1388

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Russia in the southern Caucasus

18-01-2018

Armenia is a Russian ally, Georgia has chosen a pro-Western course, while Azerbaijan has kept its distance from both sides. Despite these differences, Russia has significant economic interests in all three Caucasian countries and enjoys considerable soft power.

Armenia is a Russian ally, Georgia has chosen a pro-Western course, while Azerbaijan has kept its distance from both sides. Despite these differences, Russia has significant economic interests in all three Caucasian countries and enjoys considerable soft power.

Sanctions over Ukraine: Impact on Russia

17-01-2018

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public ...

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public opinion, which continues to staunchly back the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine. Despite Western efforts to isolate Russia, the country is playing an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. On the other hand, sectoral sanctions have proved painful, aggravating an economic downturn triggered by falling oil prices, from which the country has only just begun to recover. Sanctions have affected the Russian economy in various ways. The main short-term impact comes from restrictions on Western lending and investment in Russia. Oil and gas production remains unaffected for the time being, but in the long term energy exports are likely to suffer. Meanwhile, Russian counter-sanctions are benefiting the country's agricultural sector, but consumers are losing out in terms of choice and price. Quantitative estimates of the impact are difficult, but most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth. This is an updated edition of a briefing from March 2016, PE 579.084.

Europe's online encyclopaedias: Equal access to knowledge of general interest?

16-01-2018

The post-fact 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 source 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-fact 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 source 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 any citizen searching for knowledge, facts and figures.

Western Balkans in the spotlight in 2018

15-01-2018

With positive messages and increased attention coming from the EU, 2017 seems to have ended on a high note for the Western Balkans. 2018 starts with the region being high on the agenda of Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency, and promises a favourable context for advancing its EU bids. For this to happen, however, the six WB countries need to show results on the core EU-related reforms.

With positive messages and increased attention coming from the EU, 2017 seems to have ended on a high note for the Western Balkans. 2018 starts with the region being high on the agenda of Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency, and promises a favourable context for advancing its EU bids. For this to happen, however, the six WB countries need to show results on the core EU-related reforms.

Ten issues to watch in 2018

08-01-2018

This is the second edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. Topics presented include: the implications for the EU of the terrorism threat, the North Korean issue, the security challenges posed by disinformation, fake news and cyber-crime, the ongoing migration crisis and rising inequalities. Other important policy areas covered are youth empowerment ...

This is the second edition of an annual EPRS publication designed to identify key issues and policy areas that are likely to feature prominently on the political agenda of the European Union over the coming year. Topics presented include: the implications for the EU of the terrorism threat, the North Korean issue, the security challenges posed by disinformation, fake news and cyber-crime, the ongoing migration crisis and rising inequalities. Other important policy areas covered are youth empowerment, the EU budget, the future of the euro area, the European elections in 2019 and, last but not least, Brexit.

Radicalisation and violent extremism – focus on women: How women become radicalised, and how to empower them to prevent radicalisation

21-12-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, focuses on Islamist radicalisation and violent extremism in the EU and has two aims: 1) to explore and assess the question of women’s radicalisation and their involvement in violent extremism in the EU as well as to look into the mechanisms in place to prevent women and girls from radicalisation and propose further ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, focuses on Islamist radicalisation and violent extremism in the EU and has two aims: 1) to explore and assess the question of women’s radicalisation and their involvement in violent extremism in the EU as well as to look into the mechanisms in place to prevent women and girls from radicalisation and propose further actions; and 2) to identify the potential of women in preventing radicalisation, in particular by looking into women’s current role in counter-radicalisation strategies and to explore potential gendered approaches and best practices to counter-radicalisation.

External author

Seran DE LEEDE Renate HAUPFLEISCH Katja KOROLKOVA Monika NATTER With contributions by: Claudia CARVALHO (Case study Spain) Hadiya MASIEH (Case study United Kingdom)

United States Congress: Facts and Figures

19-12-2017

Congress is the legislative branch of the US system of government and is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and the Senate (upper chamber). The formal powers of Congress are set out in Article 1 of the US Constitution, and include making laws, collecting revenue, borrowing and spending money, declaring war, making treaties with foreign nations, and overseeing the executive branch. Elections to the US Congress occur in November every second year, with the Congress ...

