746

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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.

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 Future of the Schengen Area: Latest Developments and Challenges in the Schengen Governance Framework since 2016

06-03-2018

This Study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE-Committee), takes stock of the main developments that have occurred in the Schengen Governance Framework since 2016. It analyses the legitimacy of a number of States’ decisions to maintain internal border controls. Also, most recent policy proposals in the field of internal police checks are assessed ...

This Study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE-Committee), takes stock of the main developments that have occurred in the Schengen Governance Framework since 2016. It analyses the legitimacy of a number of States’ decisions to maintain internal border controls. Also, most recent policy proposals in the field of internal police checks are assessed in light of relevant EU legal standards. The paper also questions the legality of the border walls and fences, which have been recently erected at the EU external borders and within the Schengen area.

External author

Prof. Sergio Carrera, Dr Marco Stefan, Dr Ngo Chun Luk , Lina Vosyliūtė

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)

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.

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.

EU and Member States’ policies and laws on persons suspected of terrorism-related crimes

18-12-2017

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), presents an overview of the legal and policy framework in the EU and 10 select EU Member States on persons suspected of terrorism-related crimes. The study analyses how Member States define suspects of terrorism-related crimes, what measures are available to state authorities ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee), presents an overview of the legal and policy framework in the EU and 10 select EU Member States on persons suspected of terrorism-related crimes. The study analyses how Member States define suspects of terrorism-related crimes, what measures are available to state authorities to prevent and investigate such crimes and how information on suspects of terrorism-related crimes is exchanged between Member States. The comparative analysis between the 10 Member States subject to this study, in combination with the examination of relevant EU policy and legislation, leads to the development of key conclusions and recommendations.

External author

Optimity Advisors: Mirja GUTHEIL, Quentin LIGER, Carolin MÖLLER, James EAGER, Max HENLEY, Yemi OVIOSU

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

Democracy support in EU external policy

27-02-2018

The EU's policy of external democracy support has gained momentum, particularly after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which defined democracy as a fundamental principle of the Union, to be enshrined in all policies of external significance. Subsequently, several policy documents have outlined strategic orientations and sought ways to enhance implementation and policy coherence and effectiveness, a need often recognised by EU stakeholders and other players. The EU has deployed all the tools ...

The EU's policy of external democracy support has gained momentum, particularly after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which defined democracy as a fundamental principle of the Union, to be enshrined in all policies of external significance. Subsequently, several policy documents have outlined strategic orientations and sought ways to enhance implementation and policy coherence and effectiveness, a need often recognised by EU stakeholders and other players. The EU has deployed all the tools at its disposal in order to support democracy and democratisation processes across the world. These tools range from political and diplomatic efforts, including political and human rights dialogues, to development aid instruments and extensive support for civil society and human rights defenders. As a result, democracy support has become better integrated into the EU's external policies, particularly in the area of development, and better inter-linked with measures to protect human rights and the space needed for civil society to thrive. The EU is the biggest commercial bloc and development aid donor in the world, and therefore has considerable leverage over its partner countries. However, as the EU does not want to use its power in a coercive manner, it has sought to move away from a classical relationship of donor conditionality to one of equal partnership, recognising that domestic dynamics and local ownership in third countries are essential for democratic progress. It has used sanctions mechanisms in its bilateral agreements and unilateral trade preferences mainly as a constructive tool to open dialogue and find solutions based on consultation and cooperation.

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.

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26-04-2018
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EU Demographic outlook: A stagnating and older population
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