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Date

Defence: What has the EU done?

29-06-2018

Attempts to move towards a common defence have been part of the European Project since its inception. However, more has been achieved in the past two years than in the last 60 years.

Attempts to move towards a common defence have been part of the European Project since its inception. However, more has been achieved in the past two years than in the last 60 years.

2018 elections in Colombia: A test for peace?

25-05-2018

2018 is an important election year in Colombia, with legislative elections held in March, and the presidential election due on 27 May, with a second round probable, on 17 June, if no candidate gets over 50 % of the vote. It is also the first time in more than 50 years that elections are being held in peace, after an agreement was reached, and is now being implemented, with the guerilla, FARC. The legislative elections have left a fragmented Congress dominated by the right, and the presidential race ...

2018 is an important election year in Colombia, with legislative elections held in March, and the presidential election due on 27 May, with a second round probable, on 17 June, if no candidate gets over 50 % of the vote. It is also the first time in more than 50 years that elections are being held in peace, after an agreement was reached, and is now being implemented, with the guerilla, FARC. The legislative elections have left a fragmented Congress dominated by the right, and the presidential race, though still uncertain, seems to be polarised by a right-wing candidate, Ivan Duque, and his left-wing opponent, Gustavo Petro. Of the six candidates for the presidency, only Ivan Duque, from the Democratic Centre, has openly opposed the agreements made with the FARC, and has promised to make 'structural modifications', in particular regarding the Special Justice for Peace mechanism. The EU, which has actively supported the peace process in Colombia, has sent an electoral expert mission to follow the elections, and the European Parliament will also be present, through a multi-party delegation of eight MEPs.

A UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine?

08-03-2018

As the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fifth year, the debate on the possibility of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission has resurfaced, with a new report and a combination of developments on the international stage creating new momentum. Some see such a mission as a potential opportunity to contribute to unfreezing the Minsk II peace deal, paving the way for local elections. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone is deteriorating.

As the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine enters its fifth year, the debate on the possibility of a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission has resurfaced, with a new report and a combination of developments on the international stage creating new momentum. Some see such a mission as a potential opportunity to contribute to unfreezing the Minsk II peace deal, paving the way for local elections. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in the conflict zone is deteriorating.

Implementation of Colombia's peace agreement

01-02-2018

In the year since the signature of the new final peace agreement on 24 November 2016, the peace process in Colombia has not progressed smoothly. Although the disarmament of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and its transformation into a political party, as well as the reduction in violence associated with the conflict, have been a success, aspects such as reintegrating FARC members into civilian life, legal implementation, and rural reform are lagging behind. This is likely to influence ...

In the year since the signature of the new final peace agreement on 24 November 2016, the peace process in Colombia has not progressed smoothly. Although the disarmament of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and its transformation into a political party, as well as the reduction in violence associated with the conflict, have been a success, aspects such as reintegrating FARC members into civilian life, legal implementation, and rural reform are lagging behind. This is likely to influence the country's presidential and legislative elections due to be held in 2018.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, January 2018

19-01-2018

The January session highlights were the European Council conclusions debate and a presentation of Bulgarian Presidency priorities, as well as the first in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar. Parliament voted, inter alia, on three clean energy package proposals; a review of dual-use items export controls; its opinion on the revised Brussels IIa Regulation; and gave its consent for the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty.

The January session highlights were the European Council conclusions debate and a presentation of Bulgarian Presidency priorities, as well as the first in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar. Parliament voted, inter alia, on three clean energy package proposals; a review of dual-use items export controls; its opinion on the revised Brussels IIa Regulation; and gave its consent for the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty.

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

11-12-2017

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely ...

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely condemned as a violation of international law and a political provocation. However, it leaves open the possibility to address the status of the city as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

The EU's new approach to funding peace and security

22-11-2017

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 establishing the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) aims to remedy this situation by creating the conditions to allow EU budgetary support for capacitybuilding 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. 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 United States and the Western Balkans

17-11-2017

The United States has contributed greatly to the post-war reconstruction of the Western Balkans and remains a key player. While the region is not as high on the US foreign policy agenda as in the 1990s, the USA has consistently shown commitment to its Euro-Atlantic integration. US engagement is seen as crucial in this historically volatile region, weakened by unresolved past and emerging challenges.

The United States has contributed greatly to the post-war reconstruction of the Western Balkans and remains a key player. While the region is not as high on the US foreign policy agenda as in the 1990s, the USA has consistently shown commitment to its Euro-Atlantic integration. US engagement is seen as crucial in this historically volatile region, weakened by unresolved past and emerging challenges.

The EU, Middle East and North Africa [What Think Tanks are thinking]

06-10-2017

Developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pose a growing challenge for the European Union. Many countries in the region face war, political turmoil and popular anger, due to the impact of poverty in generating instability, migration and, in some cases, terrorism. The EU wants to contribute to stability in MENA through instruments such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean, but there are calls for the EU to play an even more active role in the region ...

Developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pose a growing challenge for the European Union. Many countries in the region face war, political turmoil and popular anger, due to the impact of poverty in generating instability, migration and, in some cases, terrorism. The EU wants to contribute to stability in MENA through instruments such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean, but there are calls for the EU to play an even more active role in the region. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports by major international think tanks on EU-MENA relations and the general problems found within the region and some specific countries.

Syrian crisis: Impact on Iraq

03-04-2017

The Syrian crisis, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into full-scale civil war, has had a huge impact on neighbouring Iraq. From its stronghold in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL/Da'esh), which originated in Iraq, was able to over-run a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, sowing death and destruction in its path and leading to the internal displacement of over 3 million Iraqis today. It is estimated that as many as 11 million Iraqis ...

The Syrian crisis, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into full-scale civil war, has had a huge impact on neighbouring Iraq. From its stronghold in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL/Da'esh), which originated in Iraq, was able to over-run a third of Iraq's territory in 2014, sowing death and destruction in its path and leading to the internal displacement of over 3 million Iraqis today. It is estimated that as many as 11 million Iraqis ─ almost a third of the population ─ may need humanitarian assistance this year to deal with the effects of continuous conflict and economic stagnation. Moreover, a quarter of a million Syrians have sought refuge in Iraq from the war raging in their country. Most have settled in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), increasing the population of this autonomous region by nearly 30 % over the past few years. The ─ mostly Kurdish ─ Syrian refugees were well received by the government of the Kurdish Region, which gave Syrians the right to work in the region and to enrol in public schools and universities. Nevertheless, the large influx of refugees has placed strains on the local economy and host communities, and on public services. Prices and unemployment have increased while wages have tumbled. Economic growth in the KRI has slowed, while the poverty rate has more than doubled. The international community has stepped in to assist Iraq in its fight against ISIL/Da'esh and to help the country deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by the unprecedented displacement of Iraqis, and Syrian refugees. As a result of concerted military efforts, ISIL/Da'esh now occupies less than 10 % of Iraqi territory. At the same time, funds and substantial amounts of humanitarian aid have been poured into the country, to support the displaced and facilitate their return to areas over which the Iraqi State has re-established control. The EU is a leading partner in the effort to mitigate the impact of the Syrian crisis on its Iraqi neighbours.

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