1342

result(s)

Word(s)
Publication type
Policy area
Author
Keyword
Date

FTA talks with Australia and New Zealand

23-10-2017

On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented recommendations to the Council to authorise the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In October, the Parliament is due to debate reports by the Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the proposed negotiating mandate for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented recommendations to the Council to authorise the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In October, the Parliament is due to debate reports by the Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the proposed negotiating mandate for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

The European Council and the 2017 State of the Union proposals

23-10-2017

In his 2017 State of the Union address to the European Parliament, the European Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, took stock of EU developments over the past year and outlined his vision for the future of the EU, which would lead to a 'more united, stronger and more democratic Europe'. His vision consists of five proposals which would require a decision by the European Council, as well as one suggestion which would directly impact on the composition and working methods of this EU institution ...

In his 2017 State of the Union address to the European Parliament, the European Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, took stock of EU developments over the past year and outlined his vision for the future of the EU, which would lead to a 'more united, stronger and more democratic Europe'. His vision consists of five proposals which would require a decision by the European Council, as well as one suggestion which would directly impact on the composition and working methods of this EU institution. The five proposals are: 1) using the general passerelle clause to shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council on remaining internal market issues and aspects of taxation policy; 2) moving to QMV in the field of Common Foreign and SEcurity Policy (CFSP); 3) setting up a European Defence Union; 4) extending the competences of the European Public Prosecutor's Office; 5) agreeing on a new composition for the European Parliament, including transnational lists. The additional suggestion is to merge the positions of President of the European Council and European Commission. In principle, all proposed initiatives could be carried out without a Treaty change. The Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) include a series of clauses enabling the European Council to go beyond the current status quo. In three cases, the European Council would need the consent of the European Parliament before taking its decision. A comparison between President Juncker's proposals and the views of the European Parliament indicates that their opinions overlap regarding four of the ideas, while on one of them, discussions in the Parliament are still ongoing (see Table 1 below).

Outlook for the European Council meeting on 19-20 October 2017 and the European Council (Article 50) meeting on 20 October 2017

23-10-2017

At their meeting on 19-20 October 2017, EU leaders will focus on migration, in particular assessing the progress made in stemming illegal flows on all migration routes, and digital Europe, following up on the Digital Summit held in Tallinn on 29 September. Heads of State or Government will also discuss defence, in particular the preparations for permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) as well as external relations, including relations with Turkey. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk ...

At their meeting on 19-20 October 2017, EU leaders will focus on migration, in particular assessing the progress made in stemming illegal flows on all migration routes, and digital Europe, following up on the Digital Summit held in Tallinn on 29 September. Heads of State or Government will also discuss defence, in particular the preparations for permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) as well as external relations, including relations with Turkey. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is expected to present the new 'Leaders' Agenda 2017-2018', outlining the decisions that need to be taken at the level of the European Council in the coming year. Finally, EU-27 leaders will meet on 20 October in a separate formal European Council (Article 50), without the United Kingdom, to discuss the latest developments in the latter’s withdrawal negotiations. It is expected that the European Council (Article 50) will postpone the decision on starting the second phase of negotiations on the EU's future relations with the UK until the December 2017 European Council, due to insufficient progress having been made to date.

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

23-10-2017

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 seven 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 seven 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.

US decertification of the Iran nuclear deal

20-10-2017

On 13 October, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the international nuclear agreement of 2015. This will likely result in a vote on the deal in Congress. The EU and the rest of the international community intend to keep to the agreement.

On 13 October, US President Donald Trump announced his decision not to certify Iran's compliance with the international nuclear agreement of 2015. This will likely result in a vote on the deal in Congress. The EU and the rest of the international community intend to keep to the agreement.

Reintegration of returning migrants

20-10-2017

Returning more and more migrants with irregular status to their countries of origin has become a key European Union aim in efforts to reduce illegal migration. Despite its high political priority, reiterated in European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's 2017 State of the Union address, the effective implementation of this objective is problematic, mainly due to resistance at the individual level, but also from the countries of origin. The 2016 partnership framework with third countries attempts ...

