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Eurogeographics - Weekly Policy News Summary

Year 2017 – week 7

EP Plenary adopted resolutions on Future of the EU

The EU Parliament approved this week three resolutions exploring the future development of the EU, all with key message that fundamental reform is needed. All these proposals are part of a package that aims to clarify Parliament’s position on the future of the EU, in time for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.

Resolution one is on “Possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the EU and focuses on making the most of the existing Lisbon Treaty”. It proposes, inter alia, that:

- the Council of Ministers should be turned into a genuine second legislative chamber, and its configurations into preparatory bodies similar to Parliament’s committees,

- each member state should present at least three candidates, including both genders, for the role of “its” Commissioner,

- the Council should switch completely to qualified majority voting, wherever this is possible under the treaties, to avoid blocking important draft laws and speed up the legislative process, and a permanent Council of Defence Ministers should be set up to coordinate the member states’ defence policies.

Resolution two is on “Improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty” and it looks at ways to move further than the current toolbox allows and suggests various reforms of the Lisbon Treaty, in the areas of economic governance, foreign policy, fundamental rights and transparency.

The third Resolution is on “Budgetary capacity for the Eurozone” and proposes bringing the euro area economies closer together and making them more resilient to outside shocks. They outline a convergence strategy funded by a specific euro area budget, financed by its member states and available under clear conditions.

EP Plenary adopted resolution on European Cloud Initiative

Briefly, the Resolution welcomes the Commission’s European Cloud Initiative as part of the implementation of the DSM Strategy. Notes that the Initiative focuses on potentially sensitive sectors of research & innovation and government e-portals. Encourages public administrations to consider safe, reliable and secure cloud services by providing a clear legal framework. Believes that public administrations should have open access to government public data by default. Call for progress to be made in determining the degree and pace of releasing information as open data, in identifying key datasets to be made available and in promoting the re-use of open data in an open form. The Resolution will be forwarded to the Council and the Commission.

MEPs call for EU-wide liability rules on Robots and artificial intelligence

MEPs ask the Commission to propose rules on robotics and artificial intelligence, in order to fully exploit their economic potential and to guarantee a standard level of safety and security. They note that regulatory standards for robots are being planned in several countries, and point out that the EU needs to take the lead on setting these standards, so as not to be forced to follow those set by third countries. MEPs stress that draft legislation is urgently needed to clarify liability issues, especially for self-driving cars.

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