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Archive for the ‘Gov – EU’ Category

Mapping the European ICT Poles of Excellence: The Atlas of ICT Activity in Europe

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Mapping the European ICT Poles of Excellence: The Atlas of ICT Activity in Europe
Source: European Commission

The EIPE Atlas presents the results of the empirical mapping of ICT activity in Europe and the ranking of the top European NUTS 3 regions based on their performance in EIPE Composite Indicator (EIPE CI), together with the ranks for the individual 42 indicators which contributed to the building of the EIPE composite indicators. The report offers a snapshot of the performance of regions that are identified as the main locations of ICT activity in Europe. It is meant to provide a comprehensive picture of how ICT activity is distributed across Europe and where its main locations are. This information is expected to give a better overview of the European ICT landscape, activity and actors in each location and to reveal their strengths and weaknesses.

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In the EU28, 10 million part-timers are underemployed…and 11 million persons considered as a potential additional labour force

April 15, 2014 Comments off

In the EU28, 10 million part-timers are underemployed…and 11 million persons considered as a potential additional labour force (PDF)
Source: Eurostat

The EU28 population aged 15 to 74 can be classified into three groups: in 2013, these were 216.4 million persons in employment, 26.2 million unemployed and 137.2 million economically inactive. Among those in employment, 43.7 million were part-time workers, of which 9.9 million (23% of part-time workers) are underemployed, meaning they wished to work more hours and were available to do so.

Among the economically inactive population (those persons neither employed nor unemployed), there were 9.3 million persons aged 15 to 74 available to work, but not seeking2 and 2.2 million seeking work, but not available in the EU28 in 2013. While not part of the economically active population, both groups have a certain attachment to the labour market and could be considered as a potential additional labour force of 11.5 million persons, equivalent to 4.7% of the labour force.

Categories: Europe, Eurostat, labor

Preliminary Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor — Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Privacy and competitiveness in the age of big data: The interplay between data protection, competition law and consumer protection in the Digital Economy (PDF)
Source: European Data Protection Supervisor

EU approaches to data protection, competition and consumer protection share common goals, including the promotion of growth, innovation and the welfare of individual consumers. In practice, however, collaboration between policy-makers in these respective fields is limited.

Online services are driving the huge growth in the digital economy. Many of those services are marketed as ‘free’ but in effect require payment in the form of personal information from customers. An investigation into the costs and benefits of these exchanges for both consumers and businesses is now overdue.

Closer dialogue between regulators and experts across policy boundaries can not only aid enforcement of rules on competition and consumer protection, but also stimulate the market for privacy-enhancing services.

Hourly labour costs ranged from €3.7 to €40.1 across the EU28 Member States in 2013

April 1, 2014 Comments off

Hourly labour costs ranged from €3.7 to €40.1 across the EU28 Member States in 2013 (PDF)
Source: Eurostat

In 2013, average hourly labour costs in the whole economy (excluding agriculture and public administration) were estimated to be €23.7 in the EU283 and €28.4 in the euro area (EA17). However, this average masks significant differences between EU Member States, with the lowest hourly labour costs recorded in Bulgaria (€3.7), Romania (€4.6), Lithuania (€6.2) and Latvia (€6.3), and the highest in Sweden (€40.1), Denmark (€38.4), Belgium (€38.0), Luxembourg (€35.7) and France (€34.3).

AU — The G20: a quick guide

March 26, 2014 Comments off

The G20: a quick guide
Source: Parliamentary Library of Australia

This is a quick guide to basic information about the G20, as well as links to useful summary resources. The G20 background section includes the G20’s history, its members, the hosting system and G20 meeting processes, as well as a brief discussion of selected policy areas. Material on Australia and the G20 includes Australia’s involvement in the G20, Australia’s G20 goals for 2014 and speeches and press releases on the G20. A short list of links provides access to more resources on the G20.

