1562

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EU-Ukraine people-to-people contacts

15-02-2019

The 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine began as a grassroots movement, channelling public calls for a functioning democracy, a European outlook and an end to corruption. Since then, the European Union (EU) has been unrelenting in its support for Kyiv's ambitious reform process as well as for Ukraine's vibrant civil society.

The 2014 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine began as a grassroots movement, channelling public calls for a functioning democracy, a European outlook and an end to corruption. Since then, the European Union (EU) has been unrelenting in its support for Kyiv's ambitious reform process as well as for Ukraine's vibrant civil society.

Online disinformation and the EU's response

14-02-2019

The visibility of disinformation as a tool to undermine democracies increased in the context of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine. It gained notoriety as a global challenge during the UK referendum on EU membership as well as the United States presidential election campaign in 2016. The European Union and the European Parliament are stepping up efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the May 2019 European elections.

The visibility of disinformation as a tool to undermine democracies increased in the context of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine. It gained notoriety as a global challenge during the UK referendum on EU membership as well as the United States presidential election campaign in 2016. The European Union and the European Parliament are stepping up efforts to tackle online disinformation ahead of the May 2019 European elections.

United Nations reform

13-02-2019

At the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 18 September 2017, 120 countries expressed their commitment to the reforms proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Since 1946, the UN has undergone a number of reforms either in whole or in part. The term 'reform' has proved troublesome for UN member states on account of its lack of clarity and the lack of consensus as to execution. This is particularly apparent in the scepticism expressed by the United States (US) in 2018 regarding the ...

At the 72nd United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 18 September 2017, 120 countries expressed their commitment to the reforms proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Since 1946, the UN has undergone a number of reforms either in whole or in part. The term 'reform' has proved troublesome for UN member states on account of its lack of clarity and the lack of consensus as to execution. This is particularly apparent in the scepticism expressed by the United States (US) in 2018 regarding the need for global governance, the importance of UN Security Council decisions such as the Iran nuclear deal, and the efficiency of the United Nations. This briefing explains how the current reform differs from previous ones, in as much as it focuses on management and addresses the criticisms of a lack of accountability and transparency, ineffectiveness, and the deficit in trust between the organisation and its member states in the current system. The United Nations reform agenda centres on three key areas: development, management, and peace and security. First, development reform will bring a bold change to the UN development system in order to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This will be centred on the creation of a new generation of country teams led by an independent team of UN country experts ('resident coordinators'). Second, the simplification of processes, increased transparency and improved delivery of mandates will form the basis of a new management paradigm for the secretariat. Third, peace and security reform will be underpinned by placing priority on conflict prevention and peacekeeping, increasing the effectiveness and coherence of peacekeeping operations and political missions. Two years after its launch, the reform process is starting to bear fruit, with implementation set to begin in 2019 and a focus on streamlining, accountability, transparency and efficiency. However, the reform process does not make explicit mention of bolstering human rights. This briefing also explores the possibility of capitalising on the current reforms so as to boost the indivisibility of human rights, while taking stock of stakeholders' reactions to the UN reforms under way.

Serbia-Kosovo relations: Confrontation or normalisation?

12-02-2019

After fighting broke out between government forces and separatists, the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo was transferred to United Nations administration in 1999. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. However, Belgrade continues to view its former province as Serbian territory. Over 100 countries, including 23 EU Member States, have recognised Kosovar independence, but full recognition and membership of most international organisations are still a long way off. Both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to ...

After fighting broke out between government forces and separatists, the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo was transferred to United Nations administration in 1999. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. However, Belgrade continues to view its former province as Serbian territory. Over 100 countries, including 23 EU Member States, have recognised Kosovar independence, but full recognition and membership of most international organisations are still a long way off. Both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to EU membership – Serbia as a candidate country and Kosovo as a potential candidate. The EU insists that Serbia must normalise its relations with Kosovo before joining. Since 2011, with the help of EU mediation, the two neighbours have resolved some of the technical issues, but disagreements prevent normal day-to-day interaction between them in areas such as trade, energy supplies and cross-border travel. One of the main stumbling blocks is the situation of Kosovo's Serb minority. Around one in 12 Kosovars is an ethnic Serb, and nearly half of these are concentrated in the north. Despite efforts to integrate Serb-majority northern Kosovo into the rest of the country, Pristina still struggles to control the region. In 2013 and 2015, it agreed to grant autonomy to Serb-majority areas of Kosovo, but progress on this is now deadlocked. In 2018, the Kosovar and Serbian presidents floated the idea of a 'border correction', possibly involving the exchange of northern Kosovo for Albanian-majority Serbian districts. However, the proposal has been criticised by Germany, which fears that any territorial exchange risks sparking instability by calling into question other Western Balkan borders. There is also strong domestic opposition to the move in both Kosovo and Serbia. Despite growing pressure on both sides to finally reach a deal that could unlock the door to EU membership, relations remain tense and progress towards normalisation is currently at a standstill.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - February 2019

11-02-2019

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.

