1305

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Ukraine and the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

25-07-2017

Relations between the European Union and Ukraine have been improving since the Maidan protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, leading to the election of pro-Western Petro Poroshenko as head of state. At their meeting on 12-13 July, EU and Ukrainian leaders welcomed the completion of the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the recent entry into force of visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens. However, Ukraine's security situation remains precarious following Russia's ...

Relations between the European Union and Ukraine have been improving since the Maidan protests ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, leading to the election of pro-Western Petro Poroshenko as head of state. At their meeting on 12-13 July, EU and Ukrainian leaders welcomed the completion of the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the recent entry into force of visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens. However, Ukraine's security situation remains precarious following Russia's annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, in which Russia's role is unclear. The EU is also urging Ukraine to fight corruption with more determination. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks on the situation in Ukraine and its relations with the EU.

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

La Coopération Structurée Permanente: Perspectives nationales et état d’avancement

17-07-2017

Un an après le Brexit, les Etats membres de l’Union européenne semblent sur le point de réveiller la ≪ belle au bois dormant ≫ de la défense européenne: la coopération structurée permanente, plus connue sous son acronyme anglais de PESCO. Ont-ils bien la même compréhension de l’objectif qu’il s’agit d’atteindre et les voies et moyens pour y parvenir, ou sont-ils seulement animés par la volonté de ne pas rester à la péripherie d’une sorte d’eurogroupe de défense en train de se constituer ? Quels sont ...

Un an après le Brexit, les Etats membres de l’Union européenne semblent sur le point de réveiller la ≪ belle au bois dormant ≫ de la défense européenne: la coopération structurée permanente, plus connue sous son acronyme anglais de PESCO. Ont-ils bien la même compréhension de l’objectif qu’il s’agit d’atteindre et les voies et moyens pour y parvenir, ou sont-ils seulement animés par la volonté de ne pas rester à la péripherie d’une sorte d’eurogroupe de défense en train de se constituer ? Quels sont, de façon péecise, les principaux points d’accord et de désaccord entre les différents groupes qui se dessinent au sein du Conseil européen ? Des débats ont-ils été passés sous silence, volontairement ou involontairement, et si oui lesquels ? Enfin, quels sont les scénarios souhaitables pour les mois et les années à venir ? Est-il encore temps de changer les choses ou bien les dés ont-ils déjà été lancés? La présente étude ambitionne de répondre à ces questions.

External author

Me. Frederic MAURO, M. Federico SANTOPINTO

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Japan free trade agreement within reach

14-07-2017

Negotiations on an EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) were officially launched in March 2013. Following 18 rounds of negotiations and a number of meetings at the technical and political levels, a political agreement in principle was reached during the 24th EU-Japan Summit in Brussels, on 6 July 2017. Negotiations on the outstanding issues that were left on the table will continue, with the aim of finalising the text of the agreement by the end of 2017. The deal with Japan, the EU's second largest ...

Negotiations on an EU-Japan free trade agreement (FTA) were officially launched in March 2013. Following 18 rounds of negotiations and a number of meetings at the technical and political levels, a political agreement in principle was reached during the 24th EU-Japan Summit in Brussels, on 6 July 2017. Negotiations on the outstanding issues that were left on the table will continue, with the aim of finalising the text of the agreement by the end of 2017. The deal with Japan, the EU's second largest trading partner in Asia, will enhance trade and investment relationships between the two parties. European companies, in the agri-food sector for instance, will benefit from improved access to the Japanese market, mainly through the reduction both of tariffs on specific goods as well as existing regulatory and non-tariff barriers. The 2016 trade sustainability impact assessment for the EU-Japan FTA indicated that the EU-Japan FTA and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement, involving the EU and the USA, would result in similar levels of economic gains for Europe. According to recent Commission estimates, European companies will save up to €1 billion in customs duties per year as a result of the EU-Japan FTA. Moreover, the value of EU goods and services exports could rise by up to €20 billion. This briefing is an update of an earlier version, of October 2016: PE 589.828.

A maritime strategy for Africa

13-07-2017

Harnessing the oceans' resources in a sustainable manner is the 'new frontier of the African renaissance', according to the African Union (AU). This 'blue growth' will only materialise if the oceans' health and security at sea are restored. For this purpose, the AU has designed an ambitious maritime strategy, but disagreements among the African states are hampering its realisation. The EU could support this strategy, provided cooperation goes beyond security and migration aspects.

Harnessing the oceans' resources in a sustainable manner is the 'new frontier of the African renaissance', according to the African Union (AU). This 'blue growth' will only materialise if the oceans' health and security at sea are restored. For this purpose, the AU has designed an ambitious maritime strategy, but disagreements among the African states are hampering its realisation. The EU could support this strategy, provided cooperation goes beyond security and migration aspects.

