1178

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Policy area
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Human rights in the Philippines

17-01-2017

Since mid-2016, President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war on drugs has triggered a wave of extrajudicial killings. The current violence reflects longer-term problems, such as high crime rates and a dysfunctional justice system. However, there are still many areas, such as freedom of expression and gender equality, where the Philippines does better than most other Asian countries.

Since mid-2016, President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial war on drugs has triggered a wave of extrajudicial killings. The current violence reflects longer-term problems, such as high crime rates and a dysfunctional justice system. However, there are still many areas, such as freedom of expression and gender equality, where the Philippines does better than most other Asian countries.

EU-Philippines relations: Beyond trade and aid?

17-01-2017

Recent controversial statements by new Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte are threatening to derail progress towards closer partnership between his country and the EU. Nevertheless, practical cooperation between the two sides, which began with European Community development aid 50 years ago, continues essentially unchanged. The EU and its Member States are still among the leading donors of aid to the Philippines, and EU-Philippines trade and investment is substantial. However, economic ties still ...

Recent controversial statements by new Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte are threatening to derail progress towards closer partnership between his country and the EU. Nevertheless, practical cooperation between the two sides, which began with European Community development aid 50 years ago, continues essentially unchanged. The EU and its Member States are still among the leading donors of aid to the Philippines, and EU-Philippines trade and investment is substantial. However, economic ties still offer considerable untapped potential. A free trade agreement is currently under negotiation. The two sides have already concluded a partnership and cooperation agreement, now awaiting ratification. Once in force, this will help to strengthen not only economic ties, but also cooperation in the many areas where the EU and the Philippines have shared interests, such as migration, fisheries and maritime labour. Particularly under Duterte's predecessor, the pro-Western Benigno Aquino (2010 2016), EU-Philippines relations were based not only on shared interests but also values. The Philippines is a democracy and, due to its history, one of the most westernised countries in Asia. Shared values have helped to make the country one of the EU's closest allies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While Duterte's anti-EU statements have not ended such cooperation, they have created uncertainty over future developments. The EU has adopted a wait-and-see approach; less cordial relations are likely to result.

The 2016 Elections in the United States: Effects on the EU-US Relationship

17-01-2017

Despite (or because of) Donald Trump’s various campaign statements, it is hard to predict confidently what path his administration will take in a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is however possible to identify key issues and challenges in EU-US relations during his presidency. This briefing provides an overview of issues where US policy may change sharply during the next four years and what this may mean for the EU. Less interventionism, less commitment to NATO and a retreat from trade liberalization ...

Despite (or because of) Donald Trump’s various campaign statements, it is hard to predict confidently what path his administration will take in a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is however possible to identify key issues and challenges in EU-US relations during his presidency. This briefing provides an overview of issues where US policy may change sharply during the next four years and what this may mean for the EU. Less interventionism, less commitment to NATO and a retreat from trade liberalization could be central to Trump’s presidency. Transatlantic relations would be affected by US actions such as rapprochement with Russia and a softer line on the Ukraine conflict, alignment with Assad and Putin in Syria, extreme counterterrorism measures, abandoning the Iran nuclear deal, and unconditional support for Israel. Confrontation with China over trade and regional security, and reversal of environmental policies will also have repercussions for the EU. In order to mitigate all these risks, the EU must at least entrench existing cooperation with the US before trying to enhance it. It can The do so by reaffirming European unity and solving threats to its integration, by becoming a better security “producer” and by “thickening” interparliamentary exchanges.

External author

Nickolas BOUCHET (The German Marshall Fund of the United States, USA)

The incoming US Congress's powers to overturn regulations of the previous administration

13-01-2017

During the election campaign, President-elect Donald Trump stated his intention to repeal or amend regulations issued by the Obama administration. Following the 2016 elections in the USA, as well as the White House the Republicans will hold the majority in both chambers of the 115th Congress. It is thus likely that the legislative branch will work closely with the executive to achieve common objectives. Congress can always introduce and pass legislation that modifies regulations made by agencies. ...

