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China tightens its grip over the South China Sea

24-02-2021

Of all the disputed areas claimed by China, the South China Sea (SCS) has been the most prominent in recent years, since it involves the largest number of actors with overlapping claims to maritime features and waters, as well as non-claimant countries, owing to its strategic importance as one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. In 2020, China stepped up its salami-slicing tactics to assert its sweeping 'historic' rights, while Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam dismissed them in ...

Of all the disputed areas claimed by China, the South China Sea (SCS) has been the most prominent in recent years, since it involves the largest number of actors with overlapping claims to maritime features and waters, as well as non-claimant countries, owing to its strategic importance as one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. In 2020, China stepped up its salami-slicing tactics to assert its sweeping 'historic' rights, while Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam dismissed them in an alignment of positions supported by a 2016 landmark arbitration award under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In 2020, the United States' previous neutral position on China's maritime claims shifted to dismissing them as unlawful. The EU remained attached to its position of not taking sides with either party's claims. Some EU Member States have become more vocal in dismissing China's 'historic' rights and have increased their presence in the SCS. This publication is an update of a briefing published in 2016, PE 586.671.

Political institutions in Indonesia: Democracy, decentralisation, diversity

28-01-2020

Until his downfall in 1998, General Suharto ruled Indonesia with an iron fist. Since then, a series of reforms have transformed his authoritarian 'New Order' into the world's third largest democracy (and largest Muslim democracy). Indonesia has a presidential system in which a directly elected president serves as both head of state and of government. A maximum two-term limit on the presidency helps to ensure a peaceful alternation of power. Also directly elected, the House of Representatives (the ...

Until his downfall in 1998, General Suharto ruled Indonesia with an iron fist. Since then, a series of reforms have transformed his authoritarian 'New Order' into the world's third largest democracy (and largest Muslim democracy). Indonesia has a presidential system in which a directly elected president serves as both head of state and of government. A maximum two-term limit on the presidency helps to ensure a peaceful alternation of power. Also directly elected, the House of Representatives (the lower house of the bicameral People's Consultative Assembly) has asserted itself as a strong and independent institution. There are nine parliamentary parties, none of which holds a majority, obliging the government to seek support from a broad coalition. Despite the success of Indonesia's political reforms, its commitment to democratic values cannot be taken for granted. Although Indonesia has traditionally been a tolerant, multicultural society, a rising tide of Islamic populism threatens to disrupt the delicate balance between the country's Muslim majority and minorities such as Christians and Buddhists. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has had some success in tackling endemic graft in the country's courts, local governments and Parliament; however, the latter recently voted to weaken the KPK's powers. While trust in democratic institutions declines, the military – whose commitment to democratic values has often been questionable – is becoming increasingly influential.

Indonesia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

19-12-2019

Which economy grew faster over the past 15 years – the EU or Indonesia? How many Indonesian women have a job, and what is the unemployment rate? Which country is Indonesia's biggest trading partner? What kind of products does the EU import from Indonesia? How does Indonesia compare with the global average in terms of human development, income inequality and corruption? You can find the answers to these and other questions in our EPRS publication on Indonesia: economic indicators and trade with EU ...

Which economy grew faster over the past 15 years – the EU or Indonesia? How many Indonesian women have a job, and what is the unemployment rate? Which country is Indonesia's biggest trading partner? What kind of products does the EU import from Indonesia? How does Indonesia compare with the global average in terms of human development, income inequality and corruption? You can find the answers to these and other questions in our EPRS publication on Indonesia: economic indicators and trade with EU, one of a series of infographics on the world's main economies produced in collaboration with the European University Institute's GlobalStat.

Indonesia's April 2019 elections

09-04-2019

On 17 April 2019, Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country and third largest democracy (190 million voters), will hold presidential, parliamentary, regional and local elections. Incumbent President, Joko Widodo, is expected to win comfortably and retain a parliamentary majority. The only other presidential candidate is 2014 runner-up Prabowo Subianto, forecast to lose by a bigger margin than in 2014.

On 17 April 2019, Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country and third largest democracy (190 million voters), will hold presidential, parliamentary, regional and local elections. Incumbent President, Joko Widodo, is expected to win comfortably and retain a parliamentary majority. The only other presidential candidate is 2014 runner-up Prabowo Subianto, forecast to lose by a bigger margin than in 2014.

Finding the right balance across EU FTAs: benefits and risks for EU economic sectors

17-10-2018

Globally, anti-trade sentiment is on the rise, meaning it is incumbent upon policymakers to explore and explain the benefits of free and open trade. This study examines the costs and benefits of various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the EU has completed, will complete, or is contemplating. With regard to completed FTAs, the EU has seen benefits in terms of consumer choice but has a much larger and positive impact on its partners (although not as much as ex-ante modelling would suggest). For forthcoming ...

