North Korea [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

North Korea flag with grunge metal texture

© Onur / Fotolia

North Korea has stepped up its nuclear plans with the underground detonation of a hydrogen bomb and tests of its first suspected Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), moves perceived as a major threat to global security. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies against that country. The isolated communist régime of Kim Jong-un has continued its nuclear programme despite repeated rounds of sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council and diplomatic efforts to diffuse the conflict.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks and other organisations on the North Korea crisis.

Time for China to step up in North Korea crisis
Chatham House, September 2017

North Korea: Sanctions and marketization from below
Bruegel, September 2017

North Korea’s nuclear defiance of Trump’s “fire and fury”
Council on Foreign Relations, September 2017

Time to prepare for the worst in North Korea
Center for Strategic and International Studies, September 2017

Destabilizing Northeast Asia: The real impact of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs
Center for Strategic and International Studies, September 2017

Growth despite sanctions? Revisiting the effect of North Korea sanctions
Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, September 2017

A Strategy for dealing with North Korea
Atlantic Council, September 2017

Pyongyang’s ambitions have nothing to do with Kyiv and everything to do with Moscow
Atlantic Council, September 2017

Can the world live with North Korea’s bomb?
Centre for European Reform, September 2017

Beyond strategic patience with North Korea: What comes next?
Rand Corporation, September 2017

Russia and the North Korean nuclear challenge
Council on Foreign Relations, September 2017

Is it legal for President Trump to order an attack on North Korea?
Peterson Institute for International Economics, September 2017

Despite H-bomb test, negotiate with North Korea, but from a position of strength
Brookings Institution, September 2017

Decision time: North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat and U.S. policy
Brookings Institution, September 2017

North Korea’s military capabilities
Council on Foreign Relations, September 2017

Is it time for hard power in North Korea?
Carnegie Europe, September 2017

North Korea’s nuclear-armed missiles: Options for the US and its allies in the Asia-Pacific
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, September 2017

U.S. facing unwelcome facts about North Korea nukes
Heritage Foundation, September 2017

North Korea’s nuclear threat Is America’s (not the world’s) problem
Cato Institute, September 2017

How North Korea is ensuring a nuclear arms race in Asia
Hoover Institution, September 2017

États-Unis- Corée du Nord: Il n’y a pas de solution militaire
Institut des relations internationales et stratégiques, September 2017

The march of folly jointly led by Kim Jong-Un And Donald Trump
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, September 2017

Europe’s options on the side-lines of the North Korea crisis
German Marshall Fund, August 2017

In North Korea standoff, what does Kim Jong-un really want?
Chatham House, August 2017

The secret to North Korea’s ICBM success
International Institute for Strategic Studies, August 2017

Nuclear North Korea: Perpetuating the fiction
European Council on Foreign Relations, August 2017

How worried should we be about a nuclear war with North Korea?
Chatham House, August 2017

North Korea tests Donald Trump
Atlantic Council, August 2017

Understanding North Korea
Rand Corporation, August 2017

How did North Korea get its nuclear capabilities so far so fast?
Rand Corporation, August 2017

Regime change in North Korea: Be careful what you wish for
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, August 2017

Will North Korea and the United States go to war?
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, August 2017

Can ballistic missile defense shield Guam from North Korea?
Council on Foreign Relations, July 2017

The China–North Korea relationship
Council on Foreign Relations, July 2017

North Korea missile test exposes how Trump has overplayed his hand
Chatham House, July 2017

EU-South Korea security relations: The current state of play
Egmont, May 2017

Korean peninsula: The plot thickens
European Council on Foreign Relations, May 2017

¿Cómo evitar un conflicto militar en la península de Corea?
Real Instituto Elcano, May 2017

China and North Korea: A test case for China’s future international role
European Council on Foreign Relations, March 2017

Read this briefing on ‘North Korea‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Gustaf Gimdal and Angelos Delivorias (2nd edition),

corporate tax, 3D rendering, triple flags

© Argus / Fotolia

The European Commission has decided to re-launch the common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) project in a two-step approach, with the publication on 25 October 2016 of two new interconnected proposals: on a common corporate tax base (CCTB), and on a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB). The 2011 CCCTB proposal (COM(2011) 121) was withdrawn on the same day.