During the election campaign, President-elect Donald Trump stated his intention to repeal or amend regulations issued by the Obama administration. Following the 2016 elections in the USA, as well as the White House the Republicans will hold the majority in both chambers of the 115th Congress. It is thus likely that the legislative branch will work closely with the executive to achieve common objectives. Congress can always introduce and pass legislation that modifies regulations made by agencies. However, passing new legislation can be a cumbersome process, and there are tactics for the opposition to delay action, such as making points of order and tabling certain motions. As an alternative, under certain circumstances and within a specific timeframe, Congress could use an expedited procedure, laid down in the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of 1996, to overturn federal regulations passed in the closing months of the outgoing administration.

Ghana: Political landscape after the elections

11-01-2017

The December 2016 general elections in Ghana were peaceful and free, with victory to the opposition for both the presidency and the parliament. This strengthens Ghana's reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies and endorses a trend of democratic consolidation in West Africa. The president-elect, a man with strong human rights credentials, may however face difficulties in fulfilling his generous electoral promises given the country's current economic situation.

The December 2016 general elections in Ghana were peaceful and free, with victory to the opposition for both the presidency and the parliament. This strengthens Ghana's reputation as one of Africa's most stable democracies and endorses a trend of democratic consolidation in West Africa. The president-elect, a man with strong human rights credentials, may however face difficulties in fulfilling his generous electoral promises given the country's current economic situation.

Arctic continental shelf claims: Mapping interests in the circumpolar North

09-01-2017

As climate change has led to record sea ice decline, the Arctic has resurfaced as a region of global geopolitical relevance. The visibility of Arctic issues has increased, with international attention zooming in on the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. The Arctic – one of the least populated areas on Earth – has been a peaceful and stable arena for growing intergovernmental and non-governmental cooperation since the end of the Cold War. However, potential competition for natural resources and new ...

As climate change has led to record sea ice decline, the Arctic has resurfaced as a region of global geopolitical relevance. The visibility of Arctic issues has increased, with international attention zooming in on the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole. The Arctic – one of the least populated areas on Earth – has been a peaceful and stable arena for growing intergovernmental and non-governmental cooperation since the end of the Cold War. However, potential competition for natural resources and new navigation routes has sharpened the focus on divisions between the states that have coasts on the Arctic Ocean. Overlapping continental shelf claims, combined with Russia's increasing assertiveness, have sparked concern over potential new or rekindled disputes. The focus on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – the international 'constitution for the oceans', which also regulates the Arctic Ocean – has increased accordingly. At the same time, the importance of the Arctic as an element in national identities and narratives plays a key role in the discourse on national Arctic policies, which are aimed at both international and domestic audiences, thus linking geopolitics and emotions.

La Politique européenne de voisinage

20-12-2016

Depuis 2004, la Politique européenne de voisinage instaure un cadre général pour les relations de l'UE avec ses 16 États voisins les plus proches géographiquement. Ce cadre offre une coopération renforcée et un accès au marché européen par le biais de plans d'actions bilatéraux devant, à terme, aboutir à des accords d'association. Il est complété par trois volets régionaux, l'Union pour la Méditerranée, la Stratégie pour la mer Noire et le Partenariat oriental. L'Union pour la Méditerranée et le ...

Depuis 2004, la Politique européenne de voisinage instaure un cadre général pour les relations de l'UE avec ses 16 États voisins les plus proches géographiquement. Ce cadre offre une coopération renforcée et un accès au marché européen par le biais de plans d'actions bilatéraux devant, à terme, aboutir à des accords d'association. Il est complété par trois volets régionaux, l'Union pour la Méditerranée, la Stratégie pour la mer Noire et le Partenariat oriental. L'Union pour la Méditerranée et le Partenariat Oriental comportent un cadre multilatéral prenant la forme d'une série d'institutions partagées (Assemblée euro-méditerranéenne, Euronest, sommets réguliers). Les bouleversements géopolitiques majeurs engendrés par les printemps arabes au Sud de la Méditerranée depuis 2011 et par le conflit en Ukraine depuis 2014 poussent l'Union européenne à réviser en profondeur son action dans le voisinage. Le succès de cette réforme et de sa mise en œuvre est essentiel dans l'affirmation de l'UE comme acteur international. Pour cette raison, la Commission européenne et le Service européen pour l'action extérieure ont publié en novembre 2015 une communication sur la réforme de la Politique européenne de voisinage. Cette publication est une mise à jour de l'analyse approfondie publiée en octobre 2015, PE 569.048.