The European Council in 2016: Overview of decisions and discussions

13-07-2017

This In-Depth Analysis by the European Council Oversight Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the second in a series of annual publications examining the activity of the European Council. In 2016, the Heads of State or Government devoted most of their attention to three policy areas: migration; foreign and security policy; and economic governance, competitiveness and trade. The publication also considers the impact of the United Kingdom referendum vote on the proceedings ...

This In-Depth Analysis by the European Council Oversight Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) is the second in a series of annual publications examining the activity of the European Council. In 2016, the Heads of State or Government devoted most of their attention to three policy areas: migration; foreign and security policy; and economic governance, competitiveness and trade. The publication also considers the impact of the United Kingdom referendum vote on the proceedings of the European Council, both procedurally (EU 28 and EU-27 meetings) and thematically (policy priorities and debates on the future of a Europe-at-27). The European Council has carried out its strategic, deliberative, and follow-up roles throughout the year. This was particularly notable when it dealt with migration, which attracted 50 % of the attention of the Heads of State or Government, as shown in the conclusions of their debates. The European Council President, Donald Tusk, continued to report to the European Parliament on the outcomes of the European Council meetings, as required by the Treaties.

The Berlin Process and the Trieste summit 2017

11-07-2017

On 12 July 2017, Italy will host the fourth Western Balkan summit of the Berlin Process in Trieste, a city that symbolically links the EU and the Western Balkans. Several EU Member States and the region's six countries will review current progress and discuss a broad agenda in an attempt to go further with regional cooperation, increase coherence and deepen economic integration.

On 12 July 2017, Italy will host the fourth Western Balkan summit of the Berlin Process in Trieste, a city that symbolically links the EU and the Western Balkans. Several EU Member States and the region's six countries will review current progress and discuss a broad agenda in an attempt to go further with regional cooperation, increase coherence and deepen economic integration.

Towards a binding international treaty on business and human rights

11-07-2017

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has provided numerous opportunities, while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, or lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding ...

With its extended value chains, economic globalisation has provided numerous opportunities, while also creating specific challenges, including in the area of human rights protection. The recent history of transnational corporations contains numerous examples of human rights abuses occurring as a result of their operations. Such corporations are known to have taken advantage of loose regulatory frameworks in developing countries, corruption, or lack of accountability resulting from legal rules shielding corporate interests. This situation has created a pressing need to establish international norms regulating business operations in relation to human rights. So far, the preferred approach has been 'soft', consisting of the adoption of voluntary guidelines for businesses. Several sets of such norms exist at international level, the most notable being the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Nevertheless, while such voluntary commitments are clearly useful, they cannot entirely stop gross human rights violations (such as child labour, labour rights violations and land grabbing) committed by transnational corporations, their subsidiaries or suppliers. To address the shortcomings of the soft approach, an intergovernmental working group was established within the UN framework in June 2014, with the task of drafting a binding treaty on human rights and business. After being reluctant at the outset, the EU has become involved in the negotiations, but has insisted that the future treaty's scope should include all businesses, not only transnational ones. The European Parliament is a staunch supporter of this initiative and has encouraged the EU to take a positive and constructive approach.

US development policy: New priorities under President Trump

11-07-2017

The new administration of US President Donald Trump has put forward an 'America First' vision in the field of development policy. In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump requests the US Congress to scale back and refocus US political commitments and financial contributions in the areas of economic and development assistance, humanitarian aid and global health. Limited US foreign assistance funding will be prioritised on the regions, programmes and international organisations that most directly ...

The new administration of US President Donald Trump has put forward an 'America First' vision in the field of development policy. In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump requests the US Congress to scale back and refocus US political commitments and financial contributions in the areas of economic and development assistance, humanitarian aid and global health. Limited US foreign assistance funding will be prioritised on the regions, programmes and international organisations that most directly advance US national security and economic interests. The US reasoning is that other countries, other donors and the private sector will fill the resulting development policy gaps, through paying 'their fair share'. In line with his scepticism of multilateral agreements and international organisations, President Trump announced on 1 June 2017 that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. While the withdrawal will potentially take years, the USA will immediately cease contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which was not just established to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, but also to help vulnerable societies adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Russia and security [What Think Tanks are thinking]

07-07-2017

Relations between the European Union and Russia remain strained after, late in June, the EU extended its sanctions against the country until 31 January 2018, citing a lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements aimed at ending the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Russia's annexation of Crimea and its conflict with Ukraine have challenged the post-Cold War security order in Europe. Russia's other assertive foreign policy moves, such as its role in the Syrian war and steps to extend its ...

Relations between the European Union and Russia remain strained after, late in June, the EU extended its sanctions against the country until 31 January 2018, citing a lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements aimed at ending the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Russia's annexation of Crimea and its conflict with Ukraine have challenged the post-Cold War security order in Europe. Russia's other assertive foreign policy moves, such as its role in the Syrian war and steps to extend its sphere of influence in Europe, also worry many Western security analysts. This note offers links to commentaries, studies by major international think tanks, which discuss Russia's policies and how to respond to them.

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