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The further development of the Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports control

16-07-2018

In view of the upcoming review of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports, the aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the context in which this process will take place together with a set of possible outcomes the review could produce. The speakers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), first defined the context by describing how, since the EU Common Position was adopted in 2008, EU member states performed in terms of military expenditure, arms production ...

In view of the upcoming review of the EU Common Position 944/2008/CFSP on arms exports, the aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the context in which this process will take place together with a set of possible outcomes the review could produce. The speakers from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), first defined the context by describing how, since the EU Common Position was adopted in 2008, EU member states performed in terms of military expenditure, arms production and arms transfers. Recent measures adopted at the EU level to boost defence industrial cooperation were also indicated as part of this framework. The speakers also highlighted the divergences in member states’ export policies which emerged in the last decade, most recently during the conflict in Yemen. They then provided a number of options that could be taken into consideration during the 2018 review, covering both adjustments to the language of the criteria and the user’s guide and measures to improve the implementation of the EU Common Position, the quality of reporting and to increase coherence and coordination of the EU export control regime.

Autor externo

Dr. Sibylle BAUER, Mark BROMLEY, Giovanna MALETTA – Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

EU security cooperation with Latin America: A priority requiring consolidation

23-11-2017

Although security cooperation is not yet a well-consolidated priority for the EU in its relations with Latin America, it has acquired increasing importance with the explicit inclusion of citizen security as a new priority area in the 2015 EU-CELAC action plan. The main current areas of EU security-related cooperation with the region are the fight against drugs; violence prevention; conflict resolution in Colombia, with an EU stake in its peace process; and the participation of some Latin American ...

Although security cooperation is not yet a well-consolidated priority for the EU in its relations with Latin America, it has acquired increasing importance with the explicit inclusion of citizen security as a new priority area in the 2015 EU-CELAC action plan. The main current areas of EU security-related cooperation with the region are the fight against drugs; violence prevention; conflict resolution in Colombia, with an EU stake in its peace process; and the participation of some Latin American countries in EU crisis-management operations in the framework of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy. This is achieved through trans-regional, regional, sub-regional and bilateral programmes and projects, as well as through the conclusion of framework agreements with certain Latin American countries. The European Parliament is particularly involved in promoting security cooperation with the region, as evidenced by its support for a Euro-Latin American Charter for Peace and Security, in the framework of the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly, and the adoption of specific resolutions on the subject.

Saudi Arabia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

22-11-2017

The EU is Saudi Arabia's first trading partner in goods, with 16.3 % of Saudi Arabia’s global trade, followed by China with 14.1 % and the US with 11.8 %. Saudi Arabia is the EU's 15th trading partner in goods, with an EU market share of 1.5 %. The trade balance is positive for the EU, as this infographic illustrates. Trade between the EU and Saudi Arabia takes place within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and the United ...

The EU is Saudi Arabia's first trading partner in goods, with 16.3 % of Saudi Arabia’s global trade, followed by China with 14.1 % and the US with 11.8 %. Saudi Arabia is the EU's 15th trading partner in goods, with an EU market share of 1.5 %. The trade balance is positive for the EU, as this infographic illustrates. Trade between the EU and Saudi Arabia takes place within the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The GCC countries formed their own customs union on 1 January 2015. The EU exports a wide range of goods and services to the region; however, around 50 % of the EU's exported goods to the GCC are machinery, including power generation plants, railway locomotives, aircrafts, electrical machinery and mechanical appliances. Meanwhile, approximately 70 % of all EU imports from the GCC consist of fuels and their derivatives. Following a reliance on oil revenues for about 90% of its budget in recent years, Saudi Arabia has embarked on an ambitious plan to restructure its oil-dependent economy, known as Vision 2030, involving diversification, privatisation, tax increases and subsidy cuts. Saudi Arabia has significant defence relationships with a rising number of EU Member States, primarily driven by the trade in arms (and often also related contracts for training and maintenance).

Saudi Arabia in the Western Balkans

17-11-2017

The Gulf States, along with other external players, have raised their profile in the Western Balkans in recent years. While most have set out on an economic quest, Saudi Arabia is considered to have a more ideological approach, seeking a strong role among the region's Muslims. In the 1990s Bosnian war, it provided significant aid for the Muslim cause and has stayed in the region to expand its influence, introducing stricter interpretations of Islam that are gradually taking root there.

The Gulf States, along with other external players, have raised their profile in the Western Balkans in recent years. While most have set out on an economic quest, Saudi Arabia is considered to have a more ideological approach, seeking a strong role among the region's Muslims. In the 1990s Bosnian war, it provided significant aid for the Muslim cause and has stayed in the region to expand its influence, introducing stricter interpretations of Islam that are gradually taking root there.

Plenary round-up - Strasbourg, September 2017

15-09-2017

In addition to the State of the Union address by European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, the main debates held during Parliament's September plenary session included questions such as fire safety in buildings, the impact of hurricane Irma, breaches of human rights and a series of statements related to external relations presented by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini. On the legislative front, Members voted, inter alia, on proposals concerning the WIFI4EU regulation (an initiative ...

