1495

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Russia [What Think Tanks are thinking]

21-09-2018

In September, Russia held its largest military exercise since 1981, the height of the Cold War, deploying 300 000 troops and also inviting Chinese forces to participate. The event highlighted Russia’s growing assertiveness in security and foreign policy, following its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Syria. The policies of President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this year, pose a dilemma for the European Union and the United States, with some observers accusing him of ...

In September, Russia held its largest military exercise since 1981, the height of the Cold War, deploying 300 000 troops and also inviting Chinese forces to participate. The event highlighted Russia’s growing assertiveness in security and foreign policy, following its annexation of Crimea and military intervention in Syria. The policies of President Vladimir Putin, who was re-elected earlier this year, pose a dilemma for the European Union and the United States, with some observers accusing him of trying to sabotage Western liberal democracy and others saying that he wants to regain the position of global player that the Soviet Union once occupied. This note offers links to commentaries and studies by major international think tanks, which discuss Russia's policies and how to respond to them. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in March 2018. Some more papers on US-Russian relations are available in another edition from the series published in August 2018.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

21-09-2018

In today's context of renewed tensions on the European continent, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has an opportunity to play a stronger role as a forum for all Europe's security actors, helping to prevent a logic of confrontation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the EU versus Russia from prevailing. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) came into being during the detente of 1962-1979. It transformed the zero-sum game of ...

In today's context of renewed tensions on the European continent, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has an opportunity to play a stronger role as a forum for all Europe's security actors, helping to prevent a logic of confrontation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the EU versus Russia from prevailing. The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) came into being during the detente of 1962-1979. It transformed the zero-sum game of the Cold War into a positive-sum game between European states, becoming a forum for discussion between the two superpowers and European countries. However, the main achievement of the Helsinki process that formed the CSCE was that it brought all the participating countries to the negotiating table. The main outcome of the Helsinki process was less the Final Act itself than the original process of negotiations between all the participating states. After the fall of the USSR and the subsequent EU and NATO enlargements, the OSCE (as the CSCE was renamed in 1994) was redesigned as a forum for resolving Cold War tensions and it became gradually less relevant. The main elements of the European security framework established by the CSCE (Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, Vienna Document, Open Skies Treaty) lost their ability to secure effective arms control and build confidence. There was a shift towards soft security cooperation (election monitoring, peace processes, the protection of minorities, and action to ensure a safe environment for journalists). Initiatives to reform the OSCE over the past decade have largely failed because of disagreements between member states on the objectives and the organisation's legal and financial means. Nevertheless, it remains a necessary forum when it comes to resolving a growing number of crises.

The Development of an Institutional Framework for the Implementation of the Association Agreements in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: a comparative perspective

19-09-2018

In recent years the EU concluded Association Agreements, including the creation of a Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. These are amongst the most complex and comprehensive legal treaties concluded by the EU with third countries. The treaties place a profound obligation on the partner countries of legal approximation, that is, to undertake extensive, binding commitments to adopt vast swathes of the acquis in order to stimulate political and economic development and ...

In recent years the EU concluded Association Agreements, including the creation of a Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. These are amongst the most complex and comprehensive legal treaties concluded by the EU with third countries. The treaties place a profound obligation on the partner countries of legal approximation, that is, to undertake extensive, binding commitments to adopt vast swathes of the acquis in order to stimulate political and economic development and institutional modernisation. This study shows that creating the institutional framework for implementation is a challenging and drawn-out process. While all countries have made some progress with devising these mechanisms, they are short of the necessary political leadership, policy planning, administrative capacity and there is a dearth of budgetary planning to enable effective implementation. There is also a notable need to embed implementation into wider reform strategies. While these issues are being addressed on the part of the countries, the EU can assist them by providing the necessary systemic support in an integrated, sequenced and long-term way.

Externe auteur

Kataryna WOLCZUK, Professor of East European Politics, University of Birmingham and Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, United Kingdom

EU trade with Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview and figures

14-09-2018

This publication provides an overview of trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three members of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and bilateral agreements with Chile and Mexico. Since November 2017, a new agreement governing trade relations with Cuba has also been provisionally applied ...

This publication provides an overview of trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three members of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and bilateral agreements with Chile and Mexico. Since November 2017, a new agreement governing trade relations with Cuba has also been provisionally applied. In addition, the EU is currently modernising its agreements with Mexico (with which it has reached an 'agreement in principle') and Chile. The EU also has framework agreements with Mercosur and its individual members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay). The agreement with the former will be replaced, once the ongoing negotiations on an EU-Mercosur association agreement have been completed. This publication provides recent data on trade relations between the EU and Latin American and Caribbean countries and groupings, compares the main agreements governing trade relations that are already in place, and analyses the rationale behind the ongoing negotiations on the EU-Mercosur, EU-Mexico and EU-Chile agreements. This is a revised and updated edition of a publication from October 2017 by Gisela Grieger and Roderick Harte, PE 608.793.

Water in Central Asia: An increasingly scarce resource

12-09-2018

While it is rich in fossil fuels and minerals, Central Asia is poor in water. However, water plays a key role in the economies of the five Central Asian countries. In mountainous Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, hydroelectricity is already a vital energy resource; new dams could also make it a major export revenue earner. Downstream, river water irrigates the cotton fields of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Heavy water use, particularly in agriculture, is putting water supplies under pressure. Central Asian ...

