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Religion and the EU's external policies: Increasing engagement

12-02-2020

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

US 'Peace Plan' for the Middle East

07-02-2020

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority ...

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been united in rejecting the proposal, and the PA has since cut ties with Israel and the USA. The plan is meant to serve as the basis for future direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to stretch over four years. However, the Israeli government has announced plans to implement parts of it unilaterally in the near future.

Escalating US-Iran conflict: The EU's priorities

16-01-2020

On 3 January 2020, a United States (US) strike outside Baghdad killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the al-Qods force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), and arguably the second most important man in Iran after Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The assassination was a reaction to an escalation in the growing conflict between the USA and Iran. Iran retaliated on 8 January 2020, by attacking two US bases in Iraq with missiles; luckily – or intentionally – without ...

On 3 January 2020, a United States (US) strike outside Baghdad killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the al-Qods force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), and arguably the second most important man in Iran after Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The assassination was a reaction to an escalation in the growing conflict between the USA and Iran. Iran retaliated on 8 January 2020, by attacking two US bases in Iraq with missiles; luckily – or intentionally – without casualties. Although both the USA and Iran have refrained from any further action, few expect this to mark the end of tensions between the USA and Iran in the region. The EU reaction to the assassination has been to try to de-escalate the situation to prevent all-out war, to focus on stabilising Iraq, and to limit damage to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A new neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument

29-11-2019

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), with a proposed budget of €89.2 billion (in current prices). Parliament adopted its first-reading position in plenary on 27 March 2019. MEPs agreed to accept a single instrument, but called for a stronger role for Parliament ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), with a proposed budget of €89.2 billion (in current prices). Parliament adopted its first-reading position in plenary on 27 March 2019. MEPs agreed to accept a single instrument, but called for a stronger role for Parliament on secondary policy choices, through delegated acts, and for the budget for the instrument to be increased by nearly €4 billion, to €93.154 billion. MEPs also specifically called for an increase in the funds allocated to human rights and democracy activities, the percentage of funding that fulfils the criteria for official development assistance, and funds that support climate and environmental objectives. Moreover, Parliament's amendments include the introduction of gender mainstreaming targets, the earmarking of certain financial allocations, the suspension of assistance in case of human rights violations, and the reduction of the emerging challenges and priorities cushion to €7 billion. The Council adopted a partial mandate on 13 June 2019, and an additional mandate – on the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD+) – on 25 September 2019. Following the committees' decision of 8 October 2019 to enter into interinstitutional negotiations on the basis of Parliament's first-reading position, a first trilogue meeting took place on 23 October 2019. The second is scheduled for 5 December 2019. Fourth edition. The 'Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Review of dual-use export controls

26-11-2019

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous' EU list for cyber-surveillance technology featuring items that are not (yet) subject to multilateral export control. Moreover, the proposal seeks to introduce human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

The European Parliament's evolving soft power - From back-door diplomacy to agenda-setting: Democracy support and mediation

27-09-2019

For the past 40 years, Members of the European Parliament have been working at boosting Parliament's role in EU foreign policy. These efforts have continued to be stepped up since the launch of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) in 1993. Over recent decades, the European Parliament has significantly raised its profile as a credible moral force with strong focus on strengthening human rights, supporting democracy and enhancing the rule of law worldwide. Perhaps less visible than the European ...

For the past 40 years, Members of the European Parliament have been working at boosting Parliament's role in EU foreign policy. These efforts have continued to be stepped up since the launch of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) in 1993. Over recent decades, the European Parliament has significantly raised its profile as a credible moral force with strong focus on strengthening human rights, supporting democracy and enhancing the rule of law worldwide. Perhaps less visible than the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the European Parliament's democracy support activities are part of its 'soft-power' approach to international relations. Moreover, Parliament can convey messages through channels that are different from, and complementary to, those employed by the EU's traditional diplomatic players; for example, through its parliamentary networks. Parliament also enjoys Treaty-based information and consultation rights, which allow its Members to shape the EU's external policies. In addition, the European Parliament has become a public forum for debating with representatives of partner countries and international organisations, as well as influential non-state actors. MEPs pro-actively engage in inter-parliamentary delegations and missions to third countries as well as joint parliamentary assemblies. Moreover, parties in different countries often share strong links via their political families.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against terrorism

28-06-2019

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between ...

