731

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A Comparative Study of EU and US Approaches to Human Rights in External Relations

10-11-2014

Both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) emphasise the centrality of human rights in their domestic and external policies. Despite their common attachment to human rights and a potential affinity of seemingly common transatlantic approaches to human rights issues in external policies, the EU and the US have diverged considerably in their respective promotion of human rights abroad. Drawing on the historical and legal underpinnings of human rights promotion in the EU and the US, the ...

Both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) emphasise the centrality of human rights in their domestic and external policies. Despite their common attachment to human rights and a potential affinity of seemingly common transatlantic approaches to human rights issues in external policies, the EU and the US have diverged considerably in their respective promotion of human rights abroad. Drawing on the historical and legal underpinnings of human rights promotion in the EU and the US, the purpose of the present study is to provide a comparative analysis of how human rights are integrated and mainstreamed into their respective external policies, thereby using case studies such as EU Special Representatives/US Special Envoys, Democracy Promotion, the Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court to contextualise the argument. To this end, the study outlines the intricacies behind the institutional set-up of EU and US external action, and delves into the specificities of human rights-related policy-making in the realm of traditional foreign policy, international trade and international development. The study concludes with the formulation of recommendations for the further integration of human rights in EU external policies, as well as to the future collaboration between the EU and the US on human rights.

External author

Jan WOUTERS, Laura BEKE, Anna-Luise CHANÉ, David D’HOLLANDER and Kolja RAUBE (University of Leuven, Belgium)

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

26-10-2017

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.

Shrinking space for civil society: the EU response

12-04-2017

The EU has developed an impressive range of policy tools for pushing back against restrictions on civil society across the world. It has gradually improved the way it deploys these instruments and has helped protect many activists at risk. Notwithstanding this, the EU needs to sharpen its ‘shrinking space’ strategy. This study suggests a range of precise policy changes it should contemplate to this end. It advocates a number of strategic guidelines that could help make the EU’s responses more proactive ...

The EU has developed an impressive range of policy tools for pushing back against restrictions on civil society across the world. It has gradually improved the way it deploys these instruments and has helped protect many activists at risk. Notwithstanding this, the EU needs to sharpen its ‘shrinking space’ strategy. This study suggests a range of precise policy changes it should contemplate to this end. It advocates a number of strategic guidelines that could help make the EU’s responses more proactive; better able to tackle the broad structural elements of the shrinking space; fully balanced between political and development approaches; and geared towards building more inclusive alliances against new restrictions on civil society.

External author

Richard YOUNGS (Senior Fellow at Carnegie Europe, Belgium and Professor at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom) and Ana ECHAGÜE (independent consultant)

Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones

15-06-2017

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements ...

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements that a future Council decision on the use of armed drones should include. This publication also includes a report on the workshop held on 22 March 2017, at which a first draft of the briefing was presented and discussed with Members and stakeholders. The discussion at the workshop confirmed that there was broad support in Parliament for the development of common European principles governing the use of armed drones, not least in view of the emergence of new risks from non-state actors and the EU’s commitment to enhancing security and defence cooperation. While there is currently no agreement between Member States to pursue the matter at EU level, the workshop debate drew attention to the common rules on exports of armed drones and drone technology that already exist. Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons.

External author

Jessica DORSEY, Giulia BONACQUISTI

Mapping EU-Turkey relations: State of play and options for the future

03-04-2017

2016 was a challenging year for relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, with the on-going management of the migration crisis and the EU-Turkey agreement, the attempted military coup in Istanbul and Ankara, and the severe purge that followed, which the EU criticised for being disproportionately severe. Nevertheless, the EU and Turkey continued negotiations on Turkish accession to the EU and decided in December 2016 to upgrade the 20-year-old customs union. In the light of opinion polls ...

2016 was a challenging year for relations between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, with the on-going management of the migration crisis and the EU-Turkey agreement, the attempted military coup in Istanbul and Ankara, and the severe purge that followed, which the EU criticised for being disproportionately severe. Nevertheless, the EU and Turkey continued negotiations on Turkish accession to the EU and decided in December 2016 to upgrade the 20-year-old customs union. In the light of opinion polls in some Member States, and recent difficulties arising from Turkish politicians campaigning in the EU ahead of Turkey's April referendum on its constitution, as well as clear human rights breaches, a debate has emerged in some Member States about an alternative to enlargement, such as purely economic integration. Meanwhile, some believe the outcome of the negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU might also provide a possible model for Turkey. Despite the road to accession being paved with inevitable difficulties, accession remains the ultimate objective of EU-Turkey relations, endorsed by the European Council and Turkey, and provides potential for reform and dialogue over common standards, not least in the area of civil liberties.

An EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights

27-10-2016

European Parliament legislative initiative reports drawn up on the basis of Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning on the European Union are automatically accompanied by a European Added Value Assessment (EAVA). Such assessments are aimed at evaluating the potential impacts, and identifying the advantages, of proposals made in legislative initiative reports. This EAVA accompanies a resolution based on a legislative initiative report prepared by Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice ...

European Parliament legislative initiative reports drawn up on the basis of Article 225 of the Treaty on the Functioning on the European Union are automatically accompanied by a European Added Value Assessment (EAVA). Such assessments are aimed at evaluating the potential impacts, and identifying the advantages, of proposals made in legislative initiative reports. This EAVA accompanies a resolution based on a legislative initiative report prepared by Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) (rapporteur: Sophie in 't Veld (ALDE, the Netherlands), presenting recommendations to the Commission on an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights (P8_TA-PROV (2016) 0409). The main conclusion of the EAVA is that there is a gap between the proclamation of the rights and values listed in Article 2 TEU and actual compliance by EU institutions and Member States, resulting in significant economic, social and political costs. The root causes of this lack of compliance are to be found in certain weaknesses in the existing EU legal and policy framework on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. These weaknesses could be overcome by the conclusion of an EU Pact for Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights (DRF) in the form of an interinstitutional agreement (IIA). This IIA should lay down arrangements for (i) the development of an annual European report on the state of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the Member States with country-specific recommendations assessing compliance with DRF, and (ii) a policy cycle for DRF, involving EU institutions and national parliaments, with country-specific recommendations aimed at monitoring and enforcing Member State compliance, including a DRF policy cycle within the institutions of the Union.  This could be done at relatively low cost, particularly if the right synergies are found with international organisations, whilst at the same time having significant benefits, notably fostering mutual trust and recognition, attracting more investment, and providing higher welfare standards.

The Situation of National Minorities in Crimea Following its Annexation by Russia

13-04-2016

National minorities in Crimea have been subject to systematic violations of their rights since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Documented violations have occurred in the areas of freedom of expression, conscience, and religion; the right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of the media and access to information; the right to a fair trial and effective remedy; the right to education in one’s native language; and linguistic and cultural rights. The de facto authorities ...

National minorities in Crimea have been subject to systematic violations of their rights since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Documented violations have occurred in the areas of freedom of expression, conscience, and religion; the right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of the media and access to information; the right to a fair trial and effective remedy; the right to education in one’s native language; and linguistic and cultural rights. The de facto authorities in Crimea have neglected to investigate cases of grave violations of the rights to life, liberty, security, and physical integrity. The response of the international community has been limited. While Western countries pursue non-recognition policies towards Crimea, international sanctions introduced in response to the occupation of Crimea are weak, and there have been no measures taken to address the international humanitarian law and human rights violations in Crimea. Limited support is available to human rights organisations focused on or working in Crimea, and human rights monitors still cannot gain access to Crimea. The European Union, and the European Parliament, in particular, should actively advocate for the establishment of an international human rights monitoring presence in occupied Crimea. Tailor-made support programmes should be offered to Ukrainian government agencies and civil society working towards the protection of the rights of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea. The European Parliament should continue raising the issue of human rights violations in Crimea and monitor individual cases. Furthermore, the Council of the European Union should consider imposing sanctions for the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in occupied Crimea.

External author

Natalia SHAPOVALOVA (CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, Poland), Olga BURLYUK (Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University in association with Policy Association for an Open Society, Czech Republic)

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.

How can the EU and the Member States better help victims of terrorism?

12-09-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, presents a glimpse into the international and selected national responses to the raising global threat of terrorism and the consequent increase in victimisation. The study is based on the research conducted on legislation and policy responses to the needs of victims of terrorism in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, presents a glimpse into the international and selected national responses to the raising global threat of terrorism and the consequent increase in victimisation. The study is based on the research conducted on legislation and policy responses to the needs of victims of terrorism in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the United Kingdom. The research and findings focus on the two main EU instruments in this field: the Victims’ Rights Directive and the Directive on Combating Terrorism. Based on the findings of adequacy of response to the victims’ needs, the study proposes a set of recommendations for the EU and the Member States legislative and policy response to better ensure the needs of victims of terrorism are well taken care of.

External author

Aleksandra IVANKOVIĆ, Victim Support Europe (VSE), Brussels Belgium ; Levent ALTAN, Victim Support Europe (VSE), Brussels, Belgium ; An VERELST, Victim Support Europe (VSE), Brussels, Belgium ; Under the coordination of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), Luxembourg (Petra JENEY)

Integration of refugees in Greece, Hungary and Italy: Comparative Analysis

20-12-2017

This study presents a comparative overview of recent policy developments in Greece, Hungary and Italy, which present some similarities as regards their position in the migration routes, but also very different approaches. The focus of the analysis is on progress achieved in the last three years in the adaptation of the reception and integration system for the high numbers of new arrivals and on the main challenges encountered, with a focus on labour market integration measures. Further, special ...

This study presents a comparative overview of recent policy developments in Greece, Hungary and Italy, which present some similarities as regards their position in the migration routes, but also very different approaches. The focus of the analysis is on progress achieved in the last three years in the adaptation of the reception and integration system for the high numbers of new arrivals and on the main challenges encountered, with a focus on labour market integration measures. Further, special attention is given to changes in perceptions, public opinion and political discourse with respect to the asylum and integration of refugees and how this influenced policy strategies.

External author

Manuela SAMEK LODOVICI (project leader), IRS- Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale Serena Marianna DRUFUCA, IRS- Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale Nicola ORLANDO, IRS- Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale Chiara Crepaldi, IRS- Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale Flavia PESCE, IRS- Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale Spyros KOULOCHERIS, Greek Council of Refugees Szilvia BORBÉLY, PhD in Economics, freelance researcher.

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