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Mapping Fake News and Disinformation in the Western Balkans and Identifying Ways to Effectively Counter Them EN

03-12-2020 PE 653.621 AFET
Résumé : Disinformation is an endemic and ubiquitous part of politics throughout the Western Balkans, without exception. A mapping of the disinformation and counter-disinformation landscapes in the region in the period from 2018 through 2020 reveals three key disinformation challenges: external challenges to EU credibility; disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic; and the impact of disinformation on elections and referenda. While foreign actors feature prominently – chiefly Russia, but also China, Turkey, and other countries in and near the region – the bulk of disinformation in the Western Balkans is produced and disseminated by domestic actors for domestic purposes. Further, disinformation (and information disorder more broadly) is a symptom of social and political disorder, rather than the cause. As a result, the European Union should focus on the role that it can play in bolstering the quality of democracy and governance in the Western Balkans, as the most powerful potential bulwark against disinformation.
Auteurs : Samuel GREENE, Gregory ASMOLOV, Adam FAGAN, Ofer FRIDMAN, Borjan GJUZELOV

No way back:Why the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU EN

25-11-2020 PE 653.619 AFET
Analyse approfondie
Résumé : There is no way back for transatlantic politics; in recent years it has suffered severe setbacks that cannot be undone. Although the Biden win promises opportunities for EU-US cooperation, the EU’s drive for strategic autonomy will not stop here. It is high time to look afresh at the very foundations of the transatlantic partnership, in light of not only the politics of today, but also the structural trends in the global balance of power and the lasting institutional ties between the two continents. Above all, the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU. For this to happen, the following issues should be given priority: i) dealing with an increasingly assertive China; ii) gaining more from transatlantic trade relations; iii) safeguarding the benefits of NATO and multilateral institutions like the WTO; iv) battling disinformation and other hybrid threats; and v) reinvigorating cooperation over climate change and global health. Because understanding of and trust in US intelligence and foreign policy positions has been eroded, a ‘thickening’ of transatlantic dialogue structures, including among elected representatives, should be pursued. This could include staff exchanges, track-two dialogues with think tanks and civil society, and an increased frequency of the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue, possibly supplemented with more subordinate bodies on specific issues, such as dealing with China.
Auteurs : Louise VAN SCHAIK, Ties DAMS

State of play of EU-Iran relations and the future of the JCPOA EN

30-10-2020 PE 603.515 AFET
Analyse approfondie
Résumé : The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), spearheaded by the European Union (EU), was a successful multilateral non-proliferation agreement. The hope was that it would also pave the way for dealing with other outstanding issues over which the EU and United States (US) were at loggerheads with Iran. Instead, with the election of President Trump, the main focus has been to save the JCPOA. As Iran has decreased its compliance with the deal and regional friction has intensified, particularly as a result of the US maximum pressure campaign, the EU has faced increasing challenges to maintain a working relationship with Tehran and to pursue its strategic objectives on Iran – a tall order even in more conducive circumstances. While the outcome of the US presidential elections in November 2020 will affect developments thereafter, the EU should shape its policy independent of a rturn to constructive multilateralism in Washington. It must further develop its strategic autonomy, enhance and expand its interaction with Tehran to ensure the JCPOA’s survival, while also taking a more proactive role in mitigating and mediating conflicts in the region.
Auteurs : Rouzbeh PARSI, Aniseh BASSIRI TABRIZI

Commitments made at the hearings of the Commissioners-designate - von der Leyen Commission 2019-2024 EN

En bref
Résumé : This document provides links to all Briefings produced by the Policy Departments of the Directorate-General for Internal Policies and of the Directorate-General for External Policies of the European Parliament, with salient points and essential commitments made by the Vice-Presidents and Commissioners-designates at their respective hearings before the European Parliament, in September-November 2019 and in October 2020. For an exhaustive list of all commitments made and positions taken by the candidates, the full verbatim report of each public hearing is available on the dedicated hearings website of the European Parliament, as are the written questions and answers.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - November 2020 EN

En bref
Résumé : 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.

Commitments made at the hearing of Valdis Dombrovskis Commissioner for Trade EN

Résumé : The Commission Executive Vice-President/Commissioner-designate, Valdis Dombrovskis, appeared before the European Parliament on 02 October 2020 to answer questions put by MEPs from the Committee on International Trade, in association with the Committees on Foreign Affairs, on Economic and Monetary Affairs, on Development and on Budgets. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio as Trade Commissioner, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - A level playing field for all; - Strengthening Europe’s global leadership; - Trade for sustainable development and climate action

