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EU support for human rights defenders around the world

08-11-2018

Twenty years after the UN General Assembly adopted its Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to enhance recognition of their role and encourage states to create a more protective environment, many human rights defenders still face significant threats, and the situation of those working in certain areas has even deteriorated. Support for human rights defenders is a long established component of the EU's external human rights policy and one of its major priorities. The EU guidelines on HRDs ...

Twenty years after the UN General Assembly adopted its Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to enhance recognition of their role and encourage states to create a more protective environment, many human rights defenders still face significant threats, and the situation of those working in certain areas has even deteriorated. Support for human rights defenders is a long established component of the EU's external human rights policy and one of its major priorities. The EU guidelines on HRDs adopted in 2004 outline concrete measures for protecting HRDs at risk, including the provision of emergency aid, and encourage EU diplomats to take a more proactive approach towards HRDs. The European Commission manages a financial instrument in support of HRDs working in the world's most dangerous situations. The European Parliament is a long-standing advocate of a comprehensive EU policy on HRDs and has actively contributed to its shaping. Its urgency resolutions on human rights breaches around the world, some of which have focused on individual HRDs and the particular threats they face, have drawn attention to the difficulties facing HRDs in many countries. Parliament has also organised hearings with HRDs, issued statements about cases of HRDs at risk, and highlighted the plight of HRDs during visits by its delegations to the countries concerned. The Parliament's Sakharov Prize is the EU's most visible action in favour of HRDs. It has a significant impact on laureates, providing them with recognition and, in many cases, indirect protection. This a further updated version of a briefing from December 2017: PE 614.626.

Foreign influence operations in the EU

10-07-2018

Attempting to influence political decision-making beyond one's own political sphere is not a new phenomenon – it is an integral part of the history of geopolitics. Whereas hard power relies on military and economic force, the soft power of a state involves public diplomacy and dialogue on values, cultures and ideas, which should normally correspond with its behaviour abroad. Although the extent is hard to measure, democratic states whose values match the prevailing global norms – pluralism, fundamental ...

Attempting to influence political decision-making beyond one's own political sphere is not a new phenomenon – it is an integral part of the history of geopolitics. Whereas hard power relies on military and economic force, the soft power of a state involves public diplomacy and dialogue on values, cultures and ideas, which should normally correspond with its behaviour abroad. Although the extent is hard to measure, democratic states whose values match the prevailing global norms – pluralism, fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law as a principle within states and in international relations – and exert this influence by contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts, traditionally appear more attractive, thus having more soft power leverage. However, influence can also serve purposes of interference and destabilisation. Authoritarian state actors struggle to project soft power while engaging in disruptive or destructive behaviour. Instead, some state actors see a means of reaching their goals by making democratic actors, systems and values appear less attractive, through a number of overt and covert instruments. The tools are constantly evolving. Today, social media combines the oral tradition with new electronic means of dissemination, enabling (potentially disruptive) messages to spread instantaneously. Disinformation can be, and is being, combined with other instruments in an increasingly diverse, hybrid 'toolbox' that authoritarian state actors have at their disposal. In recent years, awareness in the research community of online disinformation by state actors has increased around the world, not least in the context of the United Kingdom referendum on EU membership and the US presidential election in 2016. Although their visibility increases in the context of elections and referendums, influence campaigns are not limited to democratic processes.

Prawa człowieka

01-05-2018

W ramach stosunków zewnętrznych Unia Europejska angażuje się we wspieranie demokracji i praw człowieka zgodnie z zasadami wolności, demokracji oraz poszanowania praw człowieka, podstawowych wolności i praworządności, które leżą u jej podstaw. UE dąży do uwzględnienia problematyki praw człowieka we wszystkich swoich strategiach politycznych i programach, a każdemu działaniu przypisuje inny instrument polityki w zakresie praw człowieka, w tym finansowanie poszczególnych projektów z instrumentów finansowych ...

