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International Agreements in Progress: EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements

14-11-2019

The European Commission has described the free trade and investment protection agreements (FTA/IPA) signed with Vietnam as the most ambitious deals of their type ever concluded by the EU and a developing country. Not only will they eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, they will also open up Vietnamese markets to European service providers and investors. According to European Commission figures, the agreements will boost trade in both directions, with EU exports set to rise by nearly 30 ...

The European Commission has described the free trade and investment protection agreements (FTA/IPA) signed with Vietnam as the most ambitious deals of their type ever concluded by the EU and a developing country. Not only will they eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, they will also open up Vietnamese markets to European service providers and investors. According to European Commission figures, the agreements will boost trade in both directions, with EU exports set to rise by nearly 30 %. Vietnam is the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU, bringing the long-term goal of a region-to-region EU-ASEAN trade deal a step closer. In view of the human rights situation in Vietnam, opinions are divided on whether the agreements should be ratified. Critics argue that the EU should not approve the agreements until the situation improves. On the other hand, defenders point out that the FTA/IPA include commitments to stronger human rights (such as allowing independent trade unions); they also insist that the EU can best help to bring about improvements by engaging with Vietnam . Following the same approach as for Singapore, the single text originally agreed in 2015 with Vietnam has been split into two parts, an FTA covering exclusive EU competences and an IPA that includes competences that are shared with EU Member States. The European Parliament is set to vote in February 2020; if it gives its consent, the two agreements will then have to be ratified by Vietnam and (for the IPA) the EU Member States before entering into force.

The revised Brexit deal: What has changed and next steps?

22-10-2019

Brexit talks between the EU and the UK had reached a standstill in spring 2019, with the House of Commons refusing to vote in favour of the negotiated withdrawal agreement, including a Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. The new UK government led by Boris Johnson, who came into office on 24 July, made a priority of finalising preparations for leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, unless the EU was willing to renounce the ‘backstop’ included in the Protocol. However, the EU continued ...

Brexit talks between the EU and the UK had reached a standstill in spring 2019, with the House of Commons refusing to vote in favour of the negotiated withdrawal agreement, including a Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. The new UK government led by Boris Johnson, who came into office on 24 July, made a priority of finalising preparations for leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October 2019, unless the EU was willing to renounce the ‘backstop’ included in the Protocol. However, the EU continued to restate its opposition to removing what it considered a legally operational safety net that would prevent a future hard border on the island of Ireland, in the absence of concrete proposals from the UK. At the beginning of October 2019, the UK government sent its proposals on revising the above-mentioned protocol, which were received with a measure of concern by the EU and other stakeholders. Discussions aimed at bridging the gap between the UK and EU positions were stepped up and, after a series of concessions, the EU and UK announced they had reached a revised withdrawal agreement, which was then immediately endorsed by the European Council on 17 October 2019. With only days to go until 31 October 2019, the date on which the UK is set to leave the EU, completing the ratification procedures to allow the withdrawal agreement's entry into force on 1 November is going to be a challenge. Whereas on the EU side no major obstacles are foreseen, in the UK, the House of Commons decided on 19 October to withhold approval for the revised deal until Parliament passes the related implementing legislation. Required by law to send the EU a request for an extension of the Article 50 period until 31 January 2020, the UK Prime Minister is nonetheless still aiming to fulfil all the necessary steps for the ratification of the withdrawal agreement to allow its entry into force on 1 November. This is also the stated aim of the European Union, although if the European Council were to decide in favour of granting an Article 50 extension, following the UK request, that decision would have to be taken before the end of October.

Future partnership between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (‘post-Cotonou’)

11-07-2019

The Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries expires in February 2020. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its relations in the region while remaining faithful to the values set out in the European Treaties. The renegotiation of the Cotonou Agreement provides an opportunity to streamline relations between the ACP countries and the Union, taking into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the redefining of Europe’s strategies ...

The Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries expires in February 2020. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its relations in the region while remaining faithful to the values set out in the European Treaties. The renegotiation of the Cotonou Agreement provides an opportunity to streamline relations between the ACP countries and the Union, taking into account the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the redefining of Europe’s strategies in the regions concerned, the new ambitions of the ACP countries and changes in the balance of power at a global level. The question of financing is also on the table. The EU sees promoting prosperity, stability and good governance in the ACP countries as a way of helping to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement. The ACP Group adopted its negotiating mandate in May 2018. The European Union adopted its negotiating mandate in June 2018, proposing a common ‘Foundation’ supplemented by specific protocols with the three subregions. The negotiations began in September 2018.

A renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

17-04-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the above-mentioned impact assessment (IA), which originally accompanied the joint communication on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, published on 22 November 2016. Subsequently, on 12 December 2017, the Commission adopted a recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the countries of the Cotonou Agreement, which was referred to ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the above-mentioned impact assessment (IA), which originally accompanied the joint communication on a renewed partnership with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, published on 22 November 2016. Subsequently, on 12 December 2017, the Commission adopted a recommendation for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations with the countries of the Cotonou Agreement, which was referred to Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET). The Commission considers the analysis and conclusions of the impact assessment conducted in 2016 for the joint communication to be valid for the December 2017 recommendation for the opening of negotiations, which are to begin officially before 1 September 2018.

Edging closer to a TPP-11 agreement

27-11-2017

Following negotiations on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017 Economic Leaders' Week held in Vietnam on 6–11 November, the trade ministers of the remaining 11 signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (one fewer, after the USA withdrew) agreed on the core elements of its revised version – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The revised agreement is expected to be signed by spring 2018 and to come into effect by 2019 ...