Geopolitical implications of the COVID-19 pandemic EN

29-09-2020 PE 603.511 AFET
Résumé : Since the Coronavirus began its spread across the world, many analysts have speculated about its impact: would it merely accelerate previously-existing trends, or would it prove to be a geopolitical ‘game-changer’, creating a world profoundly different than before? The answer is much more complex than either or: the world during and after COVID-19 will have elements of both, the old and the new, the known and the unknown. This study explores both dimensions of the pandemic’s impact: how does it affect the geopolitical context it erupted into, and what possibility space does it open up? The first section assesses the geopolitical trends antedating the pandemic and measures its present and expected impact on them, while the second section lays out the space for action and change created by the disruption. In the third section, the interplay of trends and uncertainties is explored in three scenarios set in 2025: Strategic Distancing; Europe in Self-isolation; and Lockdown World. The study finds that European foreign policy is entering an era of re-definition in which the European Parliament should play a crucial role. This means outlining the elements of strategic autonomy, but also streamlining them with each other. As such, classical foreign policy needs to join forces with other policy areas such as environmental and technological matters, trade, strategic communication – and of course, health. In that sense alone, the pandemic is already proving to be a game-changer.
Auteurs : Florence GAUB, Lotje BOSWINKEL; EUISS

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - September 2020 EN

En bref
Résumé : 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.

A Balanced Arctic Policy for the EU EN

20-07-2020 PE 603.498 AFET
Analyse approfondie
Résumé : The EU is currently working towards updating its Arctic policy. It needs to respond to two major changes that affect the region and pose challenges to the role of the EU in the Arctic; accelerated climate change and increased geoeconomic and geopolitical competition. The EU finds itself in a rather unique position. As a supranational institution with competences in parts of the Arctic, and with Member States having territories in the region, as well as institutionalised linkages with Arctic countries Iceland and Norway — with whom the EU shares the European Economic Area (EEA) — it needs to balance sectoral policies, priority areas and addressing different Arctics. The EU should therefore create ‘more EU in the Arctic’ by broadening the scope of its existing Arctic policy, as well as incorporating ‘more Arctic in the EU’ by stipulating that the Arctic becomes a cross-cutting consideration in other relevant EU policies. In addition, the EU will need to address hard and soft security issues within existing functional, regional and global frameworks and continue engaging in dialogue and confidence-building measures with Russia. Finally, a revised EU Arctic policy needs to be proactive and ambitious, based on existing strengths and expertise within the EU. At the same time, in an Arctic that witnesses the return of geopolitics, the ‘civilian power’ EU will encounter challenges assuming its role in the region. How it narrates its future position in the Arctic will play a tangible role in negotiating this position politically.
Auteurs : Dr. Petra Dolata, University of Calgary

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - July 2020 EN

En bref
Résumé : 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.

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa EN

25-06-2020 PE 603.506 AFET
Résumé : The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this relationship, development and humanitarian aid, complemented with the rising challenge of climate change. The new approach is also illustrated by the emphasis put on the promotion of bilateral trade and investment relations, the topic of the third briefing. All these briefings also try to incorporate first elements on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bilateral relationship.

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Political Dialogue: Governance, Security and Migration EN

25-06-2020 PE 603.507 AFET
Résumé : Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed on the basis of an emerging continent. Africa is home to the youngest population in the world and some of the world’s most fragile states. However, it is also a continent with emerging markets and more effective governments. This brief aims to clarify how well the new Strategy must manage to mainstream a European approach to Africa that considers both the inter-continental dialogue and the diversity of development on this emerging continent within the fields of governance, security and migration. As the COVID-19 has turned into a pandemic, the brief also suggests that the new European strategy must reflect this development and the European Parliament should closely monitor the situation as it discusses the Strategy.
Auteurs : Morten BØÅS

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Development, Humanitarian Aid and Climate Change EN

25-06-2020 PE 603.508 AFET
Résumé : The new EU Strategy for Africa attempts to reflect the continent’s growing relevance within a partnership rather than through a donor-recipient framework. However, this leads to a prioritisation of the formal, productive and technology sectors as well as climate mitigation at the expense of agriculture, informal sector, human development and climate adaptation. With such skewed priorities, this Strategy is ill-adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Institutionally, political will is needed to ensure that the continent-to-continent approach is not hampered by parallel, contradictory and fragmenting forces within the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) governance frameworks. Financially, mutual accountability must be strengthened by joint funding of joint actions. An inclusive institutional mechanism is also needed to promote political and civil society participation as well as policy coherence for sustainable development beyond migration and climate. More generally, the Strategy advances a government-to-government type of partnership at the expense of a more people-centred approach that is more in line with the ‘principled pragmatism’ of the EU.
Auteurs : Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Trade and Investments EN

25-06-2020 PE 603.509 AFET
Résumé : The new European Commission (EC) is putting EU-African relations to the fore. A Joint Communication of the EC towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa stresses the African Continent’s strategic importance and the EU’s need to strengthen its partnership with (and not for) Africa. Proposals in the Joint Communication maintain promotion of sustainable investments with Africa on top of the EU’s agenda. Partnership with Africa to attract investors and boost regional as well as continental integration are specific actions aimed to attain sustainable growth and jobs in African countries. This emphasis is not new, being in line with a geopolitically oriented Commission and the European Union’s (EU) trend of shifting from a Donor-recipient model to a relationship based on mutual cooperation, pursuing common interests and mutual benefits. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold in Africa during 2020, it is becoming more urgent that EU and African relations post COVID-19 be tailored to a new scenario and show tangible action using partnership rhetoric.

