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Poverty in the European Union: The crisis and its aftermath

Written by Marie Lecerf, The economic crisis has exacerbated social burdens such as poverty and inequality, which were already major issues before the crisis. Due to the multifaceted nature of poverty, the European Union uses a multidimensional indicator – the ‘at risk of poverty or social exclusion’ rate – based on three different dimensions: monetary … Continue reading

The European Research Area: Evolving concept, implementation challenges

Written by Vincent Reillon, In 1972, the Commission proposed the first guidelines for a Community policy on research and innovation with two dimensions: Member State cooperation in tackling common issues, and national research policy coordination. The former dimension was implemented gradually and led to the adoption of the first framework programme for Community research in … Continue reading

The fourth railway package: Another step towards a Single European Railway Area

Written by Damiano Scordamaglia with the collaboration of Ivana Katsarova, Railways were the first modern means of transport and the rail network developed considerably across the EU over time. Despite its expansion, when comparing 1995 with 2013, rail’s share has decreased for freight and has remained fairly constant at about 6% for passenger transport. This … Continue reading

Role of the US Congress in trade agreements: The ‘Fast-Track’ procedure

Written by Micaela Del Monte and Laura Puccio Since 1974 the United States Congress has enacted Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation to ensure speedy implementation of trade agreements in the United States, while maintaining a congressional hold on the objectives to be pursued by US negotiators. TPA defines a streamlined procedure (or expedited procedure) to … Continue reading

The UK’s ‘new settlement’ in the European Union: Renegotiation and referendum

Written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva and David Eatock, Following the election of a majority Conservative government in the UK general election of May 2015, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, opened negotiations with the other EU Member States and the EU institutions to establish a ‘new settlement’ between the UK and the Union. This renegotiation, conducted … Continue reading

European Council and crisis management

Written by Suzana Elena Anghel, Ralf Drachenberg and Stanislas de Finance Over the last number of years Europe has been facing an increasing number of crises of a very different nature, ranging from the sovereign debt crisis to foreign policy crises – (Ukraine and Libya for example) – and the on-going migration crisis. The European … Continue reading

Africa’s economic growth: Taking off or slowing down?

Written by Ionel Zamfir Over the past 15 years, most countries in Africa experienced sustained economic growth, with growth rates often exceeding 5% per year. This has inspired much optimism about the region’s prospects to finally leave poverty and under-development behind. However, the general economic context is now turning less favourable, with growth slowing down, … Continue reading

Work and social welfare for asylum-seekers and refugees: selected EU Member States

Written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva and Andrej Stuchlik (with contributions from Piotr Bakowski, Alexandra Gatto, Detelin Ivanov, Ingeborg Odink, and Irene Peñas Dendariena) The surge of asylum-seekers to the EU has increased steadily, and reached record highs in recent years and months. Asylum-seekers risk their lives on dangerous journeys to Europe, which often do not stop at … Continue reading

Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges for the Paris climate change conference

Written by Gregor Erbach A new international agreement to combat climate change is due to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The current climate agreements commit developed countries to take climate action, but not developing countries, some of … Continue reading

Understanding Securitisation: Background − benefits − risks

Written by Angelos Delivorias Securitisation is a financing technique by which homogeneous income-generating assets − which on their own may be difficult to trade − are pooled and sold to a specially created third party, which uses them as collateral to issue securities and sell them in financial markets. This presents advantages to issuers (e.g. … Continue reading

The Reform of the Electoral Law of the European Union: European Added Value Assessment accompanying the legislative own-initiative Report

Written by Monika Nogaj and Eva-Maria Poptcheva Although the Treaties foresee the possibility of a uniform electoral procedure, elections to the European Parliament are determined by national electoral rules, which differ considerably from one Member State to the next. The discrepancies in national procedures make for a very complex overall process of electing Members of … Continue reading

Investment rules in trade agreements: Developments and issues in light of the TTIP debate

Written by Laura Puccio EU FDI stocks in the US amount to €1 651.6 billion and US FDI stocks in the EU to €1 685.5 billion. Investment access and protection are therefore critical to EU-US economic relations. However, the need for an investment chapter in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and an … Continue reading

EU sport policy: An overview

Written by Vivienne Halleux Sport has a significant impact on the European Union (EU)’s economy and society, and its importance is growing. Sport-related employment has been estimated at 7.38 million people, equivalent to 3.51% of total EU employment, and the share of sport-related gross value added, at €294 billion (2.98% of total EU gross value … Continue reading

eGovernment: Using technology to improve public services and democratic participation

Written by Ron Davies eGovernment refers to efforts by public authorities to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve public services and increase democratic participation. eGovernment aims to improve government efficiency through the reduced cost of electronic information management and communications, the reorganisation of government agencies and the reduction of administrative silos of information. … Continue reading

Consumer protection in the EU: Policy overview

Written by Jana Valant The final consumption expenditure of households currently accounts for 57% of EU gross domestic product. A single market that serves consumers well is therefore an important element to stimulating Europe’s economic growth. The Council Resolution of 14 April 1975 on a preliminary programme of the European Economic Community for a consumer … Continue reading

Illicit small arms and light weapons: International and EU action

Written by Carmen-Cristina Cîrlig Small arms and light weapons (SALW) are the main tools used in today’s conflicts, be they inter-state wars, civil wars or the actions of organised crime, and the cause of the majority of deaths from armed violence in the world – of combatants, but also, and mainly, of civilians. As past efforts have mostly been … Continue reading

Medicinal products in the European Union: The legal framework for medicines for human use

Written by Nicole Scholz A high level of protection for human health is a central objective of European Union (EU) public health policy. To guarantee this objective, high standards of quality and safety for medicinal products are essential. Although pharmaceuticals are primarily regulated at the national level by the Member States, there is a large body of EU legislation … Continue reading

Safeguarding biological diversity: EU policy and international agreements

Updated on 12 May 2016 Written by Didier Bourguignon, Biodiversity – the diversity of life on earth at all levels – is declining, mainly as a result of human-induced pressures such as over-exploitation of natural resources, loss of viable habitats, pollution, climate change or invasive alien species. Globally, the decline of habitats and species continues, … Continue reading

Higher education in the EU: Approaches, issues and trends

Written by Ivana Katsarova The performance and quality of higher education has become a vital sign of a country’s capacity to foster its future economic development. The race for talent is currently open on a global scale. In spite of the fact that the United States is still the global leader with 17% of international … Continue reading

European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (2012): European Implementation Assessment

Written by Jan Tymowski Executive summary Viewing an ageing European society as both a challenge and an opportunity, the European Union declared 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. The Decision adopted by the European Parliament and Council in September 2011 established the objectives, content of measures, and the budget for this initiative. … Continue reading

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