While it is rich in fossil fuels and minerals, Central Asia is poor in water. However, water plays a key role in the economies of the five Central Asian countries. In mountainous Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, hydroelectricity is already a vital energy resource; new dams could also make it a major export revenue earner. Downstream, river water irrigates the cotton fields of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Heavy water use, particularly in agriculture, is putting water supplies under pressure. Central Asian countries have to share limited resources fairly, while balancing the needs of upstream hydroelectricity generation and downstream agriculture. For this reason, cooperation is vital. However, competition for water has often been a source of tensions, particularly between Uzbekistan and its upstream neighbours. The situation has improved recently, now that Uzbekistan's new president has taken a more constructive approach to resolving these regional water-related problems. Water use also has many environmental implications. Soviet engineers succeeded in turning deserts into fertile farmland, but at the expense of the Aral Sea, a formerly huge inland lake that has all but dried up. Intensive agriculture is also polluting the region's rivers and soils. Leaky irrigation infrastructure and unsustainable greening projects are wasting huge amounts of water. In future, more efficient water use and closer cooperation will become increasingly necessary, as population growth and climate change pile pressure on the region's scarce water resources. The EU has made water one of the main priorities of its development aid for the region. Among other things, EU funding supports regional cooperation and improvements to water infrastructure.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - September 2018

10-09-2018

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Digital technology in elections: Efficiency versus credibility?

10-09-2018

Digital technology brings greater efficiency in many walks of life, and elections are no exception. Online databases hugely facilitate the task of creating and managing accurate and up-to-date electoral rolls. In less developed countries, whose citizens often lack reliable identity documents, biometric technology can help to identify voters, thus preventing fraud in the form of multiple voting. However, for some aspects of election management, digitalisation is more controversial. Electronic voting ...

Digital technology brings greater efficiency in many walks of life, and elections are no exception. Online databases hugely facilitate the task of creating and managing accurate and up-to-date electoral rolls. In less developed countries, whose citizens often lack reliable identity documents, biometric technology can help to identify voters, thus preventing fraud in the form of multiple voting. However, for some aspects of election management, digitalisation is more controversial. Electronic voting machines count votes quickly and accurately. First used in the United States, they have spread to several Latin American and Asian countries. However, the intangible nature of digital processes makes detecting tampering more difficult; as a result, most European countries are sticking to tried-and-trusted conventional paper ballots. Even more controversial is the idea of internet voting. On the one hand, allowing citizens the convenience of casting their vote online without the need to visit polling stations could help to reverse a worrying decline in voter turnout across the world. On the other hand, current technology does not allow internet voting systems to be fully secured against hackers, a major concern given the growing sophistication of cyber-attacks (for example, from Russia). To date, only Estonia gives all voters the option of online voting in national elections.

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.

China, the 16+1 format and the EU

07-09-2018

Since 2012, China has engaged 16 central and eastern European countries (CEECs), including 11 EU Member States and five Western Balkan countries under the 16+1 cooperation format, which it has portrayed as an innovative approach to regional cooperation. Although framed as multilateralism, in practice this format has remained largely bilateral and highly competitive in nature. While in 2012 the CEECs had enthusiastically embraced this form of cooperation as a chance to diversify their EU-focused economic ...

Since 2012, China has engaged 16 central and eastern European countries (CEECs), including 11 EU Member States and five Western Balkan countries under the 16+1 cooperation format, which it has portrayed as an innovative approach to regional cooperation. Although framed as multilateralism, in practice this format has remained largely bilateral and highly competitive in nature. While in 2012 the CEECs had enthusiastically embraced this form of cooperation as a chance to diversify their EU-focused economic relations in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, by 2018 some of them had voiced dissatisfaction with the economic results it had yielded for them. The 2018 Sofia summit guidelines for the first time stressed the need for a more balanced trade, reciprocity of market access and open tenders in infrastructure construction, thus echoing concerns the EU had repeatedly raised with China. Empirical evidence shows that China-CEEC trade had actually jumped prior to 2012, whereas afterwards it increased at a much slower pace, with Chinese exports to CEECs expanding much quicker than CEEC exports to China, thus generating an unbalanced trade that is heavily tilted in favour of China. Foreign direct investment (FDI) data reveal that while Chinese FDI is highly concentrated on the biggest CEECs, it accounts for an extremely low share of total FDI stock. Some smaller CEECs have started to attract Chinese FDI as well, although at comparatively low levels. Some of China's infrastructure construction projects in the CEECs have suffered setbacks in a regional environment governed by EU norms and regulations. The EU engages in the 16+1 as a summit observer, adheres to the principles of its 2016 strategy for China and works towards cooperation with China on physical and digital infrastructure - through the EU-China Connectivity Platform. It has added the Berlin Process to its Western Balkans policy and has issued a new strategy providing for a credible enlargement perspective for and an enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans. This updates an 'at a glance' note, China, the 16+1 cooperation format and the EU, of March 2017.

State of EU-US relations

05-09-2018

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September ...

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to discuss an own-initiative report addressing these issues.

Toekomstige activiteiten

24-09-2018
Brexit and industry and space policy
Workshop -
ITRE
24-09-2018
Third meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group (JPSG) on Europol
Diverse activiteiten -
LIBE
24-09-2018
Education in the digital era
Hoorzitting -
CULT

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