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- The UK Referendum - and the Future of the European Project - ECIPE Policy Brief — 09 June 2016, 20:34 CET
It is on the pocketbook issues that Britain’s Remain campaign has chosen to take its stand. For weeks, it has bombarded the public with warnings and research purporting to show that Brexit would take a toll on economic growth, living standards, public services and even property prices. International institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the World Bank, along with government leaders around the world, have chimed in with statements that Britain would be worse off outside the EU.
It is still unclear how far such arguments will sway the undecided voters who will determine that outcome of the referendum, in the face of Leave’s focus on the more emotive issue of curbing immigration. It is also indicative of the difficulty of arguing a positive case for staying in the EU that so few in the Remain campaign try very hard to make it. Furthermore, Remain needs to overcome wider public disaffection with and mistrust of, not just EU institutions, but establishment politics at national level as well.
A similar popular mood is spreading across much of the rest of Europe. A UK vote for Brexit would strengthen the growing populist and nationalist forces in the EU that want their countries to leave it and even to dismantle the European Project altogether. What makes that challenge so powerful is that Europe’s leaders, under rising pressure from insurgent parties at home, have few ideas about how to respond to them. There are fundamental problems at the heart of the European Project. But there is a serious shortage of realistic solutions, still less a political consensus on what they should be.
- European Drug Report 2016 — 02 June 2016, 00:43 CET
The health risks of high-potency products, the continued emergence of new substances, and changing patterns of drug use are among the issues highlighted in the European Drug Report 2016: Trends and Developments. The report also examines concern over rises in overdose deaths in some countries and the threats posed by internet drug markets.
- Eurofound yearbook 2015: Living and working in Europe — 01 June 2016, 23:21 CET
Eurofound celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding in 2015. In 1975, the then European Community set up the Agency, charging it with the task of contributing to the planning and design of better living and working conditions in Europe. The social policy agenda and priorities may have changed over those 40 years, but Eurofound’s mission throughout has been constant: to support policymakers to develop the best solutions to the social- and work-related challenges faced by the European Union. This celebratory year for Eurofound proved to be another year of upheaval for Europe, with the surge of refugees in unprecedented numbers widening the political fractures opened by the economic crisis. Yet the need to address disparities, to improve social cohesion, and to regain the path to social and economic convergence has not receded, and it is here that Eurofound makes its presence felt.
- European Ombudsman Annual Report 2015 — 31 May 2016, 10:42 CET
Chapter 1 - 2015 at a glance
Chapter 2 - Key topics
2.2 Transparency in EU decision-making
2.3 Lobbying transparency
2.4 Ethical issues
2.5 Fundamental rights
2.6 EU competition policy
2.7 Public participation in EU decision-making
2.8 EU agencies
Chapter 3 - 20th Anniversary of the Ombudsman’s office
Chapter 4 - Relations with EU institutions
4.1 European Parliament
4.2 Committee on Petitions
4.3 European Commission
4.4 Other EU institutions and agencies
4.5 UN Disability Rights Convention
Chapter 5 - European Network of Ombudsmen
Chapter 6 - Resources
6.2 Use of resources
6.3 Team behind the Ombudsman
Chapter 7 - Type and source of complaints
Chapter 8 - Against whom?
Chapter 9 - About what?
Chapter 10 - Results achieved
Chapter 11 - How we handle cases
Improved case-handling procedures
Chapter 12 - Compliance with the Ombudsman’s proposals
- European bathing water quality in 2015 — 26 May 2016, 00:34 CET
Every summer, European holiday resorts fill up with tourists eager to enjoy the warmer weather and the beautiful natural surroundings of this diverse continent. For many, the summer vacation is synonymous with swimming in the sea or in a lake, so it is natural that water quality is an important factor in choosing a destination. To help citizens make informed choices, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission publish the annual European bathing water quality report. The information contained in this edition - which covers bathing water quality in 2015 in the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland - indicates where good quality bathing water is likely to be found in 2016.
- 2015 Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights — 19 May 2016, 18:19 CET
The European Commission has published its Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2015. The report gives an overview of how fundamental rights have been applied across a range of EU policies and in Member States. The report notes that in 2015 a number of legislative projects that promote fundamental rights have been brought forward, including amongst others the Data Protection reform package, the Directive on special safeguards for children in criminal proceedings or the Victims' Rights Directive. It explains how the European Commission has taken into account the Charter in its legislative and policy work in 2015, such as the measures put forward to better manage migration at EU level (European Agenda on Migration) or to reinforce security (European Agenda on Security). Finally, it provides examples of how the Charter was applied by the European Court of Justice and presents the main developments of the case law.
