Written by Richard Freedman,
Looking back at February 2016 (recorded at the end of January), the Plenary podcasts focused on Mid-term review of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy and European Parliament recommendations on Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).
Mid-term review of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy
Our biodiversity is at risk, and the truth is that EU Member States are not doing enough to protect it. This is one of the conclusions of the European Commission’s mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy. Well, after the EU failed to meet its target to halt biodiversity loss by 2010, in 2011 the EU adopted a biodiversity strategy setting a new headline target in 2020. Half way through the programme, in 2015, the European Commission looked back on the progress achieved so far.
And it didn’t quite like what it saw. In its mid-term review of the biodiversity strategy, the European Commission could only confirm that biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation have continued, albeit at a slower pace. In the February plenary session, MEPs adopted a resolution in which they welcomed the mid-term review of the biodiversity strategy, and the ‘State of Nature’ and ‘SOER 2015’ reports; stresses the strategic importance of these reports for achieving the EU’s biodiversity targets.
Listen to the Plenary podcast Mid-term review of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy [Plenary podcast]
European Parliament recommendations on Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)
The European Commission, acting on behalf of the 28 Member States, together with 22 other WTO members, are sitting around a table trying to crunch a deal to liberalise trade in services. But what are the details? What do EU citizens stand to win? And what does the European Parliament have to say with its enhanced powers to approve or reject the deal? In the resolution adopted by MEPs in February, MEPs stated that the ongoing talks on a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), among countries representing 70% of world trade in services, should deliver a deal that eases EU firms’ access to international markets but does not force EU, national and local authorities to open up public services to competition, or otherwise restrict their right to regulate in public interest.
Listen to the Plenary podcast European Parliament recommendations on Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)
The Policy Podcasts in February highlighted the European Semester and the new Erasmus+ Programme.
Achieving Europe’s 2020 targets of sustainable growth is a team effort that will require the coordination of Member States’ budgetary and economic plans. To lead this fiscal and economic choreography, the EU has set up the European Semester, a key element in the EU’s economic governance. The European Semester aims to detect, prevent, and correct dangerous economic trends such as excessive government deficits or public debt levels that could put a country, or the whole Euro area, into trouble again.
Listen to the Policy podcast on the European Semester
With a budget of €14.7 billion over 7 years, Erasmus Plus brings together seven existing programmes in the fields of education, training and youth. And, for the first time, it also includes sport, supporting grassroots projects and combating match-fixing, doping, violence and racism. Erasmus Plus supports transnational partnerships among education, training, and youth organisations in 33 different countries, bridging the worlds of education and work to tackle the skills gaps that Europe is facing.
Listen to the Policy podcast on the Erasmus+ Programme