Policy Briefs

  • The energy conundrum in Bulgaria and Greece

    Energy 11-05-2015

    Bulgaria and Greece are hard nuts to crack when it comes to implementing EU energy legislation and integrating with the wider European energy market. These two countries illustrate the difficulties of building an Energy Union.

  • Europe ‘à la carte’: The whats and whys behind UK opt-outs

    Brexit 07-05-2015

    Since becoming a member in 1973, the United Kingdom has negotiated opt-outs on key parts of EU legislation, and a sizeable rebate from the EU annual budget. But do they really serve the best interests of the UK and Europe?

  • Voting on Brexit: The EU issues shaping the UK election

    Brexit 11-03-2015

    The May 7 UK general election will go a long way towards deciding whether Britain will stay in the European Union, or choose to leave, after forty years of uneasy relations.

  • From 9/11 to Charlie Hebdo: The EU’s response to terrorism

    Justice & Home Affairs 14-01-2015

    The European Union has pledged closer cooperation in the fight against terrorism following the killing at Charlie Hebdo, building on measures already taken in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, and subsequent bombings in Madrid and London. EURACTIV gives a round-up of existing and upcoming initiatives.

  • TTIP for dummies

    Trade & Society 13-01-2015

    In the wake of the global economic crisis and the deadlocked Doha round of international trade talks, the EU and the United States started negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which seeks to go beyond traditional trade deals and create a genuine transatlantic single market. But the road ahead is paved with hurdles.

  • Europe’s re-industrialisation agenda: A green policy U-turn?

    Energy 12-11-2014

    European leaders are in broad agreement over the need to relaunch manufacturing industries. But walking the talk implies trade-offs and a possible u-turn – on climate, and energy policies, in particular – that some warn could put future growth at risk.

  • Cholesterol: The overlooked chronic disease

    Health 05-11-2014

    Europeans suffer from the highest bad cholesterol in the world, with a prevalence of 54% for both sexes, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, the chronic disease continues to be neglected by policymakers, in favour of other long-term illnesses.

  • The Juncker Commission 2014-2019

    EU Priorities 2020 26-09-2014

    After months of deliberation, Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker presented his team, and the new executive structure, on 10 September.

  • Air pollution rules for ‘non-road mobile machinery’

    Sustainable Development 12-09-2014

    Noxious emissions from everyday cars and trucks have long been regulated at European level. But the European Commission believes pollution from so-called non-road mobile machinery – which includes everything from bulldozers to chainsaws – is a problem and is proposing new emission limits on them.

  • GMO cultivation in Europe: A decade of legal battles

    Agrifood 08-08-2014

    The European Union has agreed on a new approach to the cultivation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) which allows member states to ban or restrict GMOs in their territory. The agreement should mark the end of a decade of legal problems, but in the context of ongoing EU-US free trade negotiations, vocal GMO opposition from member states and civil society is unlikely to subside.

  • When science meets politics: the EU’s impact assessment review

    Science & Policymaking 07-08-2014

    The European Commission is reviewing its impact assessment guidelines amid accusations that science is becoming increasingly politicised and scientists manipulated by policymakers and powerful interest groups.

  • Diabetes: the EU’s heavy burden

    Health 06-08-2014

    An estimated 32 million people in the European Union (8.1%) were living with diabetes in 2013. Although policymakers are now paying special attention to the issue and to obesity-related conditions more generally, health experts say more can be done to tackle what the EU considers as a chronic disease.

  • Fighting youth unemployment: an EU priority

    Social Europe & Jobs 07-07-2014

    Between 2007 and 2013, youth unemployment reached record highs across Europe, dramatically increasing from 15.7% to 23.4%, according to Eurostat. EU heads of state and government agreed in February 2013 to launch a €6 billion Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) to get more young people into work. 