- Regulation of labour market intermediaries and the role of social partners in preventing trafficking of labour — 04 May 2016, 23:43 CET
The right to free movement for workers within the European Union was enshrined in Article 48 of the EEC Treaty in 1957. Nowadays, private labour market intermediaries – such as temporary work agencies and employment placement agencies – contribute to facilitating this labour mobility in their role as mediator between individual workers and organisations in need of labour. However, due to loopholes in regulation, some workers and vulnerable groups run the risk of being exploited by fraudulent agencies. This report examines how public authorities are currently regulating labour market intermediaries across Member States, highlighting the effectiveness or otherwise of different registration or licensing schemes. It also examines activities by social partners aimed at preventing the trafficking of labour. The overall aim is to contribute to the development of a best practice guide for public authorities to encourage better monitoring and enforcement of regulations deterring trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation.
- Access to justice for victims of hate crimes: the views of practitioners — 28 April 2016, 21:57 CET
Hate crime is the most severe expression of discrimination, and a core fundamental rights abuse. Various initiatives target such crime, but most hate crime across the EU remains unreported and unprosecuted, leaving victims without redress. To counter this trend, it is essential for Member States to improve access to justice for victims. Drawing on interviews with representatives from criminal courts, public prosecutors’ offices, the police, and NGOs involved in supporting hate crime victims, this report sheds light on the diverse hurdles that impede victims’ access to justice and the proper recording of hate crime.
- The Ultimate EU Career Development Book — 26 April 2016, 22:35 CET
As co-author of 'The Ultimate EU Test Book - Assessment Centre Edition', I wanted to create a book which would be of value to those who are already working for the EU and wish to develop their EU "core competencies" - for greater job satisfaction, better performance and career success. 'The Ultimate EU Career Development Book' is that book and it is now available. In addition, a specially created FREE ONLINE TOOLKIT accompanying the book allows users to carry out a self-assessment for their competencies easily online, automatically generating a personal competency passport and priorities for action. You can even, if you wish, get anonymised 360-degree feedback from family, friends and colleagues so you can compare your self-assessment with other people’s evaluation of you! Using the book and free online toolkit in conjunction provides a complete package for understanding the competencies and your personal strengths and weaknesses, and planning your personal development needs. It can be used for private self-development and as a basis for training and team building - Jan De Sutter
- Start-up support for young people in the EU: From implementation to evaluation — 26 April 2016, 18:47 CET
Against a background of high youth unemployment, policymakers are paying more attention to encouraging young people to start their own businesses as a means of easing their entry into the labour market. As part of the Youth Guarantee, launched in 2013, several Member States have introduced start-up support measures for young job-seekers. However, these measures vary considerably in terms of their content, delivery and aims. This report provides an overview of the current start-up support measures targeted at young people, as well as other more general measures that have relevance for them. It also reviews evaluations of the impact of selected start-up support measures. In doing so, it highlights some of the key methodological issues and limitations of the evaluation exercise.
- EU Drug Markets Report 2016 - EMCDDA — 05 April 2016, 19:23 CET
The 2016 EU Drug Markets Report provides a unique insight into the operation of illicit drug markets in the EU. The report assesses the impact of the drug market on society and the factors driving it. It explores the market for cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA and new psychoactive substances. Understanding these hidden markets, and the actors involved, is essential to making sound policy decisions with lasting impact. The report combines the analytical power of the EMCDDA’s drug monitoring system with Europol’s operational intelligence on trends in organised crime.
- EU external migration spending in Southern Mediterranean and Eastern Neighbourhood countries until 2014 - ECA Special Report No 9/2016 — 17 March 2016, 20:13 CET
This report deals with the two main financing instruments (TPMA and ENPI) of the external dimension of the EU's common migration policy which aims to provide effective management of migration flows in partnership with countries of origin and transit. This report examines whether the spending of both instruments had clear objectives and whether it had been effective and well-coordinated. We found that overall, the instruments provided no clear strategy by which to identify their contribution to objectives and thus it is unclear what they intend to achieve at EU level. It was often difficult to measure the results achieved by EU spending and the contribution of migration to development was difficult to assess. The policy is characterised by complex governance, insufficient coordination and the absence of a funding overview that specified who finances what between the European Commission and EU Member States.
- Assessing illicit drugs in wastewater: advances in wastewater-based drug epidemiology — 15 March 2016, 22:49 CET
Assessing illicit drugs in wastewater: advances in wastewater-based drug epidemiology reviews a new approach to estimating drug use in populations, based on the detection and quantification of drugs and their metabolic products in community wastewater. Strengths of the wastewater-based approach include avoiding the problems associated with questionnaire-based research, better identification of the drugs being used and being able to provide near-real-time results, with the power to identify trends in drug use patterns, over time and geographically. Novel uses of the approach are explored, such as the early detection of new psychoactive substances on the drug market. The report also looks at the limitations to the approach and how these can be overcome for this new tool to take its place in the drug epidemiologist’s toolkit.
