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Posted on 17-11-2017

The EU and Africa [What Think Tanks are thinking]

17-11-2017

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) will hold their fifth summit on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with the aim of strengthening political and economic relations between the two continents. The focus of the meeting is on investing in youth, which is a priority for Africa, where 60 % of the population is under the age of 25. Other key topics include security, governance and democracy, human rights, migration and mobility, as well as investment and trade, skills development ...

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) will hold their fifth summit on 29-30 November 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with the aim of strengthening political and economic relations between the two continents. The focus of the meeting is on investing in youth, which is a priority for Africa, where 60 % of the population is under the age of 25. Other key topics include security, governance and democracy, human rights, migration and mobility, as well as investment and trade, skills development and job creation. Relations between Africa and the European Union are governed by partially overlapping policy frameworks. The most important ones are the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement from 2000 and the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) agreed in 2007. Relations with Northern African countries are governed by the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED) launched in 2008 and the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). This note offers links to a series of recent studies from major international think tanks and research institutes on EU-African relations and other issues related to the continent and its countries. More reports on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ published in October 2017.

Growing impact of EU migration policy on development cooperation

17-11-2017

The sudden substantial increase in the number of migrants in recent years has had a profound effect on the external relations dimension of European Union migration and asylum policy. The main components structuring EU external migration policy – the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), European Agenda on Migration, and proposed migration compacts – explicitly underline the link between development and migration. Grounded in the need to address the root causes of migration and to maximise ...

The sudden substantial increase in the number of migrants in recent years has had a profound effect on the external relations dimension of European Union migration and asylum policy. The main components structuring EU external migration policy – the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM), European Agenda on Migration, and proposed migration compacts – explicitly underline the link between development and migration. Grounded in the need to address the root causes of migration and to maximise its development impact, the development-migration nexus has evolved from the traditional treaty-based development policy approach, with its requirement of ensuring that all EU policies contribute to development objectives, to a more complex configuration. That, accordingly, many fear, may lead to the ‘instrumentalisation’ of development aid for migration management purposes. The European Parliament has taken a clear stand on this issue, calling, in a number of its recent resolutions, for the retention of poverty alleviation as the main goal of EU development policy, even when its instruments are used at the same time to tackle the root causes of migration. Along with the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) active in this field, the European Parliament opposes aid conditionality dependent on partner countries cooperating on readmission and return, as laid out in the migration compacts. Addressing the current migration challenge without jeopardising development policy achievements and objectives is one of the key issues of the revised European consensus on development, from June 2017. This is an updated edition of a briefing published in October 2016: PE 589.815.

EU support to democracy and good governance in Africa

17-11-2017

Support to democracy, good governance and human rights is a central component of EU cooperation with Africa, and of EU development aid to the continent, under the different frameworks shaping relations with African countries, such as the ACP framework for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Neighbourhood Policy for North Africa, and the Africa-EU Joint Strategy for cooperation at continental level. EU support is all the more important as democracy in many African countries is recent and still fragile. Democratic ...

Support to democracy, good governance and human rights is a central component of EU cooperation with Africa, and of EU development aid to the continent, under the different frameworks shaping relations with African countries, such as the ACP framework for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Neighbourhood Policy for North Africa, and the Africa-EU Joint Strategy for cooperation at continental level. EU support is all the more important as democracy in many African countries is recent and still fragile. Democratic progress has had its ups and downs on the African continent since the 1990s wave of democratisation. On the whole, the number of free countries has stagnated, and progress on good governance indicators has been slow. Popular support for democratic systems in African countries remains however high, justifying EU efforts to promote democracy. The EU has a vast array of tools at its disposal. It has used the conditionality enshrined in its bilateral agreements to respond to serious political crises, particularly in Africa. EU budget support, which is vital to several African countries, has been subject to similar democratic and human rights conditionality. EU development aid includes an important component supporting good governance and rule of law. The EU has become an important partner in election observation and democracy assistance, and most of Africa has received EU missions. However, whether these tools of democracy support can make a significant difference remains a complicated issue. Much depends on conditions on the ground and the willingness of the partner governments to make progress. As the EU is about to redefine its priorities for cooperation with the African continent, democracy and good governance are acknowledged as a central pillar of resilience, strongly interlinked with peace and stability.

Posted on 16-11-2017

Posting of Workers Directive

16-11-2017

Posting of workers plays an important role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. While the number of posted workers continues to increase significantly, problems such as unfair practices and unequal remunerations persist. In addition, the correct balance between the freedom to provide cross-border services and the social rights of workers needs to be adapted to today`s situation. The targeted revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) proposed ...

