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Hearings of the Commissioners-designate: Janez Lenarčič - Crisis Management

26-09-2019

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication ...

This briefing is one in a set looking at the Commissioners-designate and their portfolios as put forward by Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen. Each candidate faces a three-hour public hearing, organised by one or more parliamentary committees. After that process, those committees will judge the candidates' suitability for the role based on 'their general competence, European commitment and personal independence', as well as their 'knowledge of their prospective portfolio and their communication skills'. At the end of the hearings process, Parliament votes on the proposed Commission as a bloc, and under the Treaties may only reject the entire College of Commissioners, rather than individual candidates. The Briefing provides an overview of key issues in the portfolio areas, as well as Parliament's activity in the last term in that field. It also includes a brief introduction to the candidate.

India-administered Kashmir: current situation

13-09-2019

On 5 and 6 August 2019, the Indian Parliament approved the withdrawal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which had guaranteed Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, a high degree of autonomy. It also decided to split Jammu and Kashmir into two territories, both administered directly from Delhi. Meanwhile, the government deployed 46 000 troops, arrested regional political leaders and thousands of activists, suspended internet and communications across the valley, and shut down schools ...

On 5 and 6 August 2019, the Indian Parliament approved the withdrawal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which had guaranteed Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, a high degree of autonomy. It also decided to split Jammu and Kashmir into two territories, both administered directly from Delhi. Meanwhile, the government deployed 46 000 troops, arrested regional political leaders and thousands of activists, suspended internet and communications across the valley, and shut down schools and colleges.

India: environmental issues

10-04-2019

The entire south Asian region is threatened by climate change. Changes in average weather conditions are likely to create hotspots across the region and have negative impacts on living standards and gross domestic product (GDP). India is at the core of this trend: it ranks 14th in the last United Nations global climate risk index and in 2017 it was the second most-affected country in terms of casualties related to extreme weather. Air quality in Indian cities is quickly deteriorating and it is today ...

The entire south Asian region is threatened by climate change. Changes in average weather conditions are likely to create hotspots across the region and have negative impacts on living standards and gross domestic product (GDP). India is at the core of this trend: it ranks 14th in the last United Nations global climate risk index and in 2017 it was the second most-affected country in terms of casualties related to extreme weather. Air quality in Indian cities is quickly deteriorating and it is today worse than the situation in China: in the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) global ambient air quality database, 11 of the 12 cities with the highest levels of small particulate – PM2.5 – are located in India. Air pollution goes hand in hand with poverty: in 2016 an estimated 790 million people (almost 60 % of the Indian population), still relied on biomass for cooking. Deforestation, water pollution, clean water shortages, and waste management are further issues of concern. The Indian authorities have taken several initiatives to tackle these issues. In 2008, the first national plan on climate change (NAPCC) outlined eight 'national missions' running up to 2017. India is a leader in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance and has ambitious targets in terms of solar power energy. It has launched a national clean air programme (NCAP) to combat air pollution. Prime Minister's Narendra Modi government has launched several flagship initiatives on environment, including a clean cooking scheme, Clean India, Clean Ganga, and Smart Cities Mission. The EU supports Delhi's efforts on tackling its environment challenges. At their March 2016 summit, the EU and India agreed on two joint declarations: on an India-EU water partnership and on a clean energy and climate partnership. The joint declaration on partnership for smart and sustainable urban development signed at the India-EU Summit in October 2017 is the framework for EU support for India's urbanisation challenges.

India: taking stock of Modi's five years

10-04-2019

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations ...

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations of unleashing the country's economic potential and has adopted many flagship initiatives in a bid to change the country. In the last five years, India has overtaken China as the fastest growing economy, becoming the world's sixth biggest economy and a space power. Doing business in the country has become easier. Poverty has been reduced. The government succeeded in introducing major fiscal unification reform and a new law on bankruptcy. It failed, however to create the necessary stock of jobs for young people or to promote long-awaited labour reforms. The situation for farmers has worsened, and an overnight demonetisation hindered progress among small businesses and rural communities, while failing to bring real advances in the fight against corruption. State banks hold large stocks of bad loans and the government has increased pressure on the central bank and on its independence. Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance, pressure on freedom of expression, possible state intrusion into privacy, citizenship issues and other topics have been matters for concern in the area of human rights, although the country remains a robust democracy governed by the rule of law. Modi has increased the country's presence in the global arena, although the framework of India's relations with the major powers has not changed. Following two summits in 2016 and 2017, the EU and India have embarked on a road towards cooperation on non-trade issues. Trade has meanwhile stagnated and little progress has been made in negotiations on a trade and investment agreement.

Nepal, Bhutan and their neighbours: Two Himalayan countries landlocked between India and China

05-04-2019

Nepal and Bhutan are two poor landlocked Himalayan countries, sandwiched between a democracy and an authoritarian one-party state: India and China. After an authoritarian past, during the last decade, they have begun reforms in order to switch towards a democratic model. After a long and complicated path, Nepal succeeded in adopting a new constitution in 2015. Its first post-constitution government is run by an alliance of communist parties. In Bhutan, the king has successfully steered the country ...

Nepal and Bhutan are two poor landlocked Himalayan countries, sandwiched between a democracy and an authoritarian one-party state: India and China. After an authoritarian past, during the last decade, they have begun reforms in order to switch towards a democratic model. After a long and complicated path, Nepal succeeded in adopting a new constitution in 2015. Its first post-constitution government is run by an alliance of communist parties. In Bhutan, the king has successfully steered the country towards democratisation, as confirmed by the October 2018 general elections. While historically the two countries have nurtured solid relations with India, in recent years Beijing has expanded its footprint in the region considerably, challenging Delhi's traditional sphere of influence and increasing its sense of encirclement. In 2017 this led to a crisis referred to as the 'Doklam Plateau standoff'. There is currently a window of opportunity for Nepal and Bhutan to diversify their economic and security partnership and to rebalance their foreign policies between their two big neighbours. The EU has been supporting the two countries on their democratic journey and tripled resources for both countries' development for the 2014-2020 period. As they are among the world's poorest countries, Nepal and Bhutan benefit from the EU's 'Everything But Arms' scheme, which grants full duty free and quota free access to the EU single market for all products.

