Achieving digital democracy through knowledge sharing

Written by Zsolt G. Pataki with Riccardo Molinari,

Global networking business
© Sergey Nivens

The aim of the event was to examine the opportunities and challenges of moving towards a digital democracy, with well-informed, perceptive contributions from representatives of most EPTA member organisations with a long experience in technology assessment and foresight. In his welcome speech, Ramón Luis VALCÁRCEL SISO, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for STOA, argued that assessing the impact of new technologies on our democratic processes and institutions was truly relevant today, when objective facts seem to be less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Democratic institutions must therefore face both the positive and the negative side of technological evolution, which, on the one hand, increases transparency and strengthens the democratic processes, but on the other, facilitates the proliferation of illegal activities.


The EPTA Conference 2018 entitled ‘Towards a digital democracy – Opportunities and challenges’ focused on democratic processes in the era of breakthrough technologies such as quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and blockchain. The conference took place on 4 December 2018 in the framework of the presidency of the European Parliamentary Technology Assessment (EPTA) network, which STOA held for 2018.

The event included three sessions:

  • The first session, on ‘Interactions between Quantum Technology (QT), Block Chain (BC) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)’, was led by Eva KAILI (S&D, Greece), Chair of STOA.
  • The second session, entitled ‘Societal and political debate’, was moderated by Mady DELVAUX (ALDE, Luxembourg), member of STOA.
  • The third session, on ‘Experiences and outlook’, was chaired by Wolfgang HILLER, Director for Impact Assessment and European Added Value, DG EPRS.

In each session, Members of the European Parliament, members and experts representing their constituents, 17 EPTA member countries and regions from the entire world, as well as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, shared their experiences with new technologies and their impact on the democratic processes in their geographical area of competence. There was a common understanding among the participants that these technologies have already started to produce effects on democracy by modifying interactions at different levels, from the legislative, to that of relations between the media and the citizens, as well as policy areas from security and defence to the economy.

To understand all the facets of this complex situation, it is essential to examine it from different angles. The different experiences and outlooks presented by the EPTA Members of Parliament, members and experts were therefore very precious contributions to the debate. The outcome was a wide-ranging collection of knowledge that provided the pieces to an elaborate puzzle.

Interested? The complete report can be found on the EPTA website.

How to prepare ourselves for a world using quantum technologies

On the afternoon of the same day, STOA hosted its 17th Annual Lecture, entitled ‘Quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity: Catching up with the future’. The lecture was linked thematically to the EPTA Conference and focused on the opportunities and challenges created by greatly enhanced computing power, as well as other applications of quantum technologies. The lecture touched upon issues of cybersecurity and data protection at a time of widespread use of big data, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Concept of quantum physics duality of a photon. 3d illustration
© Plotplot/ Shutterstock

After a warm welcome from Ramón Luis VALCÁRCEL SISO, Vice-President of the European Parliament, responsible for STOA, STOA Chair Eva KAILI introduced the two eminent keynote speakers: Anton ZEILINGER, Professor of Physics and President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences; and Esther WOJCICKI, American technology educator and journalist at the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program.

In the first talk, entitled ‘From quantum puzzles to quantum communication’, Professor ZEILINGER made a link between the first quantum revolution, which began in the first decades of the twentieth century, (where wave-particle duality, based on the work of such European scientists as Marie Skłodowska Curie, Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger and Albert Einstein allowed a better understanding of the structure of matter (atoms, chemical bonds) and the crucial role they played in the development of new inventions, such as lasers, optical fibres, transistors and integrated circuits.

The speaker
argued that we are in the middle of the second quantum revolution, which
promises a great deal for the future. As Professor ZEILINGER explained, we
are no longer in the world of inandout, of zeroandone,
and of onand off.
Whereas ordinary computers
use ‘bits’ to store and process information, which can only occupy two definite
states (0 or 1), a quantum computer would also allow a ‘quantum superposition’
of these two states. These superpositions would vastly speed up computation of
certain problems, potentially by several orders of magnitude, making it
possible to solve such problems much faster than with classical computers.

the second keynote speech,

entitled ‘Preparing students for a world
dominated by quantum technologies, artificial intelligence, computer security
and the media’
pointed out that today’s education is based on a teaching approach where
students sit passively just listening to lessons. She believes that students will vastly benefit if they spend 20 %
of their time
working on collaborative projects, using
smartphones, tablets and other modern technology. Esther WOJCICKI
highlighted how
today’s students need to acquire skills in such
areas as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication and
through what she calls TRICK, i.e. trust, respect, independence, collaboration
and kindness.

