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Syria: Stalled Peace Process and Blocked Humanitarian Access

24-11-2016

Amid stalled peace talks and a worsening humanitarian situation, the EU is working alongside the UN Special Envoy for Syria to engage key regional and international players and broker a return to the negotiating table. In parallel, an EU emergency humanitarian initiative for Aleppo has been launched to attempt to break the deadlock over humanitarian access and deliver aid to some of the 275 000 people in Aleppo and 13.5 million people across the country who are in desperate need of assistance.

Amid stalled peace talks and a worsening humanitarian situation, the EU is working alongside the UN Special Envoy for Syria to engage key regional and international players and broker a return to the negotiating table. In parallel, an EU emergency humanitarian initiative for Aleppo has been launched to attempt to break the deadlock over humanitarian access and deliver aid to some of the 275 000 people in Aleppo and 13.5 million people across the country who are in desperate need of assistance.

The Lisbon Treaty's Provisions on CFSP/CSDP - State of Implementation

02-10-2015

Since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force in December 2009, major efforts have been made to implement the new institutional set-up it created: the EU has acquired legal personality, the post of Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has been created, the European External Action Service has been operationalised, and the EU Delegations around the world have boosted the EU’s presence and increased diplomatic and policy outreach. The European ...

Since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force in December 2009, major efforts have been made to implement the new institutional set-up it created: the EU has acquired legal personality, the post of Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has been created, the European External Action Service has been operationalised, and the EU Delegations around the world have boosted the EU’s presence and increased diplomatic and policy outreach. The European Parliament has also acquired a greater role thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, particularly in the fields of foreign policy oversight and budgetary scrutiny. Nevertheless, many provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, designed to provide a boost to foreign, security and defence policies, remain non-implemented owing to a lack of political support stemming from the fears of some EU Member States of the creation of a ‘two-speed Europe’ and loss of control over these fields in favour of the EU institutions.

G7 Summit in Schloss Elmau: A Tighter Agenda, with Wider Impact?

10-06-2015

The 7-8 June 2015 Group of Seven (G7) summit in Schloss Elmau (Germany) marked the second meeting of seven leading industrialised nations without Russia since the disbanding of the Group of Eight (G8). The group's smaller configuration – a response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea – appears here to stay. The summit provided an opportunity for G7 leaders to discuss a number of topics pertaining to foreign policy, economy, health, energy, climate and sustainable development. Ukraine and the ...

The 7-8 June 2015 Group of Seven (G7) summit in Schloss Elmau (Germany) marked the second meeting of seven leading industrialised nations without Russia since the disbanding of the Group of Eight (G8). The group's smaller configuration – a response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea – appears here to stay. The summit provided an opportunity for G7 leaders to discuss a number of topics pertaining to foreign policy, economy, health, energy, climate and sustainable development. Ukraine and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) featured prominently on the meeting’s agenda, as did discussions on to the post-2015 development and climate agendas. The revival of the G7 has served to ensure its members' unity on key policy files, shape joint policy responses and influence EU policies and global governance, particularly through its nexus with the Group of 20 (G20), the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The German presidency of G7 has been praised its inclusive approach ahead of the summit, with consultations conducted with non-governmental stakeholders.

Enhancing Support for the European Security and Defence Research: Challenges and Prospects

30-04-2015

In the real world, the notions of security and defence are often used interchangeably. One of the flagship external policies of the European Union – the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – also consists of both concepts. However, in the EU Treaty, these two elements have distinct funding bases. External security funding remains firmly anchored in the EU’s budget, while the defence/military component is controlled and funded almost exclusively inter-governmentally. This division is also reflected ...

In the real world, the notions of security and defence are often used interchangeably. One of the flagship external policies of the European Union – the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – also consists of both concepts. However, in the EU Treaty, these two elements have distinct funding bases. External security funding remains firmly anchored in the EU’s budget, while the defence/military component is controlled and funded almost exclusively inter-governmentally. This division is also reflected in the research domain, leading to a paradoxical situation: while the EU’s research budget (channelled through its current multi-annual framework programme, Horizon 2020) is arguably the largest research budget in the world (reaching around EUR 70 billion), defence research in Europe remains underfunded, to the detriment of European defence capabilities and economic interests. While the European Defence Agency (EDA) has successfully initiated some small-scale defence research pooling initiatives (reaching around EUR 350 million since its creation), it remains a drop in the ocean of needs. This paper analyses the current state of play, and some actions proposed to foster synergies between security- and defence-related research, focusing on a preparatory action (PA) and a pilot project in support of CSDP-related research.

Reforming the United Nations: State of Play, Ways Forward

25-03-2015

The need to reform the United Nations to adapt the organisation to new global power configurations has been widely recognised. Yet these reforms have often been hampered by a lack of global consensus on how they could be carried and what they would entail. The UN 'reform agenda' touches upon virtually all areas of the organisation's activities, including peace support, development and human rights. The proposals also concern institutional issues, including budgetary and management reforms of the ...

