773

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Oversight and Management of the EU Trust Funds - Democratic Accountability Challenges and Promising Practices

16-04-2018

This study provides a comparative assessment of the governance and oversight frameworks of selected EU trust funds (EUTFs) and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). It explores how these EUTFs and the FRT add to and ‘mix’ the instruments set up under the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. It addresses the issue of their added value in light of the EU Better Regulation guidelines, their impact on the role of the European Parliament as a budgetary authority and the right to good administration ...

This study provides a comparative assessment of the governance and oversight frameworks of selected EU trust funds (EUTFs) and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). It explores how these EUTFs and the FRT add to and ‘mix’ the instruments set up under the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. It addresses the issue of their added value in light of the EU Better Regulation guidelines, their impact on the role of the European Parliament as a budgetary authority and the right to good administration. The study recommends reducing the complexity of the EUTF and FRT governance frameworks, and strengthening their consistency with the EU’s cooperation efforts in third countries and EU Treaty values. Finally, it recommends reinforcing the venues for democratic accountability, fundamental rights and rule-of-law impact assessments, which are trust-enhancing.

External author

Prof. Sergio CARRERA, Senior Research Fellow, CEPS & Professor in the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the European University Institute (EUI) Dr. Leonhard DEN HERTOG, former Research Fellow, CEPS Dr. Jorge NÚÑEZ FERRER, Senior Research Fellow, CEPS Mr Roberto MUSMECI, Researcher, CEPS Ms Lina VOSYLIŪTĖ, Researcher, CEPS Ms Marta PILATI, Research Trainee, CEPS

Turkey: How the Pre-Accession Funds Have Been Spent, Managed, Controlled and the Monitoring System?

23-05-2016

This study follows up on the European Court of Auditors Special Report 16/2009 ‘The European Commission's management of pre-accession assistance to Turkey’. The European Commission has undertaken actions addressing the recommendations of the report but it is unclear how effective these actions have been, or are likely to be, in addressing the underlying concerns expressed in the report. In particular, understanding of the effectiveness and impact of European Union funding to Turkey is still very ...

This study follows up on the European Court of Auditors Special Report 16/2009 ‘The European Commission's management of pre-accession assistance to Turkey’. The European Commission has undertaken actions addressing the recommendations of the report but it is unclear how effective these actions have been, or are likely to be, in addressing the underlying concerns expressed in the report. In particular, understanding of the effectiveness and impact of European Union funding to Turkey is still very limited.

External author

Roderick Ackermann, Roland Blomeyer, Elsa Perreau, Jan Smit and Jack Malan

Free and fair trade for all?

21-11-2017

With its strategy paper entitled ‘Trade for all’ in 2015, the Commission launched an EU trade policy that focussed on values such as human rights, workers’ rights, environmental protection and sustainable development. The idea was that free trade should be fair for both consumers in Europe and for citizens elsewhere. This approach was pursued in bilateral trade negotiations and in legislative proposals on, for example, conflict minerals, dual-use goods or the investment court system. But by the end ...

With its strategy paper entitled ‘Trade for all’ in 2015, the Commission launched an EU trade policy that focussed on values such as human rights, workers’ rights, environmental protection and sustainable development. The idea was that free trade should be fair for both consumers in Europe and for citizens elsewhere. This approach was pursued in bilateral trade negotiations and in legislative proposals on, for example, conflict minerals, dual-use goods or the investment court system. But by the end of 2016 the tenor of the debate on international trade had changed, shifting the focus to national interests and fairness for consumers and producers at home. The UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU and the election of President Trump in the US, together with the expiry of the clause recognising China’s non-market economy status, contributed to this shift. The European Parliament has played a crucial role in shaping the direction of EU trade policy. While its 2015 resolution on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) set the values-based trade agenda, its resolutions in 2016 and 2017 on China’s market economy status and global value chains reflected the shift in values. The Commission is seeking to balance free and fair trade but new challenges lie ahead, notably in the EU’s neighbourhood: Russia, the Eastern Partnership, Turkey and the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors - A Rolling Check-List of recent findings

13-03-2018

This rolling check-list presents an overview of the Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), concentrating on those relevant for the 2016 discharge procedure. It strives to link the research topics of the Special Reports to relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including the working documents of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the work of the specialised parliamentary committees, forthcoming plenary resolutions and individual questions by Members. This ...

