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Turkey and the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

24-03-2017

Relations between Turkey and the European Union have been strained for some time, and most recently, Ankara became embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Germany and the Netherlands, following decisions in both countries to prevent Turkish ministers from addressing rallies of expatriate Turks. On 16 April, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will hold a referendum to expand presidential powers. Mr Erdogan has said that Turkey, an EU candidate country, may review its relations with the Union ...

Relations between Turkey and the European Union have been strained for some time, and most recently, Ankara became embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Germany and the Netherlands, following decisions in both countries to prevent Turkish ministers from addressing rallies of expatriate Turks. On 16 April, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will hold a referendum to expand presidential powers. Mr Erdogan has said that Turkey, an EU candidate country, may review its relations with the Union after the coming vote. Government officials have also threatened to ditch last year's agreement between the EU and Turkey that has helped to stem the flow of migrants into Europe. In November, 2016, the European Parliament passed a resolution, calling for Turkey's EU entry talks to be suspended until Ankara ended its 'disproportionate' and repressive response to a failed coup in July that year. This note offers links to a series of recent studies and comments from major international think tanks and research institutes on Turkey and its relations with the EU.

Mapping the future of Syria: State of play and options

23-03-2017

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire ...

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey in December 2016, including a monitoring mechanism for violations, opened the way for a new UN Security Council Resolution 2336 which was adopted unanimously on 31 December 2016. The resolution provided an impulse for re-booting the political process during the talks in Astana at the beginning of 2017. At the same time, the discussion about the future of Syria revolves around questions linked to the future of the Assad regime, territorial integrity of Syria, political accountability, the creation of safe zones, and the reconstruction work that will follow a potential peace agreement. In March 2017, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented a joint communication providing elements of an EU strategy for Syria. For its part, the European Parliament has focused on addressing the implications of the refugee crisis, strengthening EU humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria and aid to vulnerable communities, and improving the EU response to the terrorist threat posed by ISIL/Da'esh.

Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA)

17-03-2017

Following a request made by nine Member States in December 2014, on 18 October 2016 the European Commission adopted a proposal to establish a new public-public Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) under Article 185 TFEU. PRIMA would focus on two key socioeconomic issues that are important for the region: food systems and water resources. The proposed decision would establish the partnership for a period of 10 years and would provide PRIMA with €200 million in ...

Following a request made by nine Member States in December 2014, on 18 October 2016 the European Commission adopted a proposal to establish a new public-public Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) under Article 185 TFEU. PRIMA would focus on two key socioeconomic issues that are important for the region: food systems and water resources. The proposed decision would establish the partnership for a period of 10 years and would provide PRIMA with €200 million in EU funds from the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research, to match the commitments of the participating states. The proposal would also introduce derogations to the rules concerning participation in Horizon 2020 in order to allow third countries to join the partnerships. Second edition The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

The Western Balkans and the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

17-03-2017

European Union heads of state and government reiterated support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans at their meeting on 9 March, and underlined that the situation in the region was fragile due to internal and external challenges. Despite relatively good economic growth prospects, the Western Balkans' reform progress has been slow, rule of law weak, and corruption persistent. Many Western and local politicians are also concerned about the increasingly prominent role of external players ...

European Union heads of state and government reiterated support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans at their meeting on 9 March, and underlined that the situation in the region was fragile due to internal and external challenges. Despite relatively good economic growth prospects, the Western Balkans' reform progress has been slow, rule of law weak, and corruption persistent. Many Western and local politicians are also concerned about the increasingly prominent role of external players in the region, mainly Russia, but also China, Turkey and the Gulf states. From the Western Balkans, only Croatia has so far joined the EU, in 2013. Accession talks continue with Montenegro and Serbia. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are official candidates, with Albania hoping to formally open negotiations soon. Bosnia and Herzegovina formally applied for EU membership in 2016, but along with Kosovo, it has a potential candidate status at present. This note offers links to a series of recent studies from major international think tanks and research institutes on problems faced by the Western Balkans.

Outcome of European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 and of informal meeting of the EU27 of 10 March 2017

14-03-2017

After re-electing Donald Tusk as its President, the European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 discussed the economic situation in Europe, progress on measures regarding migration, internal and external security, and external relations. In his first speech to the European Council, the recently- elected President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, outlined his approach to appearing before European Council meetings, he will present the positions of the European Parliament, including minority ...

