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Publié le 25-09-2020

Coronavirus: The second wave? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

25-09-2020

Since the end of the holiday season, the rate of Covid-19 infection in Europe has increased to levels not seen since their peak in April 2020. Many cities and regions, and now whole countries, have had to reinforce preventive measures. An increasing number of governments around the world already face a dilemma over whether or not to return to strict confinement, which would further cripple their economies. In this context, this year’s UN General Assembly, witnessed a bizarre digital stand-off between ...

Since the end of the holiday season, the rate of Covid-19 infection in Europe has increased to levels not seen since their peak in April 2020. Many cities and regions, and now whole countries, have had to reinforce preventive measures. An increasing number of governments around the world already face a dilemma over whether or not to return to strict confinement, which would further cripple their economies. In this context, this year’s UN General Assembly, witnessed a bizarre digital stand-off between the Presidents of the United State and China, as they compete respectively for domestic and global approval of their handling of the pandemic. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the coronavirus can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 4 September 2020.

Hotspots at EU external borders: State of play

25-09-2020

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member ...

The 'hotspot approach' was presented by the European Commission as part of the European Agenda on Migration in April 2015, when record numbers of refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants flocked to the EU. The 'hotspots' – first reception facilities – aim to improve coordination of the EU agencies' and national authorities' efforts at the external borders of the EU, in the initial reception, identification, registration and fingerprinting of asylum-seekers and migrants. Even though other Member States also have the possibility to benefit from the hotspot approach, only Greece and Italy host hotspots. In Greece, the hotspot approach remains the key strategy in addressing migratory pressures. The EU-Turkey Statement of March 2016, closely linked to the implementation of the hotspot approach in Greece, led to a considerable drop in irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU. However, returns of irregular migrants to Turkey – a cornerstone of the agreement – are low. The deteriorating relationship between Turkey and the EU is putting the agreement under increasing pressure. The hotspot approach was also set up to contribute to the temporary emergency relocation mechanisms that – between September 2015 and September 2017 – helped to transfer asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU Member States. Even though 96 % of the people eligible had been relocated by the end of March 2018, relocation numbers were far from the targets originally set and the system led to tensions with Czechia, Hungary and Poland, which refused to comply with the mechanism. Since their inception, the majority of the hotspots have suffered from overcrowding, and concerns have been raised by stakeholders with regard to camp facilities and living conditions – in particular for vulnerable migrants and asylum-seekers – and to gaps in access to asylum procedures. These shortcomings cause tensions among the migrants and with local populations and have already led to violent protests. On 8 September 2020, a devastating fire in the Moria camp, on Lesvos, only aggravated the existing problems. The European Parliament has called repeatedly for action to ensure that the hotspot approach does not endanger the fundamental rights of asylum-seekers and migrants. This briefing updates two earlier ones published in March 2016 and in June 2018.

EU cyber sanctions: Moving beyond words

25-09-2020

The EU recognises that cybersecurity and cyber-defence are critical for its prosperity, security and global ambitions. Offensive cyber-attacks by malicious actors show no sign of slowing down (not even during the coronavirus pandemic) and thus require concrete dissuasive measures. In July 2020, the EU Member States decided for the first time to use the 'teeth' rooted in the EU cyber-diplomacy framework and to 'bite cyber perpetrators back' by placing sanctions on them. This precedent has helped reinforce ...

The EU recognises that cybersecurity and cyber-defence are critical for its prosperity, security and global ambitions. Offensive cyber-attacks by malicious actors show no sign of slowing down (not even during the coronavirus pandemic) and thus require concrete dissuasive measures. In July 2020, the EU Member States decided for the first time to use the 'teeth' rooted in the EU cyber-diplomacy framework and to 'bite cyber perpetrators back' by placing sanctions on them. This precedent has helped reinforce the EU's cyber policy action.

Protecting EU common values within the Member States: An overview of monitoring, prevention and enforcement mechanisms at EU level

25-09-2020

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm ...

This study analyses the existing and proposed mechanisms available to the institutions of the EU that may be deployed in order to monitor and enforce the observance of EU values by the Member States. More specifically, the study addresses the status and meaning of EU values (Article 2 TEU) and also discusses existing monitoring and preventive mechanisms (European Semester, EU Justice Scoreboard, Commission's rule of law framework, the Council's dialogues on the rule of law, and the preventive arm of Article 7 TEU) and enforcement mechanisms (preliminary reference rulings, infringement procedures and the sanctions arm of Article 7 TEU)). It also analyses a number of proposed mechanisms: the pact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights; rule of law review cycle; reviewed Council dialogues on the rule of law; and the rule of law budgetary conditionality.

Civil liability regime for artificial intelligence

25-09-2020

The findings of this European added value assessment (EAVA) suggest that the revision of the EU civil liability regime for artificial intelligence systems (AI) would likely generate substantial economic and social added value. The current preliminary analysis suggests that by 2030, EU action on liability could generate €54.8 billion in added value for the EU economy by stepping up the level of research and development in AI and in the range of €498.3 billion if other broader impacts, including reductions ...