Globally, anti-trade sentiment is on the rise, meaning it is incumbent upon policymakers to explore and explain the benefits of free and open trade. This study examines the costs and benefits of various free trade agreements (FTAs) that the EU has completed, will complete, or is contemplating. With regard to completed FTAs, the EU has seen benefits in terms of consumer choice but has a much larger and positive impact on its partners (although not as much as ex-ante modelling would suggest). For forthcoming or contemplated FTAs, the issue of non-tariff barriers must be considered for FTAs with developed economies to be a success, while comprehensive liberalisation with emerging markets improves trade and other outcomes for both the EU and its partner. Across all FTAs, trade and economic metrics are improved by an agreement while indirect effects (human rights, environment) are less likely to change. We conclude that the EU must continue its focus on comprehensive liberalisation, incorporating NTBs effectively into new agreements, while tempering expectations of influence on human rights.

Indonesia and prospects for closer EU ties

09-10-2017

Public opinion surveys suggest that although most Indonesians do not know much about the European Union, they generally feel positively towards it. Looking at the principles underpinning key Indonesian government policies over the past few decades, there is much common ground between the EU and Indonesia. Some of the biggest gaps are in the field of economic policy, where the EU's commitment to trade and investment liberalisation contrasts with Indonesia's more ambiguous stance. There are more similarities ...

Public opinion surveys suggest that although most Indonesians do not know much about the European Union, they generally feel positively towards it. Looking at the principles underpinning key Indonesian government policies over the past few decades, there is much common ground between the EU and Indonesia. Some of the biggest gaps are in the field of economic policy, where the EU's commitment to trade and investment liberalisation contrasts with Indonesia's more ambiguous stance. There are more similarities in foreign and security policy: like the EU, Indonesia is strongly supportive of regional integration, and its efforts to build south-east Asian consensus mirror the EU's common foreign and security policy. Climate change is another area of convergence, with strong commitments from both sides to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia shares both the EU's motto of 'unity in diversity' and its commitment to multiculturalism; thanks to a successful democratic transition, it has also moved closer to the EU's approach to human rights, although there are still concerns about the situation of some Indonesian minorities. Positive Indonesian perceptions of the EU and shared values are a strong foundation for the two sides to develop closer economic and political cooperation. Indonesia is an important partner for the EU both in its own right and as a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with which the EU aims to develop a strategic partnership.

Indonesia: Kick-starting a flagging economy?

24-10-2016

Indonesia is by far the largest south-east Asian economy and a member of the G20. Structural problems are preventing the country from achieving its full economic potential and are dragging down growth. President Joko Widodo has set an ambitious economic reform agenda, but there are still enormous obstacles and it is too early to say whether his efforts will have a lasting impact.

Indonesia is by far the largest south-east Asian economy and a member of the G20. Structural problems are preventing the country from achieving its full economic potential and are dragging down growth. President Joko Widodo has set an ambitious economic reform agenda, but there are still enormous obstacles and it is too early to say whether his efforts will have a lasting impact.

Indonesia: Security threats to a stable democracy

24-10-2016

Indonesia is a stable country which has undergone a successful transition to civilian democracy. However, there are still concerns about the military's continuing strong influence. There are also a number of internal and external threats to stability, although these remain fairly low-level, for now.

Indonesia is a stable country which has undergone a successful transition to civilian democracy. However, there are still concerns about the military's continuing strong influence. There are also a number of internal and external threats to stability, although these remain fairly low-level, for now.

Human rights in Indonesia

24-10-2016

The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably thanks to the country's successful democratic transition, but there are still many concerns – for example, violence against religious minorities and repression of Papuan separatism. President Jokowi has pledged to resolve historical human rights abuses, but has made little progress since his election in 2014.

The human rights situation in Indonesia has improved considerably thanks to the country's successful democratic transition, but there are still many concerns – for example, violence against religious minorities and repression of Papuan separatism. President Jokowi has pledged to resolve historical human rights abuses, but has made little progress since his election in 2014.

Indonesia: Political landscape under President Jokowi

24-10-2016

After the downfall of former dictator Suharto in 1998, Indonesia underwent a successful democratic transition. Current President Jokowi heads a coalition government with an ambitious reform agenda tackling some of the country's long-term problems, but the lack of progress by his predecessors on this front suggests that he will find it difficult to achieve real change.

After the downfall of former dictator Suharto in 1998, Indonesia underwent a successful democratic transition. Current President Jokowi heads a coalition government with an ambitious reform agenda tackling some of the country's long-term problems, but the lack of progress by his predecessors on this front suggests that he will find it difficult to achieve real change.

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