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Publié le 17-10-2018

Current membership of the European Council

En bref - 17-10-2018

The European Council consists of the 28 Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States, who are voting members, together with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, who have no vote (Article 15(2) TEU). The chart shows the current members, the national office they hold and their political affiliation, as well as the year their membership of the institution began. This publication is updated periodically to reflect changes in the European Council's membership.

Humanitarian visas

Étude - 17-10-2018

90 % of those granted international protection reach the European Union through irregular Means. Member States' failure to offer regular entry pathways to those seeking international protection undermines the achievement of their Treaty and fundamental rights obligations. This situation also has severe individual impacts in terms of mortality and damage to health, negative budgetary and economic impacts EU legislation on humanitarian visas could close the current effectiveness and fundamental rights protection gap in EU asylum policy by offering safe entry pathways, reducing irregular migration and result in increased management, coordination and efficiency in the asylum process, as well as promoting fair cost-sharing.

Publié le 16-10-2018

What if gene editing became routine practice?

En bref - 16-10-2018

The CRISPR-Cas9 system currently stands out as the fastest, cheapest and most reliable system for ‘editing’ genes. It is seen as the biggest game changer in the field of gene editing due to its high degree of reliability, effectiveness and low cost. At the same time, the use of CRISPR has generated a series of socio-ethical concerns over whether and how gene editing should be used to make heritable changes to the human genome, to lead to designer babies, to generate potentially risky genome edits or to disrupt entire ecosystems.

Outlook for the meetings of EU Heads of State or Government, 17-18 October 2018

Briefing - 16-10-2018

As has become the norm with European Council meetings, EU Heads of State or Government will convene on 17 and 18 October 2018 in different formats with varying compositions and levels of formality: a regular meeting of the European Council, and an enlarged Euro Summit of 27 Member States on 18 October, preceded by a European Council (Article 50) meeting on the 17 October over dinner. The agenda of the European Council meeting focuses on migration and internal security. Specific foreign policy issues might also be addressed at this meeting. The Euro Summit will discuss the state of play of negotiations on the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), with a view to the next Euro Summit in December. However, the priority issue for Heads of State or Government will be Brexit. At the European Council (Article 50) meeting, EU-27 leaders are expected to discuss the progress that has been achieved in the negotiations so far, and possibly call for an extraordinary summit in November 2018.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: EU support for democracy and peace in the world

Briefing - 16-10-2018

From the outset, the European Union (EU) has been an integration project directed at preserving peace among its Member States – a fundamental objective that it has succeeded in achieving for over 60 years. As a community of like-minded states, the EU is also based on certain fundamental values, such as democracy and the rule of law, which the Union aspires to promote, both internally and externally, and which guide all its policies. In line with this vision, the EU has developed specific policies to support democracy and peace in the world. It also aims to integrate the pursuit of peace and democracy with all its other external actions in areas such as trade, development, enlargement and neighbourhood policies, its common foreign and security policy, and political and diplomatic relations with third countries and multilateral institutions. The EU has established a reputation as a soft power organisation guided by a normative vision and as an effective actor for peace and democracy. Strengthening peace and democracy globally has never been an easy task, however, and today's geopolitical context poses new challenges. The proliferation and increasing gravity and duration of conflicts – some in the EU's immediate neighbourhood, the emergence of new threats, such as terrorism or nuclear proliferation, and the crisis of liberal systems have driven the EU to widen and intensify its efforts. They have also led to a new vision for action revolving around the concept of 'resilient societies' based on the mutually reinforcing pillars of peace and democracy, and a special emphasis on fragile states. Against this background, recent surveys have shown that citizens expect the EU to be even more active in promoting peace and democracy externally – something that should surely strengthen its resolve to make further progress in this crucial area.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Promoting equality between women and men

