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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.

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.

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.

Implementation of the Treaty provisions concerning enhanced cooperation

20-12-2018

This study examines the existing (and planned) instances of enhanced cooperation (EnC), their institutional set up and state of play. Our analysis is at this point of time limited to the one EnC case with sufficient implementation record (EnC in divorce law, applied for more than six years to date). The remaining cases either began very recently (PESCO in late 2017); are in the preparatory stages (EPPO); are set to start in the near future (2019 for EnC in property regime rules); have not as yet ...

This study examines the existing (and planned) instances of enhanced cooperation (EnC), their institutional set up and state of play. Our analysis is at this point of time limited to the one EnC case with sufficient implementation record (EnC in divorce law, applied for more than six years to date). The remaining cases either began very recently (PESCO in late 2017); are in the preparatory stages (EPPO); are set to start in the near future (2019 for EnC in property regime rules); have not as yet entered into force (EnC in unitary patent protection awaiting ratification of the UPC Agreement by DE); or are yet to be agreed upon (FTT).

European Council conclusions - A rolling check-list of commitments to date

12-12-2018

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. 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 on commitments made in the conclusions of ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. 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 on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is a new, updated and more comprehensive edition of the Rolling Check-List which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It is designed to review the degree of progress in achieving the goals that the European Council has set itself and to assist the Parliament in exercising its important oversight role in this field.

EU Defence: The White Book implementation process

12-12-2018

The question of a defence White Book at European level has been under discussion for some time. Many voices, particularly in the European Parliament, are pushing for such an initiative, while others consider that it is not only unnecessary, but could even dangerously divide Europeans. Concretely, the question cannot be tackled separately from that of defence planning and processes which underpin the development of military capabilities, as White Books are often the starting point for these. Within ...

The question of a defence White Book at European level has been under discussion for some time. Many voices, particularly in the European Parliament, are pushing for such an initiative, while others consider that it is not only unnecessary, but could even dangerously divide Europeans. Concretely, the question cannot be tackled separately from that of defence planning and processes which underpin the development of military capabilities, as White Books are often the starting point for these. Within the European Union, however, there is not just one, but three types defence planning: the national planning of each of the Member States; planning within the framework of NATO (the NATO Defence Planning Process) and, finally, the European Union’s planning, which has developed in stages since the Helsinki summit of 1999 and comprises many elements. Its best-known component - but by no means not the only one - is the capability development plan established by the European Defence Agency. How do all these different planning systems coexist? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Answering these preliminary questions is essential in mapping the path to a White Book. This is what this study sets out to do.

External author

Mr Frédéric MAURO

The migration, borders and security cluster of the 2021-2027 MFF

07-12-2018

Within the context of the multiannual financial framework the Commission is proposing a cluster of four instruments under three funds to deal with migration borders and security. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposals acknowledges the necessity for impact assessments in relation to financial framework programmes to have a simplified format and scope differing from standard impact assessments and that the document in question sets out the rationale for the new ...

Within the context of the multiannual financial framework the Commission is proposing a cluster of four instruments under three funds to deal with migration borders and security. This initial appraisal of the Commission’s impact assessment on the proposals acknowledges the necessity for impact assessments in relation to financial framework programmes to have a simplified format and scope differing from standard impact assessments and that the document in question sets out the rationale for the new instruments and explains the choices made in their design. It finds however that the level of analysis conducted and the measure of the departure from the standard methodology and format of impact assessments weaken its potential to inform decision-making.

The Civilian CSDP Compact: A stronger EU footprint in a connected, complex, contested world

23-11-2018

Member States demand more coordination, flexibility and efficiency is from civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions. The European Union (EU) is currently undertaking a strategic review of the civilian dimension of CSDP to take the form of a civilian CSDP Compact (CCC), in order to adapt the CSDP to the challenges of the current geopolitical environment. Europe's 'strategic environment has changed radically' and is surrounded by 'an arc of instability', according to High Representative ...