Building on the 2016 CCTB proposal, the 2016 CCCTB proposal introduces the consolidation aspect of this double initiative. Companies operating across borders in the EU would no longer have to deal with 28 different sets of national rules when calculating their taxable profits. Consolidation means that there would be a ‘one-stop-shop’ – the principal tax authority – where one of the companies of a group, that is, the principal taxpayer, would file a tax return. To distribute the tax base among Member States concerned, a formulary apportionment system is introduced.

Interactive PDF

Common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB)

Stage: National Parliaments opinion

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EU response to the Caribbean hurricanes

Written by Christiaan van Lierop and Eric Pichon,

The scenes of devastation caused by recent hurricanes in the Caribbean are a stark reminder of the destructive force of nature. As residents struggle to rebuild their lives following the passage of the latest storms, attention turns to the relief efforts. The EU can help through emergency humanitarian assistance and a variety of funding mechanisms, depending on the status of the territories concerned and their relationship with the EU.

EU Civil Protection Mechanism

EU response to Caribbean hurricanes

© European Union, 2017. Image source: NASA; map by Eulalia Claros, EPRS

Created in 2001, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) is tasked with coordinating the action of EU Member States and partner countries (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey) following a man-made disaster or natural catastrophe. Its scope of intervention is not limited to its members but has a worldwide reach, thus all territories in the region affected by the recent hurricanes, including third countries, may apply for support under this mechanism. The UCPM intervenes at the request of the affected countries: since its creation in 2001, it has responded to over 200 requests.

UCPM action is spearheaded by the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC). The ERCC is managed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and operates 24 hours a day. Once a request for intervention has been approved, the ERCC evaluates the needs and ensures that there is no overlap or gap in the relief operations of UCPM members. Following the devastation wrought by recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, UCPM teams are preparing to intervene under the coordination of the ECHO regional office in Managua (Nicaragua), while a European Commission humanitarian team is already present on the ground in Haiti. To ensure a quick response, some EU countries (but not all UCPM members) have pooled response teams under the European Emergency Response Capacity.

To carry out its tasks, the ERCC uses powerful monitoring tools, which are developed largely in close cooperation with the Commission’s Joint Research Centre. It can also trigger specific mapping of the affected zones, through satellite data provided by Copernicus, the EU earth observation programme. To take just one example, the EU recently provided the USA with satellite images of the areas affected by hurricane Harvey. The ERCC also publishes daily maps and daily flashes for the general public.

The EU also provides emergency funding to support the delivery of aid, with over €2 million allocated to the Caribbean as of 12 September.

EU Solidarity Fund

Providing for emergency and recovery operations in areas affected by a major natural disaster, the EU Solidarity Fund is open to Member States and candidate countries. A recent witness to the brute force of Hurricane Irma, the French territory of Saint Martin, one of the EU’s nine outermost regions and thus an integral part of the EU, is eligible for support under this mechanism. To receive help, the Member State involved (in this case, France) must apply to the European Commission for assistance within 12 weeks of the first damage. With a maximum annual allocation of €500 million, the EUSF may be used to fund measures such as providing temporary accommodation, supporting rescue services or cleaning up disaster areas. In principle, it is limited to non-insurable damage and does not therefore compensate for damage to private property. The EUSF has intervened in over 75 disasters to date, allocating a total of €5 billion to help alleviate the impact of natural disasters, including the 2007 hurricanes in Réunion and Martinique, both of which are outermost regions.

In the case of outermost regions, a special lower threshold is applied, such that the damage caused exceeds 1 % of a region’s GDP (rather than 1.5 % in other regions), to take account of their specific structural social and economic situation. In addition, following the adoption of an amendment to the EUSF Regulation in July 2017, Member States affected by a natural disaster may now draw on a special EU financing mechanism, to help supplement EU Solidarity Fund assistance. This allows the application of an extraordinary EU co-financing rate of 95 % under a cohesion policy programme in an affected region. Accordingly, programmes in outermost regions such as Saint Martin, which have an 85 % co-financing rate, will now be eligible for an additional 10 % support in the event of a major disaster. At the time of writing, Saint Martin had not yet applied for assistance under the EUSF.

