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India: environmental issues

10-04-2019

The entire south Asian region is threatened by climate change. Changes in average weather conditions are likely to create hotspots across the region and have negative impacts on living standards and gross domestic product (GDP). India is at the core of this trend: it ranks 14th in the last United Nations global climate risk index and in 2017 it was the second most-affected country in terms of casualties related to extreme weather. Air quality in Indian cities is quickly deteriorating and it is today ...

The entire south Asian region is threatened by climate change. Changes in average weather conditions are likely to create hotspots across the region and have negative impacts on living standards and gross domestic product (GDP). India is at the core of this trend: it ranks 14th in the last United Nations global climate risk index and in 2017 it was the second most-affected country in terms of casualties related to extreme weather. Air quality in Indian cities is quickly deteriorating and it is today worse than the situation in China: in the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) global ambient air quality database, 11 of the 12 cities with the highest levels of small particulate – PM2.5 – are located in India. Air pollution goes hand in hand with poverty: in 2016 an estimated 790 million people (almost 60 % of the Indian population), still relied on biomass for cooking. Deforestation, water pollution, clean water shortages, and waste management are further issues of concern. The Indian authorities have taken several initiatives to tackle these issues. In 2008, the first national plan on climate change (NAPCC) outlined eight 'national missions' running up to 2017. India is a leader in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance and has ambitious targets in terms of solar power energy. It has launched a national clean air programme (NCAP) to combat air pollution. Prime Minister's Narendra Modi government has launched several flagship initiatives on environment, including a clean cooking scheme, Clean India, Clean Ganga, and Smart Cities Mission. The EU supports Delhi's efforts on tackling its environment challenges. At their March 2016 summit, the EU and India agreed on two joint declarations: on an India-EU water partnership and on a clean energy and climate partnership. The joint declaration on partnership for smart and sustainable urban development signed at the India-EU Summit in October 2017 is the framework for EU support for India's urbanisation challenges.

India: taking stock of Modi's five years

10-04-2019

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations ...

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations of unleashing the country's economic potential and has adopted many flagship initiatives in a bid to change the country. In the last five years, India has overtaken China as the fastest growing economy, becoming the world's sixth biggest economy and a space power. Doing business in the country has become easier. Poverty has been reduced. The government succeeded in introducing major fiscal unification reform and a new law on bankruptcy. It failed, however to create the necessary stock of jobs for young people or to promote long-awaited labour reforms. The situation for farmers has worsened, and an overnight demonetisation hindered progress among small businesses and rural communities, while failing to bring real advances in the fight against corruption. State banks hold large stocks of bad loans and the government has increased pressure on the central bank and on its independence. Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance, pressure on freedom of expression, possible state intrusion into privacy, citizenship issues and other topics have been matters for concern in the area of human rights, although the country remains a robust democracy governed by the rule of law. Modi has increased the country's presence in the global arena, although the framework of India's relations with the major powers has not changed. Following two summits in 2016 and 2017, the EU and India have embarked on a road towards cooperation on non-trade issues. Trade has meanwhile stagnated and little progress has been made in negotiations on a trade and investment agreement.

Nepal, Bhutan and their neighbours: Two Himalayan countries landlocked between India and China

05-04-2019

Nepal and Bhutan are two poor landlocked Himalayan countries, sandwiched between a democracy and an authoritarian one-party state: India and China. After an authoritarian past, during the last decade, they have begun reforms in order to switch towards a democratic model. After a long and complicated path, Nepal succeeded in adopting a new constitution in 2015. Its first post-constitution government is run by an alliance of communist parties. In Bhutan, the king has successfully steered the country ...

Nepal and Bhutan are two poor landlocked Himalayan countries, sandwiched between a democracy and an authoritarian one-party state: India and China. After an authoritarian past, during the last decade, they have begun reforms in order to switch towards a democratic model. After a long and complicated path, Nepal succeeded in adopting a new constitution in 2015. Its first post-constitution government is run by an alliance of communist parties. In Bhutan, the king has successfully steered the country towards democratisation, as confirmed by the October 2018 general elections. While historically the two countries have nurtured solid relations with India, in recent years Beijing has expanded its footprint in the region considerably, challenging Delhi's traditional sphere of influence and increasing its sense of encirclement. In 2017 this led to a crisis referred to as the 'Doklam Plateau standoff'. There is currently a window of opportunity for Nepal and Bhutan to diversify their economic and security partnership and to rebalance their foreign policies between their two big neighbours. The EU has been supporting the two countries on their democratic journey and tripled resources for both countries' development for the 2014-2020 period. As they are among the world's poorest countries, Nepal and Bhutan benefit from the EU's 'Everything But Arms' scheme, which grants full duty free and quota free access to the EU single market for all products.

International Agreements in Progress: The EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) - A framework to promote shared values

22-01-2019

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive ...