In addition to the State of the Union address by European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, the main debates held during Parliament's September plenary session included questions such as fire safety in buildings, the impact of hurricane Irma, breaches of human rights and a series of statements related to external relations presented by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini. On the legislative front, Members voted, inter alia, on proposals concerning the WIFI4EU regulation (an initiative to promote internet connectivity in local communities), security of gas supply, the European Accessibility Act and the European Venture Capital Funds and European Social Entrepreneurship Funds investment schemes. Parliament pushed the Council to move forward with ratifying the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women. It also raised concerns over the EU Common Position on arms export, as well as adopting three resolutions aimed at modernising EU-Chile trade relations.

EU rules on control of arms exports

05-09-2017

The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. While the Common Position has increased information-sharing and transparency of Member States' arms exports, scope remains to enhance convergence of national policies and for stricter implementation of the criteria defined in the EU text. Parliament is due to discuss a report on implementation of the Common Position during its September plenary session.

The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. While the Common Position has increased information-sharing and transparency of Member States' arms exports, scope remains to enhance convergence of national policies and for stricter implementation of the criteria defined in the EU text. Parliament is due to discuss a report on implementation of the Common Position during its September plenary session.

Control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

23-06-2017

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aimed to ban some ...

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, in November 2015 the European Commission presented a package of measures aiming to tighten control on the acquisition and possession of firearms in the European Union, improve traceability of legally held firearms and enhance cooperation between Member States, as well as ensure that deactivated firearms are rendered inoperable. The proposal to amend the current 'Firearms Directive' (Directive 91/477/EEC) was part of this package. It aimed to ban some semi-automatic firearms for civilian use, as well as to include some previously excluded actors (collectors and brokers) and blank-firing weapons within the scope of the Directive. Parliament and Council reached agreement on the proposal in December, and formally adopted it in March and April respectively. The new directive reduces the number of weapons categories and changes the classification of certain types of weapons, while strictly defining exceptions for civilian use of the most dangerous weapons. It entered into force on 13 June 2017, with the deadline for transposition of most provisions set at 14 September 2018. This updates a briefing of January 2017, drafted by Jana Valant: PE 595.875.

Towards an EU common position on the use of armed drones

15-06-2017

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements ...

Since the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution on the use of armed drones in February 2014, it has pointed several times to the need for a common EU position on the matter. It has stressed in particular the importance of ensuring compliance with international human rights and humanitarian law when using armed drones. This publication, which was requested by the EP’s Human Rights Subcommittee, includes a briefing with specific recommendations, drawn up from a legal standpoint, on the elements that a future Council decision on the use of armed drones should include. This publication also includes a report on the workshop held on 22 March 2017, at which a first draft of the briefing was presented and discussed with Members and stakeholders. The discussion at the workshop confirmed that there was broad support in Parliament for the development of common European principles governing the use of armed drones, not least in view of the emergence of new risks from non-state actors and the EU’s commitment to enhancing security and defence cooperation. While there is currently no agreement between Member States to pursue the matter at EU level, the workshop debate drew attention to the common rules on exports of armed drones and drone technology that already exist. Furthermore, progress has been made recently in agreeing a joint EU position regarding the related matter of lethal autonomous weapons.

Autor externo

Jessica DORSEY, Giulia BONACQUISTI

The implementation of the EU arms export control system

30-05-2017

The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the EU arms export control system as well as options for improvement. The main speaker, Dr Sibylle Bauer, Director of the Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), provided a brief overview of the main elements of the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and then focused on aspects related to strengthening implementation of the eight criteria of the Common Position, the enhancement of ...

The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the EU arms export control system as well as options for improvement. The main speaker, Dr Sibylle Bauer, Director of the Dual-Use and Arms Trade Control Programme at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), provided a brief overview of the main elements of the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and then focused on aspects related to strengthening implementation of the eight criteria of the Common Position, the enhancement of compliance with the reporting obligation by Member States, possible ways to increase the transparency and public scrutiny of the export control framework and the development of the EU’s institutional framework in this context. Her presentation was followed by a debate involving members of the Security and Defence Committee of the European Parliament, the outcome of which may feed into the EP Annual Report on Arms Export.

Autor externo

Sibylle BAUER, Mark BROMLEY and Giovanna MALETTA, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Mapping the future of Syria: State of play and options

23-03-2017

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire ...

Despite the humanitarian and security crisis, progress towards a United Nations (UN) negotiated political settlement of the conflict has been slow, mostly on account of disagreement over President Bashar al-Assad's future. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on 18 December 2015 – setting out a roadmap for a peace process in Syria with a clear transition timeline – offered new hope but failed to produce results. After several failed attempts at a cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey in December 2016, including a monitoring mechanism for violations, opened the way for a new UN Security Council Resolution 2336 which was adopted unanimously on 31 December 2016. The resolution provided an impulse for re-booting the political process during the talks in Astana at the beginning of 2017. At the same time, the discussion about the future of Syria revolves around questions linked to the future of the Assad regime, territorial integrity of Syria, political accountability, the creation of safe zones, and the reconstruction work that will follow a potential peace agreement. In March 2017, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, presented a joint communication providing elements of an EU strategy for Syria. For its part, the European Parliament has focused on addressing the implications of the refugee crisis, strengthening EU humanitarian assistance in Iraq and Syria and aid to vulnerable communities, and improving the EU response to the terrorist threat posed by ISIL/Da'esh.

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