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Economic integration under the African Union

16-11-2017

Although it tends to prioritise political objectives, the African Union (AU) pursues a no less ambitious project for economic integration with the ultimate goal of creating a common market and a monetary and economic union. Currently, the main responsibility for driving economic integration forward is carried by the regional economic communities, which are overseen and coordinated by the AU. However, the pace of progress is very uneven. In addition, the AU has developed its own programmes for promoting ...

Although it tends to prioritise political objectives, the African Union (AU) pursues a no less ambitious project for economic integration with the ultimate goal of creating a common market and a monetary and economic union. Currently, the main responsibility for driving economic integration forward is carried by the regional economic communities, which are overseen and coordinated by the AU. However, the pace of progress is very uneven. In addition, the AU has developed its own programmes for promoting the continent's economic development.

The Joint Africa-EU Strategy

15-11-2017

Implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) has taken place in a rapidly evolving political scenario at the global level and specifically within Europe and Africa. The overarching objectives identified in 2007 still remain valid, but concrete priorities now need to be adapted to the new reality. At the strategic level, a refinement of the Africa-EU partnership has become urgent following the adoption of Agenda 2063 and the EU Global Strategy. At policy level, lessons learned from the implementation ...

Implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES) has taken place in a rapidly evolving political scenario at the global level and specifically within Europe and Africa. The overarching objectives identified in 2007 still remain valid, but concrete priorities now need to be adapted to the new reality. At the strategic level, a refinement of the Africa-EU partnership has become urgent following the adoption of Agenda 2063 and the EU Global Strategy. At policy level, lessons learned from the implementation of the Roadmap 2014-17 and the way ahead indicated in the Joint Communication of May 2017 should be taken into account. Ten years after its adoption and with a view to the next AU-EU Summit, being held in Abidjan on 29-30 November 2017, it is crucial to re-assess the strategy’s validity on the basis of achievements and shortfalls, also in its parliamentary dimension, with regard to the fulfilment of its objectives in an evolving context.

Údar seachtarach

Nicoletta PIROZZI, Institutional Relations Manager & Head of Programme, Istituto Affari Internazional, Italy, Nicoló SARTORI, Senior Fellow & Head of Programme, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy, Bernardo VENTURI, Researcher, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italy

Reflection paper on harnessing globalisation

08-09-2017

Globalisation is nothing new; it is centuries old and has always contributed significantly to boosting growth and creating employment. It goes beyond the mere circulation of commercial goods, and more recently services, as it is a way to exchange ideas, spur discovery and innovation, and increase competitiveness. However, for some, globalisation is synonymous with unfair trade practices, job losses and the offshoring of firms, and there has recently been a backlash, culminating in the failure of ...

Globalisation is nothing new; it is centuries old and has always contributed significantly to boosting growth and creating employment. It goes beyond the mere circulation of commercial goods, and more recently services, as it is a way to exchange ideas, spur discovery and innovation, and increase competitiveness. However, for some, globalisation is synonymous with unfair trade practices, job losses and the offshoring of firms, and there has recently been a backlash, culminating in the failure of multilateral trade agreements. Calls for protectionism are all the while growing louder. As part of its wider exercise to modernise the EU, which is now centred on the white paper on the future of Europe, the Commission published a reflection paper on harnessing globalisation in May 2017. The paper identifies both an acceleration and a transformation of globalisation, making it unescapable, and the Commission therefore strongly supports keeping markets open. Nevertheless, it also advocates shaping globalisation in order to spread core European values, such as human rights. The EU's external response should be based on international cooperation, economic diplomacy and ensuring a level playing field. The policy areas covered would range from trade to environment, and from sustainable development to investment. In parallel, the EU's internal response would aim to increase resilience through improved sharing of the benefits of globalisation, and promoting European industry's long-term competitiveness. Reinforcement of the internal market and using the European Semester for improved coordination of economic policies is also advocated in connection with harnessing globalisation, as is targeted support for regions. This briefing is one of a series on the European Commission's reflection papers following up the March 2017 White Paper on the Future of Europe.

The EU-Latin American Strategic Partnership: state of play and ways forward

30-08-2017

By looking at the current social, economic and political trends in Latin America and the Caribbean and at recent developments in the EU’s relation with the region, this study explores windows of opportunity for advancing the EU-Latin American strategic partnership. It is argued that, although asymmetries between Europe and Latin America might impact and diminish the bi-regional relationship, the EU is well-positioned to play a more active role in Latin America by strengthening existing institutional ...

