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The fifth generation of communication technologies, known as 5G, is fundamental to achieving a European gigabit society by 2025. But how will this affect our health and that of our children? Is 5G really safe? https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2020)646172 Source: © European Union - EP…
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The Commission proposes, Parliament and Council decide … has been the traditional approach to law-making in the European Union, until now … But the increasing need to put the citizens' voice at the heart of EU law-making, giving the European Parliament greater power to propose laws, is challenging this assumption and could open the door to a more d…
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Key to a fair single market, EU rules do not allow State aid, unless it is used to promote general economic development, for example, when tackling the challenges of global competition or the ongoing financial crisis … The European Parliament agrees with this general principle, but calls for less and better targeted state aid in the future. https:/…
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The European Union needs high-performing digital connectivity infrastructure to give all citizens the best access to digital services and to maintain prosperity. As the 2030s approach, the groundwork for the next frontier in mobile communications is being laid – the era of 6G. However, with the promise of unprecedented capabilities comes a host of …
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Digital trade has become a key element in the EU's trade policy. The EU is the world's largest exporter and importer of digitally deliverable services and has a strong market position. Therefore, the development towards more digital trade provides opportunities for European consumers, for the economy and for the EU’s green and digital transition. T…
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The European automotive industry is striving to adapt to market changes driven by the dual green and digital transition. Electrification has become the main strategy for reducing CO2 emissions, especially in urban traffic. At the same time, the average size and weight of cars have greatly increased. Big electric cars are the trend, but are they rea…
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European elections represent a crucial moment: they give EU citizens a say in the political direction of the European Union. After declining ever since the first European direct elections in 1979, electoral turn out increased in the 2019 elections to reach 50.6 % largely due to youth participation (according to a post-election Eurobarometer survey)…
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The world is not on track to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, the temperature rise is expected to overshoot 1.5°C for a while, before falling back below 1.5°C thanks to large-scale carbon removals. While action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and scale up carbon dioxide removal remains c…
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Next Generation EU (NGEU) and its centrepiece for investment, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), are the main EU funding instruments for green and digital measures. Against the backdrop of huge investment needs in these strategic policy areas, 2024 marks a crucial phase in NGEU implementation. - Original publication on the EP Think Tank we…
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In November 2023, the European Commission presented its annual enlargement reports. Its strategic orientations and recommendations include accelerating the accession process with the Western Balkan countries, opening accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, and granting candidate status to Georgia. According to the European Parliament's 202…
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Corruption is a major challenge for the European Union (EU), with all its Member States affected by the problem to some extent. The EU has gradually adopted laws addressing a range of corruption-related issues. However, the current legal framework remains patchy, the lack of minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the …
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Robot applications, including 'collaborative robots' - cobots - designed to collaborate with humans, are in high demand, with sales and installation figures constantly on the rise. However, it is necessary to analyse the risks and opportunities of this technology and its possible social, economic, and ethical impacts. The following study presents t…
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In July 2023, the European Commission adopted a proposal to revise the EU toy safety legislation. This proposal pursues two main objectives: a) achieving a higher level of child protection, including from the most harmful substances; and b) reducing the number of non-compliant and unsafe toys on the EU market. - Original publication on the EP Think…
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Generative artificial intelligence applications, such as ChatGPT, are powered through complex learning processes by comprehensive datasets of – potentially dubious – human-created content. There are concerns that such tools could develop consciousness and spark emergent behaviour that is, by definition, unpredictable and therefore potentially unsaf…
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The European Commission estimates that 15 % of Europeans fall victim to a crime every year. In July 2023, the Commission published its proposal for a revision of the Victims' Rights Directive, the key EU legislation on the protection of the rights of victims of crime. Despite progress in recent years, victims still lack access to information, suppo…
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The EU depends on imported fossil fuels (gas, oil and coal) for about 56 % of its energy needs (gross energy consumption), which in 2021 represented an energy bill of around EUR 300 billion. The domestic production of renewable energy sources has increased significantly in recent years to 22 % of total demand. The European Union can aspire to achie…
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Families in the European Union (EU) are increasingly likely to move and travel between the EU Member States. Yet, given the differences in Member States' laws, parents can face difficulties in having their parenthood recognised when crossing borders within the EU. Non recognition in one Member State of parenthood established in another Member State…
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On 30 June 2022, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and then New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the conclusion of negotiations on a comprehensive EU-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA). The agreement was signed on 9 July 2023. Although the 2014-2019 Commission had initially aimed to finalise negotiations before the end of…
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Droughts and water scarcity are no longer rare or extreme events in Europe. About 20 % of the European territory and 30 % of Europeans are affected by water stress, especially in Southern Europe but also around some river basins in Western and Central Europe. And climate change will only make matters worse, increasing the frequency of extreme event…
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In June 2023, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a regulation establishing a new strategic technologies for Europe platform (STEP). STEP would rely on the reprogramming of funds under existing EU instruments. It would also come with an additional budget of €10 billion. Overall, the platform could leverage up to €160 billion in investment…
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Early work is underway on the post-2027 reform of EU cohesion policy. This creates a unique opportunity for regional and local stakeholders to influence national positions and those of the European institutions at an early stage, well before the actual start of the legislative process. This reflection process is not only technical, but is also high…
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On 22 March 2023, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a directive on green claims. The proposed directive would require companies to substantiate the voluntary green claims they make in business-to-consumer commercial practices, by complying with a number of requirements regarding their assessment (e.g. taking a life-cycle perspectiv…
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Each Member State independently decides on its own energy mix and use of nuclear energy. However, there are common rules and standards on nuclear energy, the basis for which is the Treaty on the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom Treaty) signed in 1957. All current EU Member States are party to it and it has remained largely unchanged throug…
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Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in the EU and causes significant damage to ecosystems. As part of the European Green Deal's zero pollution ambition, on 26 October 2022 the Commission tabled a proposal for a revision of the Ambient Air Quality Directives. The proposed directive would set air quality standards for 2030 t…
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Gender-balanced representation among the decision-makers of the European Union is an important step towards full realisation of the principle of equality between women and men enshrined in the EU Treaties. The Union has made steady and significant progress, starting from a very low presence of women among EU Commissioners and Members of the Europea…
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Diets tailored to our individual characteristics could bring about health benefits but require data on our most personal features, such as our DNA. The promises are many, but so are open questions about the interactions between genes, nutrients, environment and health, and the role of socioeconomic factors behind our food choices. Governance of pre…
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