Stress-free holidays for 120 million consumers – European Parliament backs new rules on package travel

March 24, 2014 Comments off

Stress-free holidays for 120 million consumers – European Parliament backs new rules on package travel
Source: European Parliament

The European Parliament backed today (610 votes for, 58 against and 13 abstentions) the European Commission’s proposal modernising EU rules on package holidays (IP/13/663). Existing EU rules on package travel holidays date back to 1990. Under the new rules, the Package Travel Directive will enter the digital age and better protect 120 million consumers who buy customised travel arrangements – especially online – and are not covered under today’s EU rules. The reform will bolster protection for consumers by increasing transparency about the kind of travel product they are buying and by strengthening their rights in case something goes wrong. Businesses will also benefit as the new Directive will scrap outdated information requirements such as the need to reprint brochures and will make sure that national insolvency protection schemes are recognised across borders.

EU — Statistics concerning judicial activity in 2013: unprecedented figures

March 20, 2014 Comments off

Statistics concerning judicial activity in 2013: unprecedented figures
Source: Court of Justice of the European Union

In 2013, the Court of Justice completed 701 cases, a considerable increase compared with the previous year (595 cases completed in 2012).

The Court had 699 new cases brought before it, which amounts to an increase of approximately 10% compared with 2012 and constitutes the highest annual number of cases brought since the Court’s creation.

Compared with the previous year, this increase in the total number of cases brought is attributable to the increase in the number of appeals and references for a preliminary ruling. The number of references for a preliminary ruling rose in 2013 to 450, the highest level ever.

So far as concerns the duration of proceedings, the statistics are very positive.

In the case of references for a preliminary ruling, the average duration amounted to 16.3 months. The average time taken to deal with direct actions and appeals was 24.3 months and 16.6 months respectively.

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey

March 14, 2014 Comments off

Violence against women: an EU-wide survey (PDF)
Source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
From Summary Report:

Violence against women undermines women’s core fundamental rights such as dignity, access to justice and gender equality. For example, one in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15; one in five women has experienced stalking; every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment.

What emerges is a picture of extensive abuse that affects many women’s lives but is systematically underreported to the authorities. The scale of violence against women is therefore not reflected by official data.

This FRA survey is the first of its kind on violence against women across the 28 Member States of the European Union. It is based on interviews with 42,000 women across the EU, who were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including incidents of intimate partner violence (‘domestic violence’). The survey also included questions on stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse. In addition, it asked about their experiences of violence in childhood. Based on the detailed findings, FRA suggests courses of action in different areas that are touched by violence against women and go beyond the narrow confines of criminal law, ranging from employment and health to the medium of new technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions — Responsible sourcing of minerals originating conflict-affected and high-risk areas: towards an integrated EU approach

March 13, 2014 Comments off

Responsible sourcing of minerals originating conflict-affected and high-risk areas: towards an integrated EU approach
Source: European Commission

Profits from the extraction of and trade in minerals sourced from unstable regions affected by armed conflict can play a role in intensifying and perpetuating violent conflict. This can take various forms including where armed groups or their affiliates illegally control mines and mineral trading routes, use forced labour or commit other human rights abuses, or tax or extort money or minerals.

As a result, armed groups and security forces in conflict regions can finance their activities from the proceeds of mining and trading of minerals which later enter the global supply chain. Companies further down the production chain run the risk of supporting armed activities and have an interest in sourcing from such regions responsibly.

The best documented and known case relates to the problems in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the United Nations frequently reports on the devastating instability created by foreign and national armed groups generating revenues through their control over natural resources. The Heidelberg Institute for International Research estimates that, together, natural resources and conflict account for roughly 20% of global conflicts.

Under the US Dodd-Frank Act, section 1502, ‘conflict minerals’ are defined as minerals containing tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold originating in the DRC and the adjoining countries. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Due Diligence guidance is based on the same four minerals but is not geographically specific. The EU proposal uses the same basis as OECD.