In addition to this emergency assistance, it is also worth highlighting that several EU-funded programmes are already active in the region and improving the lives of local people. The ERDF-ESG Guadeloupe et Saint Martin operational programme, for instance, which has a total budget of €273 million, includes an investment priority on disaster management, providing funding for activities such as strengthening buildings against the risk of earthquakes. The Interreg V Saint Martin – Sint Maarten cooperation programme, focuses, among other things, on preventing the risk of flooding through better management and control of rainwater, while the priorities of the Interreg V Caribbean cooperation programme include increasing natural hazard response capacity by putting in place shared risk management systems. Saint Martin may also be able to receive support from the €587 million available to France under the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD), an EU fund that provides material assistance such as food, clothing and essential goods for deprived groups.

Support for overseas countries and territories

As overseas countries and territories (OCTs), the British territories of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten and the French territory of Saint Barthélemy have a special relationship with the European Union, governed by a Council decision on the association of the overseas countries and territories with the European Union. This text provides that humanitarian and emergency aid may be granted to OCTs faced with serious economic and social difficulties of an exceptional nature resulting from natural or man-made disasters. Under the rules, aid is financed from the general budget of the Union, with a non-allocated reserve of €21.5 million set aside to finance humanitarian and emergency assistance for the OCTs.

Although formally classified as an OCT, Sint Maarten, which shares an island with the French outermost region of Saint Martin, may also receive additional assistance. At Parliament’s 13 September plenary session, President Tajani announced that he had submitted a request to Commission President Juncker to ask that Sint Maarten be allowed to benefit from EU funding on similar terms to its northern neighbour, Saint Martin.

Assessing EU response measures

The UCPM and the ERCC were recently examined by the European Court of Auditors, which found them to be ‘good examples of value added by European cooperation’. On the EUSF, a 2015 Commission report noted that while applicants had a better understanding of the application process, money still reached the regions affected too late, emphasising the time-consuming procedure for the adoption of the mobilisation decision and the corresponding amending budget. Similar criticisms were raised in Parliament’s 2016 report on the EUSF (rapporteur: Salvatore Cicu, EPP, Italy), which stressed that beneficiaries still faced problems owing to the length of the process involved.

Read this ‘At a glance’ publication on ‘EU response to the Caribbean hurricanes‘ in PDF on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki

Achieving a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EUAn increasing number of European citizens, enterprises and public bodies depend on ICT tools (both hardware and software) to run their critical processes, while the internet is becoming a crucial platform in the citizens’ daily lives in the European Union (EU). However, the core of critical services and the protection of key assets and critical infrastructures are mainly based on technologies developed by non-EU companies. Some of these companies are closely linked to foreign governments, whose interests may differ from those of the EU, and who do not always follow European standards and certifications.

In addition, the EU is facing a growing number of cyber threats that can hinder the potential of digital technologies. The construction of the digital single market may be affected by a loss of confidence in digital services and products on the part of both citizens and companies. Recent ransomware attacks, such as WannaCry and Petya, with limited real effect but high mass-media coverage, are good examples of the potential damage of cyber threats. The EU’s considerable dependence on non-EU providers represents another serious challenge to reinforcing EU cyber-resilience. Although this dependence affects the whole ICT ecosystem, it is particularly relevant in the cybersecurity industry.


Workshop hashtag: #EU4ICT


The objective of the STOA (Science and Technology Options Assessment) project on Establishing a sovereign and trustworthy ICT industry in the EU is to analyse how the EU could achieve an adequate level of cyber-resilience. The cross-border character of today’s cyber threats demands a strong coordinated effort among Member States, however cyber threat strategies remain a national competence, with each Member State defining its own cybersecurity strategy according to its priorities. This situation seriously challenges EU coordination and results in regulatory fragmentation.

STOA is organising a workshop on 27 September 2017 in the context of this project. The event will be chaired and moderated by Jan Philipp Albrecht, (Greens, Germany) a STOA Panel member, who proposed the project, along with Paul Rübig, (EPP, Austria), First STOA Vice-Chair. Key expert speakers (see programme) will share their views on the challenges that Europe faces in developing a cyber-resilient ICT industry, the risks of depending on non-EU providers, as well as the opportunities for European industry to compete in the vibrant and dynamic cybersecurity market. The workshop will also focus on describing how digital service providers are challenging data privacy and the remedies that the EU can implement to ensure data reciprocity.

Interested? Register for the workshop and join the debate.

And to keep up to date with this project and other STOA activities, follow our website, the EPRS blog, Twitter and Think Tank pages.

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Ask EP – What is the EU doing to reduce food waste?