The need to reform the United Nations to adapt the organisation to new global power configurations has been widely recognised. Yet these reforms have often been hampered by a lack of global consensus on how they could be carried and what they would entail. The UN 'reform agenda' touches upon virtually all areas of the organisation's activities, including peace support, development and human rights. The proposals also concern institutional issues, including budgetary and management reforms of the UN system. This paper takes stock of progress in key areas of reform and outlines possible ways forward.

Stakeholder, Parliamentary and Third Country Concerns about the EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA)

16-12-2014

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) – covering a plethora of issues, including market access, tariffs and non-tariff barriers – has elicited varied reactions from stakeholders. Business associations on both sides of the Atlantic have strongly supported the deal and its aim to boost economic relations between the partners. On the other hand, some civil society groups, trade unions and agricultural associations have voiced hesitations about some of the deal’s provisions ...

The EU-Canada Comprehensive Trade and Economic Agreement (CETA) – covering a plethora of issues, including market access, tariffs and non-tariff barriers – has elicited varied reactions from stakeholders. Business associations on both sides of the Atlantic have strongly supported the deal and its aim to boost economic relations between the partners. On the other hand, some civil society groups, trade unions and agricultural associations have voiced hesitations about some of the deal’s provisions and its impact on the agricultural sector, the job market and quality of public services. CETA negotiations have also provided civil society an opportunity to discuss indirectly related issues, including visa policies, data privacy and the EU ban on the trade in seal products. Both the European and Canadian Parliaments have actively monitored the negotiations and provided opportunities for stakeholders to express their opinions. While consultation and public outreach now appears to have resolved most hurdles, criticism about the negotiations’ transparency and inclusiveness – as well as concerns about the inclusion of investment protection clauses – have not entirely abated. Turkey and Canada’s partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (the US and Mexico) also have distinct reasons to fear the impact of CETA on their own economies.

G20 Summit in Brisbane: Low Expectations, Limited Progress?

21-11-2014

The recent Group of 20 (G20) summit in Brisbane aimed to coordinate global action to support a transition from containing the financial crisis to supporting economic recovery. The Australian presidency’s agenda privileged discussions on concrete steps to facilitate growth and build resilience by completing financial reforms and taking action on tax issues and corruption. The programme also sought to strengthen the G20 partners' cooperation on trade and energy. While the meeting, held on 15-16 November ...

The recent Group of 20 (G20) summit in Brisbane aimed to coordinate global action to support a transition from containing the financial crisis to supporting economic recovery. The Australian presidency’s agenda privileged discussions on concrete steps to facilitate growth and build resilience by completing financial reforms and taking action on tax issues and corruption. The programme also sought to strengthen the G20 partners' cooperation on trade and energy. While the meeting, held on 15-16 November 2014, did deliver some concrete economic commitments, the accomplishments were overshadowed by underlying geopolitical concerns. In bilateral discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, some G20 leaders – including from the EU, a full member of the Group – criticised Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine and its failure to ensure a proper investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. With other areas of focus including climate change (thanks in part to the efforts of the EU), energy cooperation and fighting Ebola, the summit's middling score sheet – with modest progress at best – looked rather similar to those of recent G20 summits.

Commitments Made at the Hearing of Federica Mogherini - High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

14-11-2014

Federica Mogherini, the recently-confirmed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, appeared before the European Parliament on 6 October 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in her answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting, High Representative /Vice President Mogherini made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of her most salient points.

Federica Mogherini, the recently-confirmed High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, appeared before the European Parliament on 6 October 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in her answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting, High Representative /Vice President Mogherini made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of her most salient points.

Commitments Made at the Hearings of the Commissioners-Designate, Juncker Commission (November 2014 - October 2019)

14-11-2014

This compilation of briefings presents the most salient points and essential commitments made by the commissioners-designate during the hearings held in September/October 2014 before the parliamentary committees. These commitments concern the main on-going legislative procedures, the preparation of future legislative proposals as well as the scrutiny of the implementation of existing legislation. They also touch upon the crucial issue of inter-institutional cooperation.

This compilation of briefings presents the most salient points and essential commitments made by the commissioners-designate during the hearings held in September/October 2014 before the parliamentary committees. These commitments concern the main on-going legislative procedures, the preparation of future legislative proposals as well as the scrutiny of the implementation of existing legislation. They also touch upon the crucial issue of inter-institutional cooperation.

Midterm Elections in the United States: What’s at Stake?

07-10-2014

On 4 November 2014, midterm elections will be held for all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and for 36 seats in the US Senate. Additionally, 36 of 50 states will hold gubernatorial races on that day. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is widely expected to be maintained, and the Party stands a decent chance of gaining the six additional seats it would need to control the Senate as well – giving the party a hold over the entire Congress, with its legislative and oversight ...

On 4 November 2014, midterm elections will be held for all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and for 36 seats in the US Senate. Additionally, 36 of 50 states will hold gubernatorial races on that day. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is widely expected to be maintained, and the Party stands a decent chance of gaining the six additional seats it would need to control the Senate as well – giving the party a hold over the entire Congress, with its legislative and oversight powers. Whatever results the Senate race produces, the midterms will not end the country’s long-standing political gridlock. President Obama is certain to face a difficult two years before the end of his tenure.

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