This rolling check-list presents an overview of the Special Reports of the European Court of Auditors (ECA), concentrating on those relevant for the 2016 discharge procedure. It strives to link the research topics of the Special Reports to relevant debates and positions within the European Parliament, including the working documents of the Committee on Budgetary Control, the work of the specialised parliamentary committees, forthcoming plenary resolutions and individual questions by Members. This check-list has been prepared by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the EP's in-house research service and think-tank, as part of its on-going support for parliamentary committees and individual Members in scrutinising the executive in its implementation of EU law, policies and programmes. The European Parliament is strongly committed to Better Law-Making, and particularly to the effective use of ex-ante impact assessment and ex-post evaluation throughout the entire legislative cycle. It is in this spirit that the Parliament has a particular interest in following the transposition, implementation and enforcement of EU law, and, more generally, monitoring the impact, operation, effectiveness and delivery of policy and programmes in practice.

Human Rights Provisions in Economic Partnership Agreements in Light of the Expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020

23-03-2017

The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, ...

The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, it discusses how any post-2020 arrangements can best continue the existing mechanisms for human rights conditionality set out in the Cotonou Agreement. In connection with this, this study proposes certain suggestions for improving future versions of human rights clauses, and considers whether there are legal obstacles to the invocation of this clause under general international law, principally under WTO law. The study concludes with a set of comments and recommendations.

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)

The fight against terrorism

25-05-2018

Significant benefits could be achieved by the EU and its Member States by addressing the gaps and barriers in the area of the fight against terrorism, notably by developing an evidence-based EU criminal policy cycle involving the European Parliament and national parliaments. In this context, EU institutions should conduct comprehensive ex-ante assessments and ex-post evaluations of counterterrorism measures, in line with better law-making principles. The effectiveness and fundamental rights compliance ...

Significant benefits could be achieved by the EU and its Member States by addressing the gaps and barriers in the area of the fight against terrorism, notably by developing an evidence-based EU criminal policy cycle involving the European Parliament and national parliaments. In this context, EU institutions should conduct comprehensive ex-ante assessments and ex-post evaluations of counterterrorism measures, in line with better law-making principles. The effectiveness and fundamental rights compliance of counter-radicalisation programmes should continue to be monitored. The framework for countering terrorism requires further refinement. A European law enforcement culture with full respect for fundamental rights needs to be fostered in which relevant information is shared and analysed, judicial cooperation tools are properly utilised and seeking the support of EU agencies becomes a natural reflex. This also requires the allocation of significant resources aimed at training and exchanges. Beyond resulting in more relevant, coherent, effective and efficient action in the fight against terrorism, such measures could increase the wellbeing of the population, reduce the material and immaterial impacts of terrorism, and ensure protection of fundamental rights when impacted by counterterrorism measures.

Peace and Security in 2018: Overview of EU action and outlook for the future

14-05-2018

This is the first EU Peace and Security Outlook, produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The series is designed to analyse and explain the contribution of the European Union to the promotion of peace and security internationally through its various external policies. The study provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment. It then focuses on the centrality of the ...

This is the first EU Peace and Security Outlook, produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The series is designed to analyse and explain the contribution of the European Union to the promotion of peace and security internationally through its various external policies. The study provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment. It then focuses on the centrality of the promotion of peace and security in the EU's external action and proceeds to an analysis of the practical pursuit of these principles in three main areas of EU policy: development, democracy support, and security and defence. It concludes with an outlook to the future. A parallel study, published separately, focuses specifically on EU peacebuilding efforts in the Western Balkans. The studies have been drafted with a view to their presentation at the Normandy World Peace Forum, in June 2018.

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

18-12-2017

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 eight 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 eight 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)

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