Japan: Economic indicators and trade with EU

16-12-2016

Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world. Its per capita GDP, though lower than in the past, is still higher than that of the EU. Unemployment is traditionally low. In terms of the Human Development Index (HDI), Japan is better placed than many EU Member States. However, it also has the largest public debt among the OECD countries and slow GDP growth. The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated may exploit the untapped potential of economic relations. For instance ...

Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world. Its per capita GDP, though lower than in the past, is still higher than that of the EU. Unemployment is traditionally low. In terms of the Human Development Index (HDI), Japan is better placed than many EU Member States. However, it also has the largest public debt among the OECD countries and slow GDP growth. The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated may exploit the untapped potential of economic relations. For instance, Japanese FDI inflows to the EU are decreasing, while EU investment in Japan is far from significant, despite a generally favourable Japanese business environment. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

ACP-EU relations after 2020: The end of an era

16-12-2016

One of the main building blocks of EU external relations, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), is set to expire in 2020. Due to EU institutional evolution and changes in the global balance of powers, a renewal 'as is' of the agreement is not an option. There is a need to streamline ACP-EU relations, with new EU strategies in the regions concerned, and to adapt to the ACP countries' new ambitions. The issue of financing is also on ...

One of the main building blocks of EU external relations, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP), is set to expire in 2020. Due to EU institutional evolution and changes in the global balance of powers, a renewal 'as is' of the agreement is not an option. There is a need to streamline ACP-EU relations, with new EU strategies in the regions concerned, and to adapt to the ACP countries' new ambitions. The issue of financing is also on the table. Stakeholders have started discussions, focusing on the overlaps with other frameworks and the assets that should be kept or reformed. The main challenge for the EU is to keep its leverage in the region while remaining faithful to the values the EU Treaties promote. The EU's new relationship with the ACP countries will have to be consistent with recent strategic changes in its foreign policy, such as the EU global strategy. Formal negotiations between the parties need to start in August 2018 at the latest. Further to a joint evaluation, the European Commission and the High Representative have put forward their preferred option: an umbrella agreement with tailored regional partnerships. To date, other stakeholders have not yet taken formal positions, but some discernible patterns are emerging. This briefing develops and updates an 'At a glance' note of September 2016.

Driving trade in the ASEAN region: Progress of FTA negotiations

14-12-2016

After negotiations between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a regional free trade agreement (FTA) were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six of them have started talks on a bilateral FTA with the EU. Negotiations have already been concluded with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, although those FTAs still await ratification. The EU's final objective is to have a region-to-region ...

After negotiations between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for a regional free trade agreement (FTA) were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six of them have started talks on a bilateral FTA with the EU. Negotiations have already been concluded with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, although those FTAs still await ratification. The EU's final objective is to have a region-to-region agreement with ASEAN, based on the bilateral FTAs concluded with the ASEAN member states. Once the conditions required for this to happen are in place, the EU and its ASEAN partners will need to determine how to bring all these bilateral agreements under one regional FTA, with a view to including ASEAN member states with which the EU does not have bilateral agreements. It is in the EU's strategic interest to strengthen economic cooperation with ASEAN, and to maintain its competitive position in the Asia-Pacific region, given its economic importance, combined with the expanding intraregional trade and investment relations and the growing number of regional integration initiatives. Back in 2006, in its communication entitled 'Global Europe: Competing in the world', the European Commission identified ASEAN as a potential FTA partner that should be given priority based on key economic criteria. The Commission's new 2015 trade strategy, entitled 'Trade for all – Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy', reaffirmed this objective.

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24-01-2017
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24-01-2017
Workshop on Building blocks of a future EU cohesion policy - first reflections
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24-01-2017
Workshop : Human Rights in Iran after the nuclear deal
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