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The Commission proposes, Parliament and Council decide … has been the traditional approach to law-making in the European Union, until now … But the increasing need to put the citizens' voice at the heart of EU law-making, giving the European Parliament greater power to propose laws, is challenging this assumption and could open the door to a more d…
 
Managing the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic remains a challenge. While EU vaccination rates have reached three quarters of the population, new SARS-CoV-2 variants keep emerging in the EU. Although these variants appear to be generally less severe, they still pose challenges to health systems. The implementation of a globally effective vaccine strat…
 
The fifth generation of communication technologies, known as 5G, is fundamental to achieving a European gigabit society by 2025. But how will this affect our health and that of our children? Is 5G really safe? https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2020)646172 Source: © European Union - EP…
 
Key to a fair single market, EU rules do not allow State aid, unless it is used to promote general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges of global competition or the ongoing financial crisis … The European Parliament agrees with this general principle, but calls for less and better targeted state aid in the future. https:/…
 
The FuelEU Maritime regulation seeks to steer the EU maritime sector towards decarbonisation. The proposal sets up a fuel standard for ships and introduces a requirement for the most polluting ship types to use onshore electricity when at berth. It puts the responsibility for compliance on the shipping company. The legislative outcome of this propo…
 
On 17 November 2021, the European Commission tabled a proposal to revise EU rules governing shipments of waste. The proposed regulation aims at easing shipments of waste for reuse and recycling in the EU, to support the transition to a circular economy; ensuring that waste exported from the EU is managed in an environmentally sound manner in the de…
 
The EU Temporary Protection Directive enables EU Member States to move rapidly to offer protection and rights to people in need of immediate protection and to avoid overwhelming national asylum systems in cases of mass arrivals of displaced persons. Although invoked several times in the past, the directive has never been activated before. Russia's …
 
Automated decision-making by systems that use machine learning to dynamically improve performance are still seen as lacking the 'human perspective' and flexibility to adapt to the particular nuances of specific cases. But perhaps, as they lack the 'cunning' to hide their biases, automated systems actually make fairer decisions than do humans, when …
 
In an unprecedented and unanimous reaction to the Russian war on Ukraine that began on 24 February 2022, the EU swiftly decided to provide €500 million from the European Peace Facility to fund and coordinate EU military assistance and to deliver military (including lethal) equipment to Ukraine. The Council had already adopted an assistance measure …
 
The EU taxonomy is a classification system that aims to channel public and private investment into environmentally sustainable economic activities in order to achieve environmental objectives, such as those in the fight against climate change. It establishes a dynamic list of economic activities considered to be environmentally sustainable, provide…
 
Over the past decade, space has gained increasing importance as an economic sector offering opportunities for established and emerging markets. Space policies and their applications have also gained in political relevance due to their capacity to tackle global challenges, such as the climate and biodiversity crises, but also due to the growing reli…
 
Equal pay for equal work is one of the European Union's founding principles, enshrined in Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). However, the implementation and enforcement of this principle remain a challenge. Due to a lack of pay transparency, pay discrimination often goes undetected and victims face difficulti…
 
Precise figures about the numbers of illegal firearms in the European Union (EU) are lacking, but several indicators point to their widespread availability and accessibility. According to the Small Arms Survey, over half of the estimated total number of firearms held by civilians in the EU in 2017 were unlicensed. While most of these citizens had n…
 
As part of the 'Fit for 55' package, the Commission is proposing a revision to the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) as regards carbon dioxide emissions from aviation. The proposal seeks to ensure that the sector contributes to the EU's climate targets through increased auctioning of allowances, with an end to free allowances from 2027, and by ap…
 
As part of the 'Fit for 55' package, the Commission presented a legislative proposal to review the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The aim of the review is to align the EU ETS Directive with the EU target set out in the European Climate Law to reduce net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 55 % by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. To this end, the am…
 
Green bonds are committed to financing or re-financing investments, projects, expenditure or assets helping to address climate and environmental issues. Both governments and companies use them to finance the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. Since the EIB inaugurated the green bond market in 2007 with its Climate Awareness Bo…
 
On 20 July 2021, the European Commission presented a package of legislative proposals in the area of anti-money-laundering efforts and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). The package includes a proposal for a regulation on preventing the use of the financial system for money laundering or terrorist financing. The proposed regulation wo…
 