By looking at the current social, economic and political trends in Latin America and the Caribbean and at recent developments in the EU’s relation with the region, this study explores windows of opportunity for advancing the EU-Latin American strategic partnership. It is argued that, although asymmetries between Europe and Latin America might impact and diminish the bi-regional relationship, the EU is well-positioned to play a more active role in Latin America by strengthening existing institutional links, such as the strategic bi-regional partnership between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Euro-Latin America Parliamentary Assembly (EuroLat). The study concludes with tailor-made recommendations in order to advance the EU’s engagement and cooperation with individual Latin American countries and with the region as a whole, both through traditional cooperative channels and through closer parliamentary links within the framework of EuroLat.

Údar seachtarach

Gustavo G. MÜLLER (Senior Researcher, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, Belgium); Jan WOUTERS (Professor and Director, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, Belgium); Jean-Christophe DEFRAIGNE (Professor, Institute for European Studies, University Saint-Louis Brussels, Belgium); Sebastian SANTANDER (Professor, Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Liege, Belgium); Kolja RAUBE (Senior Researcher, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven, Belgium)

The Berlin Process and the Trieste summit 2017

11-07-2017

On 12 July 2017, Italy will host the fourth Western Balkan summit of the Berlin Process in Trieste, a city that symbolically links the EU and the Western Balkans. Several EU Member States and the region's six countries will review current progress and discuss a broad agenda in an attempt to go further with regional cooperation, increase coherence and deepen economic integration.

On 12 July 2017, Italy will host the fourth Western Balkan summit of the Berlin Process in Trieste, a city that symbolically links the EU and the Western Balkans. Several EU Member States and the region's six countries will review current progress and discuss a broad agenda in an attempt to go further with regional cooperation, increase coherence and deepen economic integration.

Eurasian Economic Union: The rocky road to integration

20-04-2017

Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, various attempts have been made to re-integrate the economies of its former republics. However, little progress was made until Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan launched a Customs Union in 2010. In 2015, this was upgraded to a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Modelled in part on the EU, this bloc aims to create an EU-style Eurasian internal market, with free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. So far, the EEU's performance has been poor. Trade ...

Since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, various attempts have been made to re-integrate the economies of its former republics. However, little progress was made until Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan launched a Customs Union in 2010. In 2015, this was upgraded to a Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Modelled in part on the EU, this bloc aims to create an EU-style Eurasian internal market, with free movement of goods, services, persons and capital. So far, the EEU's performance has been poor. Trade has slumped; this has more to do with Russia's economic downturn than the effects of economic integration, but there are signs that the new bloc is favouring protectionism over openness to global trade, which in the long term could harm competitiveness. Especially following the showdown between the EU and Russia over Ukraine, the EEU is widely seen in the West as a geopolitical instrument to consolidate Russia's post-Soviet sphere of influence. Fear of Russian domination and trade disputes between EEU member states are hindering progress towards the EEU's economic objectives. However, prospects may improve when Russia comes out of recession. The EEU is developing relations with third countries, such as Vietnam, which in 2015 became the first to sign a free-trade agreement with the bloc. For its part, the EU has declined to recognise the EEU as a legitimate partner until Russia meets its commitments under the Minsk agreements to help end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The future of EU - ASEAN relations

20-04-2017

Marking the 40th anniversary of the start of their dialogue ASEAN and the EU have agreed to work towards establishing a strategic partnership. While trade has always been the cornerstone of the relationship - ASEAN is the EU’s third largest trade partner - the EU’s ambition to expand its role as a global actor demand increased engagement. Both sides face common challenges that can only be addressed through joint responses that involve all stakeholders. To be strategic the partnership must embrace ...

Marking the 40th anniversary of the start of their dialogue ASEAN and the EU have agreed to work towards establishing a strategic partnership. While trade has always been the cornerstone of the relationship - ASEAN is the EU’s third largest trade partner - the EU’s ambition to expand its role as a global actor demand increased engagement. Both sides face common challenges that can only be addressed through joint responses that involve all stakeholders. To be strategic the partnership must embrace all aspects, from trade to energy, from climate change to security issues, from human rights to sustainable development. Deepening and enhancing relations between one of the most dynamic region in the world and the largest and most affluent market will bring important benefits to both European and ASEAN citizens. The last years have seen an increase in contacts but the many challenges faced today by the EU, internally and in its close neighbourhood, risk to require all attention and put the EU-ASEAN relations at risk. Finally the study argues that strengthening the parliamentary dimension of the relationship would, besides supporting representative democracy in Southeast Asia, contribute to maintaining the momentum launched in 2012.

