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Making difficult decisions in agriculture: STOA Workshop

Written by Mihalis Kritikos and Nera Kuljanic, Scientists have new technological answers to the twin challenges of limiting emissions and feeding a growing population which is simultaneously shrinking the space left for cultivation. However, these answers in turn pose their own ethical and risk management questions. Societal actors and a wide range of stakeholders have … Continue reading

With a unified approach, the EU could boost its global role – EPRS conference

Written by Marcin Grajewski, Economic decisions taken at inter- and supranational level have recently come under fire from populists and protectionists. However, with better coordination between Member States, the European Union could play a stronger role in representing the needs of its citizens in global economic governance. Concerted pressure from EU and euro area countries … Continue reading

Plastic bags: EU’s response to reducing consumption

Citizens want to know what the EU is doing to reduce the consumption of plastic bags given the negative impact on marine wildlife and the environment. In the EU, plastic carrier bags are considered as packaging under Directive 94/62/EC. The use of plastic carrier bags result in littering and an inefficient use of resources. Moreover, … Continue reading

A new President for the European Parliament – January EP Plenary Session

Written by Clare Ferguson, The agenda this session is dominated by the election of the new President of the European Parliament, with time allowed on Tuesday for multiple rounds of voting. Candidates wishing to stand have to have their name put forward before Monday evening, when the January Parliamentary session opens with an announcement of … Continue reading

STOA Workshop ‘Can technology help remove language barriers in Europe?’

Workshop hashtag: #LanguageTech STOA website & registration Live-streaming  Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Bianca A. Schranz Multilingualism is an essential feature of the European Union and respect of linguistic diversity one of its fundamental values: there are 24 official languages and more than 60 regional and minority languages. However, persisting or increasing language barriers are … Continue reading

12 graphs: Article 12 of the Vienna Convention

Written by Clare Ferguson, The European Union conducts and concludes trade agreements with partners on every continent, and is modernising some of the older agreements, dating back as far as the 1970s, to reflect the EU’s new trade competences acquired with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. Article 12 of the Vienna Convention … Continue reading

12 graphs: Eleven sectors of ‘data users’

Written by Clare Ferguson, In 2016 we all became more aware of the enormous quantities of data we generate in our daily working and private lives, and the uses to which this data can be put. Analysis of ‘big data’ generated by economic and social activities can be used to improve processes or predict human … Continue reading

12 graphs: Ten branches of Shia Islam

Written by Clare Ferguson, Much has been said, and misrepresented, about the world’s Muslim population, on both sides of the Atlantic this year. While increasing ethnic and religious diversity cannot be ignored, including the possibility that this might prompt increasing social division, future society and governance in the EU must find a way to tackle … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Nine numbers on migration

Written by Clare Ferguson, €9.26 billion – this represents the overall funding available within the European Union budget to tackle the migration crisis during the period from 2014 to 2020. People seeking asylum in the EU (that is, international protection against risk of persecution at home) must present evidence of their case. Because many recent migrants … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Eight programmes replaced by Erasmus+

Written by Clare Ferguson, The Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020) has a €15 000 million budget to support EU action on education, training, youth and sport. The programme replaced eight previous programmes: Comenius, Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Grundtvig, Youth in Action, Erasmus Mundus, ALFA III, Tempus and Edu-link. See our best visuals from 2016 To boost jobs and growth … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Seven eminent scientists

Written by Clare Ferguson, Recent populist waves on both sides of the Atlantic have shown that that expert advice is more than ever distrusted and even flatly rejected. Will this trend continue next year? Or will people go back to considering evidence more thoroughly? Like it or not, politicians make decisions on policies that affect … Continue reading

12 graphs: Six most important issues for EU citizens

Written by Clare Ferguson, The 2016 Bratislava declaration, setting out the key priorities for the EU with the UK on its way out, and how to achieve them, naturally focuses on topics which relate to the six most important issues for citizens: the economic situation, unemployment, immigration, terrorism, the state of Member States’ finances and … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Five key dimensions of social innovation

Written by Clare Ferguson, The events of 2016 have made it clear that citizens expect policy-makers to come up with some new ideas to meet their needs and contribute to creating a more inclusive and cohesive society through promoting new processes and relationships, innovative solutions, and thus transformation. The EU aims to address this need … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Four thematic objectives – EU Regional Development Fund

Written by Clare Ferguson, The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the largest of five European Structural and Investment Funds, is intended to support economic, social and territorial cohesion policy. The Fund addresses the imbalances between regions within the EU, through investing in development and structural support for regions which lag behind or need to replace … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Three decades later – the state of nuclear power

Written by Clare Ferguson, Thirty years ago, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster released radioactive material over much of Europe. Following the accident, some 600 000 people took part in the containment operations and around 350 000 people were displaced. Accidents like Chernobyl, and the more recent disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, have resulted in an increasingly nuclear risk-averse … Continue reading

12 Graphs: Two strategic partners – EU and NATO defence cooperation

Written by Clare Ferguson, We will remember 2016 as a tumultuous year worldwide, a 12-month period of vicious conflicts and political upheaval that will have long-lasting consequences is coming to an end. The resulting insecurity and uncertainty as to the foreign policy intentions of major world powers means that the EU strategic partnership with the … Continue reading

12 Graphs: One global strategy

Written by Clare Ferguson, This year has seen Europe struggle to come to terms with its place in today’s contested world, and the EU has found it hard to adapt the positions of its current 28 Member States to respond flexibly and speedily to the challenges of the new security environment. Will the shadow cast … Continue reading

Citizens’ questions to the European Parliament in 2016

In both European and international politics, 2016 was a memorable year, and this was reflected in over 87 000 questions put by citizens to the President of the European Parliament or to its Citizens Enquiries Unit/Ask EP unit. Top topics: Poland, EU-Canada Free Trade Agreement and Migration The most pressing issue for citizens in 2016 was … Continue reading

Global Trends to 2030: Society and Governance

Written by Eamonn Noonan, Global Trends to 2030: Society and Governance was the theme of the latest conference arranged under the auspices of ESPAS, an inter-institutional initiative to develop the EU’s capacity for strategic foresight. A day of lively debate on how the world around us is changing took place on 17 November in the … Continue reading

1976 Electoral Act 40 years on: History and significance for European democracy today

Written by Wilhelm Lehmann, On 7 December, the European Parliament and the European University Institute held a joint history roundtable on the occasion of the 40 year anniversary of the 1976 Electoral Act, which introduced direct elections to the European Parliament. The event, organised by the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, took place in … Continue reading

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved