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From TPP to new trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region

24-05-2017

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed in February 2016 by the representatives of its 12 member countries, is a comprehensive regional agreement dealing with a wide range of trade and trade-related issues. In January 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP, making it impossible for the agreement, as it is currently drafted, to take effect. Despite the US withdrawal, the remaining TPP participating countries are determined to salvage the benefits of the agreement, ...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed in February 2016 by the representatives of its 12 member countries, is a comprehensive regional agreement dealing with a wide range of trade and trade-related issues. In January 2017, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the TPP, making it impossible for the agreement, as it is currently drafted, to take effect. Despite the US withdrawal, the remaining TPP participating countries are determined to salvage the benefits of the agreement, and are working to develop alternative approaches to bring the trade deal into force. The failure of the TPP is likely to influence the way that other economic and trade cooperation initiatives, including the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), will develop in the Asia-Pacific region. The US withdrawal also represents an opportunity for the EU, which is strongly committed to a robust trade policy and an open trading system, to advance its interests in the region. The EU is currently working on or has already concluded bilateral trade agreements with almost all TPP member countries.

President Trump's first months in office: The course of transatlantic relations

23-05-2017

On 25 May 2017, President Trump attends the NATO Summit in Brussels, as well as meeting with top EU officials, including the Presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council, Donald Tusk, and European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. A review of Trump's term thus far (using the 100-day benchmark) sheds light on current issues in transatlantic affairs in the context of this visit. While an address to Congress on 3 May by the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has helped to clarify ...

On 25 May 2017, President Trump attends the NATO Summit in Brussels, as well as meeting with top EU officials, including the Presidents of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council, Donald Tusk, and European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. A review of Trump's term thus far (using the 100-day benchmark) sheds light on current issues in transatlantic affairs in the context of this visit. While an address to Congress on 3 May by the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has helped to clarify the administration's approach, the implications of Trump’s ‘America First’ policy for EU-US cooperation are still far from clear. Unpredictability has marked President Trump’s time in office to date, and many analysts are yet to discern a firm strategic direction in his foreign policies. His proposed budget cuts for FY2018 have raised concerns on both sides of the Atlantic over a potential US retreat from its leadership on human rights and development. He has rolled back emissions regulations in the USA, but has not yet pulled out of the Paris Agreement, as promised during his campaign. Relations with Russia have fluctuated significantly. Trump has also notably altered his stance on certain issues; for example, he has acknowledged the importance of NATO, and sought to maintain good ties with China. Thus far his policy towards the Middle East has not constituted a radical departure from that of the previous administration, though as with his interactions with other world leaders, he has brought a personal touch to his exchanges with leaders from the region. Since the EU and US share common interests and cooperate in many areas, Trump’s disjointed approach has caused uncertainty in Europe. President Trump has not publicly addressed relations with the EU in the first months of his presidency, beyond acknowledging the value of a strong Europe during an April meeting with the Italian Prime Minister. Thus, the outcome of this Brussels visit will be important in establishing how EU-US relations will develop under the new administration.

Energy: a shaping factor for regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean?

16-05-2017

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and ...

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and political stability. However, initial expectations largely cooled down over time, particularly due to delays in investment decision in Israel and the downward revision of gas resources in Cyprus. These developments even raised scepticism about the idea of the Eastern Mediterranean becoming a sizeable gas-exporting region. But initial expectations were revived in 2015, after the discovery of the large Zohr gas field in offshore Egypt. Considering its large size, this discovery has reshaped the regional gas outlook, and has also raised new regional cooperation prospects. However, multiple lines of conflict in the region continue to make future Eastern Mediterranean gas activities a major geopolitical issue. This study seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of all these developments, with the ultimate aim of assessing the realistic implications of regional gas discoveries for both Eastern Mediterranean countries and the EU.

External author

Simone TAGLIAPIETRA

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - May 2017

12-05-2017

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

EU-South Korea free trade agreement

10-05-2017

The EU-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA), applied since July 2011, entered into force in December 2015. The agreement has successfully boosted EU-Korea trade exchange. The European Parliament is due to adopt a report on the five years of the FTA's implementation in May 2017.

The EU-South Korea free trade agreement (FTA), applied since July 2011, entered into force in December 2015. The agreement has successfully boosted EU-Korea trade exchange. The European Parliament is due to adopt a report on the five years of the FTA's implementation in May 2017.

Kosovo: 2016 country report

10-05-2017

In May, the European Parliament is due to vote on a resolution on Kosovo's 2016 report. It calls for restoring the political dialogue in the country, swift fulfilment of the Commission's two conditions for visa liberalisation and continued commitment to the normalisation of relations with Belgrade.

In May, the European Parliament is due to vote on a resolution on Kosovo's 2016 report. It calls for restoring the political dialogue in the country, swift fulfilment of the Commission's two conditions for visa liberalisation and continued commitment to the normalisation of relations with Belgrade.

