protecting its vessels from piracy in certain waters.

Key issues in the European Council: State of play in October 2020

15-10-2020

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges ...

This EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', is updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings. It aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues, by analysing twelve broad policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council in each field. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement in these policy areas to date, and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund – Shipbuilding ancillary sectors in Spain

14-10-2020

The European Commission has proposed to mobilise €2 054 400 under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to address redundancies in the ancillary sectors linked to shipbuilding in Galicia (Spain), resulting from the financial difficulties of two shipyards in the region. The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets backs the proposal and reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies, by virtue of national law or collective agreements ...

The European Commission has proposed to mobilise €2 054 400 under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to address redundancies in the ancillary sectors linked to shipbuilding in Galicia (Spain), resulting from the financial difficulties of two shipyards in the region. The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgets backs the proposal and reiterates that assistance from the EGF must not replace actions which are the responsibility of companies, by virtue of national law or collective agreements. Parliament is expected to vote on this proposal during the October II plenary session.

Bolivia in the run-up to the 2020 elections

14-10-2020

The Plurinational State of Bolivia has been experiencing a difficult socio-political situation since the resignation of former President, Evo Morales, and the annulment of the 2019 general election. The new elections called for May 2020 have had to be postponed twice, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and will finally be held on 18 October 2020. Morales' party, Movement for Socialism (MAS), and its presidential candidate, Luis Arce, are leading the polls, closely followed by Carlos Mesa (Citizens' Community ...

The Plurinational State of Bolivia has been experiencing a difficult socio-political situation since the resignation of former President, Evo Morales, and the annulment of the 2019 general election. The new elections called for May 2020 have had to be postponed twice, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and will finally be held on 18 October 2020. Morales' party, Movement for Socialism (MAS), and its presidential candidate, Luis Arce, are leading the polls, closely followed by Carlos Mesa (Citizens' Community, CC), making a second round seem likely.

Just Transition Fund

13-10-2020

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and high-emission industries. As part of the European Green Deal, on 14 January 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to create the Just Transition Fund, aimed at supporting EU regions most affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. In the context of recovery from the coronavirus ...

The EU aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030 and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This will require a socio-economic transformation in regions relying on fossil fuels and high-emission industries. As part of the European Green Deal, on 14 January 2020, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation to create the Just Transition Fund, aimed at supporting EU regions most affected by the transition to a low carbon economy. In the context of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, an amended proposal on the Just Transition Fund (JTF) was published on 28 May 2020, increasingly the previously proposed JTF budget from €7.5 to €40 billion (in 2018 prices, with €10 billion under the core EU budget and €30 billion from Next Generation EU). The European Council cut the core budget part to €7.5 billion and Next Generation EU part to €10 billion in July 2020, while the European Parliament proposed an increase of the core budget resources to over €25 billion in September 2020. Funding will be available to all Member States, while focusing on regions with the biggest transition challenges. The proposed budget for the Just Transition Fund is to be complemented with resources from cohesion policy funds and national co financing. The Fund will be part of a Just Transition Mechanism, which also includes resources under InvestEU and a public-sector loan facility. The Commission expects total funding mobilised under the mechanism to reach at least €150 billion. In the European Parliament, the file has been entrusted to the Committee on Regional Development (REGI). The REGI committee voted on its report on 6 July, and the Parliament subsequently adopted its amendments on 17 September 2020, fixing its position for trilogue negotiations. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.