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years and is set to grow in the future, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security, such as Europol and eu-LISA. Financing for cooperation with third countries has also increased, including through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted since 2014 range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. To evaluate the efficiency of the existing tools and identify gaps and possible ways forward, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which delivered its report in November 2018. TERR made extensive recommendations for immediate or longer term actions aiming to prevent terrorism, combat its root causes, protect EU citizens and assist victims in the best possible way. In line with these recommendations, future EU counterterrorism action will most probably focus on addressing existing and new threats, countering radicalisation – including by preventing the spread of terrorist propaganda online – and enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure. Foreseeable developments also include increased information sharing, with planned interoperability between EU security- and border-related databases, as well as investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor's Office. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement

06-03-2019

The EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) was signed by the EU and Afghanistan in February 2017. The CAPD is the first contractual relationship between the European Union and Afghanistan, and establishes the legal framework for EU-Afghanistan cooperation. The full entry into force of this mixed agreement is subject to the consent of the European Parliament as well as ratification by the national and certain regional parliaments of the EU Member States. The European ...

The EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) was signed by the EU and Afghanistan in February 2017. The CAPD is the first contractual relationship between the European Union and Afghanistan, and establishes the legal framework for EU-Afghanistan cooperation. The full entry into force of this mixed agreement is subject to the consent of the European Parliament as well as ratification by the national and certain regional parliaments of the EU Member States. The European Parliament is expected to vote on giving its consent to the draft Council decision to conclude the agreement during its March I plenary session.

The first EU-Arab League summit: A new step in EU-Arab relations

22-02-2019

On 24 and 25 February 2019, heads of state or government from the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS) will meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the first-ever EU-LAS summit. The summit comes at a time of heightened EU interest in developing closer cooperation with its main regional counterpart in the Arab world. The meeting will be co-chaired by Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and European Council President, Donald Tusk, who will represent the EU alongside European Commission ...

On 24 and 25 February 2019, heads of state or government from the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS) will meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the first-ever EU-LAS summit. The summit comes at a time of heightened EU interest in developing closer cooperation with its main regional counterpart in the Arab world. The meeting will be co-chaired by Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and European Council President, Donald Tusk, who will represent the EU alongside European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. A large number of EU and LAS heads of state or government have confirmed their attendance. A wide range of issues and common challenges will be on the agenda, including multilateralism, trade, investment and economic cooperation, technology, migration, climate change, security and the situation in the region. Since 2011, EU-LAS meetings have been taking place regularly at different levels in the context of a political and strategic dialogue. The most recent ministerial meeting, which brought together 10 EU and 15 Arab League foreign ministers, took place in Brussels on 4 February 2019. Moreover, working groups have been gathering in between meetings of senior officials to discuss political and security matters of shared concern. The EU and the LAS share positions on a range of issues, including support for a political transition in Syria, the two-state solution under the Middle East peace process, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state. The two partners also cooperate to find solutions to the war in Yemen and the conflict in Libya. The summit is taking place at a time of intensified talks with Egypt and other North African countries to address the issue of migration. It is also seen as part of a broader effort to build closer ties with Africa. In September 2018, Commission President Juncker urged the EU to strike a new alliance with Africa to boost investment and create millions of jobs. The EU holds regular summits with other regional players, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the African Union (AU).

Nuclear Safety outside the EU: Proposal for a new Council regulation

20-02-2019

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, the Commission published a proposal for a Council regulation establishing a European instrument for nuclear safety complementing the neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty on 14 June 2018. The proposed regulation will replace Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013 establishing an instrument for nuclear ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, the Commission published a proposal for a Council regulation establishing a European instrument for nuclear safety complementing the neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty on 14 June 2018. The proposed regulation will replace Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013 establishing an instrument for nuclear safety cooperation (INSC). The proposed regulation will continue to fund the important activities carried out under the current regulation, namely to support the promotion of a high level of nuclear safety and radiation protection and the application of effective and efficient safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries, building on the activities under the Euratom Treaty. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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