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Author: EP think tank

Secular stagnation and the euro area

Written by Gustaf Gimdal and Cemal Karakas Graphics by Christian Dietrich © kikkerdirk / Fotolia Several years after the Great Recession began, the euro area is still far from fully recovered. The international economic and financial crisis has pushed down investment levels within the EU by about 15% from their peak in 2007. Even though the near-term prospects seem brighter, high unemployment persists in many Member States. Some experts argue that the euro area, alongside Japan and the United States, is facing ‘secular stagnation’, a long-term economic stagnation characterised by a shrinking work force, low demand, excess savings and...

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New EU-US trade and investment deal: to be or not to be? MEPs to play a key role

Written by Richard Freedman in cooperation with Laura Puccio © Eisenhans/Fotolia The European Union is negotiating a trade and investment deal with the United States – the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership known as TTIP. The aim is to open up the US to EU firm, help cut red tape that firms face when exporting and set new rules to make it easier and fairer to export, import and invest overseas. There are strong advocates for and against the deal across the EU Member States (see map below). The European Parliament must give its green light to the deal...

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How the collaborative internet and 3D printing might change the EU

Written by Guillermo Garrido-Lestache and Nera Kuljanic, Background Copyright: Annalise Duca / AcrossLimits Ltd Internet-related technologies are already shaping the world in previously inconceivable ways. The collaborative economy, big/open data, crypto-currencies and additive manufacturing (such as 3D printing) are just some of these technologies, and their potential to change the world, our lives and society as we know them were explored at a workshop hosted by STOA earlier this year. STOA has recently followed-up with the publication of its study ‘Impact and Potential of Collaborative Internet and Additive Manufacturing’. The study includes a review of the latest developments for...

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European Platform for tackling undeclared work [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Monika Kiss (1st edition), © DDRockstar / Fotolia Undeclared work affects both the individual and society. It deprives workers of their necessary social and health protection and imposes precarious working conditions on them. At the same time, it creates unfair competition for companies, and damages public finances and social security systems. For these reasons, the European Commission proposed on 9 April 2014 the creation of a European Platform against undeclared work to support and coordinate the Member States’ efforts in preventing, deterring and fighting undeclared work. Following a round of trilogue meetings at which the European Commission,...

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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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