- The Beauty of Public Procurement in TTIP — 01 March 2016, 17:35 CET
The TTIP negotiation is taking another leap of faith as it delves into the question of public procurement this week. The topic is inarguably a thorny issue where market access gets linked to "sub-central" levels of decision-making (State or even Municipality "independent" choices), national security and jobs policy. Yet the U.S. procurement market is, by any means, sizeable, and the EU has made it a pivotal objective to open up procurement at sub-central levels, enabling EU companies to bid for State level tenders. Dealing with these issues requires thus an honest assessment of the situation, present and future. It raises two matters to be discussed: A reality-check on the real openness of the two negotiating partners and a better view of the broader situation in the future.
- Working time developments in the 21st century: Work duration and its regulation in the EU — 01 March 2016, 17:30 CET
This report examines the main trends and milestones characterising the evolution of the most important aspects of collectively agreed working time in the European Union during the first decade of the 21st century. Drawing primarily on information collected by Eurofound across all EU Member States and Norway, it focuses in particular on five sectors: chemicals, metalworking, banking, retail and public administration. The report describes the institutional regimes of regulation and assesses the evolution of agreed working hours (hours expected to be spent on work according to collective agreements or agreed between employers and employees) and usual working hours (hours usually spent in practice in work activities) between 1999 and 2014. The report points to the tension that exists between the pressure for decreased working hours in favour of a better work–life balance and fewer health problems for workers and the need for working time flexibility to meet the demands of a modern world economy.
- Recent developments in temporary employment: Employment growth, wages and transitions — 24 February 2016, 23:55 CET
Temporary employment has increased since the 1980s in most European countries as a result of demands for greater flexibility in labour markets and subsequent reforms of employment protection legislation. This report presents a broad picture of temporary employment across the EU27 between 2001 and 2012 based on Eurostat data. It maps the recent evolution of temporary employment, before and after the economic crisis. It calculates the wage gap between temporary and permanent employees and also analyses the wage gap within companies. The report also identifies the main determinants of temporary employment in terms of personal, company and job characteristics and examines the most relevant labour market transitions for temporary employees. The study finds evidence of segmentation in a number of European labour markets, whereby temporary employees have poor pay and labour market prospects, while permanent employees enjoy high levels of job security and opportunities for career progression.
- Overcapacity in China: An Impediment to the Party's Reform Agenda — 22 February 2016, 12:11 CET
The European Chamber of Commerce in China has released a new major report that addresses the problems arising from increased overcapacity in China’s industrial economy. Overcapacity in China: An Impediment to the Party’s Reform Agenda provides a detailed examination of the causes and consequences of overcapacity in eight key industries and analyses the developments that have taken place since the European Chamber published its original report on this topic in 2009.
The new report explains how central government efforts to address excessive production capacity have been ineffectual due to regional protectionism, weak regulatory enforcement, low resource pricing, misdirected investment, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights and an emphasis on market share.
The report provides 30 recommendations that should be taken to address this deep-rooted problem. The European Chamber hopes that they will also contribute to a strengthening of the government’s resolve to implement the core tenet of the Third Plenum’s Decision – establishing the market as the decisive force in China’s economy.
- Job creation in SMEs: ERM annual report 2015 — 11 February 2016, 16:47 CET
The European Restructuring Monitor (ERM) annual report for 2015 explores the issue of job creation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are increasingly recognised as a job engine for Europe. However, given the heterogeneity of the vast SME population, not all contribute equally to employment growth. This study seeks to identify which SME types are more or less dynamic job creators and to determine their main drivers and barriers for job creation. It also examines recruitment in SMEs, the extent of public debate on job creation in SMEs, and public support instruments available to SMEs that encourage them to create jobs. The study finds that SMEs that tend to create jobs are often young, innovative, internationally active, located in urban areas and run by skilled managers with the capacity to plan and realise active growth and investment strategies. However, a combination of both external and internal company factors, rather than individual characteristics, determines the job creation potential of these companies.
- The European Drug Report 2015: Trends and Developments — 11 February 2016, 15:52 CET
Changing dynamics in the heroin market, the latest implications of cannabis use and new features and dimensions of the stimulant and 'new drugs' scene are among the issues highlighted in the European Drug Report 2015: Trends and Developments. This year's annual review reflects on 20 years of monitoring and examines the global influences and local ramifications of Europe’s ever-changing drugs problem. This is a graphic-rich report summarising the latest trends across Europe. Available in 24 languages, print, PDF, epub, as well as in an interactive HTML version.
