Written by Clare Ferguson,
Looking back at the political and economic realities of 2015, it hardly could be considered a vintage year. However, the list of most-consulted European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) blog posts for the year paint a more nuanced picture. Indeed, it would appear that in times of crisis, impartial information in the form of facts and figures is at a premium – our graphics warehouse seems to be a useful resource for many of our followers. EPRS aims to provide independent, objective and authoritative research and analytical support to the European Parliament, its Members, Committees and staff, and to also make this information available to the public.
The migration crisis was a key topic during 2015 and is certain to spill over into next year. Here, EPRS aimed to provide solid facts and figures, our posts on irregular immigration in the EU and asylum in the EU, giving an accurate picture, were popular this year. The circular and associated topics of armed struggle in the Middle East and the terrorist threats, also served to focus attention on foreign fighters and European responses to the issue, where we tried to focus some cold light on what, at times, became quite a heated situation.
Another of the year’s biggest issues was the negotiations on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a draft Free Trade Agreement which could boost the EU economy by harmonising EU-US regulations, but where some issues have inflamed public opinion – such as the continued protection and promotion for Europe’s artists and unique culture and Investor State Dispute Settlement. The extent of public interest in the proposals demonstrates that Europeans are both interested and engaged in EU matters.
At the end of the year, it is time to look to the future. The programmes which deliver EU funds for research and innovation together provide a global estimated budget of over €120 billion. Renewed research and innovation could prove to be the motor to a brighter economic outlook for the EU in 2016.
Our most consulted posts suggest that there is public interest in having access to the ‘real’ story based on independent, authoritative and objective research. There is significant interest in political initiatives which impact on people’s lives and in knowing how the EU intends to tackle the big, intractable problems. At the EPRS, we look forward to 2016. We will continue to aim to provide concise, content-rich and factual research material to our readers.
Thank you to our readers for their continued support!