Posting of workers plays an important role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. While the number of posted workers continues to increase significantly, problems such as unfair practices and unequal remunerations persist. In addition, the correct balance between the freedom to provide cross-border services and the social rights of workers needs to be adapted to today`s situation. The targeted revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) proposed by the Commission would bring changes in three main areas: the remuneration of posted workers (making it equal to that of local workers, even when subcontracting), more coherent rules on temporary agency workers, as well as long-term posting. While the majority of stakeholders welcome the proposal, the Member States are divided: a considerable number wish first to fully implement the 2014 Enforcement Directive before proceeding to a further revision. Moreover, sufficient numbers of national parliaments have delivered reasoned opinions on the proposal to require the Commission to reconsider.

Measuring social progress in EU regions

16-11-2017

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help present ...

The social dimension has long been present on the European Union agenda. Recently, it has gained greater significance, particularly in contexts such as the EU governance framework (European Semester), and economic and monetary union, as well as the reflection process on the future of the EU. Initiatives to measure the EU social situation and the social impact of EU policies have produced a number of indicators that complement the assessment of economic performance. These measurements can help present a more comprehensive picture of the state of European societies. The EU regional Social Progress Index provides this overview of aspects including health, access to education, environmental quality, housing, personal rights and inclusion. The 2016 findings give a mixed picture of social progress across EU regions. Generally, Nordic and Dutch regions figure among the top performers, with southern and eastern regions lagging behind. However, the picture becomes more nuanced when specific dimensions of social progress are taken into account. The index also shows that social progress scores do not always correlate with a region's GDP. Improving social progress is also relevant to EU cohesion policy, one of the goals of which is to achieve social, economic and territorial cohesion, along with reducing regional disparities. Regional investments can therefore be geared to support both economic performance and social progress. The role and application of new indicators and indexes in this process is currently being explored with a view to establish how they can be used in policy to support real change, for instance by monitoring developments, identifying priorities, and evaluating progress.

The Pan-African Parliament: getting ready for the 2017 AU-EU Summit

16-11-2017

Nearly three years have passed since the adoption of a revised protocol that will grant the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) legislative powers and considerably strengthen the institution within the overall African governance system. While very few countries have ratified the protocol so far, the acceleration of its ratification procedures is a priority for the recently elected PAP president. The EP and the PAP enjoy a long-standing partnership and both of them have an important role to play in monitoring ...

Nearly three years have passed since the adoption of a revised protocol that will grant the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) legislative powers and considerably strengthen the institution within the overall African governance system. While very few countries have ratified the protocol so far, the acceleration of its ratification procedures is a priority for the recently elected PAP president. The EP and the PAP enjoy a long-standing partnership and both of them have an important role to play in monitoring the Joint Africa EU Strategy (JAES) and its roadmap for 2014-2017. The fifth EU-Africa Summit, which will be held in Côte d’Ivoire in November 2017, will assess the implementation of the road map and identify new priorities for the future. Thematic priorities for the upcoming summit include youth, peace and security and migration, which are now at the heart of the relationship between the two continents.

TARGET (IM)BALANCES AT RECORD LEVEL: SHOULD WE WORRY?

16-11-2017

TARGET balances are the claims and liabilities of euro area national central banks (NCBs) with the ECB. TARGET balances add up to zero but the sum of the absolute value of these balances has grown substantially since 2008. The levels of TARGET balances within the Eurosystem has never been so high. In September 2017, Germany’s positive TARGET balance equalled €879 billion, which is over 25 percent of current German GDP. Luxembourg, Netherlands and Finland have also built up large claims relative to ...

TARGET balances are the claims and liabilities of euro area national central banks (NCBs) with the ECB. TARGET balances add up to zero but the sum of the absolute value of these balances has grown substantially since 2008. The levels of TARGET balances within the Eurosystem has never been so high. In September 2017, Germany’s positive TARGET balance equalled €879 billion, which is over 25 percent of current German GDP. Luxembourg, Netherlands and Finland have also built up large claims relative to their levels of GDP. On the other side, Italy (€432 billion) and Spain (€373 billion) have built up large negative balances. The ECB itself had a negative TARGET balance of €215 billion in September 2017.

DESIGN AND SEQUENCING OF EXIT FROM NONSTANDARD MONETARY POLICY MEASURES: WHAT SHOULD THE ECB “NEW NORMAL” LOOK LIKE?