After re-electing Donald Tusk as its President, the European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 discussed the economic situation in Europe, progress on measures regarding migration, internal and external security, and external relations. In his first speech to the European Council, the recently- elected President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, outlined his approach to appearing before European Council meetings, he will present the positions of the European Parliament, including minority views. He stressed his commitment to ‘fair and constructive cooperation’ between the two institutions, stating that ‘Parliament will be part of the solution, not part of the problem’. In the end, the meeting produced ‘Conclusions by the President of the European Council supported by 27 Member States, ’ due to a lack of consensus ‘for reasons unrelated to its [i.e. the documents] substance’. At the informal meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government without the UK (EU27), held the following day, leaders discussed the procedural and content-related aspects of the forthcoming celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties and the expected ‘Rome Declaration’.

Challenges to Freedom of the Seas and Maritime Rivalry in Asia

14-03-2017

China’s New Maritime Silk Road policy poses geostrategic challenges and offers some opportunities for the US and its allies in Asia-Pacific. To offset China’s westward focus, the US seeks to create a global alliance strategy with the aim to maintain a balance of power in Eurasia, to avoid a strong Russia-China or China-EU partnership fostered on economic cooperation. For the EU, the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative by improving infrastructure may contribute to economic development in neighbouring ...

China’s New Maritime Silk Road policy poses geostrategic challenges and offers some opportunities for the US and its allies in Asia-Pacific. To offset China’s westward focus, the US seeks to create a global alliance strategy with the aim to maintain a balance of power in Eurasia, to avoid a strong Russia-China or China-EU partnership fostered on economic cooperation. For the EU, the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative by improving infrastructure may contribute to economic development in neighbouring countries and in Africa but present also risks in terms of unfair economic competition and increased Chinese domination. Furthermore, China’s behaviour in the South China Sea and rebuff of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in July 2016, put the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at risk with possible consequences to freedom of the seas. Increasing relations with China could also affect EU-US relations at a time of China-US tension. To face these challenges, a stronger EU, taking more responsibility in Defence and Security, including inside NATO, is needed.

External author

Patrick HÉBRARD (Fondation pour la recherche stratégique - FRS, Paris, France)

Russia's role in Central Asia

13-03-2017

Some 25 years after the breakup of the USSR, Russia is still the dominant player in Central Asia. China and the EU have more trade and investment in the region, but Russia is in the lead on security and defence. Moscow consolidates its influence through a series of Russia-led regional organisations, such as the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

Some 25 years after the breakup of the USSR, Russia is still the dominant player in Central Asia. China and the EU have more trade and investment in the region, but Russia is in the lead on security and defence. Moscow consolidates its influence through a series of Russia-led regional organisations, such as the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - March 2017

13-03-2017

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.

Human Rights in Iran after the Nuclear Deal Business as Usual or Time for Change?

13-03-2017

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised jointly by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Iran (D-IR). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the most recent developments regarding human rights in Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in July 2015 and to explore the options available to the EU in seeking to help improve the situation. Experts and human rights defenders pointed to ...

This report summarises the proceedings of a workshop organised jointly by the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation for relations with Iran (D-IR). The purpose of the workshop was to analyse the most recent developments regarding human rights in Iran since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in July 2015 and to explore the options available to the EU in seeking to help improve the situation. Experts and human rights defenders pointed to the gaps between law and practice in Iran and raised continuing concerns about the death penalty, political prisoners, prison conditions, arrests of dual nationals, minority rights and restrictions to internet access. They identified Iran’s dual power structure of elected and non-elected institutions and corruption as some of the chief constraints to any reform efforts. They said the EU should keep human rights — including support for the relevant UN mechanisms and efforts — high on its agenda. They said the key factors for engaging successfully with Iran on human rights in future were clear criteria and benchmarks, detailed knowledge of the human rights issues at stake and interaction with Iranian civil society both inside and outside Iran.

External author

Firouzeh NAHAVANDI (Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium - chapter 2.1) ; Nazila GHANEA (University of Oxford, the UK - chapter 2.2) and Giulia BONACQUISTI (Trans European Policy Studies Association - TEPSA, Belgium - workshop report)

FYR Macedonia: 2016 report

10-03-2017

In March 2017, the European Parliament will vote on a motion for a resolution on the European Commission's 2016 enlargement report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The report acknowledges that during a politically turbulent 2016, the country failed to progress in key EU-related reform areas and even backtracked in some. Following the December 2016 elections, a government is yet to be formed, and political uncertainty remains.

In March 2017, the European Parliament will vote on a motion for a resolution on the European Commission's 2016 enlargement report on the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The report acknowledges that during a politically turbulent 2016, the country failed to progress in key EU-related reform areas and even backtracked in some. Following the December 2016 elections, a government is yet to be formed, and political uncertainty remains.

Upcoming events

27-03-2017
LIBE-FEMM hearing on the EU accession to the Istanbul Convention - 27.03.2017
Hearing -
LIBE FEMM
28-03-2017
60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties and 25th anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty
Other event -
EPRS
28-03-2017
The Future of Science through Citizens Engagement
Other event -
STOA

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