Study – Meeting the Green Deal objectives by alignment of technology and behaviour – 09-07-2021

This study explores the prospects of aligning citizens’ behaviour with the objectives of the European Green Deal in the domains of food consumption and mobility. Creating a climate-neutral and resource-efficient European economy requires a deep transformation of energy, mobility and food systems, as well as a change in production and consumption practices. Such profound change will impact both individuals and society. At the same time, the transition to sustainability will not succeed if people do not support it by adapting their behaviour and consumption patterns. This would imply change towards ‘sustainable behaviour’. The study explores options for such sustainable behaviour, with a focus on mobility and food consumption. It identifies key challenges and possibilities in each domain and explores how technological solutions can help people adapt to sustainable behaviour in alignment with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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Briefing – Artificial Intelligence in smart cities and urban mobility – 23-07-2021

Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabling smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions. Local authorities face relevant challenges undermining the digital transformation from the technological, social and regulatory standpoint, namely (i) technology and data availability and reliability, the dependency on third private parties and the lack of skills; (ii) ethical challenges for the unbiased use of AI; and (iii) the difficulty of regulating interdependent infrastructures and data, respectively. To overcome the identified challenges, the following actions are recommended: • EU-wide support for infrastructure and governance on digitalisation, including high performance computing, integrated circuits, CPUs and GPU’s, 5G, cloud services, Urban Data Platforms, enhancing efficiency and ensuring at the same time unbiased data collection. • Inclusion of urban AI in EU research programs addressing data exchange, communication networks and policy on mobility and energy, enhancing capacity building initiatives, also through test and experimentation facilities. • Harmonising AI related policies in the EU, taking into account the context specificity: necessary research. • Adoption of innovative procurement procedures, entailing requirements for technical and ethically responsible AI.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

In-Depth Analysis – The EU-Turkey Customs Union and trade relations: what options for the future? – 07-07-2021

This in-depth analysis summarizes the main effects of the Customs Union (CU) on EU-Turkey trade and the economic situation in Turkey. Whereas the CU offers Turkey several economic benefits, it also implies some downsides, in particular asymmetric tariffs in relation to third countries. Against the background of the dynamic development of EU-Turkey relations, the authors assess the impact of four different options for developing EU-Turkey economic and trade relations:
(i) Continuation of the current Customs Union framework as it stands,
(ii) Modernization and upgrading of the Customs Union,
(iii) A transformation of the bilateral trade relations into a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA),
(iv) Suspension of the Customs Union (in which case WTO rules would apply).
The in-depth-analysis describes the options, the challenges the EU-Turkey Customs Union faces and seeks solutions for these issues.

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

Briefing – New EU regulatory framework for batteries: Setting sustainability requirements – 12-07-2021

Given the important role they play in the roll-out of zero-emission mobility and the storage of intermittent renewable energy, batteries are a crucial element in the EU’s transition to a climate neutral economy. The proposal presented by the European Commission is designed to modernise the EU’s regulatory framework for batteries in order to secure the sustainability and competitiveness of battery value chains. It would introduce mandatory requirements on sustainability (such as carbon footprint rules, minimum recycled content, performance and durability criteria), safety and labelling for the marketing and putting into service of batteries, and requirements for end-of-life management. The proposal also includes due diligence obligations for economic operators as regards the sourcing of raw materials. In Parliament, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, responsible for the file, is expected to consider its rapporteur’s draft report at a meeting in October 2021. In Council, ministers took stock of the progress made on the file at the June Environment Council. The Slovenian Presidency of the Council aims to reach agreement on a general approach.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

At a Glance – Resilient supply chains in the green transition: EU-US Explainer – 28-07-2021

The green transition will increase demand for critical minerals, high capacity batteries, and semiconductors. An electric vehicle requires six times more critical minerals than a conventional car, while an onshore wind power plant requires nine times more critical minerals than a comparable gas-fired plant. Likewise, the lithium-ion battery market is expected to become five to ten times larger by 2030 on account of demand for electric vehicles and stationary storage. Meanwhile, semiconductors underpin virtually every technology, giving them industrial and national security significance. Dependence on a few countries (e.g. China) for these critical inputs and technologies has sparked interest in policies to increase supply chain resilience, for instance through greater domestic production. As the EU and US face similar challenges, in June 2021 they agreed to establish the EU-US Trade and Technology Council, which will also address cooperation on supply chains.

Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP

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