Returning more and more migrants with irregular status to their countries of origin has become a key European Union aim in efforts to reduce illegal migration. Despite its high political priority, reiterated in European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's 2017 State of the Union address, the effective implementation of this objective is problematic, mainly due to resistance at the individual level, but also from the countries of origin. The 2016 partnership framework with third countries attempts to enhance cooperation with partner countries on readmission, using a wide range of positive and negative policy incentives. To make the return option more attractive for migrants with irregular status, the EU's return policy promotes voluntary returns through reintegration assistance packages. No less than 90 specific assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes (AVRR) have been established by EU Member States, co-financed by the European Union, and implemented mainly by the International Organization on Migration (IOM). Maximising sustainable returns, understood not only as absence of re emigration, but also as a returnee's positive impact on the development of their communities of origin, is a key challenge. The nature of return chosen, and the success of economic and social integration of migrants in host countries, are the main factors of successful reintegration at the pre-departure stage, together with social and psychological counselling in preparing the reintegration project. Following arrival, training and in-kind assistance to start up a business, accompanied by measures to re-establish social networks, are what works best. Close cooperation with local partners is necessary to include reintegration assistance within existing development initiatives, to avoid duplication, resentment against returnees, and to respond to local needs.

EU enlargement, Western Balkans and Turkey [What Think Tanks are thinking]

20-10-2017

In his State of the Union speech in September 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for keeping a credible European Union membership perspective for Western Balkan countries, while ruling out the possibility of Turkey joining the EU in 'the foreseeable future' due to violations to the rule of law and fundamental rights. According to the Commission's assessment, the forecasts for economic growth in the Western Balkans are good, although progress on reform has been slow, the ...

In his State of the Union speech in September 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for keeping a credible European Union membership perspective for Western Balkan countries, while ruling out the possibility of Turkey joining the EU in 'the foreseeable future' due to violations to the rule of law and fundamental rights. According to the Commission's assessment, the forecasts for economic growth in the Western Balkans are good, although progress on reform has been slow, the rule of law has been weak, and corruption is persistent. From the Western Balkans, only Croatia has joined the EU, in 2013. Accession talks continue with Montenegro and Serbia. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are official candidates. Bosnia and Herzegovina formally applied for EU membership in 2016, and remains a potential candidate country, along with Kosovo. Relations between Turkey, an official candidate country, and the EU have been strained for some time due to what many politicians and analysts perceive as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly autocratic style. This note offers links to a series of recent studies and comments from major international think tanks and research institutes on EU enlargement, Western Balkans and Turkey. More reports on the EU enlargement process can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in March 2017. More reports on Turkey are available in another edition from the series, also published in March.

Towards food security in Africa: Are international private-public initiatives paving the way?

16-10-2017

The rise in global hunger in recent years undermines the perspective of 'zero hunger by 2030' set out in the United Nations Agenda 2030. Africa is particularly affected, with more than a quarter of its population living in a situation of severe food insecurity, and its agriculture suffering from major hindrances to production. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) is one of the international initiatives that have both raised high expectations and opened up controversy ...

The rise in global hunger in recent years undermines the perspective of 'zero hunger by 2030' set out in the United Nations Agenda 2030. Africa is particularly affected, with more than a quarter of its population living in a situation of severe food insecurity, and its agriculture suffering from major hindrances to production. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) is one of the international initiatives that have both raised high expectations and opened up controversy. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multinational firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. Improved commercial seeds, use of inorganic fertilisers, infrastructure development and land-administration reforms are among the key elements of the project, underpinned by the use of public-private partnerships. After its first years of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the African countries involved. By contrast, its critics say that while paying lip service to smallholders, it serves the interests of corporate farming with no proven impact on food security. In 2016, the European Parliament voiced its concerns, pointing at a number of negative repercussions mainly on small-holders, and calling for a deep revamp of the NAFSN and the European Union (EU) support for agro-ecology based on small-scale farming. This briefing is a follow-up of an EP Library Briefing from October 2013.

Russian ties with China in the face of Western sanctions

16-10-2017

Since the West imposed sanctions on Russia, in response to its annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of eastern Ukraine in 2014, the country has accelerated its 'turn to the East' and notably to like-minded China, in an attempt to offset its loss of access to Western financial markets and advanced technology. Three years on, the economic outcomes appear to have fallen largely short of Russia's high expectations. The most visible signs of the incremental Sino-Russian economic rapprochement have ...

Since the West imposed sanctions on Russia, in response to its annexation of Crimea and destabilisation of eastern Ukraine in 2014, the country has accelerated its 'turn to the East' and notably to like-minded China, in an attempt to offset its loss of access to Western financial markets and advanced technology. Three years on, the economic outcomes appear to have fallen largely short of Russia's high expectations. The most visible signs of the incremental Sino-Russian economic rapprochement have been long-term and large-scale deals orchestrated by the two countries' top leaderships in a number of state-controlled strategic sectors. Politically, these highly publicised agreements were meant to signal to the West that Russia under sanctions had ample other options. Economically, the jury is still out on whether they will be beneficial for Russia in the long run, since it has had to make major concessions to China. The asymmetry of their relationship has thus become further entrenched, although appearances may suggest otherwise. Moreover, the state-led deals have so far failed to generate major spill-over effects to other less state-dominated sectors. China and Russia pursue two competing concepts of regional integration for Eurasia – the China-initiated Silk Road Economic Belt and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union – which experts consider incompatible. It remains to be seen what form, if any, their envisaged coordination will take, and how this will reshape the economic order in the EU's neighbourhood. Closer Sino-Russian strategic alignment on global governance issues – despite its limits – is likely to diminish the space for governance concepts developed by Western liberal democracies and the core values associated with them.

Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum

11-10-2017

On 25 September 2017, the government of the autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq, under its president, Masoud Barzani, organised a referendum on independence, disregarding calls by the Iraqi central government and the international community to postpone it. The referendum was held in the Kurdistan Region's constituencies and also in the neighbouring 'disputed' territories, in particular the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, which have de facto if not legally been governed by the Kurdish authorities since ...

On 25 September 2017, the government of the autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq, under its president, Masoud Barzani, organised a referendum on independence, disregarding calls by the Iraqi central government and the international community to postpone it. The referendum was held in the Kurdistan Region's constituencies and also in the neighbouring 'disputed' territories, in particular the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, which have de facto if not legally been governed by the Kurdish authorities since the moment they were recaptured from ISIL/Da'esh. Even though the 'yes' side has won, it is by no means certain that a Kurdish state will emerge in the near future. Such a state would be weakened by internal divisions and poor economic conditions. In addition, Syria, Turkey and Iran strongly condemned the referendum and have taken retaliatory action. Among other considerations, they are worried that an independent Kurdish state would encourage their own Kurdish populations to seek greater autonomy. However, the prospect of a Greater Kurdistan is remote, since the regional Kurdish landscape is dominated by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and its affiliate parties, which do not share the Iraqi Kurdish leaders' ideology or strategic alliances. Concerned by the fragmentation of the Middle East, the EU, the USA, Russia, and most of the region's powers other than Israel, disapproved of the referendum, which took place in the context of the ongoing fight against ISIL/Da'esh, and called for negotiations within the existing Iraqi borders. This briefing updates Regional implications of Iraqi Kurdistan's quest for independence, EPRS, December 2016.

Upcoming events

24-10-2017
EXHIBITION: The 60th anniversary of the two founding Treaties
Other event -
EPRS
07-11-2017
Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: The untapped potential
Other event -
EPRS
07-11-2017
Round table discussion: Being European
Other event -
EPRS

Partners

Stay connected

email update imageEmail updates system

You can follow anyone or anything linked to the Parliament using the email updates system, which sends updates directly to your mailbox. This includes the latest news about MEPs, committees, the news services or the Think Tank.

You can access the system from any page on the Parliament website. To sign up and receive notifications on Think Tank, simply submit your email address, select the subject you are interested in, indicate how often you want to be informed (daily, weekly or monthly) and confirm the registration by clicking on the link that will be emailed to you.

RSS imageRSS feeds

Follow all news and updates from the European Parliament website by making use of our RSS feed.

Please click on the link below to configure your RSS feed.

widget imageRSS widgets

Please click on the button below to add a widget covering publications available via the Think Tank to your website.

Create a RSS widget