16-11-2017

With the economic upswing in the euro area strengthening, both consumer and business confidence indicators at their highest levels since the beginning of the crisis, there is mounting pressure on the ECB for a change to its monetary policy stance. However, President Draghi has repeatedly stated that the programme of asset purchases will continue until the ECB “sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim”. Even though the recovery appears to be gaining momentum ...

With the economic upswing in the euro area strengthening, both consumer and business confidence indicators at their highest levels since the beginning of the crisis, there is mounting pressure on the ECB for a change to its monetary policy stance. However, President Draghi has repeatedly stated that the programme of asset purchases will continue until the ECB “sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aim”. Even though the recovery appears to be gaining momentum, there is still a lot of slack in the euro-area economy (as well as significant heterogeneity between countries) and the inflation outlook is still well below the ECB’s target. In any case, however, exit strategies from unconventional monetary measures are likely to be implemented very gradually to preserve financial market stability. The normalisation of monetary policy will thus entail a long period characterised by large central banks’ balance sheets.

Posted on 14-11-2017

Empowering Africa's youth: The new focus of EU-Africa cooperation

14-11-2017

Africa is the world's youngest continent. With a rapidly growing population, Africa is forecast to make up for much of the population decline in other parts of the world in the coming decades. As a result, by 2050, one in four working-age persons in the world could be African. Today, over 60 % of Africans are under the age of 25. This demographic dynamism brings enormous challenges and opportunities. If well managed, it could drive an African economic miracle, which will shape the history of the ...

Africa is the world's youngest continent. With a rapidly growing population, Africa is forecast to make up for much of the population decline in other parts of the world in the coming decades. As a result, by 2050, one in four working-age persons in the world could be African. Today, over 60 % of Africans are under the age of 25. This demographic dynamism brings enormous challenges and opportunities. If well managed, it could drive an African economic miracle, which will shape the history of the 21st century. On the other hand, such unprecedented demographic growth does not come without specific challenges: the numerous children and young people must have their educational and health needs met, and enough jobs have to be created for the large cohorts entering the labour market every year. Large generations of young people who are politically excluded and deprived of economic opportunities can be an aggravating factor in conflicts, and can be prone to political and religious radicalisation. Instability and increasing poverty would also lead to mass migration to Europe and elsewhere. Europe cannot ignore the rising challenges and opportunities at its southern borders. Positive or negative spill-overs to Europe will be inevitable. It is therefore in the EU's own interest to help the continent steer the demographic boom towards an economic boom, providing young people with opportunities, alleviating poverty and bringing lasting peace and stability. As the EU prepares to redefine its cooperation with Africa, the issue of youth is thus inescapable. The most urgent challenge for the EU is to channel foreign investment and development efforts towards Africa's youngest populations, which are more than ever located in its most fragile states.

Le Sahel: un enjeu stratégique pour l'Union européenne

14-11-2017

La région du Sahel est affectée par les changements climatiques et la croissance rapide de sa population. Les rivalités pour l'accès aux moyens de subsistance exacerbent les griefs contre les États. Peinant à assurer les services de base sur tout leur territoire et la sécurité à leurs frontières, les services gouvernementaux se voient concurrencer par des groupes armés issus de la faillite des régimes d'Afrique centrale, d'Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient. L'instabilité de cette région a des conséquences ...

La région du Sahel est affectée par les changements climatiques et la croissance rapide de sa population. Les rivalités pour l'accès aux moyens de subsistance exacerbent les griefs contre les États. Peinant à assurer les services de base sur tout leur territoire et la sécurité à leurs frontières, les services gouvernementaux se voient concurrencer par des groupes armés issus de la faillite des régimes d'Afrique centrale, d'Afrique du Nord et du Moyen-Orient. L'instabilité de cette région a des conséquences directes sur la sécurité des voisins de l'Union européenne et sur l'Union elle-même. Pour répondre aux multiples facteurs de cette instabilité, l'Union européenne a adopté en 2011 une 'stratégie de sécurité et de développement au Sahel'. Celle-ci constitue la première approche intégrée visant à faire converger différents programmes et instruments de politique extérieure vers des objectifs communs. Sa mise en place, qui implique la coordination de multiples parties prenantes, a été difficile. Les enseignements tirés ont permis la reformulation de cette stratégie en 2015. Ainsi revue, cette stratégie pourrait inspirer l’ensemble de la politique européenne de développement et de sécurité, et aider à l’évolution de la Stratégie commune Afrique-Union européenne. Ce briefing est une mise à jour du briefing Sahel: stratégie de l'UE pour la sécurité et le développement, publié en mai 2016 - PE 582.013.

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