Following negotiations on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017 Economic Leaders' Week held in Vietnam on 6–11 November, the trade ministers of the remaining 11 signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (one fewer, after the USA withdrew) agreed on the core elements of its revised version – the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The revised agreement is expected to be signed by spring 2018 and to come into effect by 2019.

CJEU Opinion on EU-Canada PNR agreement

05-09-2017

A new agreement on the transfer of passenger name records (PNR) was signed by the EU Council and Canada in 2014, but conclusion of the agreement requires the European Parliament's consent. Consulted by Parliament, the Court of Justice of the EU held in July 2017 that the envisaged agreement needs to be revised.

A new agreement on the transfer of passenger name records (PNR) was signed by the EU Council and Canada in 2014, but conclusion of the agreement requires the European Parliament's consent. Consulted by Parliament, the Court of Justice of the EU held in July 2017 that the envisaged agreement needs to be revised.

Analysis of the Prospects for Updating the Trade Pillar of the European Union-Chile Association Agreement

30-05-2016

The perception of the present state of trade relations with Chile is obscured by a lack of adequate understanding of its legal framework as well as of the policy behind it. This study attempts to clarify the present state of and future prospects for trade between the EU and Chile through an examination of previous agreements and the EU’s new approach to trade liberalisation. The authors agree with the large consensus existing on both the EU and Chilean sides regarding the efficacy of the Association ...

The perception of the present state of trade relations with Chile is obscured by a lack of adequate understanding of its legal framework as well as of the policy behind it. This study attempts to clarify the present state of and future prospects for trade between the EU and Chile through an examination of previous agreements and the EU’s new approach to trade liberalisation. The authors agree with the large consensus existing on both the EU and Chilean sides regarding the efficacy of the Association Agreement, but note that any extension of an agreement with Chile should capture the spirit of older EU agreements rather than simply following the ‘NAFTA route’. The study also includes a comparative analysis between the EU-Chile agreement and current trade agreements being negotiated by the EU and Chile with third countries.

Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges on the road to Paris

25-03-2015

A new international agreement to combat climate change is due to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Besides actions to stop global warming, it should also cover adaptation to climate change. The 20th Conference of Parties, which was held in Lima in December 2014, concluded with the adoption of the Lima Call for Climate Action, a document that invites all Parties (countries) to communicate their ...

A new international agreement to combat climate change is due to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Besides actions to stop global warming, it should also cover adaptation to climate change. The 20th Conference of Parties, which was held in Lima in December 2014, concluded with the adoption of the Lima Call for Climate Action, a document that invites all Parties (countries) to communicate their intended contributions to post-2020 climate action well before the Paris Conference. The Lima conference left a number of important issues unresolved. First of all, the content, form and timescale of countries’ contributions is not clearly specified, which will make them hard to compare and assess. It is likely that the individual contributions will not add up to the emissions reductions required to keep global warming below the internationally agreed limit of 2°C. A process for the periodic assessment and strengthening of national efforts will therefore have to be an important element of the new agreement. Another unresolved issue is the legal form of the agreement. While some negotiators favour a strong, legally binding agreement, others prefer a bottom-up approach based on voluntary contributions. Finally, issues of fairness and equity need to be addressed, acknowledging that developed countries have a greater historical responsibility for climate change and stronger capacity for taking action. The October 2014 European Council agreed on a greenhouse-gas reduction target of at least 40% by 2030. In November, the US and China – the world’s major emitters – announced targets that are less ambitious, but still considered as important building blocks to a climate agreement with global reach. The leadership role of the EU in international climate action is being challenged by the latest developments. EU climate diplomacy will have to adapt to the new situation if the EU wants to retain its leadership role, and remain a major player in the global transition towards a zero-carbon economy and energy system.

The Modernisation of the European Union-Mexico 'Global Agreement'

23-10-2014

Signed in 1997 and in force since 2000, the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement, known as the 'Global Agreement', is the cornerstone of the legal framework for relations between the European Union (EU) and Mexico. Currently, the EU and Mexico are exploring possible ways to update and modernise the Agreement, to factor in the transformations that have occurred in the past decade and half. The study addresses how the EU-Mexico relationship has evolved since the entry ...

Signed in 1997 and in force since 2000, the Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement, known as the 'Global Agreement', is the cornerstone of the legal framework for relations between the European Union (EU) and Mexico. Currently, the EU and Mexico are exploring possible ways to update and modernise the Agreement, to factor in the transformations that have occurred in the past decade and half. The study addresses how the EU-Mexico relationship has evolved since the entry into force of the Agreement in 2000 and evaluates the results achieved within each of its three main areas (political dialogue, cooperation and trade), as well as in the EU-Mexico Strategic Partnership from 2008. Against that background, it assesses the options for updating the Agreement and provides specific recommendations in this regard. The study focuses in particular on the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), the forum for institutionalised interparliamentary dialogue between the European Parliament and the Mexican Congress. The study examines the JPC's role in monitoring the implementation of the Global Agreement and EU-Mexico relations in general, and sets out recommendations to improve the Committee's performance and to strengthen its participation in the process of modernisation of the Agreement.

Revising Schengen governance rules

06-06-2013

After a year of negotiations the European Parliament (EP) and the Council have reached agreement on a revised evaluation mechanism for Schengen instruments, as well as a new legal framework to allow reinstatement, in exceptional circumstances, of controls at internal borders.

After a year of negotiations the European Parliament (EP) and the Council have reached agreement on a revised evaluation mechanism for Schengen instruments, as well as a new legal framework to allow reinstatement, in exceptional circumstances, of controls at internal borders.

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