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Author: EP think tank

Common Foreign and Security Policy [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski, The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) has developed significantly since the 1990s with the aim of enabling the Union to speak and act as one in world affairs. The 2009 Lisbon Treaty strengthened the potential of the policy by creating the post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, backed by the European External Action Service (EEAS). Although the EU’s foreign policy has been hailed for a number of successes, such as a deal between Serbia and Kosovo or a nuclear agreement with Iran, it is still often perceived as...

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Postal services in the digital age

Written by Balazs Hopp @ nanuvision / Fotolia The EU postal sector has undergone significant changes in the past several years. Today, postal service providers are confronted with the growth in e-commerce: new technologies make shopping online more convenient and therefore increase the number of packages and parcels conveyed by postal operators. While parcel deliveries are increasing, letter volumes have fallen substantially. These tendencies require a different postal infrastructure as well as different skills and patterns of employment for employees. In 1997, the First Postal Services Directive established a regulatory framework for European postal services. The purpose of EU...

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Understanding the EU Rule of Law mechanisms

Written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva, © Esin Deniz / Fotolia The European Union is founded on values common to all Member States. These are supposed to ensure a level of homogeneity among Member States, while respecting their national identities, and so facilitate the development of a European identity and their integration based on mutual trust. Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union provides mechanisms to enforce EU values, based on a decision by the Council with the participation of the Commission and Parliament. The current mechanism is said to be unusable due to the high thresholds needed to adopt...

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European Commission: Facts and Figures

Written by Christian Dietrich and Giulio Sabbati, The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. Under the Treaties, its tasks are to ‘promote the general interest of the Union’, without prejudice to individual Member States, ‘ensure the application of the Treaties’ and adopted measures, and ‘execute the budget’. It further holds a virtual monopoly on legislative initiative, as it proposes nearly all EU legislation to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. The College of Commissioners is composed of 28 individuals. The college which came into office in November 2014 has an explicit...

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Measures to tackle youth unemployment, are they enough?

Written by Richard Freedman in cooperation with Marie Lecerf The figures are stark. More than 4.5 million young people (aged 15-24 years) are unemployed today in the EU. The EU youth unemployment rate is more than double the overall unemployment rate (20% compared with 9%) and masks big differences between countries: there is a gap of more than 40 percentage points between the Member State with the lowest rate of youth unemployment (Germany at 7%) and the Member States with the highest rates, Greece (50%) and Spain (49%). Although youth unemployment has fallen somewhat – from more than 23%...

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The Paris Agreement: A new framework for global climate action

Written by Gregor Erbach, © IISD / Kiara Worth The Paris Agreement was adopted on 12 December 2015 by the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It provides a framework for global actions to address climate change in the period after 2020. The objective of the agreement is to maintain the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, whilst making efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees. The agreement aims to ensure global greenhouse gas emissions peak as soon as possible, and...

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Cableway installations: Proposal for a new regulation [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Jana Valant (1st Edition), © serge01 / Fotolia Around 17 500 cableway installations currently exist in Western Europe and the Alps, representing 60% of the global total. European industry has generally held a dominant position in the global cableway installations market, with the ski industry remaining the primary market for cableway technology. The proposed regulation, covering the European Economic Area, is to replace Directive 2000/9/EC relating to cableway installations designed to carry persons. Its aim is to simplify the current rules, align them with the EU’s New Legislative Framework, and address some problems experienced in implementing the...

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Africa’s economic growth: Taking off or slowing down?

Written by Ionel Zamfir © poco_bw / Fotolia Over the past 15 years, most countries in Africa experienced sustained economic growth, with growth rates often exceeding 5% per year. This has inspired much optimism about the region’s prospects to finally leave poverty and under-development behind. However, the general economic context is now turning less favourable, with growth slowing down, especially in oil and mineral exporting countries. On the whole, overall growth is expected to continue, but at a slower pace. In this changing climate, it is important to look at the drivers of growth, in order to distinguish those...

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