According to the speaker, the new generations would be better prepared to face the new reality if we allowed ourselves to change our teaching and education methods. Esther WOJCICKI therefore called for a change of culture, as this is the century of the media, and students to have to learn to use them in an ethical and intelligent way.

Interested? To keep up to date with the activities of STOA, follow our website, the EPRS blog, Twitter and Think Tank pages.

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Why are people opposed to low-carbon energy technologies?

Written by Philip Boucher,

In the context of climate change, we often talk about the need to achieve public support for low-carbon energy technologies. However, new installations frequently face public opposition, and there are gaps between how regulators, developers and experts conceptualise and respond.

responding to public opposition to low-carbon energy technologies

Public acceptance of energy infrastructures goes beyond individual consumer choices. While almost all citizens make use of energy from the grid, some may object to the impacts of specific installations on their local environment, economy, sense of place, or a wide range of other factors. Opposition may also be more global, on the basis of climate change impacts. These opponents are sometimes characterised as ‘luddites’, dogmatically opposed to any kind of technology development, or as ‘NIMBYs’ (derived from ‘not in my back yard’), who want to use green energy but object to infrastructural developments in their local area. These characterisations are often found in popular discourse and, while they do provide a model for understanding opposition, they do not open many avenues for resolving disagreements.

A third characterisation suggests that
opponents have misunderstood the technology or hold irrational fears of its
potential impacts. This is known as the ‘knowledge deficit model’ and it is
frequently found in strategies for managing the introduction of new
technologies into society. Unlike luddite or NIMBY conceptualisations, the
deficit model does indicate a practical means of responding to opposition and
fostering public acceptance by informing citizens about the technology,
particularly how it works and what benefits it can bring. For regulators,
developers and other stakeholders that are eager to reap the promised social,
environmental or economic benefits of technologies, it can be tempting and
intuitive to adopt one of these three characterisations. The deficit model is
particularly attractive when opposition is expected but there is little
appetite to change the development path.

However, studies of public opposition
to low-carbon energy technologies have repeatedly highlighted the inaccuracy
and ineffectiveness of the luddite, NIMBY and knowledge deficit
conceptualisations. They tend to misrepresent the often nuanced and sensitive
concerns of citizens with simplistic or even pejorative caricatures of
opposition. As a result – instead of opening paths to mutual understanding,
dialogue and resolution – they are more likely to escalate tensions and lead to
entrenched positions. Concepts
such as ‘beyond NIMBYism’, ‘responsible
research and innovation

and Science
with and for Society
have provided practical measures for understanding and responding to this
opposition, usually focusing on establishing meaningful dialogues between the
full range of actors involved, particularly developers and citizens, from the
earliest stages of development.

STOA is organising a workshop, entitled ‘Responding to public opposition to low-carbon energy technologies’, which will provide an opportunity to discover and discuss several perspectives on understanding and responding to public opposition to low-carbon energy technologies. The workshop will also serve as the launch of a new STOA study, which reviews academic perspectives on these issues. It will open with a welcome address from STOA First Vice-Chair Paul RÜBIG (EPP, Austria), and an introduction to the workshop from the workshop’s chair and moderator JENS GEIER (S&D, Germany). This will be followed by a panel discussion, with presentations from Antonella BATTAGLINI (CEO, Renewables Grid Initiative), Sarah MANDER (Senior Researcher at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and lead author of the STOA study, Catharina SIKOW-MAGNY (Head of Unit, DG Energy, European Commission), Rosemary STEEN (Director of External Affairs, EirGrid) and Ilse TANT (Chief Public Acceptance Officer, Elia System Operator). The event will conclude with a Q&A session and debate with all participants.

Register to attend or watch the live webstream on the STOA event page.

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The place of women in European film productions: Fighting the celluloid ceiling

Written by Ivana Katsarova,

Pop art comic book style female superheroine with clenched fist female superhero vector illustration
© durantelallera / Fotolia

The sexual assault allegations brought against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein laid bare the painful reality for scores of women working in the film industry around the world. However, sexual harassment is seemingly just the tip of the iceberg in an industry where gender inequalities relating to biased representation and pay are arguably systematic and pervasive. Europe’s own film industry has not been spared. The weighted average of films directed by women in the 2012-2016 period is just 19.6 %, with country results varying from 5 % (Latvia) to 30 % (Sweden). More worryingly, research shows that the various positions in the film industry appear to be dominated by one or the other gender. Thus, women are over-represented in professions traditionally considered feminine – such as costume design and editing – and under-represented in others viewed as more technical, such as those dealing with sound, music and image.

To start redressing these imbalances, various EU-level initiatives have been introduced in support of female film projects. One such example is the LUX Film Prize, through which over the past 11 years the European Parliament has been consistently encouraging the dissemination of films directed by women and portraying strong, inspiring female characters. For its part, the European Commission has started measuring women’s participation in key positions in projects supported under the Media strand of its Creative Europe programme. Similarly, it is currently considering specific ways for a more gender-balanced provision of support. Yet again, the cultural support fund of the Council of Europe – Eurimages – committed in its 2018-2020 strategy to achieving equal distribution of co‑production funding between women and men by the year 2020; the distribution of funding currently stands at 38 %. Sweden is the EU leader in terms of regulatory policies at national level. The critical acclaim won by Swedish female filmmakers in the past 10 years has shown that by applying a methodical and systematic approach it is possible to achieve gender equality without compromising quality.

Read the complete briefing on ‘The place of women in European film productions: Fighting the celluloid ceiling‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Pregnant women at work [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for pregnant women at work.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

Pregnant women at work
© FotoAndalucia / Fotolia

Pregnancy is a special time when you need to take particular care of yourself and the baby inside you. If you are well, you may want to work right up until the day you give birth, in which case you can expect your working conditions to be adjusted to ensure your safety and that of your unborn child. The EU has played an important role in improving protection for pregnant working women. EU legislation sets minimum standards regarding situations that could be risky or dangerous for pregnant employees and in which cases employers are obliged to take action. Depending on the type of work, pregnant women can take advantage of possibilities to reduce working time or refrain from certain types of task that could put their pregnancy at risk. In addition, pregnant workers are not obliged to work night shifts if that would be contrary to medical advice. Without loss of pay, pregnant women are permitted to attend antenatal medical appointments during working hours. At all events, they should not be discriminated against at work or dismissed because of the fact that they are pregnant.

Although there has been significant progress regarding the protection of pregnant workers and those who have recently given birth, the EU is now working on better rules. As part of broader measures to improve people’s work-life balance, the EU has suggested further measures to secure appropriate working conditions for pregnant employees. It is now up to the Member States to discuss them and agree.

Further information

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Foreign policy and defence challenges [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

European Union World
© assetseller / Fotolia

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of the ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cyber-security, as well as a lack of EU unity on certain issues, also feature amongst key challenges.

This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on EU foreign and defence policies. Links to more reports on President Donald Trump’s policies, Russia, EU-China relations and NATO available in previous items of the series published last year.

President Donald Trump


Trump means for Europe
Carnegie Europe, January 2019

How Europe will try to dodge the US–China standoff in

Chatham House, December 2018

Europe and Iran: The economic and commercial dimensions

of a strained relationship
Instituto Affari Internazionali, December 2019

Divided at the centre: Germany, Poland, and the troubles of the Trump era
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2018

The Iran nuclear deal and the EU: A strategic awakening?
Clingendael, November 2018

The United States, Russia, and Europe in 2018: Chipping

away at four Gordian knots
Russian International Affairs Council,

November 2018

Us and U.S.? Not all in Europe want to be a

“counterweight” to Donald Trump’s United States
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik,

September 2018

Trump’s misguided attack on European unity
Council on Foreign

Relations, July 2018


Western countries must rethink how to deter Russian

aggression against Ukraine
Chatham House, December 2018

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine?
Atlantic Council, December 2018

Beyond borderlands: Ensuring the sovereignty of all

nations of Eastern Europe
Atlantic Council, November 2018

Putin’s fourth term: The twilight begins?
European Union Institute for Strategic Studies, November 2018

Hacks, leaks and disruptions: Russian cyber strategies
European Union Institute for Strategic Studies, October 2018

Russia and the Baltics: A testing ground for NATO–EU

defence cooperation
Instituto Affari Internazionali, September


Russia’s return to the Middle East: Building sandcastles?
European Union Institute for Strategic Studies, July 2018

Tailored assurance: Balancing deterrence and disarmament

in responding to NATO-Russia tensions
Institut français des relations internationals, July



Development through acquisition: The domestic background

of China’s Europe policy
Instituto Affari Internazionali, January 2019

EU-India cooperation and China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Clingendael, January 2019

Are China’s trade practices really unfair?
Centre for European Policy Studies, December 2018

The EU and China: Modest signs of convergence?

December 2018

Political values in Europe-China relations


December 2018

Les multiples atouts de la stratégie sécuritaire de la

Chine en Afrique

de recherche et d’information sur la paix et securite, December 2018

Other reports on defence

1919-2019: How to make peace last? European strategy and

the future of the world order
Egmont, January 2019

Eyes tight shut: European attitudes towards nuclear

European Council on Foreign Relations, December 2018

Permanent deterrence: Enhancements to the US military

presence in North Central Europe

Council, December 2018

Le Brexit et la défense européenne: Un choix de fond pour


de recherche et d’information sur la paix et securite, December 2018

Under the gun: Rearmament for arms control in Europe
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2018

Strategic autonomy: Towards ‘European sovereignty’ in

European Union Institute for Strategic Studies, November 2018

NATO nuclear sharing and the future of nuclear deterrence

in Europe
The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, November 2018

A ‘European’ army? Eminently defensible but not probable

for a long time to come
Atlantic Council, November 2018

The erosion of strategic stability and the future of arms

control in Europe
Institut français des relations internationales,

November 2018

Reinforcing EU-NATO cooperation: Walking the talk?
Beyond the Horizon, November 2018

EU-NATO relations: A long-term perspective
Egmont, November 2018

The civilian CSDP compact: A success story for the EU’s

crisis management Cinderella?
European Union Institute for Strategic Studies, October 2018

Confronting an “axis of cyber”? China, Iran, North Korea,

Russia in cyberspace

per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, October 2018

Global evaluation of the European Union engagement on

International Centre

for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague; Royal United Services Institute, October


The challenges of NATO nuclear policy: Alliance

management under the Trump Administration
Finnish Institute of International Affairs,

October 2018

France’s European intervention initiative: Towards a

culture of burden sharing
Wilfried Martens Centre, October 2018

NATO after the Brussels summit: Bruised or emboldened?
German Marshall Fund, September 2018

Germany and European defence cooperation: A post-Atlantic

Finnish Institute of International Affairs,

September 2018

Debating security plus: Conflict, competition and

cooperation in an interconnected world
Friends of Europe,

September 2018

The nightmare of the dark: The security fears that keep

Europeans awake at night
European Council on Foreign Relations, July 2018


without competition: How NATO can benefit from stronger European defense

Atlantic Council, July


EU-NATO cooperation: Distinguishing narrative from

Jacques Delors

Institute, July 2018

Other reports on foreign policy

The EU’s re-engagement with the Western Balkans: A new

chapter long overdue
Centre for European Policy Studies, January 2019

Refugee movements in the Middle East: Old crises, new

Instituto Affari Internazionali, January 2019


populism spills over into foreign policy
Carnegie Europe, January 2019

Strengthening European commercial diplomacy: Prospects

and challenges
Instituto Affari Internazionali, December 2018

Back in control, Syria’s regime tries to build its

Chatham House, December 2018


foreign policy footprint
Carnegie Europe, December 2018

Some EU governments leaving the UN Global Compact on

Migration: A contradiction in terms?
Centre for European

Policy Studies, November 2018

Ein Europäischer Sicherheitsrat: Mehrwert für die Außen-

und Sicherheitspolitik der EU?
Stiftung Wissenschaft und

Politik, November 2018

Die nachrichtendienstlichen Schnittstellen der

Stiftung Wissenschaft und

Politik, November 2018

New realities in foreign affairs: Diplomacy in the 21st


Wissenschaft und Politik, November 2018

UN migration agreement leads to splits in the European

Atlantic Council,

November 2018

Crimes sans châtiment ou la dérangeante complaisance des

démocraties européennes envers Riyad
Groupe de recherche et

d’information sur la paix et securite, October 2018

Regional geopolitical rivalries in the Middle East:

Implications for Europe
Instituto Affari

Internazionali, October 2018

EU foreign policy in a networked world: Webs against

power politics
Finnish Institute of

International Affairs, October 2018

EU Grenzpolitiken: Der humanitäre und geopolitische Preis

von Externalisierungsstrategien im Grenzschutz

Institut für Internationale Politik, October 2018

Halting ambition: EU migration and security policy in the

European Council on Foreign Relations, September 2018

How a European Security Council could strengthen EU

foreign policy: Brussels’ new telephone number?
Konrad Adenauer

Stiftung, August 2018

The EU’s four strategic challenges
Jacques Delors

Institute, July 2018

EU–Japan relations in the age of competitive economic

Clingendael, July 2018

De-radicalization in the Mediterranean
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale,

July 2018

Geopolitical outlook for Europe: Confrontation vs

European Political Strategy

Centre, June 2018

Read this briefing on ‘Foreign policy and defence challenges‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, January I 2019

Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,

EP Plenary session - Debate with Pedro SÁNCHEZ PÉREZ-CASTEJÓN, Spanish Prime Minister on the Future of Europe
© European Union 2019 – Source : EP

Highlights of the January I plenary session included
the latest debate on the future of Europe, with Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón,
Spain’s prime minister, and a debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Members also debated the reform of EU asylum and migration policy, reviewed the
Austrian Council Presidency and discussed the incoming Romanian Presidency’s programme.
Among the subjects debated and voted, Parliament adopted positions on 12 more of
the three dozen funding programmes proposed for the 2021-2027 period, enabling
negotiations with the Council to be launched on each proposal as and when the
latter has agreed its position.

Use of vehicles hired without drivers

Following the Commission proposal to update the 25-year-old rules on the use of vehicles hired without drivers, Parliament adopted its position at first reading based on the Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN) report. Freight operators could reduce their environmental impact by hiring vehicles in other EU Member States to reduce journey distances, and newer model rental vehicles could potentially be better for the environment. However, negotiations in Council seem unlikely to proceed rapidly, as some EU Member States disagree with the proposals, fearing a loss of revenue from vehicle taxes and registration.

Authorisation procedure for pesticides

Parliament adopted, by a very large majority, recommendations on authorisation procedures for pesticides from its special committee on pesticide authorisation (PEST). This committee was set up to examine EU pesticide authorisation procedures, following the controversial 2017 renewal of the licence for glyphosate. It recommended reinforcing the EU’s capacity for independent, objective and transparent assessment; fast-track approvals for biological pesticides; and greater monitoring of their impact on the environment.

Gender mainstreaming in the EU: State of play

Parliament debated a report from the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) on gender mainstreaming in the EU. While gender may not at first glance be a central consideration in policy on trade or the environment, neglecting this aspect can perpetuate inequalities between women and men. For this reason, the EU has put in place a strategic engagement for gender equality for the 2016-2019 period. However, the FEMM committee report highlights that there is still some way to go to improve the current gender balance in Parliament itself, particularly in political and administrative posts.

Situation of fundamental rights in the European Union in 2017

Members debated a report from the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU in 2017. The report draws on six main areas where the decline in rights in 2017 was most significant, namely the rule of law, migration, women’s rights, freedom of the press, racism and hate speech, as well as the mandate of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Despite the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights, this was also the year that saw the first formal EU action following up on criticisms of the rule of law in EU Member States, including over moves to reduce women’s rights, curtail freedom of expression or judicial independence, and to discriminate against minorities.

Opening of trilogue negotiations

Thirteen committees’ decisions (from JURI, ECON, LIBE, PECH, TRAN and ITRE) to enter into interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations were confirmed. Only two votes were held, with both mandates being approved.

Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, January 2019‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Use of financial data for preventing and combatting serious crime [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Carmen-Cristina Cirlig (1st edition),

Businessman Analyzing Financial Report With Magnifying Glass
© Andrey Popov / Fotolia

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities’ access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. In this sense, the proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the provisions of the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The proposal also aims to strengthen domestic and cross-border exchange of information between EU Member States’ competent authorities, including law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, as well as with Europol. Following the Council’s adoption of its negotiating position in November 2018, on 3 December 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties adopted its report and mandate in view of interinstitutional negotiations. This mandate was confirmed in plenary in December 2018.



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European Investment Stabilisation Function (EISF) [EU Legislation in Progress]

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COP24 climate change conference: Outcomes

The COP24 climate change conference, held in Katowice,
Poland, from 3 to 15 December 2018, agreed detailed rules for the
implementation of the Paris Agreement, with the exception of rules on market
mechanisms, a subject on which international negotiations will continue
throughout 2019.


COP24 official logo

In December 2018, three years after the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, the 24th conference of the parties (COP) to the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change was held in Katowice -– the third COP hosted by Poland. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had released a special report on global warming of 1.5 degrees, as requested by COP21 in 2015. It concluded that global emissions would need to drop rapidly during the next decade to avoid the worst consequences of global warming exceeding 1.5 degrees. Delegates at COP24 argued over how to acknowledge the IPCC report. They decided to welcome its timely completion, but stopped short of endorsing its contents.


The Katowice decisions constitute the ‘rulebook’ for the Paris Agreement. They give an operational interpretation to the Agreement and top-down direction to complement the bottom-up approach of ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs). A key issue in the negotiations was the long-standing differentiation between developed and developing countries. The rulebook binds all parties to the same reporting standards, but allows flexibility (time limited) for countries that need it. Moreover, developed countries are expected to have economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. The agreed rulebook:

  • gives guidance on the content and format of NDCs, including a structured summary which forms the basis for regular reporting;
  • sets out a regime for transparency and accountability, with common rules for measuring and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, finance and adaptation;
  • defines processes for the five-yearly global stocktake of the effectiveness of climate action, which includes information-gathering, a technical assessment and a consideration of the outputs;
  • establishes a committee to review non-performance of parties (such as failure to submit NDCs or reports or not acting on technical reviews), with the consent of the concerned party.

However, no agreement was reached on rules for international
cooperation in achieving national pledges, such as voluntary carbon markets. Draft
rules to avoid double counting of emission cuts were opposed by Brazil.
Negotiations on this issue will continue in 2019, with a view to reaching
agreement at the next COP.

Concluding the Talanoa dialogue, the presidents of COP23 and COP24 issued a non-binding call for action.

Role of the EU and the European Parliament

A delegation of MEPs attended the conference, backed by a plenary resolution calling for net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, an enhancement of NDCs by 2020 and a more ambitious EU target of a 55 % emission reduction by 2030. In November 2018, the European Commission presented a strategy for a climate-neutral future, aiming to achieving a modern, prosperous EU economy with net zero emissions by 2050.

Next steps

A UN climate summit with the theme ‘A race we can win. A race we must win.’ will be held in September 2019 in New York. COP25 will take place in Chile in November 2019, with a pre-COP meeting in Costa Rica. In 2020, discussions about post-2025 climate finance will start, and parties will have to update their NDCs.

Read this At a glance on ‘COP24 climate change conference: Outcomes‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

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Citizens interested in space exploration [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for citizens interested in space exploration.

Astronaut on the Moon. Planet earth in background. Elements of this image furnished by NASA
© pe3check / Fotolia

If you feel unsettled by national politics or climate change on
Earth, to the point of considering relocating to another habitable planet, there
is good news for you – such places do exist.

In 2016, an international team headed by Belgian researcher Michaël Gillon, discovered a system of seven planets outside of the Solar System. Three of these planets are located in a habitable zone, around a parent star called TRAPPIST-1, within which a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. At about 40 light-years away, the system is relatively close to Earth.

A residential infrastructure and childcare facilities are still lacking, but the next decade of space exploration is set to take humans from the International Space Station (ISS) to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing a robotic landing on the Moon in partnership with Russia as early as 2022. The mission will look for water ice, opening the door to future exploitation of lunar resources and preparations to go deeper into the Solar System.

NASA’s new Orion
with a European service module will help to build a deep-space
gateway located in lunar orbit, a thousand times further out in space than the ISS.

The next decade will see ESA’s ExoMars rover explore the surface of the Red Planet, using its ground-penetrating radar and two metre-long drill.

Looking beyond, ESA is already working on the technologies needed to accomplish the first round-trip mission to Mars and bring back precious samples so as to advance further on one of the most ambitious exploration challenges ever.

Further information

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