Listen to a selection of EPRS policy podcasts here. An in-depth look at different topical EU policy areas based on objective authoritative and independent research.
EU legislation and policies to fight racial and ethnic discrimination
Racial and ethnic minorities face discrimination and its consequences on a daily basis. The exact scale of the problem is hard to gauge owing to a lack of data and general under-reporting of racist incidents. The pandemic has seen a major increase in reports of racist and xenophobic incidents, however, while racial and ethnic minority groups have been disproportionately affected by the crisis, with higher death and infection rates. Although since 2000 the European Union has introduced legislation to combat racial and xenophobic discrimination, the problem persists, with the need for new measures recently highlighted by the global Black Lives Matter protests.
Smart villages: Concept, issues and prospects for EU rural area
What is a smart village? The concept implies the participation of local people in improving their economic, social or environmental conditions, cooperation with other communities, social innovation and the development of smart village strategies. This concept is gaining traction on the rural development agenda, coinciding with the ongoing reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP). A key element of this reform will be a new delivery model based on each Member State developing a CAP strategic plan.
Belgrade-Pristina dialogue: The rocky road towards a comprehensive normalisation agreement
Serbia and Kosovo have both declared their intention to join the EU. However, despite some initial successes, such as the Brussels Agreement of 2013, the dialogue facilitated by the EU and initiated in 2011 has stalled. The reasons for the very limited results are multiple, ranging from the internal political situation in both countries, to ambiguous and asymmetrical expectations of the normalisation agreement. Currently, the most sensitive issue, the setting-up of the association/community of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, agreed in 2013, shows that the challenges are rooted deeply in history and have a much broader regional context.
Green and sustainable finance
The pandemic has highlighted the risk involved, including for the EU, in relying heavily on external suppliers. The EU's 30 critical raw materials (CRMs) combine two characteristics: they are strategically important for its industry and economy, and there are high risks associated with securing their supply. The twin transition to a green and digital future relies particularly on the safe and diverse supply of CRMs.
Covid-19 vaccination campaigns: The public dimension
The arrival of the Covid-19 vaccines marks a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. According to estimates, coverage of at least 60 % to 75 % is needed to establish population immunity through vaccination. But, as regards Covid-19 vaccination, surveys suggest that Europeans are among the most sceptical in the world.
Qualified majority voting in foreign and security policy: Pros and Cons
In her first State of the Union speech, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the use of qualified majority voting (QMV) in areas such as sanctions and human rights. The crises and security challenges accumulating in and around the European Union have added to the urgency of having a more effective and rapid decision-making process in areas pertaining to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).