'Fake news' and disinformation – information deliberately manipulated with the aim of fooling people – have become an increasingly visible global phenomenon. Social media and their personalisation tools have made it easier to spread bogus stories. They often use emotions to capture attention and generate clicks, for economic or ideological reasons. Even young, digital-savvy people find it difficult to identify manipulated news. Significantly, six in ten news items shared on social media were not even read first by the user who shared them. Some 85 % of Europeans see 'fake news' as a problem in their own country, and 83 % view it as a problem for democracy in general. This compass will help you navigate the ocean of information, and find your way through waves of lies and disinformation. This is a revised version of an ‘at a glance’ note published in March 2017.
Posted on 19-02-2019
Ukrainians will be heading to the polls twice in 2019, five years after Ukrainians toppled the pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovich, demanding a functioning democracy and an end to kleptocracy. On 31 March, Ukrainians will cast their ballot in the first round of the first presidential election since the Euromaidan revolution. In October, they will elect a new parliament. Amid Russia's ongoing hybrid war against Ukraine, the elections are a test case for the country's democracy, its unprecedented reform process and its European path.
The Commission describes logically the significance of cyberdefence and the potential for improvement in this field for the EU. However, the impact assessment accompanying the proposal does not appear to have fully followed the requirements of the better regulation guidelines particularly as no open public consultation was conducted. The impact assessment presents a limited range of options as a result of a number of parameters that were pre-set from the outset and which could have constrained the scope of the impact assessment.
The study analyses how the gender dimension and the principle of gender equality are taken into account in the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. The aim is to provide inputs for the discussion on how to improve the promotion of gender equality and non-discrimination in the post-2020 programming period. In detail, the study considers how gender equality has been mainstreamed in ESF and ERDF in the programming, implementation, and monitoring phases with focus on eight selected country case studies. It also provides an assessment of the present and future challenges together with policy indications from relevant stakeholders at both European and national level.
Posted on 18-02-2019
The IUU Regulation (1005/2008) is the core of EU's legal framework for action against global IUU fishing. Its primary objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate the trade of IUU-caught products into the EU. One of its key components is a multiple-step procedure for dealing with non-EU countries considered uncooperative in the fight against IUU fishing. Third edition. This infographic further updates an earlier one of September 2018. For more information on the EU's IUU Regulation 1005/2008 and on IUU fishing, see the parallel EPRS Briefing: PE 614.598.
Since 2003, national competition authorities (NCAs) have boosted the enforcement of EU competition and antitrust rules significantly. However, each year losses of €181-320 billion accrue because of undiscovered cartels, which increase prices by between 17 % and 30 % on average. In March 2017, the Commission proposed a new directive to ensure that all NCAs have effective investigation and decision-making tools, could impose deterrent fines, and have well-designed leniency programmes and enough resources to enforce EU competition rules independently. On 30 May 2018, Parliament and Council reached an agreement on the proposal in trilogue. It increases the independence, resources and powers of NCAs and envisages more harmonisation of the national leniency programmes and reduced burdens on undertakings. Parliament adopted the text on 14 November 2018, the final act was signed on 11 December 2018. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
The European Commission has proposed to amend Directive 2004/37/EC by expanding its scope and by including and/or revising occupational exposure limit values for a number of cancer- or mutation-causing substances. The initiative is proceeding in steps. The first proposal of May 2016 covered 13 priority chemical agents, the second, of January 2017, a further seven. The current (third) proposal addresses an additional five. Broad discussions with scientists and the social partners fed into all three proposals. Reacting to the Commission’s set of measures as a whole, trade unions have acknowledged the importance of further improving the existing framework. Actors on the employers’ side have underlined the need to ensure that values are proportionate and feasible in terms of technical implementation. Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee voted its report on 20 November 2018. It includes the call to bring cytotoxic medicines, which are used in the treatment of cancer, within the scope of the directive, as well as to grant incentives to businesses that comply. Council agreed on its position on 6 December 2018. Trilogue negotiations gave rise to a provisional agreement in January 2019. Once endorsed by the Council, it will be voted in Parliament’s plenary. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.
The increasing importance of central counterparties (CCPs) and challenges such as the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU call for a more comprehensive supervision of CCPs in EU and non-EU countries to secure financial market infrastructure and build confidence. In June 2017, the Commission proposed amendments to Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 (ESMA – European Securities and Markets Authority) and Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 (EMIR – European Market Infrastructure), to strengthen the regulatory framework: EU CCPs would be supervised by national authorities in agreement with ESMA, and third-country CCPs subject to different requirements depending on whether (or not) they are systemically important. The European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) adopted its report in May 2018, and the Council agreed its position in November. Trilogue negotiations are now under way.
The common agricultural policy (CAP) is one of the oldest common policies in the EU. Its significance is reflected in the proportion of the EU's budget devoted to it, representing approximately 40 % of the total. Developed at a time when Europe was unable to meet most of its own food needs, it was necessary to encourage farmers to produce food by means of guaranteed prices. The policy has undergone regular reform and has evolved over the years. These reforms have sought to improve the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, promote rural development and address new challenges in areas such as the environment and climate change. Evidence from a series of Eurobarometer surveys indicates how EU citizens have a high level of awareness of this policy area. There is a recognition that it is succeeding in meeting citizens' expectations in terms of delivering healthy high-quality food as well as contributing to the protection of the environment. When it comes to agriculture, Parliament's eighth term has focused on taking forward not only implementation of the last CAP reform in 2013 but also a series of significant legislative achievements. The areas covered include, for example, animal health, plant health and the organic sector, as well as a range of policy-related simplification measures that entered into force on 1 January 2018. On the non-legislative front, Parliament has pursued its scrutiny role rigorously. Looking to the future, there are still a number of substantial issues for the current Parliament to address. These include determining in co-decision with the Council the future policy direction of the CAP for the post-2020 period, negotiations over the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) including the overall budgetary allocation for the next CAP, and the associated legislative framework.
Five years after the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople – widely seen as the spiritual leader (primus inter pares) of the Eastern Orthodox world – granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) 'autocephaly' on 5 January 2019, formalising a split from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). The move follows an intensified Ukrainian campaign to obtain religious independence and thereby reduce the influence of the ROC, which plays a key role in the Kremlin's identity politics in the region. This development could have wide-reaching implications. Such a blow to the ROC undermines the Kremlin's 'soft' spiritual influence. The Kremlin views the development as a question of national security and is unlikely to accept the defeat without resistance. The issue is expected to play a prominent role in the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine. In a wider context — reflecting Moscow's nexus between geopolitics and religion — the decision of the ROC to sever ties with Constantinople in response to the decision to grant the OCU autocephaly could mark the beginning of a wider rift in the Orthodox world. Moscow appears to be exerting pressure on other Orthodox patriarchates to sever ties with Constantinople.