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Posted on 09-12-2016

EU Defence [What Think Tanks are thinking]

09-12-2016

Europe's increasingly unstable neighbourhood, Britain's plans to leave the European Union and a search for potentially successful areas of cooperation amid several crises have all renewed momentum for increased EU defence cooperation. Plans for stronger military ties among EU Member States, already envisaged in the recent EU Global Strategy, have received a boost, according to some analysts, from the election of Donald Trump as US President, with an unclear security agenda. This note offers links ...

Europe's increasingly unstable neighbourhood, Britain's plans to leave the European Union and a search for potentially successful areas of cooperation amid several crises have all renewed momentum for increased EU defence cooperation. Plans for stronger military ties among EU Member States, already envisaged in the recent EU Global Strategy, have received a boost, according to some analysts, from the election of Donald Trump as US President, with an unclear security agenda. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports by major international think tanks, on prospects of increased defence cooperation in the EU and on the general security situation on the continent.  More papers on threats to security in Europe from Russia's policies can be found in an October edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking'. Some more studies on the EU Global Strategy are available on another item from the series.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in a state of uncertainty

09-12-2016

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is to hold preliminary parliamentary elections in December; these are long overdue and have been postponed twice. The country is going through an extended period of uncertainty, to which continued political instability, the migrant influx, backsliding in areas such as rule of law and media freedom, mistrust towards institutions and not least, a stalled EU accession process, have contributed substantially. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is to hold ...

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is to hold preliminary parliamentary elections in December; these are long overdue and have been postponed twice. The country is going through an extended period of uncertainty, to which continued political instability, the migrant influx, backsliding in areas such as rule of law and media freedom, mistrust towards institutions and not least, a stalled EU accession process, have contributed substantially. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is to hold preliminary parliamentary elections in December; these are long overdue and have been postponed twice. The country is going through an extended period of uncertainty, to which continued political instability, the migrant influx, backsliding in areas such as rule of law and media freedom, mistrust towards institutions and not least, a stalled EU accession process, have contributed substantially. The EU stepped in as mediator, helping the main political parties reach an agreement and commit to reforms. Nevertheless, the agreement's slow implementation, the worsening rule of law and slack reforms have further compromised EU membership prospects, which had already been clouded by the long-running name dispute with Greece. Questions have also been raised about how efficient and sufficient the EU approach is with regard to both the country and the broader region. Once a frontrunner in the region's shared efforts to join the EU, FYR Macedonia now trails. Elections are widely seen as a necessary first step out of the present unsustainable situation. Failure to establish a working government and parliament is expected to indefinitely prolong the crisis and bring further uncertainty.

Brexit: The United-Kingdom and EU Financial Services

09-12-2016

This briefing prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit describes the prominent role of the UK in the single market for financial services, and highlights which activities rely today on passporting for their daily business with the other 27 Member States. The briefing relies on publicly available information, including secondary sources, such as analytical papers done by research institutes and private sector companies. The briefing may be regularly updated pending new information.

This briefing prepared by the Economic Governance Support Unit describes the prominent role of the UK in the single market for financial services, and highlights which activities rely today on passporting for their daily business with the other 27 Member States. The briefing relies on publicly available information, including secondary sources, such as analytical papers done by research institutes and private sector companies. The briefing may be regularly updated pending new information.

The Fight Against Cancer Is a Team Sport: The Role of Education and Sport

09-12-2016

This document summarises the presentations and discussions taking place at the workshop organised by Policy Department A on the role of education and sport in the fight against cancer, held at the European Parliament in Brussels in July 2016. The aim of the workshop for the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety was to provide background information and highlight ways in which sport and physical activity can be promoted to help reduce the overall impact of cancer. Firstly the scientific ...

This document summarises the presentations and discussions taking place at the workshop organised by Policy Department A on the role of education and sport in the fight against cancer, held at the European Parliament in Brussels in July 2016. The aim of the workshop for the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety was to provide background information and highlight ways in which sport and physical activity can be promoted to help reduce the overall impact of cancer. Firstly the scientific evidence for the link between physical (in)activity and cancer was presented. Risk reductions were discussed, as well as the risks of inactivity, followed by recommendations on improving activity levels. The evidence so far is strong for colon, breast and endometrial cancers. Secondly the focus was on policy initiatives to fight against cancer through education, sport, and physical activity, with discussions on strategies and actions of the European Commission and the WHO. Finally, presentations were given by organisations set up to promote activity during or after cancer treatments, along with recommendations to prevent cancer.

External author

Alojz PETERLE (MEP, EP), Michael LEITZMANN (University of Regensburg, DE), Margo MOUNTJOY (International Olympic Committee), Yves Le LOSTECQUE (DG EAC, European Commission), Susanna KUGELBERG (World Health Organisation), Wendy YARED (European Cancer Leagues), Jaka JAKOPIČ (Ambassador of Movember Movement, SI), Olivier LAPLANCHE (CAMI, FR) and Petra THALLER (Outdoor against Cancer)

Posted on 08-12-2016

EU-Russia people-to-people contacts

08-12-2016

With EU-Russia relations at a post-Cold War low, people-to-people contacts are an important means of overcoming mutual hostility. Individuals and organisations from the EU are continuing to cooperate with Russian counterparts, despite difficulties. On the other hand, there has been a significant downturn in personal travel, and public opinion mirrors frosty diplomatic relations.

With EU-Russia relations at a post-Cold War low, people-to-people contacts are an important means of overcoming mutual hostility. Individuals and organisations from the EU are continuing to cooperate with Russian counterparts, despite difficulties. On the other hand, there has been a significant downturn in personal travel, and public opinion mirrors frosty diplomatic relations.