Trade and biodiversity EN

05-06-2020 PE 603.494 AFET
Analyse approfondie
Résumé : International trade has a direct impact on EU biodiversity, imported invasive species and pathogens, being an example. Trade also impacts global biodiversity, for instance through the 'virtual' water, land, and deforestation contained in EU imports. Economic theory shows that trade with countries that fail to protect a renewable resource can be detrimental for all. Protecting global biodiversity calls for a variety of instruments, at the EU border as well as in the provisions of preferential agreements. The EU already includes biodiversity-related non-trade provisions in trade agreements, but these provisions are not legally binding and hardly effective. This is partly explained by the complexity of the issues posed by biodiversity: since there is no simple synthetic indicator, policy instruments are difficult to enforce. However, an effort to specify measurable and verifiable commitments is needed; more binding mechanisms, along with transparent and automatic sanctions in case of non-compliance should be considered.
Auteurs : Cecilia BELLORA (CEPII, France), Jean-Christophe BUREAU (AgroParisTech, France), Basak BAYRAMOGLU (INRAE, France), Estelle GOZLAN (INRAE, France), Sébastien JEAN (CEPII and INRAE, Paris)

The EU and Latin America and the Caribbean: towards a stronger partnership? EN

13-01-2020 PE 639.314 AFET
Analyse approfondie
Résumé : In the course of the past two and a half years, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Council of Ministers have presented strategic documents on the EU's relations with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and the direction they should take in the coming years. This in-depth analysis aims to present the main points of view of the three EU institutions and the Member States on the future of EU-LAC relations. Its second half includes a critical assessment of some aspects of the bi-regional relationship as it has developed in recent years, particularly the institutional links and trade issues, and the challenges it may face in the coming years. Here, the focus is on the political divisions in the LAC region, the uncertainty about regional cooperation and integration and the possible challenges to multilateral policies.
Auteurs : Jesper TVEVAD

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - December 2019 EN

En bref
Résumé : 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.
Résumé : Le présent document est une compilation des points essentiels évoqués par les vice-présidents et commissaires désignés ainsi que des principaux engagements pris par ceux-ci au cours de leurs auditions respectives devant le Parlement européen. Il vise à constituer un outil pratique et concis de suivi des efforts et des actions de la future Commission. Pour obtenir une liste complète de l’ensemble des engagements pris et des positions adoptées par les candidats, le compte rendu in extenso de chaque audition publique est disponible sur la page web consacrée aux auditions du Parlement européen menées en 2019, de même que les questions et les réponses écrites. Le présent document comprend un addenda contenant les engagements pris lors des auditions d’octobre 2020.

Commitments made at the hearing of Josep BORRELL FONTELLES, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President-designate of the European Commission EN

22-11-2019 PE 639.311 AFET
Résumé : The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President designate of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, appeared before the European Parliament on 7 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document.
Auteurs : Marika LERCH, Jesper TVEVAD, Jérôme LEGRAND

Commitments made at the hearing of Olivér VÁRHELYI, Commissioner-designate - Neighbourhood and Enlargement EN

22-11-2019 PE 639.312 AFET
Résumé : Commissioner-designate Olivér Várhelyi appeared before the European Parliament on 14 November 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committee on Foreign Affairs (the Committee on International Trade was invited). This document highlights a number of commitments which he made during the hearing. They refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: Western Balkans and Turkey; Eastern Neighbourhood; Southern Neighbourhood.

The Mekong River: geopolitics over development, hydropower and the environment EN

Résumé : The Mekong River is a vital source of livelihoods and economic activity in continental South-East Asia and extends from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea. Its length is 4 800 km. More than half circulates in China, but its channel runs through Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Mekong has the world's largest inland freshwater fishery industry, vital to the region's food security, representing around USD 3 000 million per year. Its unique and rich biological habitat provides diverse livelihoods as well as four fifths of the animal protein for more than 60 million people. At the level of biodiversity, the importance of this river for global nature is vital. The Mekong region is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and to the degradation of ecosystems. The uncontrolled growth of the population both in China and in Southeast Asia is exerting unsustainable pressure on the Mekong in terms of a massive exploitation of all kinds of resources linked to the River: water, food, wood, energy, especially recent infrastructure and hydropower development, together with deforestation, illegal wildlife trade and habitat fragmentation. Water scarcity leads to reduced agricultural productivity, unemployment and poverty Four countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam) formed an intergovernmental agency in 1950, The Mekong River Commission (MRC), to defend the sustainable development of the Mekong River and to plan its future. The absence of China and Myanmar mitigates and erodes the effective dialogue of the MRC on the management of the River. The lack of implementing mechanisms denatures the organization itself..