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Italy and the European Union: selected sources

From 1 July 2014, Italy will take over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. We have gathered some useful information sources about the country to give a general overview on Italian politics and legislation, as well as its relation with the European Union. A list of the main think tanks … Continue reading

Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU

From 1 July 2014 Italy took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Greece and will hold it until 31 December 2014 when the Presidency will be passed to trio partners Latvia and Luxembourg. The Declaration of Cooperation among the Parliaments of Italy, Latvia and Luxembourg in support of the preparation … Continue reading

EP-Commission Joint Transparency Register

The European Transparency Register was set up in June 2011 and is operated jointly by the European Parliament and the European Commission. The Council of the European Union supports this initiative, although it does not participate in the register for the time being. The aim of the register is to offer citizens a fully transparent … Continue reading

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative: state of play

In 2003, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was launched as a voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative for the extractive industries, bringing together governments, industry and civil society. Its main objective has been to create a global transparency standard which allows light to be shed on all payments made by extractive-industry companies to governments of resource-rich developing … Continue reading

Low-cost air carriers in Europe

Following the deregulation of the EU commercial air market in the 1990s, the low-cost carriers (LCCs) segment started to develop in the EU. Nowadays, the European aviation sector remains the most active one for LCCs business , with 250 million passenger trips per year, followed by the North America (173 m) and Asia (117m). The … Continue reading

Justice and home affairs after the Stockholm Programme

The past 15 years have brought some major developments in the area of freedom, security and justice with the adoption of a large number of legal instruments covering a wide range of subject matters and procedures. The European Commission has brought forward more than 50 initiatives in this area in the last four years. The … Continue reading

A new phase in EU-Cuba relations

After 18 years of restricted policy, the EU and Cuba have started negotiations towards a future bilateral agreement aiming at supporting economic and democratic reforms. With power passing definitively from Fidel to Raúl Castro, Cuba has shown more openness to modernisation of the country. This new prospect of a normalisation in EU-Cuba relations may even … Continue reading

European energy security: what about Russian gas?

In the context of the European Commission’s European Energy Security Strategy communication issued in May 2014 [COM(2014) 330 final], this EPRS Keysource gathers documents about security of energy supply for Europe, focusing on the gas supplied by Russia – more than a third to a quarter of the gas consumed by the EU according to the … Continue reading

Energy supply in the EU28

The EU is highly dependent on energy imports, as less than half of its energy consumption is covered by domestic production. The remainder – some 53% – needs to be imported from abroad, with Russia topping the ranks as supplier of gas, oil and coal.This infographic looks at the Member States’ domestic energy production, their … Continue reading

Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture

Urban and peri-urban agriculture has been defined as the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for food and other uses within and surrounding the boundaries of cities, including fisheries and forestry. It comprehends a multifunctional of food production activities, as well as herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants for both home consumption and for the … Continue reading

Freedom of movement and residence of EU citizens : Access to social benefits

Over the past few decades, the focus around issues of free movement has shifted away from workers and towards EU citizenship, whereby worker status is no longer the only route opening access for EU citizens to social benefits in a host Member State. The two EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007, as well as the … Continue reading

The legacies of major sports events

The kick-off of World Cup 2014, which has seen Brazilians protest over the cost of its organisation, is a reminder that such an event generates many lasting outcomes on the host country. A new EU Work Plan for Sport 2014-17, adopted by the Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Council on 20-21 May 2014, establishes … Continue reading

EU competition policy: key to a fair Single Market

The aim of EU competition policy is to safeguard the correct functioning of the Single Market. In essence it ensures that enterprises have the possibility to compete on equal terms on the markets of all Member States. Competition policy encompasses a wide range of areas: antitrust and cartels, merger examination, state aid, the liberalisation of … Continue reading

L’engagement du secteur privé dans la coopération au développement: Les formes de coopération public-privé

Que ce soit par l’intermédiaire d’entreprises dans le cadre des partenariats public-privé mis en oeuvre au niveau local ou de grandes fondations philanthropiques au sein de fonds multidonateurs, le secteur privé a investi la scène de la coopération au développement, longtemps réservée aux acteurs publics (gouvernements et institutions internationales). Cette mutation, reflétée par une croissance … Continue reading

How the EU budget is financed – The “own resources” system and the debate on its reform

The system of “own resources” ensures the EU is able to finance its policies. In 2012, total EU revenue amounted to €139.5 billion. Successive reforms have determined the system’s current configuration, which relies on three key streams of revenue: traditional own resources (mainly customs duties); a resource based on value added tax (VAT); and a resource related to Member … Continue reading

International parental child abduction

The growing mobility of citizens in the last two decades has led to increasing numbers of international couples. In 2011, out of approximately 122 million marriages in the European Union, around 13% had a cross-border dimension. Regarding divorce rates, according to 2010 Eurostat data, around 1 million divorces take place in the EU each year. … Continue reading

EU trade talks with the US: 5th round of negotiations

The bilateral trade relationship between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) is the largest in the world, but it has been stagnating over the last decade. With a view to strengthening it and thus boosting their respective economies, in 2013 the EU and the US entered into negotiations for a wide-ranging trade … Continue reading

University ranking and U-multirank

What is U-Multirank? U-Multirank stands for “multi-dimensional ranking of higher education institutions”. U-Multirank is based on a proposal in the Commission Communication on modernisation of Europe’s higher education systems (COM (2011) 567 final) [1] (accompanied by Staff Working Document (SEC (2011) 1063 final), p. 5-6) and is implemented by a consortium of research organisations – … Continue reading

Mega trucks: a solution or a problem?

The Weights and Dimensions Directive of 1996 sets maximum vehicle dimensions and weights for national and international road transport in the EU. However, Member States are able to decide on derogations from these rules for vehicles used only in national transport. Longer and heavier vehicles (LHVs) also known as mega trucks, gigaliners, eurocombis, and ecoliners, typically measure 25.25 metres … Continue reading

VAT on financial and insurance services

The Value Added Tax (VAT) on financial services has been debated for many years, since applying VAT to these services is technically difficult. At EU level, most financial and insurance services are exempted from VAT as currently set in article 135(1) of Council Directive 2006/112/EC on the common system of VAT. But Member States may … Continue reading

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