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La République démocratique du Congo après les élections

22-01-2019

La Cour constitutionnelle de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) a confirmé la victoire de Félix Tshisekedi à l’élection présidentielle. Ce résultat est cependant contesté par un autre opposant et certains observateurs. Dès le début de son mandat, le nouveau président devra s’attacher à rétablir la confiance de ses voisins et de ses partenaires internationaux et combattre les inégalités dans un pays riche de ses matières premières mais où une grande partie de la population est frappée par la ...

La Cour constitutionnelle de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) a confirmé la victoire de Félix Tshisekedi à l’élection présidentielle. Ce résultat est cependant contesté par un autre opposant et certains observateurs. Dès le début de son mandat, le nouveau président devra s’attacher à rétablir la confiance de ses voisins et de ses partenaires internationaux et combattre les inégalités dans un pays riche de ses matières premières mais où une grande partie de la population est frappée par la pauvreté et voit sa situation aggravée par la récente épidémie d’Ebola.

International Agreements in Progress: The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) - A framework to promote shared values

22-01-2019

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive ...

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive contributor for peace'. In order to enhance their relations, in July 2018 the EU and Japan signed a binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – to come into force following ratfication by all Member States – along with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), negotiated in parallel. The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest. Once in force, the EU-Japan strategic partnership will become more operational. The agreement will facilitate joint EU-Japan efforts to promote shared values such as human rights and rule of law, a rules-based international system, and peace and stability across the world. It will allow EU-Japan security cooperation to reach its full potential. Second edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

State of play of EU-China relations

21-01-2019

EU-China relations are increasingly affected by growing Sino-United States strategic competition. The Trump Administration considers China a strategic competitor to confront, rather than a country with which to engage. The EU, on the contrary, refers to China as a strategic partner and, despite persistent and considerable differences in position in some areas, continues to engage. The United States’ current preference for bi and unilateralism, and withdrawal from multilateral arrangements, which ...

EU-China relations are increasingly affected by growing Sino-United States strategic competition. The Trump Administration considers China a strategic competitor to confront, rather than a country with which to engage. The EU, on the contrary, refers to China as a strategic partner and, despite persistent and considerable differences in position in some areas, continues to engage. The United States’ current preference for bi and unilateralism, and withdrawal from multilateral arrangements, which the EU considers vital elements of a rules-based international order, create openings for China to fill the gap. For the EU, this implies the need to seek issue-based alliances and to strengthen strategic cooperation with China on issues of common interest to reach and uphold multilateral solutions to global and regional challenges. Since 2013, the 2003 EU-China comprehensive strategic partnership has been broadened and deepened in line with the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. This has led to a high degree of institutionalisation of EU-China ties, with an ever-growing number of dialogue formats that cover political, economic and people-to-people relations, but whose tangible results vary significantly. Notwithstanding the frequency of political exchanges and successful cooperation on key global challenges, such as the nuclear deal with Iran and climate change, the economic pillar has remained the core of the relationship. As China is rapidly climbing the value-added ladder, trade is an area of cooperation where complementarity is shifting fast towards competition. Friction is unavoidable as two fundamentally different economic systems interact, and each side has its own understanding of what 'free' trade, 'fair' trade, 'reciprocity' and a 'level playing field' means. Given the wide diversity of EU Member States' interests and perceptions, which third countries may easily exploit for their own gains, the EU has struggled to come forward with a unified response to China-led initiatives. The European Parliament resolution on the state of play of EU-China relations adopted in September 2018 includes a critical assessment of China's foreign and domestic policies, including human rights, as well as of progress on the implementation of the EU-China strategic partnership.

Foreign policy and defence challenges [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-01-2019

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries, and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cybersecurity ...

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries, and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cybersecurity, as well as a lack of EU unity on certain issues, also feature amongst key challenges. This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on EU foreign and defence policies. Links to more reports on President Donald Trump’s policies, Russia, EU-China relations and NATO are available in previous items in this series, published last year.

Child labour: A priority for EU human rights action

15-01-2019

Despite a comprehensive normative international framework that prohibits child labour, it persists in many areas of the world, particularly in developing countries. In sub-Saharan-Africa, it has even increased in recent years. More efforts are therefore needed to combat child labour. However, not all work performed by children is harmful to their health and development. The first task is therefore to distinguish child labour – which entails harmful forms of work – from other forms of children's involvement ...

Despite a comprehensive normative international framework that prohibits child labour, it persists in many areas of the world, particularly in developing countries. In sub-Saharan-Africa, it has even increased in recent years. More efforts are therefore needed to combat child labour. However, not all work performed by children is harmful to their health and development. The first task is therefore to distinguish child labour – which entails harmful forms of work – from other forms of children's involvement with work that are acceptable and have an educational component. While international conventions provide a broad definition of child labour, they leave the task of defining more precise criteria, such as the acceptable number of working hours per week or what constitutes hazardous work, to national legislation. Child labour is a complex phenomenon that has a multiplicity of causes, among which poverty usually features first. It requires a comprehensive approach to fight it, including awareness-raising among families and local communities, due diligence by companies involved in global supply chains, and action by governments, international organisations and civil society. The European Union protects children's rights through both its internal and external policies. It has deployed measures to fight child labour through cooperation with international organisations and has funded development projects whose aim is to counter it. The human rights conditionality enshrined in the EU's trade arrangements provides another path for tackling child labour. Nevertheless, there are numerous calls from civil society and the European Parliament to impose binding legal obligations on EU-based companies, to make sure their imports of goods from developing countries are free of child labour.