  • Giving immunisation efforts a booster

    Development Policy 03-06-2014

    Since 2000, 440 million children have been immunised against preventable diseases – and an estimated 6 million deaths have been avoided. But 22.6 million children are still not vaccinated and 1.5 million children under-5-years-old die annually from preventable diseases. Changing this picture may require action, not least on vaccine prices.

  • The next European Commission: What challenges?

    EU Priorities 2020 14-04-2014

    In the autumn of 2014, a new team of commissioners will take charge of the EU executive. As Europe's economic storms calm down, the next Commission can set its sights on a number of long-term challenges when drafting its programme. An overview of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

  • Cardiovascular disease: Social and economic impacts

    Health 26-02-2014

    The number one killer in Europe, cardiovascular disease, is set to become an even greater burden on the already recession-hit continent's health systems. Therefore, the Commission is now trying to tackle the growing problem with different initiatives and health programmes.

  • The EU top jobs: Who’s next?

    EU Elections 2014 03-02-2014

    On 22-25 May, EU citizens cast their ballots to elect 751 members of the European Parliament. But MEPs will not be the only ones to perform a game of musical chairs: 2014 will also bring about change in many of the top positions in the EU.

  • Endocrine disruptors: Harmful or not?

    Science & Policymaking 12-12-2013

    Rising levels of cancers and fertility problems have attracted scientists’ attention to endocrine disrupting chemicals, with some calling for strict regulation of the substances, in line with the precautionary principle. Others meanwhile, stress the worthiness of those chemicals in everyday products such as plastics and warn that the foundations of science risk being turned upside down if precautionary measures are taken.

  • European elections 2014: Different this time?

    EU Elections 2014 11-09-2013

    After the financial and sovereign debt crisis, state bailouts and budget cuts, the May 2014 European elections were expected to take the pulse of public confidence towards the European Union. For the first time, voters will also indirectly choose the next president of the European Commission, giving citizens a fresh chance to shape the future of Europe.

  • EU spending: Added value through cooperation

    EU Priorities 2020 28-08-2013

    Does one euro spent at the EU level bring more benefits than if it’s spent at the national or regional level? This is a question that will dominate in the coming months as policymakers try once more to make the case to increase the EU’s own resources and redraft the funding map to boost sustainable growth and jobs.

  • German elections 2013: Don’t mention Europe

    Elections 06-08-2013

    The European Union’s economic and financial challenges left the bloc in no doubt that its most populous member state is also its most politically powerful. On 22 September 2013, Germans will decide in a federal election whether that power remains within its current ruling conservative coalition led by incumbent Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), or whether to entrust it to the Social Democrats or a new coalition. In the run up to the elections, Europe has largely remained off the agenda.

  • CAP 2014-2020: A long road to reform

    Agrifood 04-07-2013

    Politicians approved in June 2013 an agreement on the first large reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in a decade, after months of haggling over how ambitious to make the policy on overhauling direct payments, ending quotas, and making farmers more environmentally accountable. The long road to a deal means that many policies will not come into force before 2015.

  • The Lithuanian EU Presidency – ‘A fresh Baltic breeze’

    EU Priorities 2020 19-06-2013

    Lithuania, a country of 3.2 million which joined the EU in 2004, will assume its first presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July. Lithuania considers itself one of the most successful countries to overcome the economic and financial crisis and to return to sustained recovery and growth. It is the first Baltic country to take the EU stint.

  • Payment Services Directive: The new payments landscape

    Special Report | Euro & Finance 07-06-2013

    The Payment Services Directive (PSD) was adopted by the EU Council of Ministers in March 2007, but an explosion in e-commerce through the internet and the ownership and use of smartphones has taken place since then. In response to the challenge posed by technology to traditional payments methods, the Commission published a green paper called: ‘Towards an integrated European market for card, internet and mobile payments,’ as a precursor to further rules changes. Following a consultation period an updated Payment Services Directive (PSD II) was published this summer (July 24), with a separate regulation on multilateral interchange fees (MIFs).

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