China [What Think Tanks are thinking]

08-02-2019

China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and its assertive foreign policy pose a dilemma for European Union policy-makers as to whether to treat the Asian powerhouse as a partner or a rival, or to take a position somewhere in between. Formally, the EU and China are strategic partners since 2003 - a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. No EU country wants to be openly confrontational towards China, contrary to the approach of the ...

China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and its assertive foreign policy pose a dilemma for European Union policy-makers as to whether to treat the Asian powerhouse as a partner or a rival, or to take a position somewhere in between. Formally, the EU and China are strategic partners since 2003 - a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. No EU country wants to be openly confrontational towards China, contrary to the approach of the current United States administration. However, several European governments are wary of Beijing’s economic expansionism and its efforts to take the global lead in digital technologies. Controversy over China’s telecoms giant Huawei has exacerbated those concerns. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on China, its ties with the EU and related issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in September 2018.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: 2018 country report

07-02-2019

In 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina made little progress on the road to accession. In the four areas of rule of law, fundamental rights, public administration and economic development, reforms have yet to be implemented. During its February plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate a resolution on the European Commission’s 2018 country report on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina made little progress on the road to accession. In the four areas of rule of law, fundamental rights, public administration and economic development, reforms have yet to be implemented. During its February plenary session, the European Parliament is due to debate a resolution on the European Commission’s 2018 country report on Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Venezuela: An unexpected turn of events

07-02-2019

The election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly and his subsequent self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela has brought an unexpected turn to political events in the country and revived hopes for change both at home and abroad. Not only has Guaidó rallied massive popular support among Venezuelans, he has also obtained official recognition from the USA and most countries in the region. The European Parliament and 19 EU Member States have also recognised Guaidó as the legitimate ...

The election of Juan Guaidó as president of the National Assembly and his subsequent self-proclamation as interim President of Venezuela has brought an unexpected turn to political events in the country and revived hopes for change both at home and abroad. Not only has Guaidó rallied massive popular support among Venezuelans, he has also obtained official recognition from the USA and most countries in the region. The European Parliament and 19 EU Member States have also recognised Guaidó as the legitimate interim President.

International Agreements in Progress: Bilateral trade deal with Japan – largest to date for EU

01-02-2019

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of ...

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of the economic impact of the agreement, published in June 2018, indicated that the EU's GDP could rise by approximately 0.14 %, and EU exports to Japan by around €13 billion by the time the EPA is fully implemented in 2035. The agreement will provide for significant economic opportunities for sectors such as agri-food and textiles, and it is predicted that no EU sector will be impacted by noticeable losses. In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade and strengthening the EU's economic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the EPA, together with the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), will provide a platform for stronger relations between the EU and Japan. The agreement also conveys a strong message on the parties' commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system and to rejecting trade protectionism.

The EU's new Central Asia strategy

30-01-2019

Central Asia is an often overlooked region, but one that is gradually becoming more important for the European Union. Although the Central Asian countries are less of a priority than those of the Eastern Neighbourhood, the EU has steadily intensified diplomatic relations with the region, at the same time as ramping up development aid. European trade and investment, above all in Kazakhstan, have made the EU the main economic player in Central Asia, ahead of Russia and China. However, former overlord ...

Central Asia is an often overlooked region, but one that is gradually becoming more important for the European Union. Although the Central Asian countries are less of a priority than those of the Eastern Neighbourhood, the EU has steadily intensified diplomatic relations with the region, at the same time as ramping up development aid. European trade and investment, above all in Kazakhstan, have made the EU the main economic player in Central Asia, ahead of Russia and China. However, former overlord Russia does not seem to resent European influence in Central Asia as much as in eastern Europe, and the region has avoided becoming a zone of geopolitical confrontation. The EU's 2007 Central Asia strategy defines the priorities for EU development aid and diplomatic activity in the region. These include responding to security threats, protecting human rights, promoting economic development, developing transport and energy links, and ensuring environmental protection. Since then, progress in these areas has been uneven. Nevertheless, the issues identified in 2007 are still highly relevant today, and will probably remain at the heart of future EU policy in Central Asia. However, there have also been several major developments since the strategy was adopted: China's Belt and Road Initiative is reviving overland trade routes connecting Europe and Asia via the region; in Uzbekistan, a more conciliatory foreign policy under the country's new president has eased regional tensions and opened the door to cooperation between formerly hostile neighbours. At the same time, Central Asian countries are becoming more interested in engaging with Afghanistan. A new strategy, expected for mid-2019, will therefore need to spell out how the EU responds to these new dynamics.

Toekomstige activiteiten

18-02-2019
ECON/TAX3 - Joint session with National Parliaments
Diverse activiteiten -
TAX3
19-02-2019
Hearing on attacks on the legal profession and lawyers defending human rights
Hoorzitting -
DROI
19-02-2019
Just energy transition, opportunity for EU industries
Workshop -
ITRE

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