Questions and Answers: What has the EU done for women? 50 years of EU action on Gender Equality for One Continent

March 10, 2014 Comments off

Questions and Answers: What has the EU done for women? 50 years of EU action on Gender Equality for One Continent
Source: European Commission

The Treaty of Rome in 1957 already included the principle of equal pay for equal work. (Article 119 EEC, then 141 EC, now Article 157 TFEU). The background to this provision was mainly economic: Member States and in particular France wanted to eliminate distortion of competition between businesses established in different Member States. As some EU countries (for example France) had adopted national provisions on equal pay for men and women much earlier, these countries were afraid that a cheap female workforce in other countries (for example from Germany) could put national businesses and the economy at a competitive disadvantage owing to lower labour costs.

In 1976, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decided in the Defrenne case that Article 119 EEC had not only an economic but also a social aim. This judgment paved the way for modern European gender equality law. It has been followed by an impressive amount of case law.

With the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, the promotion of equality between men and women became one of the essential tasks of the European Community (Article 2 EC). Since 1999, the EU has had the competence to take further action to combat discrimination based on gender (Article 13(1) EC, now 19(1) TFEU). This Article provided a legal basis for the Directive on the principle of equal treatment between men and women in access to and the supply of goods and services (Directive 2004/113/EC).

EU gender equality is also an integral part of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which prohibits discrimination on any grounds, including sex, (Article 21) and recognises the right to gender equality in all areas and the necessity of positive action for its promotion (Article 23).

CRS — European Union Enlargement

March 4, 2014 Comments off

European Union Enlargement (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The European Union (EU) has long viewed the enlargement process as an extraordinary opportunity to promote political stability and economic prosperity in Europe. Since 2004, EU membership has grown from 15 to 28 countries, bringing in most states of Central and Eastern Europe and fulfilling an historic pledge to further the integration of the continent by peaceful means. Croatia is the EU’s newest member, acceding to the EU on July 1, 2013.

Analysts contend that the carefully managed process of enlargement is one of the EU’s most powerful policy tools, and that, over the years, it has helped transform many European states into functioning democracies and more affluent countries. The EU maintains that the enlargement door remains open to any European country that fulfills the EU’s political and economic criteria for membership. At the same time, EU enlargement is also very much a political process; most all significant steps on the long path to accession require the unanimous agreement of the existing 28 member states. As such, a prospective EU candidate’s relationship or conflicts with individual member states may also influence a country’s EU accession prospects and timeline.

European social statistics

February 26, 2014 Comments off

European social statistics
Source: Eurostat

The pocketbook ‘European Social Statistics’ provides a comparative overview of the available social statistics in Europe. The most recent data are presented showing the situation in the 27 Member States and at the European and Euro area levels (EU-27 and EA-17 aggregates) where relevant as well as in EFTA countries (including Iceland that is also a candidate country) and candidate countries when available (Montenegro, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey). The pocketbook, intended for both generalists and specialists, is divided into seven parts.

Each of the seven chapters focuses on an area of social conditions. Within each chapter, a range of policy-relevant indicators, as well as more descriptive data, are presented in tables and graphs and accompanied by a short commentary.

Chapter 1 presents the recent demographic trends in population growth, fertility, mortality and migration; the chapter also provides background characteristics on households’ composition;
Chapter 2 covers health issues and presents indicators on healthy life expectancies, statistics on causes on death, healthcare, and health and safety at work.
Chapter 3 presents the most recent data on education and training (i.e. school enrolment, tertiary education, foreign language learning, lifelong learning and educational expenditure);
Chapter 4 provides important indicators related to the labour market outcomes (i.e. employment, unemployment, vacant posts, wage levels, labour costs).
Chapter 5 covers indicators related to income, poverty and social exclusion, material deprivation and housing; Chapter 6 gives an overview on social protection statistics – social protection expenditure and social protection benefits. Finally, chapter 7 provides an overview of the most recent crime and criminal justice statistics.

Handbook on European data protection law

February 20, 2014 Comments off

Handbook on European data protection law
Source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

The rapid development of information and communication technologies underscores the growing need for the robust protection of personal data – a right safeguarded by both European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) instruments. Technological advances expand the frontiers of, for example, surveillance, communication interception and data storage; all of these pose significant challenges to the right to data protection.

