Written by Richard Freedman,
Looking back on this series of EPRS podcasts, in April 2016 the Plenary podcasts focussed on protecting businesses’ trade secrets and on the technical pillar of the fourth railway package.
Protecting businesses’ trade secrets
Industrial espionage is a growing problem in the EU. To allow companies to better protect their trade secrets and be compensated when confidential information gets stolen, the EU is working out new common rules to harmonise the fight against corporate espionage. The theft of business secrets is an increasingly widespread problem in the EU. According to the European Commission, one in four European companies was stolen vital information, at least once, in 2013, compared to not even one in five, in 2012… But what is a trade secret? New EU rules to help firms win legal redress against theft or misuse of their trade secrets were voted by Parliament in April. MEPs ensured that freedom of expression and information will be protected and that the rules will not restrict the work of journalists.
Listen to the Plenary podcast Protecting businesses’ trade secrets [Plenary podcast]
Technical pillar of the fourth railway package
Train passengers may not even notice when they cross a border. But running a train from one country to another is technically complex and costly! And despite the EU’s efforts to harmonise rail systems and create an integrated EU railway area, the journey is not yet over… The 4th railway package, tabled by the European Commission in January 2013, aims to improve the competitiveness of the rail sector and quality of rail services by removing administrative costs, introducing more competition in domestic passenger services and ensuring a level playing field for operators.
A three-way agreement on the “technical” files was reached by Parliament, the Council and the Commission in June 2015 and approved in Parliament’s Transport Committee in March 2016. Parliament and Council negotiators then reached a provisional agreement on the “market” pillar of the railway package on 19 April.
Listen to the Plenary podcast Technical pillar of the fourth railway package [Plenary podcast]
The longer Policy podcasts of April 2016 outlined the latest developments on the Schengen Area and the Situation in Ukraine
The Schengen Area
For many, Schengen is one of the EU´s most important achievements. Today, more often than not, we can jump on a train or hop in the car to visit friends in neighbouring countries without having to show our passport at the border. But current migratory pressures and security concerns have led several countries to reintroduce temporary border controls. Will this be the end of Schengen? Or will the EU manage to preserve this 30-year long achievement?
Listen to the Policy podcast on the Schengen Area
Situation in Ukraine
What started as a pro-European revolution in downtown Kiev has escalated into a full-blown international crisis, putting the European Union and the US at odds with Russia. And despite that the guns have largely fallen silent, the conflict is nowhere near over… Stay with us for a recount of the origins and evolution of a conflict that has shaken the foundations of Europe’s security architecture. Today, more than two years after the Euromaidan revolution, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the eruption of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, the country is still at a crossroads between war and peace, between corruption and reform.
Listen to the Policy podcast on the Situation in Ukraine