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The debate concerning the future of the EU has been in full swing ever since Emmanuel Macron’s (2017) Sorbonne speech. New threats to internal and external security in Europe require a stronger EU. In addition, Brexit is ripping a hole in the EU finances.
The European Commission aims to push forward the concepts of ‘recycle, repair and re-use’ as well as waste avoidance. Two years after adopting the Circular Economy Package, EU institutions finally agreed on new EU waste rules.
At EU level, new proposed legislation for a clean-energy policy is being adopted. New policies are currently being discussed regarding the increased reduction of CO2 emissions, as well as EU-wide energy consumption targets for the year 2030 and national energy efficiency targets and measures to be derived from them. But what happens when the proposed objectives contradict and undermine each other?
The comfortable financial situation for unemployment insurance due to the ongoing good performance of the labour market has recently caused an increase in the number of proposals submitted to expand the range of benefits. Firstly, these proposals aim to ease access to the passive benefits of unemployment insurance by, for example, extending the basic period for receiving benefits and reducing the length of previous employment.
The freedom of movement for workers is one of the core principles of the European Union and most Europeans have positive attitude towards it. 75 percent regard it as a good and only 9 percent as a bad thing. Nevertheless, the number of persons moving from one EU member country to another is still small.
The EU Commission proposes establishing Sovereign-Backed Securities (SBSs) as a class of safe assets for the euro area. SBSs are generated by an issuing agency that would purchase a large diversified portfolio of national sovereign bonds, and finance the purchases by issuing (at least) two types of structured bonds: a risk-free senior SBSs tranche and a risky junior SBSs tranche.
The French presidential elections could lead to more fiscal integration in the euro area. The proposal to establish a European Monetary Fund based on the European Stability Mechanism is evaluated in this paper.
As a result of the European debt crisis, start-ups and established small and medium-sized companies have returned into focus for policy-makers in Brussels. They hope that SMEs create more jobs and growth. Despite this, the concerns of SMEs are still not at the heart of economic policy and regulation.
After the UK referendum of last summer, the new institutional relationship between the UK and the EU has to be shaped. The question arises as to how relations should be conducted going forward.