The EU's new approach to funding peace and security

08-12-2016

The link between security, peace and development is recognised by both security and development communities. However, the practical implications of this nexus still pose challenges – especially in the light of a rapidly evolving security environment. While the EU's assistance for peace and security comes in different forms – for instance through budgetary support or under common security and defence policy – the existing rules of financing under the EU budget exclude activities aimed at enhancing ...

The link between security, peace and development is recognised by both security and development communities. However, the practical implications of this nexus still pose challenges – especially in the light of a rapidly evolving security environment. While the EU's assistance for peace and security comes in different forms – for instance through budgetary support or under common security and defence policy – the existing rules of financing under the EU budget exclude activities aimed at enhancing cooperation with the defence sector and the military in third countries. The proposed amendment to Regulation (EU) No 230/2014 of 11 March 2014 aims to remedy this situation by creating the conditions to allow EU budgetary support for capacity-building programmes in third countries aimed at training and mentoring, the provision of non-lethal equipment and assistance with infrastructure improvements, and help with strengthening the capacity of military actors in order to contribute to the achievement of peaceful and inclusive societies and sustainable development. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

CAP policy instruments: Issues and challenges for EU agricultural policy

08-12-2016

Over the years, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been subject to several reforms. Often described as being incremental in nature, these reforms have progressively resulted in significant changes in both the orientation and architecture of the CAP. Key changes have included a reorientation away from price support towards income support and a decoupling of support from production. The current system of direct payments provides a mechanism for farmers to provide a combination of both private ...

Over the years, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has been subject to several reforms. Often described as being incremental in nature, these reforms have progressively resulted in significant changes in both the orientation and architecture of the CAP. Key changes have included a reorientation away from price support towards income support and a decoupling of support from production. The current system of direct payments provides a mechanism for farmers to provide a combination of both private and public goods. The latter element has been reinforced by measures aimed at 'greening' the CAP. Rural development policy, reformed along with the CAP in 2013, is now implemented through rural development legislation covering six strategic priorities sub-divided into 18 focus areas, offering greater flexibility in the choice of measures used. Set against this background, this briefing considers how some of the CAP’s policy instruments have been working, based on the experience of their implementation to date, including commentaries on both the previous reforms and the current policy, and taking account of the most recent evaluation evidence available. The implications of this broad overview for the orientation and architecture of the post-2020 CAP are examined. This discussion is set within the context of the main challenges facing agriculture and the rural economy, such as climate change, food security, territorial cohesion and price volatility. This analysis is timely, as the European Commission’s work programme for 2017 includes provision for consulting widely and progressing with work on the simplification and modernisation of the CAP.

Fighting conflict-related sexual violence

08-12-2016

Although both men and women are vulnerable when faced with armed conflict, they tend to be affected very differently. Women are exposed to many risks, sexual violence standing out as the most prominent among them. Despite efforts by the international community to ban it through internationally binding legal norms, conflicts since the end of the Cold War have displayed multiple, horrendous forms of violence against women, whether in Africa, former Yugoslavia or in present-day Iraq, Syria and Nigeria ...

Although both men and women are vulnerable when faced with armed conflict, they tend to be affected very differently. Women are exposed to many risks, sexual violence standing out as the most prominent among them. Despite efforts by the international community to ban it through internationally binding legal norms, conflicts since the end of the Cold War have displayed multiple, horrendous forms of violence against women, whether in Africa, former Yugoslavia or in present-day Iraq, Syria and Nigeria. To the scourge of gender-based violence brought about by conflict, the international community has responded by integrating it in the jurisdiction of international tribunals dealing with war crimes. The UN Security Council has strongly condemned all forms of gender-based violence in several resolutions, and has proposed a range of measures. Given the gravity of the crimes, the EU has emphasised the importance of a zero-tolerance policy, focusing on accountability and awareness-raising. Helping victims of gender-based violence deal with its long-lasting psychological and social consequences is increasingly recognised as a crucial measure. One of the most important steps is to break the culture of shame and silence that makes the vast majority of cases go unreported, and renders judicial recourse impossible. Women who speak out about their or others' ordeals face multiple risks and threats, and their courage deserves to be honoured. In recognition of such courage, the European Parliament granted the 2016 Sakharov Prize to two women from Iraq, who, having been victims of violence themselves, resolved to put their efforts into fighting off the scourge.

Economic Dialogue with the Commission on 2017 Draft Budgetary Plans

08-12-2016

Vice-president Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici have been invited to an Economic Dialogue on the European Commission Opinions on the 2017 Draft Budgetary Plans of the Euro Area Member States based on Articles 7 and 15 of EU Regulation 473/2013.

Vice-president Dombrovskis and Commissioner Moscovici have been invited to an Economic Dialogue on the European Commission Opinions on the 2017 Draft Budgetary Plans of the Euro Area Member States based on Articles 7 and 15 of EU Regulation 473/2013.

Economic Dialogue with the Commission on the Launch of the 2017 European Semester Cycle

08-12-2016

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen are participating in an Economic Dialogue on the “2017 European Semester Autumn Package”, based on the provisions of the economic governance framework. This document gives an overview of the elements of the package and presents the next steps.

Vice-President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Moscovici and Commissioner Thyssen are participating in an Economic Dialogue on the “2017 European Semester Autumn Package”, based on the provisions of the economic governance framework. This document gives an overview of the elements of the package and presents the next steps.

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