The findings of this European added value assessment (EAVA) suggest that the revision of the EU civil liability regime for artificial intelligence systems (AI) would likely generate substantial economic and social added value. The current preliminary analysis suggests that by 2030, EU action on liability could generate €54.8 billion in added value for the EU economy by stepping up the level of research and development in AI and in the range of €498.3 billion if other broader impacts, including reductions in accidents, health and environmental impacts and user impacts are also taken into consideration. A clear and coherent EU civil liability regime for AI has the potential to reduce risks and increase safety, decrease legal uncertainty and related legal and litigation costs, and enhance consumer rights and trust. Those elements together could facilitate the faster and arguably safer uptake and diffusion of AI. Member States have not yet adopted specific legislation related to the regulation of liability for AI, with some exceptions related to drones, autonomous vehicles and medical AI applications. Timely action at EU level would therefore reduce regulatory fragmentation and costs for producers of AI while also helping to secure high levels of protection for fundamental and consumer rights in the EU

Publié le 24-09-2020

How the coronavirus pandemic shook up our relationship with food

24-09-2020

First there was panic-buying. There were concerns over safety: could one be infected by food? Realisation of the efforts of supermarket staff, truck drivers and warehouse staff to keep food coming to customers. Spring amidst closed borders awakened us to how much we depend on foreign farm workers to pick fruit and vegetables. There were campaigns for furloughed employees to go and work on farms. Then came news about the conditions endured by some foreign workers in the food-processing industry. The ...

First there was panic-buying. There were concerns over safety: could one be infected by food? Realisation of the efforts of supermarket staff, truck drivers and warehouse staff to keep food coming to customers. Spring amidst closed borders awakened us to how much we depend on foreign farm workers to pick fruit and vegetables. There were campaigns for furloughed employees to go and work on farms. Then came news about the conditions endured by some foreign workers in the food-processing industry. The rollercoaster of the coronavirus crisis has changed our relationship with food, but whether just temporarily or for good, remains to be seen.

Post-COVID-19 Global Currency Order: Risks and Opportunities for the Euro

22-09-2020

The issuance of EU debt in the context of the recovery plan for Europe creates scope for strengthening the international role of the euro. However, with a large share of safe euro assets likely to be absorbed by the pandemic emergency purchase programme of the ECB, a shortage of eligible bonds stands to impede such progress. The ECB could decisively increase the supply of safe assets by issuing tradable ECB certificates of deposit as a way of overcoming this obstacle. This document was provided ...

The issuance of EU debt in the context of the recovery plan for Europe creates scope for strengthening the international role of the euro. However, with a large share of safe euro assets likely to be absorbed by the pandemic emergency purchase programme of the ECB, a shortage of eligible bonds stands to impede such progress. The ECB could decisively increase the supply of safe assets by issuing tradable ECB certificates of deposit as a way of overcoming this obstacle. This document was provided by Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Auteur externe

Barry EICHENGREEN, Daniel GROS

Obstacles to participation in local and European elections, inside the E.U.

15-09-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, addresses some major issues of obstacles to elections in general and of obstacles to participation inside the EU more specifically. This is done by focusing on Member States and examples with regard to municipal elections, and European elections, but also in general on de-facto access to the exercise of the right to vote. Various recommendations ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the PETI Committee, addresses some major issues of obstacles to elections in general and of obstacles to participation inside the EU more specifically. This is done by focusing on Member States and examples with regard to municipal elections, and European elections, but also in general on de-facto access to the exercise of the right to vote. Various recommendations are formulated.

Auteur externe

Aalt Willem HERINGA, Professor of Comparative Constitutional and Administrative Law, Maastricht University, NL; Hoai-Thu NGUYEN, Policy Fellow for EU Institutions and Democracy, Jacques Delors Centre, Berlin, DE."

Publié le 23-09-2020

European Day of Languages: Digital survival of lesser-used languages

23-09-2020

Since 2001, Europe has marked European Day of Languages each year on 26 September, in order to focus attention on its rich linguistic diversity. The European Union boasts 24 official languages, and around 60 regional and minority languages are spoken across the Member States. Europe's linguistic mosaic also includes a variety of sign languages spoken by half a million people, heritage languages such as ancient Greek and Latin, as well as Esperanto – a planned international language created in Europe ...

Since 2001, Europe has marked European Day of Languages each year on 26 September, in order to focus attention on its rich linguistic diversity. The European Union boasts 24 official languages, and around 60 regional and minority languages are spoken across the Member States. Europe's linguistic mosaic also includes a variety of sign languages spoken by half a million people, heritage languages such as ancient Greek and Latin, as well as Esperanto – a planned international language created in Europe. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), many world languages, including European ones, are endangered and could disappear due to the dominant role of languages such as English with a huge population of native speakers and other learners. Regional and minority languages (RMLs) together with smaller state languages – the 'lesser-used languages' – are under serious threat of extinction. This threat is exacerbated by digital technology. The future of RMLs depends to some extent on their presence in new digital media. Young people communicate and seek information mainly via the internet. If online content is only available in dominant languages, lesser-used languages could become 'digitally extinct'. However, digital technology is not necessarily a death sentence; it can also offer a rescue kit. Online education, online language learning and language technologies can help revitalise endangered languages. To achieve this objective, huge efforts are needed by speakers' communities and language technology specialists to gather data, analyse and process it, in order to create language tools. With such tools, young people can create content in lesser-used languages and expand their use.

The need for solidarity in EU asylum policy

23-09-2020

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it ...

In early September 2020, a fire in the over-crowded migrant camp of Moria in Greece pushed thousands of people onto the streets, exacerbating the already dire conditions faced by asylum-seekers and migrants. The incident also shows the need to find a solution to a crisis of solidarity in EU asylum policy that has remained unresolved since the unprecedented influx of migrants into the EU in 2015. The European Commission presented a new Pact on Asylum and Migration on 23 September 2020. In that, it puts forward a compromise on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility for asylum-seekers among EU Member States.

Evénements à venir

28-09-2020
Seventh meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) on Europol
Autre événement -
LIBE
29-09-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | Working for Obama and Clinton on Europe [...]
Autre événement -
EPRS
30-09-2020
EPRS online policy roundtable: Plastics and the circular economy
Autre événement -
EPRS

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