Mednarodni sporazumi v teku: Sporazum o strateškem partnerstvu med EU in Japonsko - Okvir za spodbujanje skupnih vrednot

22-01-2019

Evropska unija in Japonska temeljita na istih vrednotah, kot so demokracija, tržno gospodarstvo, človekove pravice in dostojanstvo, svoboda, enakost in pravna država. Zaradi vse bolj nepopustljivih sosednjih držav se obe osredotočata tudi na varnostna vprašanja. Evropska unija je sprejela globalno strategijo, ki kot prednostni strateški nalogi določa varnost in obrambo ter vključuje sklepe o okrepljenem varnostnem sodelovanju EU v Aziji in z njo. Japonska je reformirala svojo varnostno politiko, ...

Evropska unija in Japonska temeljita na istih vrednotah, kot so demokracija, tržno gospodarstvo, človekove pravice in dostojanstvo, svoboda, enakost in pravna država. Zaradi vse bolj nepopustljivih sosednjih držav se obe osredotočata tudi na varnostna vprašanja. Evropska unija je sprejela globalno strategijo, ki kot prednostni strateški nalogi določa varnost in obrambo ter vključuje sklepe o okrepljenem varnostnem sodelovanju EU v Aziji in z njo. Japonska je reformirala svojo varnostno politiko, da bi proaktivno prispevala k miru. Da bi poglobili odnose, sta Evropska unija in Japonska julija 2018 podpisali zavezujoč sporazum o strateškem partnerstvu, ki bo začel veljati, potem ko ga bodo ratificirale vse države članice, sočasno pa so potekala tudi pogajanja o sporazumu o gospodarskem partnerstvu. Sporazum o strateškem partnerstvu s spodbujanjem političnega in sektorskega sodelovanja ter skupnih ukrepov, ki naj bi se izvajali na več kot 40 področjih skupnega interesa, predstavlja okvir za krepitev vsestranskega partnerstva. Ko bo začel veljati sporazum, bo začelo bolje delovati tudi strateško partnerstvo med EU in Japonsko. Evropski uniji in Japonski bo omogočal spodbujati skupne vrednote, kot so človekove pravice in načela pravne države, mednarodni sistem, ki temelji na pravilih, svetovni mir in stabilnost. Poleg tega bo lahko s tem sporazumom sodelovanje na področju varnosti med EU in Japonsko doseglo svoj polni potencial.

EU and Japan seek to boost their relations

05-12-2018

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

The EU and Japan have given a strong signal in favour of free trade and their shared commitment to fundamental values and principles. In July 2018, they signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the Strategic Partnership Agreement. The two agreements now need the European Parliament's consent for their conclusion.

Maldives: New president gives hope for change

15-11-2018

The image of the Maldives seen by many tourists is at odds with the country’s situation. On the one hand, it has just emerged from five year’s rule by iron-fisted Abdulla Yameen, who left a legacy of serious human rights issues. On the other hand, the tiny archipelago, formerly one of the world's poorest countries, risks disappearing before the end of the century, due to climate change. Yet, hope is on the horizon with the surprise outcome of the September 2018 presidential elections, won by opposition ...

The image of the Maldives seen by many tourists is at odds with the country’s situation. On the one hand, it has just emerged from five year’s rule by iron-fisted Abdulla Yameen, who left a legacy of serious human rights issues. On the other hand, the tiny archipelago, formerly one of the world's poorest countries, risks disappearing before the end of the century, due to climate change. Yet, hope is on the horizon with the surprise outcome of the September 2018 presidential elections, won by opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Will the new president be able to change the course of events and address his country's numerous challenges?

Prospects for EU-Asia connectivity - The 'European way to connectivity'

12-10-2018

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established strategic partnerships with four Asian countries, intensified cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. As an implementation of its 2016 Global Strategy, the EU has carried out ...

Asia matters to Europe: home to the world's largest population and fastest-growing economies, Asia is a major trade partner of the EU. Recognising this, the EU has promoted the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), established strategic partnerships with four Asian countries, intensified cooperation with the Association of South-East Asia Nations (ASEAN), and negotiated or concluded free trade agreements with several Asian countries. As an implementation of its 2016 Global Strategy, the EU has carried out a mapping exercise on Euro-Asian connectivity, followed by the adoption of a joint communication on 'Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU strategy' on 19 September 2018. The strategy proposes that the EU engage with its Asian partners through a sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based approach to connectivity, exploiting existing and planned EU networks. It acknowledges a significant investment gap in connectivity and recognises the need to mobilise and strengthen cooperation with private investors, national and international institutions, and multilateral development banks. The strategy is part of the EU's contribution to the ASEM12 Summit, which is to take place in Brussels on 18-19 October 2018. Presented by Vice President/High Representative, Federica Mogherini, as the 'European way to connectivity', the strategy was immediately perceived as the EU response to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This initiative is currently raising concerns in the EU and in several participating countries, some of which are worried about possible 'debt traps'.

ASEP10 gives priority to climate change

21-09-2018

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

The 10th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Meeting (ASEP10) will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 27 and 28 September 2018. The meeting will focus on climate change and environmental challenges. The final declaration will be transmitted to the 12th ASEM Summit, to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 October 2018.

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