Serbia: 2016 country report

10-05-2017

In May 2017, the European Parliament is to vote on a motion for a resolution on Serbia's 2016 country report. It acknowledges Serbia's progress with EU accession talks and its rigorous reform agenda, and highlights that dialogue with Pristina and 'rule of law' reforms remain areas for priority action.

In May 2017, the European Parliament is to vote on a motion for a resolution on Serbia's 2016 country report. It acknowledges Serbia's progress with EU accession talks and its rigorous reform agenda, and highlights that dialogue with Pristina and 'rule of law' reforms remain areas for priority action.

International Criminal Court at 15: International justice and the crisis of multilateralism

10-05-2017

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 July 2002 was heralded at the time as a major breakthrough for ending impunity for most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Fifteen years later, the record of the Court is mixed and criticism from both supporters and opponents has abounded. The challenges and the criticism it is currently facing are typical of many other multilateral institutions today. The Court has conducted ...

The establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on 1 July 2002 was heralded at the time as a major breakthrough for ending impunity for most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Fifteen years later, the record of the Court is mixed and criticism from both supporters and opponents has abounded. The challenges and the criticism it is currently facing are typical of many other multilateral institutions today. The Court has conducted investigations and trials on some of the world's most brutal conflicts, but it has faced criticism that it was politicised and biased against the African continent. The atrocities committed by groups such as ISIL/Da'esh have unveiled the ICC's limitations, since it is unable to investigate in Syria and Iraq, which are not parties to the Rome Statute, without UN Security Council authorisation. As a multilateral institution with universal ambitions, the Court is also limited in its effectiveness by the refusal of major powers such as the US, China and Russia to join it. Lack of cooperation by some states parties has also severely constrained its effectiveness. Yet the Court has had positive effects on the capacity of some states to deal themselves with crimes under their jurisdiction. The Court has taken its role seriously, not shying away from indicting persons of the highest rank, such as heads of state, and proving that it is committed to the principle of universal responsibility. Shortcomings in the prosecutorial investigations, for example in relation to witness interference and protection, have been addressed in a transparent and firm way.

The future of multilateralism: Crisis or opportunity?

10-05-2017

Multilateralism lies at the core of the EU’s identity and of its engagement with the world. Both the 2003 European Security Strategy and the 2016 Global Strategy emphasised the importance of a rules-based global order with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations (UN) at its core, and made its promotion part of the EU’s strategic goals. Yet, in spite of widespread acknowledgement of the achievements of the multilateral international order established after the Second World War, ...

Multilateralism lies at the core of the EU’s identity and of its engagement with the world. Both the 2003 European Security Strategy and the 2016 Global Strategy emphasised the importance of a rules-based global order with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations (UN) at its core, and made its promotion part of the EU’s strategic goals. Yet, in spite of widespread acknowledgement of the achievements of the multilateral international order established after the Second World War, and in particular of the attainment of long-lasting peace, multilateral institutions and the liberal international order in which they are embedded have recently been the subject of severe criticism. The rise of populist nationalism has been interpreted, among other things, as a crisis in support for the multilateral order. Some of the causes of this crisis are related to the emergence of new actors in the global scene, the expansive nature of multilateral institutions, the widening gap between publics and international institutions and the decline of American power. The election of Donald Trump, who had repeatedly questioned the value of multilateral organisations such as the UN, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), has led to even greater preoccupation about the future of global governance. In this scenario, several scholars suggest that the EU and the G20 should be proactive in safeguarding multilateralism, while acknowledging and promoting the necessary reforms to the architecture of global governance.

South Korea's presidential election: Potential for a new EU role in the Korean Peninsula

08-05-2017

South Korea has been shaken by a succession of corruption scandals involving politicians, judges, senior officials, businessmen and even academics. Impeachment of the country's first female president, the conservative Park Guen-hye, was confirmed by the Constitutional Court, and snap Presidential elections take place on 9 May 2017. Moon Jae-in, a liberal politician and a leading Minjoo (Democratic Party) personality, leads the polls and is the prospective next President of South Korea. Whoever will ...

South Korea has been shaken by a succession of corruption scandals involving politicians, judges, senior officials, businessmen and even academics. Impeachment of the country's first female president, the conservative Park Guen-hye, was confirmed by the Constitutional Court, and snap Presidential elections take place on 9 May 2017. Moon Jae-in, a liberal politician and a leading Minjoo (Democratic Party) personality, leads the polls and is the prospective next President of South Korea. Whoever will run the country is expected to launch an era of political and constitutional reform, as well as reducing the power of the chaebol, business conglomerates which enjoy outsize influence and impunity. Moon and the Minjoo are critical of deployment of the US-developed anti-missile shield, Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD). A new direction to relations with North Korea is also expected, with a shift from military deterrence to an engagement attitude. This new course could favour stability in the region, paving the way for a new role for the European Union, which could offer its experience in dialogue and integration to engage in a possible future denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Upcoming events

29-05-2017
The future of OLAF
Workshop -
CONT
30-05-2017
The potential of electricity demand response
Workshop -
ITRE
30-05-2017
The current challenges of fighting terrorism and serious crime
Hearing -
LIBE

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