Task Forces

  • Over the past few years, the attention of policymakers and industry players towards the protection of critical infrastructure has grown remarkably. In the era of networks, citizens and businesses have become increasingly dependent on a large set of infrastructures encompassing energy networks, the banking sector, telecommunications, the Internet etc. In the US, a national programme to protect critical infrastructure was launched in 1998, under the Clinton administration, and was confirmed and updated under the Bush administration in 2003.

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  • Changes in consumer attitudes in the EU and other developed countries are having a major impact on the organization of commodities’ trade and global production systems. Demands on corporate practices, including environmental and labor conditions, are affecting global trade and supply systems. Similarly, EU food safety crises in the past decade, as well as the resistance against genetically altered products, have caused a tightening of process and product standards for EU food imports and supply systems, including demands for traceability and tighter SPS standards.

  • The new regime whose financial requirements are based on an economic total balance sheet approach, addresses the valuation of liabilities, including technical provisions and their margins; the quality, liquidity and valuation of assets; the matching of assets and liabilities; suitable forms of capital; and capital adequacy requirements.The new regime will drive a revolution in insurance and reinsurance companies’ solvency regulation.

  • The CDM has been a great success to build up the institutional framework for a carbon market in developing countries, including monitoring, reporting and verification and provide a carbon signal in these countries. It has also leveraged considerable investment in developing countries. At the same time, there have been a number of concerns such as environmental effects, transaction costs, uneven distribution of the benefits between counties but also a real or perceived lack of technology transfer.

  • As technology progresses and consumer demand evolves, the communications sector poses new challenges and hard questions to sectoral regulators and public policy-makers.

  • While globalisation has increased the prospects for many European businesses, open markets have also brought challenges as competition has increased.  In order to remain competitive, European firms are facing increased pressure to be more inventive so that they can react quickly to consumer demands, and respond to global challenges such as climate change and fluctuations in energy prices. 

  • There has been an increasing interest by different stakeholders for cities to play a bigger role in climate change policy. According to some estimates, cities are home to 80% of EU citizens, responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. Urban areas will play a key role in improving energy efficiency and develop low-carbon business and economic development. This is increasingly recognised by policy makers at member state and EU level. The European Commission under the auspices of DG Transport and Energy has launched the “Covenant of mayors” initiative.

  • A number of major international banks and numerous banks of lesser size in developed countries still are crippled by large amounts of “legacy” assets which they are unable to value and which impede their return to normal lending activity, while capital markets are unable or unwilling to provide them to sufficient equity capital to pull them out of their dire straits.

  • Following the publication of the Second Strategic Energy Review by the European Commission in November 2008 and the adoption of the integrated energy and climate package by the European Council and Parliament in December 2008, EU energy policy is gaining speed. The European dimension of energy policy has been re-emphasised by the recent Russia-Ukraine gas dispute in January 2009, which severely affected several EU member states.

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