EU’s industry alliances need stricter oversight, say green critics

Ahead of the European Commission’s new industrial strategy proposal, expected on Wednesday (5 May), Friends of the Earth has compiled a report exposing the influence of business associations in shaping policy through industrial alliances.

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Study – The European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Horizontal substitute impact assessment – 12-08-2021

This ‘Horizontal Substitute Impact Assessment of the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum’ was requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). The impact assessment focuses on the main proposed changes implied by the European Commission’s New Pact, with a particular focus on the following four proposals: 1) Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (RAMM); 2) Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation; 3) Amended Asylum Procedure Regulation (APR); and 4) Screening Regulation. The horizontal substitute impact assessment critically assesses the ‘system’ and underlying logic of the proposed New Pact with the aim to analyse how the four Commission proposals would work and interact in practice. The impact assessment also assesses whether and to what extent the proposed New Pact addresses the identified shortcomings and implementational problems of the current EU asylum and migration law and policy. Moreover, the impact assessment identifies and assesses the expected impacts on fundamental rights, as well as economic, social and territorial impacts of the proposed New Pact.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – EU rural development policy: Impact, challenges and outlook – 08-07-2021

On 30 June 2021, the European Commission adopted a communication on its long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas. The communication identifies areas of action with a view to creating new momentum for the EU’s rural areas, while recognising their diversity. In recent decades, in many Member States rural areas have experienced depopulation. Such regions face a range of environmental and socio-economic challenges. These include, for example, lower income per capita, a higher percentage of the population at risk of poverty and social exclusion, a lack of access to basic infrastructure and services, and lower levels of access to fast broadband internet. The EU’s rural development policy has sought to help address these challenges. Evaluation evidence is emerging on the impact of the common agricultural policy (CAP) on the territorial development of the EU’s rural areas. Measures relating to village renewal and LEADER (Liaison entre Actions de Développement de l’Économie rurale) measures are considered to be well-targeted and relevant to local needs, although they represent a small proportion of CAP financing. Administrative burdens have been raised as an issue that can impact on the developmental process. Recommendations from this evaluation evidence point to the need for better integration of funding streams, the need to maintain a dialogue across the European structural funds, and all the implications this may have for the new CAP strategic plans. The Commission’s recommendations to Member States on their CAP strategic plans highlight a number of recurring themes relating to the employment, education and training needs of rural areas, including the need to address rural depopulation, promote generational renewal, improve connectivity, and address the role played by action taken at local level. The Commission’s communication on a long-term vision for rural areas includes provision for a ‘rural pact’ to engage actors at EU, national, rural and local levels and an EU rural action plan, setting out a range of initiatives and actionable projects. The vision and its supporting analyses will provide a framework for addressing the future of the EU’s rural areas.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Study – Guidelines for foresight-based policy analysis – 26-07-2021

Policy analysis examines and assesses problems to determine possible courses for policy action (policy options). In highly complex or controversial contexts, evidence-based policy options might not be socially acceptable. Here, policy analysis can benefit from a foresight-based approach, which helps investigate the issue holistically and assess considered evidence-based policy options against societal concerns. This is especially important in a parliamentary setting, as it enables analysts to consider stakeholder views and geographical concerns/differences when assessing policy options. This manual establishes the methodology for the foresight process and foresight-informed policy analysis. It offers a conceptual clarification of foresight and foresight-based technology assessment, helps enhance the transparency of foresight processes and the quality of policy analyses, offers four general guidelines for conducting trustworthy policy analysis, and, finally, provides a practical framework with six basic components for foresight-based policy analysis.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – The financial management of visitor groups to the national parliaments – 08-07-2021

In most Member States, visitor’ groups are not sponsored to visit the national parliament. A visit to the national parliament is free of charge, and all the costs related to the visit, for example travel costs, accommodation and local minor expenses, need to be paid by the visitors themselves.
Germany is the only country which has various kinds of programmes where visitors can be reimbursed. Members of Parliament can invite up to 200 people a year of which the travel costs are partially covered by the German Bundestag. There is also a programme which consists of more days for which all the costs related to travel and accommodation are covered by the German government. The German Bundesrat has a programme in which the 16 federal states can invite people for a visit of multiple days to Berlin. In this case the travel costs and accommodation are paid for by the Bundesrat. For all reimbursements, the rules apply that the receipts and underlying documents need to be provided to the Bundestag and Bundesrat after the visit. All documents and receipts are checked through an ex-post control.
The United Kingdom has a programme in which costs are reimbursed, and this programme is funded by the commercial tours of the parliament. In this case, it can be MPs, Peers or the House of Commons or Lords who can invite visitors who are eligible for reimbursement.
In Hungary, only schools can get reimbursement for their travel costs and the entry fee for the national parliament. All the receipts need to be provided to the visitor service of the parliament.
Some countries do have other schemes in which they provide coverage for schools or costs are covered by the MPs’ own funds.
The Council of the EU does not sponsor visitor groups. All visits are requested by visitors themselves and they need to cover all the costs related to the visit themselves. The questions were also sent to the European Commission but no answer was received.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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