Briefing - 16-10-2018

The European Union (EU) is committed to eliminating inequalities and promoting gender equality 'in all its activities' and has made considerable advances over the years. Nevertheless, the situation remains uneven across the EU, and in recent times progress has slowed, stalled or even regressed in some areas. Yet, the evidence points clearly to the benefits of gender equality for individuals, the economy and society as a whole. Public opinion surveys show that a large majority of Europeans agree that promoting gender equality is important for a fair and democratic society, the economy and for them personally and that a growing share of citizens would like the EU to do more in this area. Europeans also expect increased EU action on related policies. During the current legislative term, as part of a broader gender equality programme, the EU institutions have been working on proposals for new EU laws to improve work-life balance and combat violence against women and promoting equality between women and men will remain one of the major challenges in the coming years. Demographic trends, technological developments and changes to the way we work are just some of the issues where different impacts on women and men will need to be considered. Options for further EU involvement could include better implementation and enforcement of existing legislation, moves to modernise it, fill gaps in protection and address emerging issues, and non-legislative measures such as data collection and monitoring, awareness-raising, and support for national and grassroots initiatives. It will require the political will at all levels to tackle issues across a broad spectrum of policies, together with the provision of the necessary institutions, tools and resources to put that resolve into action.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Economic policy

Briefing - 16-10-2018

In the EU, although economic policy is the remit of each individual Member State, there is, nevertheless, multilateral coordination of economic policies between Member States. This framework was put severely to the test during the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis. Partly as a result, recovery in the EU was slower than recovery in the United States, and was not achieved equally by all Member States. Furthermore, it has to a large extent been based on accommodative fiscal and monetary policies that only partly hide underlying signs of fiscal or financial fragility in some Member States. To remedy this, the European institutions began a twofold process in 2011: initiatives were taken to strengthen the current framework for economic governance, and for banking supervision in the euro area while, in parallel, discussion began on possible ways to reduce the economic divergences between Member States, provide incentives for risk reduction and risk-sharing, render the governance process more transparent and ensure democratic accountability. In this latter area, several initiatives – which did not require changes in the EU Treaties – were taken between 2015 and 2017. In summer 2017, discussions on deepening the policy framework for economic and monetary union (EMU) intensified. This process, which was advocated in the five presidents' report (by the heads of the relevant EU institutions) and should be completed by 2025, is currently being considered at Member State level. The current state of play points towards two main orientations, dividing Member States into two groups: those that prioritise risk-sharing measures (such as France), and those that argue instead for further risk-reduction initiatives (for example, Germany). This lack of consensus has so far meant that the European Council has not been able to reach a breakthrough.

Publié le 15-10-2018

Ensuring more transparent and predictable working conditions

Briefing - 15-10-2018

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships (such as part-time, temporary and on-demand work), have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for a change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working conditions, and at creating new minimum standards for all employed workers, including those on atypical contracts. In the European Parliament, the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) has published a draft report focused on the scope of the directive, on employees' working hours and the conditions for making information available to them, and on employers' responsibilities.

China’s climate policies with an emphasis on carbon trading markets

Briefing - 10-10-2018

China has emerged as an important actor on the global stage with regards to the United Nations (UN) climate negotiations. China played a vital role in the successful entry-into-force of the Paris Agreement (PA) and has continued to show commitment to its implementation. The country has adopted a range of climate policies in order to fulfil its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commitments by accelerating efforts to both improve levels of energy efficiency and to encourage a shift away from coal energy to low-carbon alternatives. In the UN climate negotiations China continues to advocate that developed countries need to enhance their mitigation efforts and provision of financial support for developing countries. While the carbon and energy intensity targets for 2020, outlined in the 13th Five Year Plan (FYP), appear to be within reach, the recent increase in coal consumption in China has led to concerns regarding the achievement of the 2030 targets. Transforming such a vast economy and its energy system is in any case a long-term task that requires continuous political commitment and a wide range of well functioning policies across different levels and sectors. If the national Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is implemented successfully (learning from the experiences of the regional ETS pilots), a strong CO2 price signal (along with market reforms to the power sector) should ensure that CO2 emissions in China peak by 2030.

EP-EUI Roundtable on Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in Europe

Étude - 14-09-2018

Proceedings summarise the EP-EUI roundtable on the Strategy for Artificial Intelligence in Europe. The roundtable with academics from European University Institute involved MEP Róża THUN (Chair of the Digital Single Market Working Group of the Committee for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection), MEP Mady DELVAUX (MEP), Mr Riccardo RIBERA D’ALCALA, Director-General of DG IPOL, European Parliament, Ms Catelijne MULLER (European Economic and Social Committee), and Dr Cecile HUET, the Deputy Head of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Unit in DG CNECT This document was prepared by Policy Department A in the framework of scientific cooperation between European Parliament and European University Institute.

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