Container of domestic food waste, ready to be collected by the recycling truck

© Gary Perkin / Fotolia

In the EU, food waste is estimated at some 88 million tonnes in a single year, which equates to 173 kilograms per person. The total amount of food produced in the EU in 2011 was around 865 kg/person. This means that we are wasting 20 % of the total food produced. In this context, citizens turn to the European Parliament to request information on what the EU is doing to reduce food waste, as well as calling for European legislation to end food waste in every country in Europe, including several petitions introduced on this matter.

Tackling food waste

The European Parliament has repeatedly called for EU and national measures to improve the efficiency of the food supply and consumption chains, sector by sector and to tackle food wastage as a matter of urgency. In its resolution of 19 January 2012 on ‘how to avoid food wastage: strategies for a more efficient food chain in the EU’, the Parliament calls on the Commission to create specific food waste prevention targets for Member States, as part of the waste prevention targets to be reached by 2014 and as recommended by the 2008 Waste Framework Directive. It also urges the Council and the Commission to designate 2014 the European Year against Food Waste, ‘as a key information and awareness-raising initiative for European citizens and to focus national governments’ attention on the important topic, with a view to allocating sufficient funds to tackle the challenges of the near future’.

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission launched an EU action plan for the Circular Economy setting food waste as one of the priority areas of the plan. The plan aims to support the circular economy through the whole value chain, from production to consumption by, inter alia, developing a common EU methodology to measure food waste, defining relevant indicators and taking measures to clarify EU legislation relating to food.

In line with the requirements set out in the action plan, the Commission established the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste on 1 August 2016, with the aim of supporting all players in identifying and taking actions needed to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) commitment of 2015 to ‘halve per capita food waste at retail and consumer level by 2030, and reduce food losses all along the production and supply chains’.

The Commission’s report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan, presented in January 2017 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions lists some of the actions delivered by the Commission since the launch of the plan in December 2015.

Additional measures to be undertaken in 2017, as part of the Circular economy action plan include a strategy for plastics in the circular economy, an assessment of options for the improved interface between chemicals, products and waste legislation, a legislative proposal on water reuse and a monitoring framework on circular economy.

Despite these efforts, the European Court of Auditors in its Special Report No 34/2016 on combating food waste: an opportunity for the EU to improve the resource-efficiency of the food supply chain, concludes ‘that action to date has not been sufficient and that the EU strategy on food waste has to be strengthened and better coordinated’. It also calls on the Commission to ‘explore ways of using existing policies to better fight food waste and loss’. Further information on the report is available in the Court of Auditor’s press release of 17 January 2017.

In the EP resolution of 16 May 2017 on initiative on resource efficiency: reducing food waste, and improving food safety, MEPs stress once more the urgent need to reduce food waste at the levels fixed by the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, as ‘less food waste would mean more efficient land use, better water resource management, and positive consequences for the whole agricultural sector worldwide’, bringing also, among other things, ‘environmental benefits and advantages in social and economic terms, and calls for a series of concrete measures’ For further details, see also the EP press release of 16 May 2017.

Further information

Several parliamentary written questions to the European Commission, e.g.: E-002658/2016, E-003718/2016, E-004146/2016, E-004187/2016, E-004425/2016 and E-004537/2016, tackle specific aspects of food waste.

Parliament’s Think Tank has produced a series of publications on the situation concerning food waste in Europe and the various measures taken at EU and Member States level to address the issue. The European Parliament infographic of 15 May 2017 highlights the scale of the problem.

See also the Commission’s website, which includes a set of good practices in food waste prevention and reduction, as well as a range of communications materials.

Do you have any questions on this issue or another EP-related concern? Please use our web form . You write, we answer.

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How the Budget is spent: Youth Employment Initiative

Written by Ana Claudia Alfieri,

trainers with young apprentices

© industrieblick / Fotolia

In the wake of the economic and financial crisis, young people became one of the age groups most at risk of social exclusion. The unemployment rate among young people aged 15-24 years was 24.0 % in the EU in February 2013, with peaks of 60.0 % in Greece, 56.2 % in Spain, 49.8 % in Croatia, 44.1 % in Italy and 40.7 % in Portugal.

The Union addressed this situation by means of the Youth Guarantee (YG), a political commitment to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 years receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.

The Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), with an initial financial envelope of €3.2 billion for 2014-2015, is the main EU funding programme of this political commitment. Its objective is the fight against youth unemployment in the worst-affected EU regions by supporting young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) in regions with a youth unemployment rate above 25 %.

The YEI has been in place for three years, during which the average rate of youth unemployment in the EU fell to 16.9 % and the NEET rate from 13.2 % in 2012 to 11.5 % in 2016. It has certainly contributed to this improvement, both supporting young people individually, but also helping structural reforms, in more than 120 regions in 20 Member States. However, as the situation is still worrying in many regions of the EU, the programme has been extended up to 2020 and its financial envelope has been raised, with an additional €1.2 billion for 2017-2020.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Youth Employment Initiative‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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How the EU budget is spent: Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation

Written by Matthew Parry,

Budget Instrument nuclear safety cooperation

© alona_s / Fotolia

In the early 1990s, following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the USSR, the EU began to provide support via its TACIS programme for structural adjustment and reform in 11 post-Soviet and post-communist countries. One form of support was for countries grappling with a Soviet-era nuclear legacy to help them lift their safety and technical standards to Western European levels – a source of particular concern in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. That support ultimately paved the way for a formal EU external policy on nuclear safety cooperation around the world, financed by an Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC). With a 2014-2020 budget of €225.3 million (0.02 % of the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework), the current INSC promotes a high level of nuclear safety, radiation protection, and safeguards for nuclear material outside the EU, from Argentina to Mongolia.

Funds in the 2014-2020 INSC are allocated in line with annual action programmes (AAP) based on two multiannual indicative programmes, the first of which covers the period from 2014 to 2017. These in turn reflect an INSC strategy paper, which takes as its starting point specific measures set out in Article 3 of the INSC Regulation for each of the three objectives: (1) promoting a culture of nuclear safety and radiation protection standards; (2) supporting responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste; and (3) establishing effective safeguards for nuclear material in third countries.

According to a 2016 Commission report on the implementation of the EU’s instruments for financing external actions in 2015, the main achievements of the INSC in 2015 include ongoing work on environmental problems resulting from the legacy of former uranium mining activities in central Asia; support for nuclear regulatory authorities in Armenia, Belarus, China, Ukraine and Vietnam; support for regulatory authorities in Turkey and Iran; and radioactive waste management activities in central Asia and Ukraine.

Read the complete briefing on ‘Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation’ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Global Trendometer: Essays on medium- and long-term global trends – Summer 2017

Written by Eamonn Noonan,

Global Trendometer: Essays on medium- and long-term global trends - Summer 2017

© Johannes Vermeer, The Astronomer, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Europe faces both challenges and opportunities: some readily apparent – others still hidden. Foresight is needed; a habit of lifting the view from everyday concerns, to take a look at what else is coming over the horizon. The Global Trendometer seeks to flag emerging issues, and to bring new perspectives to those already under consideration. A new edition includes essays on African demographics, taxation, and international trade, and shorter pieces on issues ranging from the digitisation of journalism, new weapons technology, and the scarcity of sand.

Demographics, taxation, trade, and more

This publication includes detailed analysis of three trends:

  • Demographic transition in Africa

Africa’s population is set to double in the next few decades. This can give the continent a powerful lift, or it can intensify existing problems. In similar circumstances elsewhere, an initial fall in the mortality rate was followed by a fall in the birth rate, resulting in a demographic dividend. The empowerment of women is crucial if Africa is to follow a similar path.

  • Taxation and redistribution:

Revelations of large scale tax avoidance and concerns about inequality have prompted a new look at taxation policy, also in relation to redistribution. The influential view that economic growth is key to redistribution is being challenged by research suggesting that the arrow of causation goes in the other direction: that redistribution helps economic growth.

  • International trade: between multilateralism and protectionism

After the financial crisis, international trade is growing more slowly. But are we seeing a major change – a shift from multilateral trade to protectionism? What factors would drive this change of direction, and what would hinder it? What policy options might mitigate this trend or deal with its impact?

The Global Trendometer also includes concise presentations on other issues. These are:

  • the decline of traditional journalism,
  • advances in weapons technology,
  • the scarcity of sand,
  • gender imbalance in China,
  • the need to reuse water,
  • the decline of the middle class, and
  • new ways to measure socio-economic progress.

In each case, a two-page spread presents key trends, uncertainties and possible disruptions.


