Briefing – Application of the equal pay principle through pay transparency measures – 22-07-2021

This briefing provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the impact assessment (IA) accompanying the Commission proposal for a directive aimed at strengthening the application of the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women, enshrined in Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome. Following two negative opinions of the Regulatory Scrutiny Board and an exceptional third positive one, the IA provides a good problem definition. The IA coherently identifies the problem drivers and makes a compelling case for the consequences should situation remain unchanged. The options retained for assessment seem built around a pre-selected preferred option package. The analysis regarding the impact on SMEs appears to be insufficiently developed while the one on competitiveness is missing. The proposal includes all the measures presented in the IA’s preferred package as well as two extra measures which were suggested, but not explicitly included in the preferred package.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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Briefing – Improving corporate sustainability reporting – 27-07-2021

The European Commission proposed to improve sustainability reporting by revising the non-financial reporting directive 2014/95/EU. The accompanying impact assessment (IA) provides a well-defined problem that is substantiated with evidence, a clear set of objectives that correspond to the problems identified and makes effort to cover SMEs in the consultation strategy. Overall, the evidence used in the IA seems recent and reliable. However, the IA has not set any concrete targets, indicators or timelines for achieving its objectives. The range of options in the IA appears rather imbalanced, the analysis has been predominantly economic and has focused on the effectiveness of meeting the specific objectives and their costs, while the discussion of benefits has remained rather descriptive. Environmental impacts seem to have been completely excluded, the costs of indirect effects on SMEs in the supply chains of large companies have not been quantified and the benefits for listed SMEs have not been elaborated on.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Fighting discrimination in sport – 09-07-2021

Even though the European Union (EU) has built an extensive framework of legislation, instances of racism and homophobia in sport are still rife. Interestingly, Eurostat surveys reveal that the feeling of discrimination is more widespread than actual discrimination. Although there are some variations, discrimination in sport very frequently involves stigmatisation on the basis of external characteristics such as skin colour, body shape and gender. Data from 2017 show that some 3 % of respondents claimed to have experienced racist violence in the previous year, with another 24 % being exposed to racist harassment in that period. Worryingly, the results of a 2018 poll confirm that the vast majority of respondents (90 %) perceive homo/transphobia to be a problem in sport, with gay men feeling homophobia to be a bigger problem than lesbian/gay women and bisexual people. Action against discrimination at EU level is grounded in an established EU legal framework, based on a number of Treaty provisions – in particular Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union, and Articles 10, 19 and 67(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. The general principles of non-discrimination and equality are also reaffirmed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. This legal arsenal is completed by a number of directives and framework decisions – such as the Racial Equality Directive, the Victims’ Rights Directive and the Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, to name but a few – aimed at increasing individual protection. The objectives of the sports strand of the Erasmus+ programme include combatting violence, discrimination and intolerance in sport and providing funding for various projects such as the setting up of LGBTQI+ sports clubs in central and eastern Europe, increasing inclusion in sport, and by bringing together partners who traditionally face barriers to participation, such as women, the LGBTQI+ community and people with disabilities. In addition, since 2016, the European Commission has supported the Council of Europe in promoting safety and security at sports events. In recent years, the Gay Games and the European Gay and Lesbian Multi-Sports Championships have helped raise awareness, build self-esteem and change perceptions based on prejudice.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Mental health and the pandemic – 09-07-2021

While the pandemic is primarily a physical health crisis, it has also had widespread impact on people’s mental health, inducing, among other things, considerable levels of fear, worry, and concern. The growing burden on mental health has been referred to by some as the ‘second’ or ‘silent’ pandemic. While negative mental health consequences affect all ages, young people, in particular, have been found to be at high risk of developing poor mental health. Specific groups have been particularly hard hit, including health and care workers, people with pre-existing mental health problems, and women. The pandemic has also appeared to increase inequalities in mental health, both within the population and between social groups. To address the population’s increased psycho-social needs, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe established an expert group on the mental health impacts of Covid-19 in the European region. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has issued analyses and guidance on mental health in general and the pandemic’s impact on mental health in particular. At European Union level, a December 2020 European Commission communication addressed the pandemic’s impact on mental health. In May 2021, the Commission organised a major online stakeholder event, and published best practice examples of solutions presented. A July 2020 European Parliament resolution recognises mental health as a fundamental human right, calling for a 2021-2027 EU action plan on mental health. Members of the European Parliament have also called on the Commission to put mental health at the heart of EU policymaking. Stakeholders broadly rally around calls for programmes and funding to improve citizens’ mental health, not least to respond to the pandemic’s long-term implications.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Single European Sky 2+ package: Amended Commission proposal – 12-07-2021

The Single European Sky (SES) initiative aims to make EU airspace less fragmented and to improve air traffic management in terms of safety, capacity, cost-efficiency and the environment. Its current regulatory framework is based on two legislative packages: SES I (adopted in 2004), which set the principal legal framework, and SES II (adopted in 2009), which aimed to tackle substantial air traffic growth, increase safety, and reduce costs and delays and the impact of air traffic on the environment. Nonetheless, European airspace remains fragmented, costly and inefficient. The European Commission presented a revision of the SES in 2013 (the SES 2+ package). While the Parliament adopted its first-reading position in March 2014, in December 2014 the Council agreed only a partial general approach, owing to disagreement between the UK and Spain over the application of the text to Gibraltar airport. With Brexit having removed this blockage, the Commission has amended its initial proposal. The Council and the Parliament have both adopted their positions on the revised proposal, and can thus start trilogue negotiations. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Understanding delegated and implementing acts – 07-07-2021

Law-making by the executive is a phenomenon that exists not only in the European Union (EU) but also in its Member States, as well as in other Western liberal democracies. Many national legal systems differentiate between delegated legislation − adopted by the executive and having the same legal force as parliamentary legislation − and purely executive acts −aimed at implementing parliamentary legislation, but that may neither supplement nor modify it. In the EU, the distinction between delegated acts and implementing acts was introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon. The distinction, laid down in Articles 290 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), seems clear only at first sight. Delegated acts are defined as non-legislative acts of general application, adopted by the European Commission on the basis of a delegation contained in a legislative act. They may supplement or amend the basic act, but only as to non-essential aspects of the policy area. In contrast, implementing acts are not defined as to their legal nature, but to their purpose − where uniform conditions for implementing legally binding Union acts are needed. Under no circumstances may an implementing act modify anything in the basic act. Delegated acts differ from implementing acts in particular with regard to the procedural aspects of their adoption − the former after consulting Member States’ experts, but their view is not binding; the latter in the comitology procedure, where experts designated by the Member States, sitting on specialised committees, can object to a draft implementing act. In the case of delegated acts, however, the Parliament and Council can introduce, in the delegation itself, a right to object to a draft act or even to revoke the delegation altogether. Both delegated and implementing acts are subject to judicial review by the Court of Justice of the EU which controls their conformity with the basic act.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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