While killing all microorganisms in our bodies may seem tempting to some germaphobes, scientific evidence indicates that beneficial microorganisms (that live in nearly ubiquitous communities called microbiota) are an essential component of human health, and could form a new frontier for personalised medicine to fight non-communicable diseases and i…
 
The European Commission has announced the establishment of a 'right to repair', with a view of saving costs for consumers and facilitating the development of a circular economy. The right to repair may refer to different issues and situations: repair during the legal guarantee, the right to repair after the legal guarantee has expired, and the righ…
 
Payment systems are of vital importance for today's economies and are the core activity of central banks. To adapt to recent trends – including the decline in cash usage, the surge in online commerce and contactless forms of payment, and the creation of cryptocurrencies – central banks have, in recent years, explored the possibility of issuing digi…
 
On 23 September 2021, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal to amend the 2014 Radio Equipment Directive, as a first step towards mandating a common charger for mobile phones and other small portable devices. Under the proposal, these devices would have to be equipped with a USB Type-C receptacle that can be charged with cables comp…
 
The growing importance of global supply chains has fundamentally changed the way the global economy and goods manufacturing are organised. While trade conducted through global supply chains has fallen somewhat as a share of total trade since the 2008-2010 global financial and economic crisis, more than two-thirds of international trade still involv…
 
Following the first successful organ transplant in 1954, this procedure has become increasingly prevalent as it has revolutionised the treatment of end-stage organ failure. Nevertheless, organ shortage remains a critical problem which could potentially be overcome with xenotransplantation, regarded a promising alternative approach. In this podcast,…
 
The fit for 55 package is part of the Commission's European Green Deal, which aims to set the EU firmly on the path towards net zero GHG emissions (climate neutrality) by 2050. The fit for 55 package includes a regulation establishing a new social climate fund (SCF). The aim of the SCF is to help vulnerable households, micro-businesses and transpor…
 
The European Commission proposes to establish a technology-neutral definition of AI systems in EU law and to lay down a classification for AI systems with different requirements and obligations tailored on a 'risk-based approach'. Some AI systems presenting 'unacceptable' risks would be prohibited. A wide range of 'high-risk' AI systems would be au…
 
The European Union has an ambitious climate strategy and is looking for ways to boost technologies that will make it possible. Could hydrogen and the deployment of related technology and infrastructure become a decisive factor in decarbonising specific industry sectors? In this podcast, we'll talk about hydrogen and its potential to accelerate the …
 
Human rights sanctions are nothing new, but the death in 2009 of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky in detention resulted in calls for more vigorous action to counter continuing abuses in many countries. Adopted by the US in 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act was the first of a new generation of human rights sanctions programmes, which, in contras…
 
The way most food is produced is harming the planet. A profound change is needed, involving all agri-food actors. As consumers, we sit at the end of the agri-food chain. Our daily dietary choices implicitly support certain food systems, production methods and types of food. What could help us make better choices? In this podcast, we'll talk about e…
 
According to statistics since 2008 over 318 million people around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts, 30.7 million in 2020 alone. This is equivalent to one person being displaced every second. Depending on the frequency and scale of the major natural disasters occurring, there are significant fluct…
 
In March 2018, the EU introduced a legislative package on the fair taxation of the digital economy. It contained proposals for an interim and a long-term digital tax. However, there was no immediate political agreement in the Council. As finding a global solution at the OECD level or a coordinated EU approach was not yet feasible at the time, some …
 
In 2016, as a response to the shortcomings revealed in the EU's migration management, the Commission presented a proposal to amend and expand the mandate of The European Asylum Support Office (EASO), also changing its name to the European Union agency for asylum to reflect its stronger powers. As part of the asylum reform package, the proposal was …
 
Nanoparticles lie at the heart of a new method for delivering medicines inside the body – and they were crucial to the success of the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines. This new drug delivery method and others could transform the way we treat disease, potentially boosting the treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and HIV, among others. Insulin and Covid-19 va…
 
On 30 June 2021, the Commission adopted a proposal for a general product safety regulation, which would replace the current General Product Safety Directive, as part of the regulatory fitness-check programme (REFIT). The proposal seeks to address the challenges of product safety of emerging technologies, including use of artificial intelligence (AI…
 