Addressing Developing Countries’ Challenges in Free Trade Implementation

02-02-2017

The present study places the potential effects of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) liberalisation on government revenue in signatory states within the broader context of regional integration and global liberalisation. Based on a review of the secondary literature it finds that the revenue effect may be severe in some, but by no means all, cases and that the forecasts now need to be updated by country-level studies using the details of liberalisation schedules actually agreed. The evidence also ...

The present study places the potential effects of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) liberalisation on government revenue in signatory states within the broader context of regional integration and global liberalisation. Based on a review of the secondary literature it finds that the revenue effect may be severe in some, but by no means all, cases and that the forecasts now need to be updated by country-level studies using the details of liberalisation schedules actually agreed. The evidence also suggests that poor countries find it very hard to replace government revenue lost through liberalisation but that where there have been successes the measures taken include those needed to increase any gains from regional and global trade integration. Such reforms require sustained commitment (by donors and recipients) over many years. The stresses created by EPAs (and regional liberalisation) increase the need for such commitment; but they also offer an opportunity since they include an appropriate framework for providing appropriate assistance. Yet data on flows of aid for trade do not indicate that an adequate commitment has yet been made. Six recommendations are made on actions that the European Parliament might champion to reduce the risks of an ‘EPA revenue squeeze’ in ways that support recipients’ capacity to benefit from greater regional and global integration.

Údar seachtarach

Isabella MASSA and Christopher STEVENS (Overseas Development Institute)

Economic Dialogue with Ireland - ECON on 8 November 2016

04-11-2016

This note presents selected information on the current status of the EU economic governance procedures and related relevant information in view of an Economic Dialogue with Michael Noonan, Ireland’s Minister for Finance, in the competent committee of the European Parliament. The invitation for a dialogue is in accordance with the EU economic governance framework, in particular Article 2a of EU Regulation 1467 as amended by Regulation 1177/2011 and Article 7(10) of EU Regulation 472/2013.

This note presents selected information on the current status of the EU economic governance procedures and related relevant information in view of an Economic Dialogue with Michael Noonan, Ireland’s Minister for Finance, in the competent committee of the European Parliament. The invitation for a dialogue is in accordance with the EU economic governance framework, in particular Article 2a of EU Regulation 1467 as amended by Regulation 1177/2011 and Article 7(10) of EU Regulation 472/2013.

One Belt, One Road (OBOR): China's regional integration initiative

07-07-2016

In 2013, China launched its 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative. OBOR is China’s broadly sketched vision of how it plans to boost regional integration in its wider neighbourhood. The initiative is unprecedented in terms of China's financial engagement and the innovative network-based project design which is intended to contribute to a more inclusive global governance. It contrasts sharply with existing treaty-based integration concepts where the geographical scope, partner countries, strategy, ...

In 2013, China launched its 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative. OBOR is China’s broadly sketched vision of how it plans to boost regional integration in its wider neighbourhood. The initiative is unprecedented in terms of China's financial engagement and the innovative network-based project design which is intended to contribute to a more inclusive global governance. It contrasts sharply with existing treaty-based integration concepts where the geographical scope, partner countries, strategy, principles and rules were clearly defined at the outset. China's new development vision has been seen as an alternative to regional trade agreements which do not include it; as a strategy for asserting its leadership role in Asia in response to the US pivot to Asia; as an economic outreach towards Asian countries for resolving territorial and maritime disputes by exporting China’s domestic development policies; as a means of tapping into new sources of growth to check the marked downturn in its economy; as a tool for tackling the socio-economic divide between its inland and coastal provinces; and finally, as a venue for addressing security challenges on its western periphery as well as energy security issues. The response to China's regional integration vision has been mixed. While the idea of enhancing connectivity has drawn considerable interest, given the huge infrastructure gaps across Asia, scepticism regarding China's potential hegemonic ambitions has prevailed notably among regional rivals India and Japan as well as the USA. Whether OBOR will be mutually beneficial for China and the EU will depend on the two sides agreeing on the 'rules of the game', including for joint projects in third countries. Potential synergies between OBOR and the EU connectivity initiatives are being explored under the EU-China Connectivity Platform.

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