Member States demand more coordination, flexibility and efficiency is from civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions. The European Union (EU) is currently undertaking a strategic review of the civilian dimension of CSDP to take the form of a civilian CSDP Compact (CCC), in order to adapt the CSDP to the challenges of the current geopolitical environment. Europe's 'strategic environment has changed radically' and is surrounded by 'an arc of instability', according to High Representative Federica Mogherini. Conflict and violence used to be understood in terms of (and as caused by) hard borders. Today, however, physical distances and borders have become redundant in the face of evolving and persistent threats such as poverty, climate change or hybrid warfare. The EU has been active in recognising this changing environment through various defence integration initiatives, not least through the EU global strategy (EUGS). The most visible EU commitments to international peace and security remain its missions and operations deployed outside the Union. Missions under the CSDP can have a military or civilian nature, although the latter are more prominent in EU activities. Focused on goals such as rule of law reform, stabilisation, fighting organised crime, and reform of the security sector, civilian CSDP is currently being adapted to the EU's revitalised integrated approach to conflict prevention, which envisions much closer coordination between the relevant EU actors and instruments during all stages of a conflict. By establishing tight links between the security, development, justice and home affairs (JHA), trade, climate and energy domains, the Compact aims to widen the scope of civilian missions. The goal of eradicating conflict-provoking issues such as poverty, resource scarcity, corruption or flawed governance is combined with the aim of ensuring sustainable long-term development and the societal resilience of partner countries.

European Defence Fund: Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027

20-11-2018

In June 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on a European Defence Fund, including a budget allocation of €13 billion in current prices for the 2021 to 2027 period. The proposal aims to streamline and simplify the current legislation by integrating the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (research window) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (as one part of the capability window) into a single fund. The main aims of the fund are to foster the competitiveness ...

In June 2018, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal on a European Defence Fund, including a budget allocation of €13 billion in current prices for the 2021 to 2027 period. The proposal aims to streamline and simplify the current legislation by integrating the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (research window) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (as one part of the capability window) into a single fund. The main aims of the fund are to foster the competitiveness and innovativeness of European defence and to contribute to the EU's strategic autonomy. In this regard, the fund would support collaborative industrial projects; co-finance the costs of prototype development; encourage the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises; and promote projects in the framework of permanent structured cooperation. Synergies are expected with other EU initiatives in the field of cybersecurity, maritime transport, border management, Horizon Europe, the space programme and the European Peace Facility.

European armaments standardisation

31-10-2018

The standardisation of armaments has been a long-standing focus of EU efforts to enhance the Union’s military effectiveness, to improve capability development and to support the competitiveness of the European defence industry. Armaments standardisation is a process that can lead to cost savings for defence spending by injecting added-value in defence production processes and the avoidance of capability and equipment duplication. Standardisation is a method of improving interoperability within and ...

The standardisation of armaments has been a long-standing focus of EU efforts to enhance the Union’s military effectiveness, to improve capability development and to support the competitiveness of the European defence industry. Armaments standardisation is a process that can lead to cost savings for defence spending by injecting added-value in defence production processes and the avoidance of capability and equipment duplication. Standardisation is a method of improving interoperability within and between European armed forces and a process that can enhance the operational effectiveness of Europe’s militaries. Both the EU and NATO have taken measures over many years and decades to enhance armaments standardisation in Europe. Yet the nature of the contemporary global defence market is that many more technologies and components integrated into military systems are sourced and/or produced in the civilian sector. The line drawn between defence equipment and capabilities on the one hand, and civilian products and technologies on the other, is increasingly blurred. In this context, and in relation to recent developments on EU defence cooperation, this study analyses the standardisation approaches taken by the EU in relation to maritime information sharing and remotely piloted aircraft systems. It makes recommendations on how EU approaches to armaments standardisation can be expanded and enhanced.

External author

Daniel FIOTT (EUISS)

Upcoming events

21-01-2019
Public Hearing on “European Added Value”
Hearing -
CONT
22-01-2019
Harmonisation as a principle for Single Market legislation
Hearing -
IMCO
23-01-2019
Implementation of EU Funds aimed at fighting violence against women & girls – Hearing
Hearing -
FEMM

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