28

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Human rights in Belarus: The EU’s role since 2016

05-06-2018

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion ...

This study provides an overview of the European Union’s contribution to promoting and protecting human rights in Belarus since 2016. This analysis presents the main human rights trends in Belarus, examining legislation, policy commitments and violations of human rights. While the Belarusian government has made nominal concessions towards the EU, no systemic progress in terms of human rights has been made in the post-2016 period. The study also describes and assesses the EU’s human rights promotion activities in bilateral EU-Belarus relations, within the context of the Eastern Partnership multilateral dimension and in regard to financial assistance. Although the EU has expanded the range of its political dialogue with Belarus since 2016, it has had very little influence over the human rights situation in the country. The EU’s impact has been limited not just because of the very nature of the Belarusian regime. EU institutions and member states have increasingly prioritised geopolitical interests as well as the stability and resilience of Belarus over human rights concerns. The EU should increase efforts to mainstream human rights in all aspects of its relations with Belarus and find a better balance between ‘normalisation’ and ‘conditionality’ based policy approaches vis-à-vis the country.

External author

Gisele BOSSE, Alena VIEIRA

Combating sexual abuse of children

05-12-2017

Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, adopted in December 2011, establishes minimum standards for the definition of, and sanctions for, such criminal offences, as well as provisions to strengthen the prevention of those crimes and the protection of victims. During the December plenary session, the Parliament is due to debate a report on the implementation of the directive.

Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, adopted in December 2011, establishes minimum standards for the definition of, and sanctions for, such criminal offences, as well as provisions to strengthen the prevention of those crimes and the protection of victims. During the December plenary session, the Parliament is due to debate a report on the implementation of the directive.

Disinformation, 'fake news' and the EU's response

20-11-2017

The impact of the online spread of mis- and disinformation – including false news posing as factual stories – became increasingly visible in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, and gained notoriety as a global challenge during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign. Ahead of the European elections in 2019, the EU is now stepping up its efforts to tackle 'fake news'. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in April 2017: PE 599.384.

The impact of the online spread of mis- and disinformation – including false news posing as factual stories – became increasingly visible in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, and gained notoriety as a global challenge during the 2016 United States presidential election campaign. Ahead of the European elections in 2019, the EU is now stepping up its efforts to tackle 'fake news'. This is a further updated version of an 'at a glance' note published in April 2017: PE 599.384.

Media freedom trends 2017: Western Balkans

03-05-2017

Media freedom, a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, is a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda. Yet, despite a certain level of preparedness and a broadly developed legal framework, aspirant countries keep facing systemic shortcomings that require long-term sustained efforts. These efforts have stalled in recent years, resulting in a 'no progress' situation.

Media freedom, a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, is a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda. Yet, despite a certain level of preparedness and a broadly developed legal framework, aspirant countries keep facing systemic shortcomings that require long-term sustained efforts. These efforts have stalled in recent years, resulting in a 'no progress' situation.

Media freedom trends 2017: Russia

03-05-2017

In Russia, the state controls strategic media (such as national TV), and restricts independent media and the internet through increasingly repressive legislation. However, there is still some scope for media pluralism, with a few outlets openly criticising the authorities.

In Russia, the state controls strategic media (such as national TV), and restricts independent media and the internet through increasingly repressive legislation. However, there is still some scope for media pluralism, with a few outlets openly criticising the authorities.

Russia's 2016 elections: More of the same?

20-06-2016

On 18 September, 2016 Russians will elect representatives at federal, regional and municipal level, including most importantly to the State Duma (lower house of parliament). President Vladimir Putin remains popular, with over 80% of Russians approving of his presidency. However, the country is undergoing a prolonged economic recession and a growing number of Russians feel it is going in the wrong direction. Support for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and ruling party United Russia has declined in ...

On 18 September, 2016 Russians will elect representatives at federal, regional and municipal level, including most importantly to the State Duma (lower house of parliament). President Vladimir Putin remains popular, with over 80% of Russians approving of his presidency. However, the country is undergoing a prolonged economic recession and a growing number of Russians feel it is going in the wrong direction. Support for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and ruling party United Russia has declined in recent months. Nevertheless, United Russia is likely to hold onto, and even increase its parliamentary majority, given the lack of credible alternatives. Of the tame opposition parties currently represented in the State Duma, polls suggest the far-right Liberal Democrats will do well, overtaking the Communists to become the largest opposition party. Outside the State Duma, opposition to Putin's regime is led by liberal opposition parties Yabloko and PARNAS. Deeply unpopular and disunited, these parties have little chance of breaking through the 5% electoral threshold. To avoid a repeat of the 2011–2012 post-election protests, authorities may try to prevent the blatant vote-rigging which triggered them. Nevertheless, favourable media coverage, United Russia's deep pockets and changes to electoral legislation (for example, the re-introduction of single-member districts) will give the ruling party a strong head-start. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Audiovisual Media Services Directive: Implementation Appraisal

16-06-2016

Since its entry into force, the regulatory framework established by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive proved to be rather effective in achieving its goal of enabling the development and free circulation of audiovisual media services in the European Union. However, given the technological developments that led to a convergent audiovisual environment, it needs to be further adapted in order to better respond to market developments and new viewing patterns and habits. The European Parliament, ...

Since its entry into force, the regulatory framework established by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive proved to be rather effective in achieving its goal of enabling the development and free circulation of audiovisual media services in the European Union. However, given the technological developments that led to a convergent audiovisual environment, it needs to be further adapted in order to better respond to market developments and new viewing patterns and habits. The European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Committee of the Regions have asked for adaptations of the current regulatory framework in order to better reflect the implications of the new convergent media context. In particular, they called on the Commission to assess the current distinction of the regulatory framework between linear and non-linear services, to enforce the provisions related to minors and consumer protection, to ensure the respect of the freedom of media, to enforce the promotion of European works and to assess the implementation of self and co regulation arrangements. Implementation reports, evaluations and studies confirmed the need to address AVMSD related issues at EU level and pointed out that some of the rules are no longer fit for purpose in a changed digital context. The new proposal adopted by the Commission in May 2016, addresses several concerns raised by the Parliament including protection of minors, promotion of European audiovisual works and commercial communications.

Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Turmoil in the run-up to elections

06-06-2016

DRC is experiencing a plethora of human rights problems. In the east of the country, the national army and the UN peacekeeping mission are not able to deal effectively with the violence still perpetrated by some armed groups – a legacy of the bloody civil war that ravaged the country. The human rights situation has also deteriorated in the run-up to the general elections, which are expected to be postponed; demands from the political opposition, civil society and mass media for timely elections have ...

DRC is experiencing a plethora of human rights problems. In the east of the country, the national army and the UN peacekeeping mission are not able to deal effectively with the violence still perpetrated by some armed groups – a legacy of the bloody civil war that ravaged the country. The human rights situation has also deteriorated in the run-up to the general elections, which are expected to be postponed; demands from the political opposition, civil society and mass media for timely elections have been met with heavy repression from the government.

EU strategic communication with the Arab world

02-05-2016

Good relations with the Arab world have been one of the EU's main objectives ever since the Barcelona Process was launched in 1995. Driven initially by security concerns and the need for stability, the dynamics between the two sides of the Mediterranean have increasingly shifted towards support for democracy, human rights, and promotion of economic and social development. However, this relationship has never been an easy one, and the European Union has struggled to communicate its vision for the ...

Good relations with the Arab world have been one of the EU's main objectives ever since the Barcelona Process was launched in 1995. Driven initially by security concerns and the need for stability, the dynamics between the two sides of the Mediterranean have increasingly shifted towards support for democracy, human rights, and promotion of economic and social development. However, this relationship has never been an easy one, and the European Union has struggled to communicate its vision for the region effectively. At the same time, instability in the Middle East and North Africa has become a source of insecurity in the EU and has challenged some of the basic assumptions of EU policies – both internal and external. As recent terrorist attacks in France, Belgium, Tunisia and Egypt have shown, the rise of violent extremism and the threat of radicalisation know no borders. Therefore, countering terrorist propaganda and the jihadi narrative plays a key role. Against this background, the European Union has taken several steps aimed at designing a more strategic vision for engaging with stakeholders in the Arab world – including governments and civil society – and countering radicalisation propaganda. Concrete initiatives to this effect are the establishment of the Task Force for Outreach and Communication in the Arab world and the Syria Strategic Communications Advisory Team, among others.

EYE 2016 – We are not afraid!

28-04-2016

The year 2015 confirmed once again that terrorism is a serious threat to international security. The EU plays an active role in supporting Member States' measures to ensure security, be it through strengthening the control of firearms, securing borders or using new technologies. Security, however, needs to be balanced with the respect for fundamental rights. Communities also have an important part to play in preventing terrorism. This note has been prepared for the European Youth Event, taking place ...

The year 2015 confirmed once again that terrorism is a serious threat to international security. The EU plays an active role in supporting Member States' measures to ensure security, be it through strengthening the control of firearms, securing borders or using new technologies. Security, however, needs to be balanced with the respect for fundamental rights. Communities also have an important part to play in preventing terrorism. This note has been prepared for the European Youth Event, taking place in Strasbourg in May 2016. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

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