Serbia signs loan contracts for climate and railway

Serbian Finance Minister Siniša Mali signed two loan contracts worth a combined €234.6 million on 10 May, a programme loan for climate change public policy and a loan for the project to modernise the rail sector in Serbia by employing…

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Briefing – Rail passengers’ rights and obligations in the EU – 12-07-2021

In 2007, the EU established a set of basic rights for rail passengers, which became applicable at the end of 2009. These rights provide for all passengers, including those with reduced mobility, a harmonised minimum level of protection, information and assistance. Reports have concluded that the implementation of these rights, although relatively smooth, is not done uniformly across the EU. Moreover, other shortcomings have prevented these rights from being used to their full potential. In September 2017, the European Commission presented a new proposal to address these issues and to strike a new balance between keeping rail operators competitive and providing adequate passenger protection. The European Parliament adopted its first-reading position on this proposal on 15 November 2018. For its part, the Council adopted its general approach on 2 December 2019, under the Finnish Presidency. Interinstitutional negotiations began at the end of January 2020, and on 1 October 2020, under the Germany Presidency, Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the text. On 29 April 2021, the European Parliament voted in favour of the agreed text as adopted by the Council. The new rules were published in the Official Journal of the EU on 17 May 2021. They will apply in principle to all international and domestic rail journeys and services in the EU from 7 June 2023. However, Member States may exempt domestic rail services for a limited time. Seventh edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Artificial Intelligence and public services – 22-07-2021

AI has become a key enabling technology in public services and its use has increased over the past two years.Ensuring explainabilty of AI systems in public services is crucial but difficult to achieve in case of black-box algorithms. In AI applications in public services, focus is on law enforcement, surveillance and process optimisation. AI for front-end public services seems less of a priority. There is a growing public concern over the development and use of AI in society. With the increase of its use, the potential for errors and harms also increases.The public sector should lead the way in creating trustworthy AI. Regulatory sandboxing and pre-procurement are key for creating trustworthy AI for public services.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

Briefing – Horizon Europe – Specific programme: Implementing the framework programme – 02-07-2021

In June 2018, the European Commission proposed a total budget allocation of €100 billion to finance science, research and innovation projects during the 2021-2027 period, of which the vast majority, €94.1 billion in current prices, would be allocated to the Horizon Europe framework programme. The main aims are to strengthen science and technology, to foster industrial competiveness, and to implement the sustainable development goals in the EU. Horizon Europe introduces new features such as the European Innovation Council, missions to promote research results, and new forms of partnerships. While the proposal for the framework programme set out the general and specific objective of Horizon Europe as well as the structure and the broad lines of the activities to be carried out, the specific programme aims to define the operational objectives and activities, especially for missions, the European Research Council, the European Innovation Council, work programmes, and the committee procedure. In April 2019, Parliament and Council reached a partial agreement on the specific programme. However, the financial aspects were only settled in December 2020 as part of the broader MFF negotiations. The final text was adopted in April 2021 and entered into force retroactively from 1 January 2021.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

In-Depth Analysis – Euro Area fiscal policies and capacity in post-pandemic times – 23-07-2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has created huge challenges for policymakers in the whole world. These challenges have to do with both the short run and the long run. In addition, in the euro area, these challenges have dimensions that are peculiar to the fact that the euro area is a monetary union with one monetary authority and nineteen separate budgetary authorities. In this policy brief, the author provides some answer to two questions: • Which policy mix (national/supranational) supports smooth recovery, sustainability of public finances and resilience of the euro area? • Which EMU governance reforms should be prioritised so as to improve the functioning of the euro area?

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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