The handbook explains key jurisprudence, summarising major rulings of both the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Where no such case law exists, it presents practical illustrations with hypothetical scenarios. In a nutshell, this handbook aims to help ensure that the right to data protection is upheld with vigour and determination.

CRS — The European Union: Questions and Answers

January 31, 2014 Comments off

The European Union: Questions and Answers (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic partnership that represents a unique form of cooperation among sovereign countries. The Union is the latest stage in a process of integration begun after World War II, initially by six Western European countries, to foster interdependence and make another war in Europe unthinkable. Today, the EU is composed of 28 member states, including most of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and has helped to promote peace, stability, and economic prosperity throughout the European continent.

Foundation Findings: Physical and psychological violence at the workplace

January 27, 2014 Comments off

Foundation Findings: Physical and psychological violence at the workplace
Source: Eurofound

Violence at work can manifest itself in many ways. The variety of negative behaviour covered under the general umbrella term of workplace violence is so large and diverse that it makes it difficult to adopt a unified and integrated approach dealing with all the forms of workplace violence. Foundation Findings provide pertinent background information and policy pointers for all actors and interested parties engaged in the current European debate on the future of social policy. The contents are based on Eurofound research and reflect its autonomous and tripartite structure.

Think Tank Review — December 2013

December 20, 2013 Comments off

Think Tank Review — December 2013 (PDF)
Source: Central Library of the General Secretariat of the EU Council

While EU leaders come to Brussels for the last European Council of the year, to discuss inter alia the Common Security and Defence Policy, contractual arrangements and solidarity mechanisms, voices in the think tank community turn again to the issue of differentiated integration and its impact on European governance and social model.

Our selection this month echoes the progress towards the Banking Union, with several papers in the Special Focus on aspects of resolution and deposit guarantee. It equally reflects an ongoing concern in think tanks on migration and asylum, and their relationship with the free movement of EU citizens. The planned discussion of defence at the European Council is reflected in several papers from Brussels, Spain, Finland, the UK and others on defence policy and the defence industry.

In our external relations sections, we feature several papers on EU-China relations, published in November in the aftermath of the Beijing summit. The Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius predictably attracted a lot of think tank attention from the region and overseas, as did the negotiations with Turkey.

Think Tank Review — November 2013

December 5, 2013 Comments off

Think Tank Review — November 2013 (PDF)
Source: Central Library of the General Secretariat of the EU Council

Welcome to issue 8 of the Think Tank Review compiled by the Council Library. It references papers published in October 2013. As usual, we provide the link to the full text and a short abstract.

EU — Combating antisemitism: more targeted measures needed

November 8, 2013 Comments off

Combating antisemitism: more targeted measures needed
Source: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

FRA is today presenting the first comparable figures on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU. On 8 November, the eve of the anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogroms that took place 75 years ago, it needs to be acknowledged that while Member States have made sustained efforts to combat antisemitism, the phenomenon is still widespread.

This report, which covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live, will thus be a vital tool for EU decision makers and community groups to develop targeted legal and policy measures.

Special Eurobarometer 408 – Social Climate

November 1, 2013 Comments off

Special Eurobarometer 408 – Social Climate (PDF)
Source: Eurobarometer

This report presents the results of the fifth in a series of Eurobarometer surveys intended to capture perceptions of the social climate. It examines 15 aspects relating to personal circumstances, the national picture and social protection and inclusion. How do Europeans judge the present situation, how does it compare with five years ago and what are their expectations over the next 12 months – will things improve, worsen or remain the same?

Women, men and working conditions in Europe

October 25, 2013 Comments off

Women, men and working conditions in Europe
Source: Eurofound

Despite much legislative progress in gender equality over the past 40 years, there are still gender gaps across many aspects of the labour market. Inequalities are still evident in areas such as access to the labour market, employment patterns and associated working conditions. This report explores gender differences across several dimensions of working conditions, examining relevant country differences, analysing the different occupational groups of both men and women, and comparing the public and private sectors. It also looks at the impact of the crisis on gender segregation in employment. Based on findings from the fifth European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), conducted in 2010, the analysis offers a striking picture of women and men at work across 34 European countries today.

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