The EU is an important market for illicit drugs, both in terms of consumption and production. An estimated 28.9 % of European adults aged 15-65 have used illicit drugs at least once in their lifetime, a majority of them being men. The illicit drugs market is the largest criminal market in the EU, with an estimated minimum retail value of €30 billio…
 
In December 2020, the European Commission proposed the creation of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council (TTC), to facilitate trade, expand investment, develop compatible standards, boost innovation and strengthen the partners' technological and industrial leadership. The 2021 change of administration in Washington reinvigorated the relationship b…
 
Since its early development in the 1960s, Internet infrastructure has become almost as important as electricity and transport infrastructures in contemporary societies. More and more key services such as banking, food retail, and health care, rely on Internet connections. Despite its original resilient decentralised design, the increasing importanc…
 
In May 2020, the European Commission published its 'farm to fork' strategy – 'for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system' – along with the EU biodiversity strategy, as part of the implementation of the European Green Deal. In those strategies the Commission set a target of 25 % of the EU's agricultural land to be under organic far…
 
In the European Union, 78 % of native flora and 84 % of crops are either partially or fully dependent on insects for pollination. But significant pollinator loss has been documented over time across the EU. According to the European Red List of Bees, around 9 % of all bee species are threatened in the EU. In this episode, we'll talk about the key r…
 
In this episode, we'll focus on one organisation that has become a pillar of the modern European security order: the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE. The OSCE lacks the legal powers and the resources needed to live up to its ambition of becoming a platform for pan-European/trans-Atlantic cooperation. But OSCE agreement…
 
Deepfakes are hyper-realistic videos created through artificial intelligence techniques. They present many possibilities, but also dangers. A wide range of malicious uses have been identified, including fraud, extortion and political disinformation. The impacts of such misuse can be financial, psychological and reputational. While the technology it…
 
What is the EU's long term vision for rural areas? In this episode, we'll look at their needs, their potential and challenges, see where current support policies have succeeded and where they've been less successful… and have a quick look into the future. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2021)690711 https…
 
Fear, worries, insecurity... In this episode, we are talking about the effects of the pandemic on people's mental health, especially young people, and look at the recommendations and guidance given by European and international organisations to deal with this 'silent pandemic'. https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPR…
 
Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a relatively new method of raising capital for early-stage ventures. They constitute an alternative to more traditional sources of start-up funding such as venture capital and angel finance.This episode explains how ICOs work, looks at potential benefits and challenges, and analyses the regulatory responses they've…
 
Even if the numbers of both young children in early childhood education and of graduates rose in recent years, the number of underachieving 15 year-olds remains high and the participation of adults in learning is low. The European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament seem to concur that cooperation in education and training…
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges for victims, as well as amplifying the vulnerabilities of those most at risk. Traffickers – like legal businesses – moved to digital modi operandi, making victims even less visible and less able to ask for help and protection. But what is the EU doing about it? Listen to our podcast to learn more! ht…
 
Over the past two decades, the European Union (EU) has been entrusted with a growing number of objectives and responsibilities. However, ensuring financing of related activities through the EU budget has often proven problematic, as this has long been capped at around 1 % of the Union's gross national income (GNI). During the preparation of the pos…
 
While many of the operations and missions the EU supports have military and defence implications, the EU cannot finance activities with military or defence implications from the EU budget. EU Member States therefore have mechanisms to fund expenditure with military and defence implications directly from national budgets. A new one is the European P…
 
Artificial intelligence (AI) policy debates are replete with metaphors. In this podcast, we explore some challenges presented by the central metaphor of ‘intelligence’, examine how AI metaphors emphasise competition at the cost of cooperation, and ask whether new metaphors could help us to articulate ambitious visions for AI, and new criteria for s…
 
In December 2020, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector, otherwise referred to as the digital markets act (DMA). The proposed legislation lays down harmonised rules aimed at regulating the behaviour of digital platforms acting as gatekeepers between business users and the…
 
The social pillar is to be the fifth pillar of the economic and monetary union. It is to serve as a compass for updating the EU's welfare states and labour markets to the new realities of life and work in the 21st century. At the Porto Social Summit held on 7-8 May 2021, European leaders and stakeholders reaffirmed their pledge to work towards a so…
 
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