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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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Recent events have multiplied concerns about potential fragmentation of the internet into a multitude of non-interoperable and disconnected 'splinternets'. Composed of thousands of compatible autonomous systems, the internet is by definition technically divided. Yet, the internet was also designed to be an open and global technical infrastructure. …
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Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine is not only reshaping the security architecture of Europe, but is also influencing the EU's position as a global actor. With rising tensions between the US and China, the EU will find itself in an increasingly bipolar world. The rules-based global order is challenged and strategic relations around the worl…
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The democratic information sphere is facing unprecedented strategic and systemic threats. The 'infosphere' - the online public space for debate where people not only express, but also inform themselves to make democratic decisions - is being eroded by foreign and domestic anti-democratic forces with a (geo-) strategic agenda. According to a flash E…
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The EU is an open economy, reliant on global supply chains to a higher extent than the US and China. At the same time, these complex chains are subject to increasing disruptions and uncertainties with many areas of fragility. De-risking Europe's global critical supply chains (particularly in the context of relations with China), points towards a mo…
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More than any other continent, Europe's biodiversity has been shaped by human activities and is under constant pressure from human production and consumption. Changes in ecosystem services that are essential to human life affect livelihoods, incomes and local migration, and can even cause or exacerbate political conflict. Despite significant effort…
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The internet is a critical technology infrastructure for almost two thirds of the global population. We use the internet for personal, civic, commercial and professional activities. Failure of the internet would majorly impact how our societies, lives and work is organised. While a total global collapse of the internet is unlikely, major disruption…
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Most rare diseases are incurable. Biosensors are a technology that, driven by continuous advances in artificial intelligence, can help disease detection, lower the cost of novel therapies, replace placebo groups in clinical trials and foster patient-centred, personalised (e)-medicine. - Original publication on the EP Think Tank website - Subscripti…
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With the COVID-19 pandemic, war returning to Europe and the accompanying energy crisis, a worsening economic outlook, all on top of a climate crisis, today's young Europeans are growing up in a volatile and difficult world. Concerns about economic prosperity, increasing competition for jobs, rising inflation and property prices make it difficult fo…
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To reach the Paris Agreement objective of keeping the global temperature increase well below 2°C, the EU must consider every possible technology to decarbonise its energy production. Nuclear fusion is the process that powers our sun and we can recreate it on Earth. However, even if we overcome the considerable engineering challenges of designing a …
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Since 2012 – when Xi was first made General-Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – the China-Russia relationship has evolved into an informal alliance in the face of what both countries consider a rising threat from the West to their regimes. China's response to Russia's war on has so far been much closer to Russia than it was in 2014 whe…
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Road transport is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for over a quarter of road transport CO2 emissions. The European Commission proposes to revise the legislation setting CO2 emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles in the EU. The proposed revision would expand the scope of the existing regulation to include urban buses, coach…
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In March 2023, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a 'net-zero industry act' that aims to expand the manufacturing capacity of net-zero technologies in the EU and enhance the resilience of its energy system. The proposed regulation would set up enabling conditions for the manufacturing of 10 net-zero technologies. The proposed regula…
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Artificial intelligence (AI) has slowly but surely made its way (also) in the world of cultural heritage and museums. The results are both promising and surprising: reconstructing a piece of art, completing an unfinished composition of a great musician, identifying the author of an ancient text, or providing architectural details for a potential re…
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Open strategic autonomy ensures the capacity to cope alone if necessary but without ruling out cooperation whenever possible. It relies on foresight to identify threats and ensures resilience by anticipating the required responses. Can the resulting preparedness also prevent crises (or dissuade others from creating them) by normalising internally s…
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Recent shocks have shown not only how vulnerable to crises the single market is, but also the extent to which the EU economy relies on a well-functioning single market. To protect it, the European Commission put forward a single market emergency instrument (SMEI) package. The main proposal establishes measures for contingency planning, such as an e…
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The aim of the legislative proposal for a Union certification framework for carbon removals initiative is to ensure high-quality EU certified carbon removals, through a transparent and credible governance framework. In doing so, this would open up the possibility for further investments towards carbon removal activities and increased deployment. - …
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