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EPRSauthor has written 177 posts for European Parliamentary Research Service Blog

Voting makes a difference – but for whom to vote?

Who will best represent my views in the new European Parliament, elected in a couple of weeks? Voting advice applications (VAA) are tools designed to help make that decision. They present a tailor-made proposal of political parties and/or candidates that would best match the voters’ preferences. They are fun to use, and getting more and … Continue reading

Crowdfunding in the European Union

Through several parliamentary questions and its own initiative report on Reindustrialising Europe, the European Parliament has repeatedly urged the European Commission to take action in relation to the growing use of crowdfunding in the EU. The European Commission, after consultation with stakeholders, published the 27 of March 2014 the Communication on unleashing the potential of … Continue reading

Bitcoin: Market, economics and regulation

Bitcoin is a digital currency which started circulating in 2009. It was the first form of virtual money to become relatively popular. Bitcoin is public in nature as it maintains a log of all transactions. These are verified by its users in a process called mining. The extent of computing power and energy needed to … Continue reading

Structural and Cohesion Funds in the Member States: an overview

EU regional and cohesion policy is an investment policy. Via various funding programmes, it supports job creation, competitiveness, economic growth, improved quality of life and sustainable development. These investments contribute to the delivery of the Europe 2020 strategy. Regional policy also aims to reduce the economic, social and territorial disparities between Europe’s regions. The overall … Continue reading

European Union pensions policy

Although Member States have the primary responsibility for designing their pension systems, major demographic changes along with strong economic shocks make the case for updating the European Union’s role as regards pensions. The European Commission’s 2012 White Paper on pensions has been fundamental to this process. Describing how the European Union (EU) could best help Member States to provide … Continue reading

The problem of human trafficking in the European Union

Although “human trafficking” has been defined at international level and criminalised throughout the EU, little is known about what is a complex crime. The EU attracts large numbers of irregular migrants, some of whom are deceived or coerced into various forms of exploitation. Moreover, EU citizens themselves are often part of the trafficking process, either … Continue reading

Small Farms

In 2015 farmers will have the possibility to opt for the small farmers’ scheme, which will regroup into one lump-sum  all direct payments for approximately 2,3 million eligible farms, whose support does not exceed €1 250. The European Parliament resolution on the future of small agricultural holdings highlights the role of small farms in preserving Europe’s countryside and biodiversity, as well as … Continue reading

Judicial review of EU sanctions

The EU can adopt restrictive measures – popularly known as sanctions – in three different situations. It implements all sanctions imposed by the UN; it may reinforce UN sanctions by applying stricter and additional measures, and third, the EU may decide to impose autonomous sanctions in other cases. Sanctions may include travel bans, asset freezes … Continue reading

The EU Own Resources

Article 311 TFEU stipulates that the EU budget should be financed wholly with own EU resources. These resources can be defined as revenue streams directly assigned to the EU without the need for any additional decision from the Member States. In practice however, the major part of EU revenues consists of contributions by the Member … Continue reading

Aquaculture in the EU

In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs some 70 000 people. EU overall output has been more or less constant in volume since 2000 whereas global production has been growing at nearly 7% per year. Concerning the products, EU aquaculture production is renowned for its high quality, sustainability and … Continue reading

The European Parliament 2009-14 : Five years’ work in figures

This “At a glance” infographic aims to give a succinct picture of some of the activities undertaken by the European Parliament over the most recent term, from July 2009 to date. The Parliament adopts its positions by voting in plenary session on legislative and budgetary texts, as well as on owninitiative reports and other resolutions. EP committees … Continue reading

European patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare

Directive 2011/24/EU on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare is an important achievement of the ‘patient empowerment’ policy of the EC and an essential requirement enabling European citizens to benefit from cross-border healthcare services. It is a natural extension of the fundamental freedoms enshrined into the EU Treaties. In its landmark pronouncements in the Kohll and … Continue reading

2014 International Year of Family Farming

2014 was designated the 2014 International Year of Family Farming at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly in 2011, promoted by the World Rural Forum and supported by civil society and farmers’ organizations. The objective is raising the profile of family farming by focusing world attention on its role in alleviating hunger and … Continue reading

Eurostars-2: support to research-performing SMEs

6 language versions available in PDF format Eurostars 2: Unterstützung für forschungstreibende KMU Eurostars-2: apoyo a las PYME que realizan actividades de investigación Eurostars-2: soutien aux PME actives dans la recherche Eurostars-2: sostegno alle PMI che effettuano attività di ricerca Eurostars-2: wsparcie dla MŚP prowadzących badania Eurostars-2: support to research-performing SMEs The Commission proposes to … Continue reading

Frontex and surveillance of the EU’s external sea borders

In recent years, EU Member States have been confronted with increasing numbers of irregular migrants travelling on overloaded and/or unseaworthy boats across the Mediterranean Sea. In order to limit the growing numbers of fatalities, with hundreds of lives being lost, the EU and its Member States have sought to improve surveillance at the EU’s external … Continue reading

Sécurité des consommateurs renforcée

5 language versions available in PDF format Gestärkte Verbrauchersicherheit Refuerzo de la seguridad de los consumidores Sicurezza dei consumatori rafforzata Lepsza ochrona konsumentów Sécurité des consommateurs renforcée La sécurité des produits constitue une condition nécessaire à la libre circulation des produits dans l’Union européenne (UE). Elle est indispensable pour assurer la protection des consommateurs et … Continue reading

New technologies and open educational resources

Transforming education requires pedagogical, organisational and technological innovation. Increasing use of the Internet brought in a new era in course design and delivery to the mainstream model of traditional education. That is particularly so for open educational resources. Background Open educational resources (OERs) first appeared within the wider ‘Openness’ movement in the mid 1980s, based … Continue reading

EU-Japan: forging strategic ties

The EU and Japan share common values and principles and enjoy solid, long-term political and economic ties. Both sides believe the time has come to develop the large and unexploited potential in their relationship. Therefore, the EU and Japan are currently negotiating two agreements: a Strategic Partnership Agreement and an Economic Partnership Agreement/Free Trade Agreement. … Continue reading

Deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure

The development of alternative fuels for transport is essential for reducing the EU’s dependence on crude oil and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The European Commission has proposed a directive which requires Member States to foster the deployment of infrastructure for the supply of these alternative energies for road and waterway transport. Background According to … Continue reading

Own resources of the European Union

6 language versions available in PDF format Eigenmittel der Europäischen Union Los recursos propios de la Unión Europea Ressources propres de l’Union européenne Le Risorse proprie dell’Unione europea Zasoby własne Unii Europejskiej Own resources of the European Union The “own resources system” ensures the financing of EU’s policies. While the European Council of February 2013 … Continue reading

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