W ramach stosunków zewnętrznych Unia Europejska angażuje się we wspieranie demokracji i praw człowieka zgodnie z zasadami wolności, demokracji oraz poszanowania praw człowieka, podstawowych wolności i praworządności, które leżą u jej podstaw. UE dąży do uwzględnienia problematyki praw człowieka we wszystkich swoich strategiach politycznych i programach, a każdemu działaniu przypisuje inny instrument polityki w zakresie praw człowieka, w tym finansowanie poszczególnych projektów z instrumentów finansowych UE.

Ogólny przegląd polityki rozwojowej

01-01-2018

Polityka rozwojowa stanowi trzon polityki zewnętrznej Unii Europejskiej. Ma ona na celu eliminowanie ubóstwa, wspieranie zrównoważonego rozwoju, obronę praw człowieka i demokracji, wspieranie równości płci oraz rozwiązywanie problemów dotyczących ochrony środowiska i klimatu. Unia Europejska działa na całym świecie i jest największym darczyńcą w obszarze rozwoju. Współpraca z państwami członkowskimi UE i działania prowadzone w zgodzie z agendą ONZ na rzecz zrównoważonego rozwoju do roku 2030 mają ...

Polityka rozwojowa stanowi trzon polityki zewnętrznej Unii Europejskiej. Ma ona na celu eliminowanie ubóstwa, wspieranie zrównoważonego rozwoju, obronę praw człowieka i demokracji, wspieranie równości płci oraz rozwiązywanie problemów dotyczących ochrony środowiska i klimatu. Unia Europejska działa na całym świecie i jest największym darczyńcą w obszarze rozwoju. Współpraca z państwami członkowskimi UE i działania prowadzone w zgodzie z agendą ONZ na rzecz zrównoważonego rozwoju do roku 2030 mają kluczowe znaczenie dla skutecznego dostarczania pomocy.

Women in CSDP missions

06-12-2017

Promoting women’s participation in CSDP missions and operations is important to sustain EU’s credibility, to improve effectiveness, to promote equality at home and abroad, to increase the talent pool for personnel, and to make the best use of our financial resources. More needs to be done by both member states and the EU to fulfil promises to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This report looks at three issues that contribute to more inclusion ...

Promoting women’s participation in CSDP missions and operations is important to sustain EU’s credibility, to improve effectiveness, to promote equality at home and abroad, to increase the talent pool for personnel, and to make the best use of our financial resources. More needs to be done by both member states and the EU to fulfil promises to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This report looks at three issues that contribute to more inclusion and better effectiveness: First, the structures that promote equality in the security sector institutions within the EU; second, the effects of women’s participation in missions and operations; third, how CSDP structures and EU member states policies could be further adapted to create a working environment that is conducive to both men and women contributing their full potential to better solutions to security challenges. Political commitment and hands-on leadership by the EU and its Member States is key to more diversity and inclusivity in CSDP structures. A pro-active approach to recruitment and retention of female staff, adapted job-descriptions, comprehensive family policies, and employing an approach that values diversity and creates a positive work environment are all necessary in this regard.

Autorzy zewnętrzni

WIIS, Women in International Security Brussels, Belgium

Hong Kong's Legislative Council and the rule of law

10-11-2017

Hong Kong 'localists' won six seats in the 2016 Legislative Council elections. Calling for greater autonomy or self-determination for Hong Kong, or even its independence from mainland China, they have challenged the fragile balance of power under the city's 1997 'one country, two systems' regime. The attempts of the now ousted members-elect to cross Beijing's bottom line has prompted mainland China to tighten its grip on the city's executive, legislature and judiciary, adding to concerns over creeping ...

Hong Kong 'localists' won six seats in the 2016 Legislative Council elections. Calling for greater autonomy or self-determination for Hong Kong, or even its independence from mainland China, they have challenged the fragile balance of power under the city's 1997 'one country, two systems' regime. The attempts of the now ousted members-elect to cross Beijing's bottom line has prompted mainland China to tighten its grip on the city's executive, legislature and judiciary, adding to concerns over creeping erosion of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Hong Kong's Basic Law.

