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Posted on 19-01-2018

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, January 2018

At a Glance - 19-01-2018

The January session highlights were the European Council conclusions debate and a presentation of Bulgarian Presidency priorities, as well as the first in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar. Parliament voted, inter alia, on three clean energy package proposals; a review of dual-use items export controls; its opinion on the revised Brussels IIa Regulation; and gave its consent for the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty.

EU framework for FDI screening

Briefing - 19-01-2018

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal is a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aims to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging FDI providers have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the EU's decentralised and fragmented system of monitoring FDI inflows to adequately address the potential (cross-border) impact of FDI inflows on security or public order without EU-coordinated cooperation among Member States. The proposal's objective is neither to harmonise the formal FDI screening mechanisms currently used by less than half of the Member States nor to replace them with a single EU mechanism. It aims to enhance cooperation on FDI screening between the Commission and Member States, to increase legal certainty and transparency. Member States, stakeholders and academia are divided in their views on the proposal.

Outermost regions of the EU: A stronger and renewed partnership

Briefing - 19-01-2018

The EU's outermost regions qualify for special treatment owing to structural difficulties, such as remoteness, difficult topography or economic dependence on a few products, which can severely hamper their development. Specific support mechanisms exist under cohesion, agricultural and fisheries policies, with the Commission outlining measures aimed at assisting outermost regions in its communications published in 2004, 2008, and 2012. Nevertheless, with the outermost regions continuing to face numerous challenges in areas such as mobility, unemployment and climate change, discussions were launched on the formulation of a new strategy, which was published in October 2017. The result of extensive consultation with stakeholders, including Parliament and the outermost regions themselves, the 2017 communication puts forward a new approach to support their development by making the most of the outermost regions' assets, exploiting new opportunities for growth and job creation and giving greater recognition to their specific circumstances and needs. To achieve this, the communication outlines a series of concrete and coordinated actions to be taken at EU and national level, as well as by the outermost regions, and calls for a stronger partnership between outermost regions, their respective Member States, and the EU. While broadly welcoming the new strategy, the outermost regions and its partners have highlighted several key issues that it fails to cover. Equally, although the Commission puts forward many commitments and positive measures, the strategy is very much a work in progress, and its measures will need to be developed further and incorporated into the EU legislative framework before they can be rolled out on the ground. In this context, the future shape of the EU's legislative and financial proposals post-2020 will be of crucial importance for the successful delivery of this strategy. This is a revised and updated version of a briefing from March 2017, PE 599.365.

Free movement of goods within the EU single market

Briefing - 19-01-2018

The free movement of goods is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU – together with services, capital and people – and a cornerstone of the single market. The rationale of an open market throughout the EU has always been to assist economic growth and competitiveness and therefore promote employment and prosperity. Legislation on the single market for goods (based mainly on Article 28 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, TFEU) aims at ensuring that products placed on the EU market conform to high health, safety and environmental requirements. Once a product is sold legally in the EU, it should circulate without barriers to trade, with a minimum of administrative burden

Posted on 18-01-2018

Jewish communities in the European Union

At a Glance - 18-01-2018

Europe’s Jewish population has been diminishing in recent decades, and a growing number of anti-Semitic acts and anti-Jewish violence have been occurring in recent years in the EU. In defence of its values, including respect for minorities, the EU undertakes and funds actions to counter anti-Semitism. This is an updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in September 2016 - PE 589.770.

Russia in the southern Caucasus

At a Glance - 18-01-2018

Armenia is a Russian ally, Georgia has chosen a pro-Western course, while Azerbaijan has kept its distance from both sides. Despite these differences, Russia has significant economic interests in all three Caucasian countries and enjoys considerable soft power.

Article 17 TFEU: The EU institutions’ dialogue with confessional and non-confessional organisations

Briefing - 18-01-2018

On the basis of Article 17 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European institutions hold high-level meetings, or working dialogue seminars, on an annual basis with churches and non-confessional and philosophical organisations. This dialogue, focused on issues upon the European agenda, can be traced back to earlier initiatives, such as that launched in 1994 by Jacques Delors – 'A Soul for Europe' – which opened the way to encompass ethical and spiritual aspects of European integration. The draft Constitutional Treaty of 2004 included provisions on regular, open and transparent dialogue between EU institutions, representatives of churches and religious communities, and of non-confessional or philosophical communities. Although the Constitutional Treaty was rejected in French and Dutch referenda, its successor, the Lisbon Treaty adopted in 2007 and in force since December 2009, preserved the same provisions in Article 17 TFEU. The European Parliament has adopted numerous resolutions in defence of the principles of freedom of religion and belief as well as religious pluralism and tolerance, and stressed the importance of constant dialogue among, and with, religious as well as non-confessional and philosophical communities. It has regularly organised dialogue sessions within the framework of Article 17 TFEU on subjects of interest for the EU and its citizens. This is a further updated and expanded version of an 'at a glance' note originally published in November 2015.

L'Union européenne et la mémoire de l'Holocauste

Briefing - 18-01-2018

L’Holocauste se réfère à l’assassinat de six millions de Juifs européens, ainsi que des Roms ou autres groupes sociaux destinés à l’anéantissement par le régime nazi et ses collaborateurs. Le régime nazi débuta les spoliations, discriminations d’État, persécutions des Juifs dès 1933, suivies de pogroms et déportations vers les camps de concentrations avant d’étendre cette politique à tous les territoires et États qu’il dominait en Europe pendant la Seconde guerre mondiale. Les exécutions sommaires de masse ('Shoah par balles') et camps d’extermination furent l’aboutissement de cette politique. Le procès de Nuremberg en 1945-1946 jugea les bourreaux mais a préféré la notion de crimes contre l’humanité à celle de génocide. Ce n’est qu’en 2005, à l’occasion du 60e anniversaire de la libération d’Auschwitz, qu’une résolution de l’Organisation des Nations Unies sur le souvenir de l’Holocauste désigne le 27 janvier comme journée de commémoration. Dans l’Union européenne, des nombreux programmes sont destinés à la conservation de la mémoire de ces événements marquant l’histoire du continent. Le Parlement européen, dès 1995, adopta des résolutions rappelant le devoir de mémoire non seulement à travers les commémorations, mais aussi par le biais de l’éducation.

Renewable energy directive target

Study - 18-01-2018

This report investigates the impacts and feasibility of increasing the share of renewables beyond the proposed target of 27% for 2030 through a review of recent studies assessing the future energy system in the EU. The authors examine the impact of selected modelling input factors and modelling approaches on the determination of the optimal share of renewables. This document has been commissioned by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) of the European Parliament.

Posting of workers

EU Fact Sheets - 01-01-2018

As stipulated in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and reinforced by the case-law of the European Court of Justice, the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services guarantee the mobility of businesses and professionals within the EU. However, with regard to the posting of workers as a specific type of cross-border labour mobility, there is a need to balance internal market freedoms with measures guaranteeing respect for the rights of workers. Currently, the 1996 rules on the posting of workers are being revised to address unfair practices and promote the principle that the same work at the same place should be remunerated in the same manner.

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