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Author: EP think tank

Study – Skills development and employment: Apprenticeships, internships and volunteering – 14-04-2017

This study discusses participation, outcomes, quality and challenges of apprenticeships, internships/traineeships and volunteering schemes. Though important, all three forms face challenges that need attention in the related existing and planned EU-level initiatives (such as the planned Quality Framework for Apprenticeships). Issues concern, for example, providing clarity on the employment status (mainly for apprenticeships) and on fair remuneration, thus limiting the risk of being sources for cheap labour. The note was prepared by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) to support the Committee’s work on the New Skills Agenda. Source :...

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Briefing – New rules on security of gas supply – 23-06-2017

In February 2016, the European Commission proposed a new regulation on security of gas supply as part of its sustainable energy security package, in order to develop a stronger collective response to future supply risks. Major innovations in the Commission proposal include a solidarity principle that prioritises households and essential social services during an emergency situation; mandatory regional preventive action and emergency plans based on new templates; fewer exemptions on bidirectional capacity, in order to facilitate reverse gas flows; an increase in the scope of contractual information relating to security of supply that is provided to the Commission and...

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Briefing – Cleaner air for Europe: EU efforts to fight air pollution – 23-06-2017

Air pollution knows no borders. Wind can carry pollutants over thousands of kilometres. Poor air quality impacts negatively on human health, ecosystems, crop yields and buildings. It is one of the main environmental causes of premature death, having claimed 5.5 million lives globally and over 430 000 in the EU in 2013. The European Commission estimates the cost of air pollution linked to the degradation of health in European society to amount to €330 billion to €940 billion per year. Developed since 1970 in the wake of acid rain fall that had been destroying European forests and polluting freshwaters,...

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Briefing – Rights and empowerment of women in the Western Balkans – 23-06-2017

Gender equality – recognised by the United Nations as a human right, and enshrined in the EU Treaties – is among the requirements with which Western Balkan candidates and potential candidates for EU accession (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have to comply. In recent years, these six countries have taken steps to advance women’s rights. They have adopted or amended their relevant legislation (for instance, criminal and labour laws), elaborated national strategies and action plans, and established institutional mechanisms to carry out and monitor the policies in the area. Despite...

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Briefing – Macro-financial assistance – 23-06-2017

Macro-financial assistance (MFA) is an instrument designed to provide loans and grants from the EU to candidate, potential candidate and neighbourhood countries in acute balance of payments crises. An MFA operation is exceptional and temporary, based on economic and political conditions, and linked to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) adjustment programme. In addition to solving short term balance of payments problems, MFA is designed to stabilise public finances and to encourage structural reforms. Since 1990, there have been more than 60 MFA operations and the evaluation of the instrument is largely positive. Source : © European Union, 2017 –...

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At a Glance – CETA ratification process: Recent developments – 21-06-2017

On 28 October 2016, the Council decided to sign the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and on 15 February 2017 the European Parliament gave its consent to the agreement’s conclusion. As CETA is a mixed agreement, the EU Member States are currently in the process of ratifying it in accordance with their constitutional requirements. Only after all have done so, can the Council adopt a decision to conclude CETA, after which the agreement will enter into force. Source : © European Union, 2017 –...

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