- Rulemaking by the European Commission: The New System for Delegation of Powers — 04 February 2016, 15:00 CET
The last few years have seen major reforms to the delegation of powers and post-delegation supervision of the European Commission. In light of these reforms, Rulemaking by the European Commission: The New System for Delegation of Powers assesses whether the new system has really affected the old doctrine of delegation of powers, and if so, how? Specific questions answered include: have the objectives of the reform been achieved and what were these objectives? How does the new system affect the division of functions between the institutions of the EU and the institutional balance? Has this new system affected the relationship between the EU and its Member States, and if so, how does it concern its citizens?
Presented by an interdisciplinary group of experts who have actively followed or participated in the process of reform, the book is structured in four parts: (1) the political and historical context in which the rule-making takes place, (2) the operation and functioning of the system before and after the reform, (3) the legal substance of a new framework for rule-making and the emerging case law from the Court of Justice of the EU, and (4) the procedural dimension, including the legal preconditions for non-institutional actors to participate.
- Families in the economic crisis: Changes in policy measures in the EU — 04 February 2016, 13:58 CET
Throughout Europe families have felt the effects of the economic crisis that began in 2008. This report describes their experience in the aftermath of the crisis, up to the present. It looks in detail at developments in 10 Member States that were selected to represent different types of family policy regime, ranging from those with the most ‘enabling’ policies (which help families move away from the traditional single ‘breadwinner’ model)
to those with the most ‘limiting’ policies (which do not). The report analyses Member States’ responses to the crisis. The findings show that changes in family policy since 2010 are largely the result of a range of conflicting issues: the evolution of family needs; demands for austerity cuts; and the need for equitable distribution of limited resources. Such conflict means that family policies often lack an integrated policy framework. In some countries, benefits have been reduced, disproportionately affecting disadvantaged families; in others, new measures have been targeted at the most severely hit. In summary, this report provides policy-makers with evidence from different country settings on what policy measures appear to work to mitigate the risk of poverty or social exclusion for disadvantaged families with dependent children.
- European Court of Auditors special report no 18/2015: Financial assistance provided to countries in difficulties — 26 January 2016, 16:30 CET
When the 2008 financial crisis triggered a European
sovereign debt crisis, some Member States were forced to
seek macro-financial assistance. This report examines how
well the European Commission managed the assistance
provided to five countries — Hungary, Latvia, Romania,
Ireland and Portugal. We found that the Commission was
unprepared for the magnitude of the crisis, which largely
explains the significant initial weaknesses in its
management processes. A number of the weaknesses we
identified still persist, and the main message of the report
is that the Commission has to strengthen its procedures
for the management of financial assistance.
- Fiscal Sustainability Report 2015 - Institutional Paper 018 | January 2016 — 26 January 2016, 12:26 CET
The Fiscal Sustainability Report 2015 provides an overview of the challenges to public finance sustainability faced by Member States in the short, medium and long term. Although public finances in the EU today are more sustainable than they were at the onset of the crisis, significant challenges remain over the medium and long term because of high debt levels and population ageing.
- Almost 8 million ICT specialists employed in the EU in 2014 — 21 January 2016, 18:44 CET
In the European Union, nearly 8 million people were employed in 2014 as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) specialists, representing 3.7% of total employment. Over recent years, both the number and the share of ICT specialists in total employment have continuously increased to better adapt to an ever digitalised world. However, almost 40 per cent of enterprises with at least 10 people employed which recruited or tried to recruit personnel for jobs requiring ICT specialist skills had hard-to-fill vacancies in 2014.
- Social dimension of intra-EU mobility: Impact on public services — 10 December 2015, 18:12 CET
Freedom of movement across Member States is one of the core values of the European Union and is closely linked to European citizenship. There is, however, a heated debate in many of the host Member States about the impact of the rising inflow of mobile citizens on their public services. This research project aimed to examine the extent to which mobile citizens from the central and eastern European Member States (the EU10) take up benefits and services in nine host countries. It also provides a demographic and socioeconomic profile of EU10 mobile citizens and identifies initiatives aimed at integrating them in the host countries and providing them with access to benefits and services. The main finding of the report is that overall take-up of welfare benefits and services by EU10 citizens is lower than that of the native population of the host country, especially social housing and pensions. However, their take-up of certain specific benefits, mainly employment-related benefits (unemployment and in-work benefit), is higher.
Contained Smart Folders:
- Libcast’s Online Video Platform in the limelight at BETT 2015 — 28 January 2015, 16:17 CET
Libcast of France will be showcasing its Online Video Platform at BETT 2015 in London, in January. The specialist company’s innovative and versatile solution enables users to host, manage and broadcast lectures live or in streaming mode. With 200,000 users, Libcast’s technology has already been chosen by many universities and schools, including leading colleges in France and Norway.