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Uncertainty is growing over the recovery of the European economy from the recession generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The European Commission has painted an optimistic growth scenario in its most recent forecast, with the economy expected to expand by 5 per cent and 4.3 per cent in 2021 and 2022 respectively. However, an increasing number of analysts see the potential for growth dampened by new restrictions in the run-up to Christmas this year given a fourth/fifth wave of the pandemic currently ...

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties, also known as COP26, held in Glasgow, made limited progress on measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Leaders and government officials did agree on plans to limit deforestation and emissions of methane, one of the gases responsible for global warming, but they made little headway on curbing CO2 discharges. Notably, the leaders of China and Russia did not attend. Before the conference, scientists, analysts and many politicians ...

Formally, the EU and China have been strategic partners since 2003 – a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. However, more recently, EU officials and politicians have been expressing increasing concerns over China’s economic expansionism and human rights violations. The current coronavirus pandemic and developments in Hong Kong have had a marked negative impacted on EU-China relations. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies ...

A year and a quarter after the Covid-19 pandemic first broke out, the disease continues to wreak havoc in many countries around the world. The process of vaccination continues at varying speeds across the globe, but with a clear discrepancy between rich and poor countries. Significant pressure is being applied by NGOs, international institutions and a number of national governments to help poor countries with vaccinations, notably because of actual or potential dangerous mutations of the coronavirus ...

An increasing number of politicians and analysts argue that the European Union should boost its ‘strategic autonomy’ and/or develop a higher degree of ‘European sovereignty’. These concepts encompass a greater potential for independence, self-reliance and resilience in a wide range of fields – such as defence, trade, industrial policy, digital policy, economic and monetary policy, and health policy – following a series of events in recent years that have exposed Europe’s vulnerability to external ...

Nearly two months ago, on 20 January, Joseph Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, at the end of perhaps the most divisive electoral processes in his country's history. The new President's supporters and advocates, including many in Europe, are counting on him to set a new course for the US in global politics, moving to firm up and advance the multilateral, rules-based world order and rekindle America's traditional alliances, notably within the NATO framework. Very high hopes ...

As the second wave of the coronavirus passes, numbers of new infections and the death rate are currently both in decline globally. At the same time, countries across the world have begun vaccination programmes. In parallel, fears that the impact of the disease will continue, as some new, highly contagious mutations of the virus have spread, have lead governments to adopt additional preventive border restrictions and lockdowns. Among many debates on the subject, two stand out – the slower vaccination ...

As the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic intensifies and some highly infectious new mutations of the virus spread, a growing number of countries have increased restrictions on travel and some lockdowns have been intensified. Whilst a series of vaccines are progressively gaining official approval, and their roll-out has started, pharmaceutical companies struggle with production capacity issues, the effectiveness of the vaccines on mutations is still uncertain, and a broader debate is opening ...

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a last-minute deal on trade and other issues on 24 December 2020, thereby avoiding major disruption from 1 January 2021, the date on which the transition period ended. However, many politicians and experts have noted that the agreement does not cover all areas of potential partnership, as well as leaving some issues ambiguous, so there is much potential for complex further negotiations in the future. In practice, the EU-UK trading relationship has ...

In a passionate speech delivered recently at Columbia University in New York, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the fight against climate change as the top priority for the 21st century. Furthermore, the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States raises hopes that climate action will now be more coordinated and ambitious. Meanwhile, the European Union is determined to push ahead with its Green Deal in a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions ...