The EU and UK have just started negotiating the Brexit deal, but the future status of the EU-UK relations is more uncertain than ever. Theresa May’s bid to increase her majority in the Parliament by calling snap elections backfired. Political uncertainty is shared by continental Europe, as Member States struggle to find a common direction to the future of the Union. Continue Reading
Yesterday, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for a stronger EU response to some of the initiatives carried forward by the Hungarian government. Amongst others, Orban’s policies on migration and the attacks against the Central European University in Budapest are harshly criticised in the report.
An ad-hoc liberal-left wing coalition succeeded to rally a majority to push through a very critical resolution that asks for the launch of the rule of law procedure, which is only activated in case of risks of breaches of fundamental values of the EU. Continue Reading
Chemicals are everywhere in today’s society, ranging from the food we eat to the clothes we wear and the European Commission actively proposes regulation in this field. However, the final decisions by the European institutions are also based on political considerations, in addition to the technical assessments. The European Parliament plays a big role on regulation of chemicals as it can allow or block the authorization of these products. Continue Reading
The trade defense reform recently proposed by the European Commission is directly aiming at limiting Chinese exports to the EU, a creative way to avoid frontal collision with WTO regulations. This strategy has gained momentum especially after the Brexit referendum, as this is removing a key ally of China from the EU power game: the UK has been the most pro free-trade EU government and British leaders have fought, from inside the EU institutions, to block protectionist moves by the EU. Continue Reading
Alongside the more salient issues often mentioned by the media, such as trade, migration and economic policy, there are also other ways through which policy makers influence our quality of life. In this report, we tracked the positions of EU’s political forces on whether EU institutions should do more to regulate nutrition and food choice.
Additional labelling, limitations applied to certain products, as well as aid schemes for the supply of healthy food are different means of regulating the nutritional choices of consumers, with the purpose of helping them in prioritising healthier products over junk food. Continue Reading
The European Commission has just launched its new legislative (Winter) package that will substantially reform the energy market of the European Union. However, in order for these ideas to be transposed into actual EU law, they must first pass through the democratic filter of the European Parliament and the Council. This analysis looks into who are the Members of the European Parliament that are currently exerting the greatest influence on energy-related issues and who are likely to be the spearheads in shaping the newly released dossiers. Continue Reading
By Helen Joseph, Social Platform
Pushing forward the European Union’s social agenda is easier said than done, as pretty much any social NGO will testify. Considered an area of ‘soft power’, the lack of EU assertiveness on social affairs is even reflected in our own lexicon, with social NGOs always ‘advocating’ for things rather than ‘lobbying’ like our private sector counterparts. Continue Reading
The agreement between the international community and Iran is under question now that Donald Trump will preside over the United States. The new American President has taken a clear position against the deal throughout his campaign. In contrast, just a couple of weeks ago the Europeans have expressed very contrasting views, voting a resolution that endorses closer economic and political relations with Iran. Continue Reading
by Ariadne Kypriadi
MEPs: bridging the gap between the national and the European
It was a typically chilly June afternoon in Brussels when we entered the Parliamentarium, the visitors’ centre of the European Parliament. My companion, an old friend from back home and a member of a national youth party since she was a teenager, examined intently the interactive installations and the walls covered with photos from important moments of the continent’s history. Continue Reading
A couple of weeks ago, VoteWatch Europe published an assessment of the most influential MEPs, which was based on a set of criteria weighted by more than 200 experts in EU Affairs. Drawing on that research, we designed a set of cards in order to highlight which are the most influential MEPs by activity. In fact, MEPs are influential in different ways and sometimes it might be very tricky to draw a comparison between their activities. Continue Reading