Slovak finance ministry: Vaccination best way to help economy

The best way to help the economy recover from the pandemic’s €5.6 billion estimated loss is to promote the vaccine which costs €40 per adult, according to estimates made by the Slovak finance ministry’s value for money department. Non-vaccination and…

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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

Highlights – Financial contributions from non-EU countries: committee debate – Committee on Budgets – Committee on Budgetary Control

Finger pushing computer key that says ECA European Court of Auditors
The Committees on Budgets and on Budgetary Control will go over the European Court of Auditors’ review on financial contributions from non-EU countries to the EU, with ECA Member François-Roger Cazala, on 12 July. These contributions are based on agreements through which non-EU countries gain access to EU programmes and activities and/or to the EU single market. In 2019, they amounted to EUR 1,9 billion, meaning 1% of the total EU revenue.

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

At a Glance – Amending budget No 3/2021: 2020 surplus – 01-07-2021

Draft Amending Budget No 3/2021 (DAB 3/2021) to the European Union’s 2021 general budget aims to enter as revenue in the 2021 budget the surplus resulting from the implementation of the 2020 budget. The 2020 surplus totals almost €1.77 billion (as compared to €3.2 billion in 2019, €1.8 billion in 2018 and €0.56 billion in 2017). It consists mostly of higher than expected revenues, plus under-spending on the expenditure side. Inclusion of the surplus will reduce the gross national income (GNI) contributions of the EU Member States to the 2021 budget accordingly. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 3/2021 during its July plenary session.

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

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