Congress is the legislative branch of the US system of government and is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and the Senate (upper chamber). The formal powers of Congress are set out in Article 1 of the US Constitution, and include making laws, collecting revenue, borrowing and spending money, declaring war, making treaties with foreign nations, and overseeing the executive branch. Elections to the US Congress occur in November every second year, with the Congress convening the following January. The current, 115th, Congress was elected in November 2016 and was convened in January 2017. The US has a long-standing two-party system, which means that nearly all members of Congress belong to either the Republican or Democratic Parties, while independent members (if any) generally align or sit with one of the two main parties. At the most recent US Congressional and Presidential elections, in November 2016, the Republican Party retained its majority in both houses of Congress, as well as winning the White House. This EPRS Briefing is designed to provide key facts and figures about the US Congress as an institution, including relevant comparisons with the European Parliament (EP). The back page contains a map showing the location of the various Congressional buildings on Capitol Hill, home to the Congress in Washington DC.

EU efforts on counter-terrorism - Capacity-building in third countries

19-12-2017

In the European Union (EU), responsibility for counter-terrorism lies primarily with Member States. However, the role of the EU itself in counter-terrorism has grown significantly in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that have hit Europe in the post-'9/11' era. The cross-border aspects of the terrorist threat call for a coordinated EU approach. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as internal and external security, has come to shape the ...

In the European Union (EU), responsibility for counter-terrorism lies primarily with Member States. However, the role of the EU itself in counter-terrorism has grown significantly in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that have hit Europe in the post-'9/11' era. The cross-border aspects of the terrorist threat call for a coordinated EU approach. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as internal and external security, has come to shape the EU's actions beyond its own borders. In the context of terrorism, the EU has an extensive toolkit of human and financial resources that support third countries in managing or mitigating terrorist threats. A key element of EU action is capacity-building in partner countries, to ensure local ownership, a sustainable assistance model and the full use of local expertise for challenges that are geographically distinct. The EU's external capacity-building efforts in counter-terrorism include security sector reform (SSR)-associated measures, such as strengthening the rule of law, improving the governance of security providers, improving border management, reforming the armed forces, and training law enforcement actors. As part of the EU's multifaceted assistance, efforts to curb terrorist funding and improve strategic communications to counter radicalisation and violent extremism complement SSR-related activities. Soft-power projects funded through the Commission's different funding instruments, coupled with both military and civilian common security and defence policy missions provide the framework through which the EU tries to address both the root causes and the symptoms of terrorism and radicalisation.

European Council Conclusions: A Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date

18-12-2017

The European Council's role – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' - has developed rapidly over the past eight years. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery of the various commitments made in the conclusions ...

The European Council's role – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' - has developed rapidly over the past eight years. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think-tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery of the various commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview, presented in the form of a regularly updated Rolling Check-List of Commitments to Date, is designed to review the degree of progress in realising the goals which the European Council has set itself since January 2010 and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.

Religion and the EU's external policies: Increasing engagement

15-12-2017

Since 11 September 2001, the European Union has been increasingly confronted by religious crises in a world in which globalisation is reshaping religious demography. In parallel with similar developments in the Member States and the United States, the EU has developed instruments to give greater consideration to religious trends when addressing human rights concerns and engaging key partner countries. Faith-based organisations are playing a pivotal role in a number of new fields, including climate ...

Since 11 September 2001, the European Union has been increasingly confronted by religious crises in a world in which globalisation is reshaping religious demography. In parallel with similar developments in the Member States and the United States, the EU has developed instruments to give greater consideration to religious trends when addressing human rights concerns and engaging key partner countries. Faith-based organisations are playing a pivotal role in a number of new fields, including climate change, development, and conflict resolution, and the EU is taking them increasingly into account. In addition, religion plays an important role in the internal and external policies of some key EU partners, as this study shows in annexes. That is why this field is slowly emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. The annexes in this paper, concerning individual countries, were drafted by Naja Bentzen, Gisela Grieger, Beatrix Immenkamp, Elena Lazarou, Velina Lilyanova, Martin Russell, Alexandra Friede and Jessica Park.

Upcoming events

23-01-2018
Investments in the EU: where are we? EFSI, ESIF and Financial Instruments
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23-01-2018
The global digital revolution: Latest thinking from the OECD
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EPRS
23-01-2018
The Internet of the Human Body: Towards a Habeas Data?
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EPRS

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