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Fair minimum wages in the EU - Pre-legislative synthesis of national, regional and local positions on the European Commission's initiative

26-10-2020

This briefing forms part of an EPRS series offering syntheses of the pre-legislative state of play and consultation on key European Commission priorities during the current five-year term. It summarises the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and, where possible, identifies best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance. Based on EPRS analysis ...

This briefing forms part of an EPRS series offering syntheses of the pre-legislative state of play and consultation on key European Commission priorities during the current five-year term. It summarises the state of affairs in the relevant policy field, examines how existing policy is working on the ground, and, where possible, identifies best practice and ideas for the future on the part of governmental organisations at all levels of European system of multilevel governance. Based on EPRS analysis, partner organisations at European, national, regional and local levels point to the following main considerations that they consider should shape discussion of the forthcoming initiative on fair minimum wages for workers in the EU: • There are fears regarding the implications of the EU initiative for the respective national systems, with the various stakeholders suggesting a cautious approach as part of what could prove to be a long-term discussion. A complex differentiated approach with several safeguards, adapted to the respective systems in place, would appear to be key to avoiding an initiative with only minimal ambitions. • A broad consensus is observed regarding the need to reinforce the social partners; strengthening social dialogue and promoting collective bargaining should be used as an opportunity to explore ambitious measures in this area. • The unresolved debate on the effects of higher minimum wages on the economy and employment situation underlines the need for detailed and regular analysis, including by means of greater use of impact assessment tools. This would be valuable in order to prevent negative consequences and demonstrate the added value of EU action. • Some specific (complementary) instruments deserve to be considered, such as the country-specific recommendations of the European Semester and public procurement procedures.

Linking the levels of governance in the EU

29-07-2020

The coronavirus crisis has further underlined the need for a more cohesive European Union (EU). Previous ideas about how best to link the levels of the EU's system of multilevel governance have become even more important, while new paths of cooperation have been opened by changes triggered by the crisis itself. Every level of governance, from the EU to the local, via the national and regional levels, has been affected by the crisis and all are involved in the response. This crisis has shown that ...

The coronavirus crisis has further underlined the need for a more cohesive European Union (EU). Previous ideas about how best to link the levels of the EU's system of multilevel governance have become even more important, while new paths of cooperation have been opened by changes triggered by the crisis itself. Every level of governance, from the EU to the local, via the national and regional levels, has been affected by the crisis and all are involved in the response. This crisis has shown that coordination between the levels can improve and should be improved. EU decision-making could become even more effective, efficient and legitimate if it draws appropriate lessons from the crisis. The first part of this paper focuses on the rationale for, and form of, an EU strategy to better connect the different levels of the multilevel system of governance in Europe. The second part assesses the consequences of the current crisis for the links between EU governance levels, reflecting on the various lessons to be drawn, for each level, and suggesting different practical implications for the process, such as the need to adjust the network of key partners and seize the moment to further incorporate digital technologies in partnership-building. Finally, the paper highlights the historic opportunity provided by the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe to develop and establish a more permanent system to link the levels of our Union. Concrete proposals are summarised in a table of potential initiatives.

The German Parliament and EU affairs

01-07-2020

The Federal Republic of Germany has a parliamentary system consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, established in 1949. The Bundestag is the main legislative body, which determines all laws at federal level. It does so with the participation of a ‘second chamber’, the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 constituent states (Bundesländer). Competencies are shared between the Federation and the Länder, with the Länder having the right to legislate insofar as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) does not ...

The Federal Republic of Germany has a parliamentary system consisting of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, established in 1949. The Bundestag is the main legislative body, which determines all laws at federal level. It does so with the participation of a ‘second chamber’, the Bundesrat, which represents the 16 constituent states (Bundesländer). Competencies are shared between the Federation and the Länder, with the Länder having the right to legislate insofar as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law) does not confer legislative power on the Federation. Federal law takes precedence over Länder law. Areas of exclusive federal legislation, such as foreign policy, defence and trade, are governed at federal level. In areas of concurrent legislation, the Länder can adopt legislation as long as there is no existing federal legislation. Over time, federal legislation has been expanding. Only in some areas, for example in education, culture, police and administrative law, have the Länder retained their exclusive legislative powers. This briefing is part of an EPRS series on national parliaments and EU affairs. It aims to provide an overview of the way the national parliaments of EU Member States are structured and how they process, scrutinise and engage with EU legislation. It also provides information on relevant publications of the national parliaments.