A balanced approach: The EU has defined its approach to biometric identification and facial recognition technologies by allowing “certain uses of remote biometric identification systems for the purpose of law enforcement” with its recent Artificial Intelligence Bill. This approach has been opposed by several human rights groups, due to the potential threat of abuse by countries with authoritarian governments and their police force against sexual, political and ethnic minorities. How should the EU regulate the use of this technology to avoid human rights violations whilst ensuring safety of its citizens? .
Fragile rights in perilous times: The rights and values of ethnic, sexual, and political minorities have come under attack in Europe. A series of violations have been observed through Hungary and Poland’s refusal to ratify the Istanbul Convention11 as well as their anti-LGBTQI+ bills, and Romania’s prohibition on the teaching of gender studies. Given that these actions stand in direct contradiction with European values and civil rights, how can Europe protect its minorities and safeguard equal rights for everyone?
Marginalised and Misunderstood: While the Romani represent the largest historical ethnic minority in Europe, deeply rooted anti-Romani attitudes continue to manifest as a barrier for the Romani people in all areas of European society. Taking this into account, what can the EU and its Member States do to support Roma Integration?
A digitally skilled industry: As the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in businesses, the lack of skills in the workforce has become more apparent across all sectors ranging from transport and commerce to farming. Given that 42% of Europeans lack basic digital skills, with 37% of those in the workforce, how can European countries facilitate the digital transformation of businesses and public sectors whilst promoting digital literacy of the workforce?
Taxing Digital Giants: A global tax reform, adjusting the international tax system to the 21st century, is gaining momentum with numerous countries quickly jumping aboard. With many European countries currently serving as tax havens to international corporations, the continent won't be left unaffected. How should the European Union navigate the next steps of this delicate global policy?
A roof for all: With the EU’s target deadline for eradicating homelessness only 9 years away, the Union still lacks a cohesive plan for achieving this goal. Homelessness in Europe has grown 70% in the last ten years, largely due to skyrocketing rental prices. During the pandemic, countries made significant progress in providing shelter for the homeless. However, many fear that, with pandemic emergency policies coming to an end as well as the continuously rising rents, the issue will only intensify. How can Europe ensure the provision of affordable housing and provide a roof above the heads of all of its citizens?
E-living, E-wasteful: A recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates the greater health impact that informal processing of ‘e-waste’ can have on children. Often, children in low-income countries live near or are employed in informal processing procedures, in close proximity to harmful and toxic substances, such as lead and nickel. A large proportion of this e-waste is exported from high-income countries to lower-income nations, who often struggle with underdeveloped e-waste regulation frameworks or enforcement. What can Europe do to lessen its e-waste impact and tackle this escalating health crisis?
Trouble in Paradise: While forests make up 31% of the global land area, deforestation continues to take place across the world at alarming rates, taking a toll on global biodiversity, as well as directly contributing to climate change. Taking these into account, what mechanisms can the EU utilise to protect biodiversity, promote reforestation and ensure an eco-friendly and sustainable future for all?
More women in politics: The annually conducted “Chancenbarometer” study recently found that, on average, women are more optimistic about the potential of change in politics than men. However, as European politics continues to be male-dominated, many women still face barriers when trying to enter into it. Taking into account the positive effects representation has on participation and the general optimism women can bring into shaping our future, how can Europe continue to foster the representation of women in all spheres of European politics?
Bridging the digital divide: The European Commission's 2030 Agenda focuses heavily on an ambitious digital transformation. However, considering the sizable connectivity gap between socioeconomic groups and geographic locations revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is questionable whether or not current measures will be sufficient. What further steps can European countries take in order to improve digital connectivity throughout the continent?