The Global Trendometer is a series by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). It offers Members of the European Parliament a concise overview of significant medium- and long-term trends. The Trendometer considers issues facing Europe in coming decades, many of which are complex and cross-sectoral. The aim is to identify policy options and contribute to informed discussion; it does not make policy recommendations.

Look before you leap 

Foresight can help us to tackle an issue before it becomes a problem, and a problem before it becomes a crisis. In a period of rapid change, it helps to look for signs of new trends in different sectors, and across sectors. This can give clues about how to make the most of opportunities and how to minimise risks. ‘Look before you leap’ is still a useful adage, especially at a time when there is vast scope for uniformed or misinformed decisions.

Read the complete study on ‘Global Trendometer: Essays on medium- and long-term global trends – Summer 2017‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Session round-up – Strasbourg, September 2017

Written by Katarzyna Sochacka,

Jean-Claude Juncker delivers the 2017 State of the Union address in plenary

Jean-Claude Juncker delivers the 2017 State of the Union address in plenary. © European Union 2017 – Source : EP

In addition to the State of the Union address by European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, the main debates held during Parliament’s September plenary session included questions such as fire safety in buildings, the impact of hurricane Irma, breaches of human rights and a series of statements related to external relations presented by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini.

On the legislative front, Members voted, inter alia, on proposals concerning the WIFI4EU regulation (an initiative to promote internet connectivity in local communities), security of gas supply, the European Accessibility Act and the European Venture Capital Funds and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds investment schemes. Parliament pushed the Council to move forward with ratifying the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women. It also raised concerns over the EU Common Position on arms export, as well as adopting three resolutions aimed at modernising EU-Chile trade relations.

State of the Union

The key debate of the September plenary session followed the State of the Union address by Jean-Claude Juncker. Noting that the overall outlook has changed for the better over the past year, notably thanks to an accelerating economic recovery, President Juncker based his address on the scenarios proposed in the Commission’s white paper on the future of Europe of March 2017, followed by the series of more detailed reflection papers on economic and monetary union, EU finances, EU defence, the social dimension and harnessing globalisation.

Much interest focused on Juncker’s advocacy of various euro area and EU institutional reforms. He proposed the designation of a euro-area finance minister, who would preside over the Eurogroup, as well as being a member of the Commission. He supported the development of a European Monetary Fund, but not the creation of a separate euro-area budget, preferring a dedicated budget line within the EU budget. He also said there should not be a separate euro-area parliament either. He favoured combining the presidencies of the Commission and the European Council, and supported a new, additional transnational constituency for the European elections. On the policy front, he advocated a pro-innovation industrial strategy, a reinforced social pillar, an authority to supervise fairness in the single market, better handling of migratory flows, and new trade agreements.

Special committee on terrorism

Parliament voted on the composition of the special committee on terrorism which has been mandated to investigate shortcomings in the EU fight against terrorism. The constituent meeting took place on Thursday 14 September, with Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE, France) elected as chair.

Fire safety in buildings

Following the Grenfell Tower fire in London on 14 June 2017, Council and Commission representatives made statements on fire safety in buildings. With a view to harmonising fire-testing of building facades at EU level, the current revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the possible revision of the Construction Products Regulation could help to prevent such disasters happening in the future.


As part of the regular Thursday debates on breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, particular attention was devoted to the rapidly escalating humanitarian disaster with regard to the situation of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.

Read this At a glance on ‘Session round-up – Strasbourg, September 2017‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Safeguarding competition in air transport [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Ariane Debyser (1st edition),

business aviation background with planes on world map on blurred airport terminal

© alex_aldo / Fotolia

The issue of fair competition between EU and third country airlines and the importance of guaranteeing a level playing field has been recognised for some years by the various EU institutions as key for the future of European aviation. The 2015 Commission communication on the aviation strategy underlined the importance and legitimacy of EU action to deal with possible unfair commercial practices in international aviation, and announced the revision of existing rules in this field.

On 8 June 2017, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal for a regulation on safeguarding competition in air transport, repealing Regulation 868/2004 as part of the ‘Open and Connected Aviation’ package delivering part of the aviation strategy.

The objective of the proposal is to provide effective legislation in order ‘to maintain conditions conducive to a high level of Union connectivity and to ensure fair competition with third countries air carriers’.


Stage: National Parliaments

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