The EU and Japan share the same basic values, including on democracy, market economy, human rights, human dignity, freedom, equality, and the rule of law. Against a background of increasingly assertive neighbours, they are also putting emphasis on security issues. The EU has adopted a Global Strategy placing security and defence as a key strategic priority, and conclusions on 'enhanced EU security cooperation in and with Asia'. Japan has reformed its security policy, aiming at becoming a 'proactive contributor for peace'. In order to enhance their relations, in July 2018 the EU and Japan signed a binding Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) – to come into force following ratfication by all Member States – along with an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), negotiated in parallel. The SPA represents a framework strengthening the overall partnership, by promoting political and sectoral cooperation and joint actions in more than 40 areas of common interest. Once in force, the EU-Japan strategic partnership will become more operational. The agreement will facilitate joint EU-Japan efforts to promote shared values such as human rights and rule of law, a rules-based international system, and peace and stability across the world. It will allow EU-Japan security cooperation to reach its full potential. Second edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

EU and Japan seek to boost their relations

05-12-2018

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

Maldives: New president gives hope for change

15-11-2018

The image of the Maldives seen by many tourists is at odds with the country’s situation. On the one hand, it has just emerged from five year’s rule by iron-fisted Abdulla Yameen, who left a legacy of serious human rights issues. On the other hand, the tiny archipelago, formerly one of the world's poorest countries, risks disappearing before the end of the century, due to climate change. Yet, hope is on the horizon with the surprise outcome of the September 2018 presidential elections, won by opposition ...

The image of the Maldives seen by many tourists is at odds with the country’s situation. On the one hand, it has just emerged from five year’s rule by iron-fisted Abdulla Yameen, who left a legacy of serious human rights issues. On the other hand, the tiny archipelago, formerly one of the world's poorest countries, risks disappearing before the end of the century, due to climate change. Yet, hope is on the horizon with the surprise outcome of the September 2018 presidential elections, won by opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Will the new president be able to change the course of events and address his country's numerous challenges?

Prospects for EU-Asia connectivity - The 'European way to connectivity'

12-10-2018

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established strategic partnerships with four Asian countries, intensified cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. As an implementation of its 2016 Global Strategy, the EU has carried out ...

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established strategic partnerships with four Asian countries, intensified cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. As an implementation of its 2016 Global Strategy, the EU has carried out a mapping exercise on Euro-Asian connectivity, followed by the adoption of a joint communication on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy' on 19 September 2018. The strategy proposes that the EU engage with its Asian partners through a sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based approach to connectivity, exploiting existing and planned EU networks. It acknowledges a significant investment gap in connectivity and recognises the need to mobilise and strengthen cooperation with private investors, national and international institutions, and multilateral development banks. The strategy is part of the EU's contribution to the ASEM12 Summit, which is to take place in Brussels on 18-19 October 2018. Presented by Vice President/High Representative, Federica Mogherini, as the 'European way to connectivity', the strategy was immediately perceived as the EU response to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This initiative is currently raising concerns in the EU and in several participating countries, some of which are worried about possible 'debt traps'.

ASEP10 gives priority to climate change

21-09-2018

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

India: Energy issues

07-09-2018

India's energy consumption is set to grow faster than that of any other major economy, and the country is to overtake China as the largest-growing market for energy by the end of the 2020s. In spite of its large population, its share of global energy consumption, currently at 5 %, should grow moderately to reach 11 % in 2040. India's government plans to bring electricity to every household by the end of 2018. India's energy mix, mostly based on fossil fuels, is to evolve very slowly in the future ...

India's energy consumption is set to grow faster than that of any other major economy, and the country is to overtake China as the largest-growing market for energy by the end of the 2020s. In spite of its large population, its share of global energy consumption, currently at 5 %, should grow moderately to reach 11 % in 2040. India's government plans to bring electricity to every household by the end of 2018. India's energy mix, mostly based on fossil fuels, is to evolve very slowly in the future, but renewables – especially solar power – will gain relevance.

Kashmir: 70 years of disputes

17-07-2018

Kashmir, located between China, India and Pakistan, has been at the heart of a complex, 70-year dispute between Delhi and Islamabad, which has strained bilateral relations and impeded the development of stronger ties in the whole of South Asia. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, an uprising against Delhi's rule has been ongoing since 1989. In June 2018, a UN human rights report on Kashmir called for establishing a commission of inquiry into multiple violations from both sides. Kashmir is a ...

Kashmir, located between China, India and Pakistan, has been at the heart of a complex, 70-year dispute between Delhi and Islamabad, which has strained bilateral relations and impeded the development of stronger ties in the whole of South Asia. In the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, an uprising against Delhi's rule has been ongoing since 1989. In June 2018, a UN human rights report on Kashmir called for establishing a commission of inquiry into multiple violations from both sides. Kashmir is a mountainous area the size of Germany, in the north-west of the Indian subcontinent, home to K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, and also narrow valleys and barren plateaus. It is also prone to seismic activity: as recently as 2005, a strong earthquake is estimated to have claimed 75 000 lives.

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25-06-2019
Meeting EU energy and climate goals: Energy storage for grids and low-carbon mobility
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