The global compact on refugees: Strengthening international cooperation to ease the plight of refugees in the world

11-01-2019

Recent large-scale flows of refugees and migrants have brought to the world's attention more forcefully than ever the plight of persons who are forced to flee their homes because of war, insecurity or persecution. They have also exposed how ill-prepared the international community has been to deal with this challenge and how uneven the distribution of the burden of caring for such people has been among countries. In 2016, to enhance preparedness for refugee crises, improve the situation of refugees ...

Recent large-scale flows of refugees and migrants have brought to the world's attention more forcefully than ever the plight of persons who are forced to flee their homes because of war, insecurity or persecution. They have also exposed how ill-prepared the international community has been to deal with this challenge and how uneven the distribution of the burden of caring for such people has been among countries. In 2016, to enhance preparedness for refugee crises, improve the situation of refugees and relieve the burden on host societies, the United Nations (UN) member states convened in New York and adopted a declaration paving the way for a non-binding international compact on refugees. They annexed to this declaration a comprehensive refugee response framework that spelled out a series of short- and longer-term measures to address refugee crises. The framework has been applied in several pilot countries and the lessons learnt fed into a global compact on refugees. The compact was drafted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) following broad consultations with various stakeholders, and its definitive version was adopted by the UN General Assembly with a large majority on 17 December 2018. The global compact focuses on international-, regional- and national-level mechanisms for achieving a fairer distribution of the responsibilities related to refugees, and on areas where action can be improved. It has been criticised, among other things, for its non-binding character and for excluding victims of natural disasters from its scope. This is an updated edition of a Briefing published in June 2018.

Ten issues to watch in 2019

08-01-2019

This is the third edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify and frame some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are the outlook for a new European Parliament and new European Commission, the way forward for the soon-to-be EU-27, the future financing of the Union, the process of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, internal ...

This is the third edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify and frame some of the key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. The topics analysed are the outlook for a new European Parliament and new European Commission, the way forward for the soon-to-be EU-27, the future financing of the Union, the process of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and collective intelligence, internal security, trade wars, Africa, electric mobility, and the oceans.

The US Congress in 2019: What to expect

20-12-2018

Following the mid-term elections of 6 November 2018, the new United States Congress will start work on 3 January 2019 with a Republican majority in the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The shift of power in the House is likely to affect key issues including oversight and immigration.

Following the mid-term elections of 6 November 2018, the new United States Congress will start work on 3 January 2019 with a Republican majority in the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The shift of power in the House is likely to affect key issues including oversight and immigration.

2018: Challenges and choices [What Think Tanks are thinking]

20-12-2018

After 2017 brought optimism for the European Union, 2018 has proved a year of tougher challenges and choices. It was a time of slower growth, with the spectre of a global trade war. Turbulent negotiations on Brexit brought an agreement, but the chances of its approval by the UK House of Commons look unpromising. It was a year of uncertainty for transatlantic ties and for US global leadership. Tensions re-emerged over migration. Progress in overhauling the euro-area was limited. The simmering Russia-Ukrainian ...

After 2017 brought optimism for the European Union, 2018 has proved a year of tougher challenges and choices. It was a time of slower growth, with the spectre of a global trade war. Turbulent negotiations on Brexit brought an agreement, but the chances of its approval by the UK House of Commons look unpromising. It was a year of uncertainty for transatlantic ties and for US global leadership. Tensions re-emerged over migration. Progress in overhauling the euro-area was limited. The simmering Russia-Ukrainian conflict erupted again. These and other developments form the backdrop for the European elections in 2019. This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the state of the EU in 2018 and its outlook in several important areas.

Europe's online encyclopaedias: Equal access to knowledge of general interest in a post-truth era?

19-12-2018

The post-truth era – in which emotions trump evidence, while trust in institutions, expertise and mainstream media is declining – is putting our information ecosystem under strain. At a time when information is increasingly being manipulated for ideological and economic purposes, public access to sources of trustworthy general-interest knowledge – such as national online encyclopaedias – can help boost our cognitive resilience. Basic, reliable background information about history, culture, society ...

The post-truth era – in which emotions trump evidence, while trust in institutions, expertise and mainstream media is declining – is putting our information ecosystem under strain. At a time when information is increasingly being manipulated for ideological and economic purposes, public access to sources of trustworthy general-interest knowledge – such as national online encyclopaedias – can help boost our cognitive resilience. Basic, reliable background information about history, culture, society and politics is an essential part of our societies' complex knowledge ecosystem, and an important tool for anyone searching for knowledge, facts or figures.

Upcoming events

23-01-2019
Implementation of EU Funds aimed at fighting violence against women & girls – Hearing
Hearing -
FEMM
23-01-2019
Role and impact of the European Parliament in the 2014-19 legislative term
Other event -
EPRS
23-01-2019
Public Hearing on the Future of Small-Scale Fisheries in the EU
Hearing -
PECH

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