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

EU Economic Diplomacy Strategy

03-03-2017

The post-World War II order is undergoing profound changes with globalisation and the emergence of new economic powers. The economy has gradually taken over as the main driver of political influence and global now transcend the old national or regional divides. As the EU was emerging as a global economic player, the economic and financial crisis made the need to tap into foreign markets all the greater. The creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), incorporating the EU delegations, ...

The post-World War II order is undergoing profound changes with globalisation and the emergence of new economic powers. The economy has gradually taken over as the main driver of political influence and global now transcend the old national or regional divides. As the EU was emerging as a global economic player, the economic and financial crisis made the need to tap into foreign markets all the greater. The creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), incorporating the EU delegations, and the new EU competence for direct foreign investment under the Treaty of Lisbon have given the Union the tools to assume an independent identity in economic diplomacy. As a result, the EU’s business-promotion policy evolved into a much more sophisticated economic diplomacy strategy, handled in a more structured manner by the Commission and the EEAS. The European Parliament must now be involved, beyond its legislative and scrutiny roles, in devising this new strategy. Not only could the EP add to the debate but it can also help the Commission and the EEAS with its long-established tradition of parliamentary diplomacy.

The European Council and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

14-09-2016

This study assesses the planning, command and control of civilian and military CSDP missions and operations, progress made in developing civilian and military capabilities, particularly rapid response capabilities in the form of the EU Battlegroups, as well as challenges encountered during the force generation process. In recent years, the European Council has repeatedly called for further progress in all of these areas. The study concludes that, despite recent progress in reviewing crisis management ...

This study assesses the planning, command and control of civilian and military CSDP missions and operations, progress made in developing civilian and military capabilities, particularly rapid response capabilities in the form of the EU Battlegroups, as well as challenges encountered during the force generation process. In recent years, the European Council has repeatedly called for further progress in all of these areas. The study concludes that, despite recent progress in reviewing crisis management procedures, operational planning remains cumbersome and slow. The findings indicate that the chain of command for CSDP military operations would benefit from further streamlining, possibly through the creation of a Follow-up Centre for Missions and Operations placed under the supervision of the European Union Military Staff. 'Modular' configurations specific to high-readiness alert units should also be explored as a priority when further developing rapid reaction military capabilities. The study also shows that, for civilian CSDP, the delays encountered in the force generation process could be reduced by further developing national rosters of experts deployable on missions and operations.  

New sanctions against North Korea: The challenges of implementation and China

05-07-2016

In January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, exposing the inability of UN sanctions to prevent the reclusive regime from gradually enhancing its ballistic missile capabilities and miniaturising a nuclear warhead. Despite China's past principled reluctance to agree to UN economic sanctions against its military ally, and its selective implementation of the previous sanctions scheme, which has been widely perceived as the major cause of its ineffectiveness, in March 2016 China endorsed ...

In January 2016, North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test, exposing the inability of UN sanctions to prevent the reclusive regime from gradually enhancing its ballistic missile capabilities and miniaturising a nuclear warhead. Despite China's past principled reluctance to agree to UN economic sanctions against its military ally, and its selective implementation of the previous sanctions scheme, which has been widely perceived as the major cause of its ineffectiveness, in March 2016 China endorsed UN Security Council resolution 2270(2016). The latter expands significantly the scope of previous sanctions against North Korea. China's frustration at its lack of leverage over North Korea to prevent it from further escalating regional tensions, combined with the response from Japan, South Korea and the United States, has compelled it to endorse tougher sanctions against North Korea as a means of bringing it back to the negotiation table. However, China has emphasised that stiffer sanctions alone will not be a panacea for the Korean Peninsula's denuclearisation. China plays a vital role in ensuring a meaningful impact of the newly adopted sanctions, given its intense economic relations with North Korea. A consensus between China and the USA on a common approach to North Korea which accommodates their conflicting geostrategic interests would be crucial for engaging North Korea. But given the latter's staunch insistence on its status as a nuclear-armed state, prospects are grim for a resumption of the stalled Six Party Talks to replicate – under much more complex circumstances – what was achieved with Iran in 2015.

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