This time for Africa: Despite Africa currently facing escalating issues due to global warming and pollution, the continent’s natural resources have the potential to support sustainable infrastructure projects as well as producing clean energy in the long run. What stance should the EU take towards aiding climate change mitigation and sustainable development in African countries?
Level working field: In light of the great reliance of European farmers on non-European migrant labour, with an estimated 405,000 immigrant workers in Italy’s agricultural sector alone, the 2014 Seasonal Workers Directive aims to guarantee their fair treatment. Considering that a large number of these workers enter the European labour market without proper documentation, thus being vulnerable to exploitation by their employers and by criminal organisations, what measures can the EU take to further support its migrant agricultural workers?
Tech Trash: With less than 40% of electronics waste being recycled, the EU is the world's second largest producer of electronics waste per capita, contributing to global pollution and climate change. Keeping in mind the importance of an environmentally friendly electronics industry for the EU’s goal of climate neutrality, what steps can the EU take to promote sustainable production and consumption of electronics?
Not every shade of green is as green: As the consumer demand for a more sustainable industry is on the rise, companies are playing into the market and wrongly advertising certain products as sustainable, a term coined as ‘greenwashing.’ Greenwashing brings a false sense of progress and security and misleads consumers trying to buy sustainable products. With the fashion industry being the second biggest polluter worldwide, how can the EU ensure truthful advertising and valuable change being made in the industry?
Knock knock, who’s there? The second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), introduced in 2018, has facilitated financial management for users of open banking systems and increased the popularity of such information-sharing formats. Considering the privacy and security concerns regarding third-party access to financial data, what measures should the EU take to ensure consumer safety whilst promoting innovation in banking technology?
Smart and sustainable: The European Commission has promoted the implementation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in energy systems, aiming to improve their efficiency and sustainability. Considering the increased popularity of many ICT applications such as ‘smart energy grids’ and ‘smart cities,’ how can the EU securely develop and utilise digital technologies to improve the sustainability of its energy systems?
Stay Home But Not Safe: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cases of domestic violence increased by 32% in France, and the usage of hotlines for domestic abuse in Spain rose by 18% within a month. Recognising the potential effects of lockdown and other restrictions on the European population, how can the EU eradicate domestic violence and safeguard the physical and mental health of its citizens?
The EU as a global player: With the ongoing dialogue regarding Europe’s dependence on the U.S. for defence and the need to develop a higher degree of ‘European sovereignty’, how can the EU increase its strategic autonomy with the cooperation of Member States and allies?
Ready, set, travel! Thanks to global vaccination campaigns, many European economies that depend greatly on tourism are eager to welcome foreigners again. Taking into consideration the impact of overtourism on the environment and culture of local communities, what steps should the EU take in order to reactivate tourism-dependent economies in a sustainable and responsible way?