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Foreign interference in democracies: Understanding the threat, and evolving responses

22-09-2020

Across the world, democratic societies, institutions, processes and values are under increasing external and internal attack. The coronavirus crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the systemic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, prompting authoritarian state and non-state actors to deploy a broad range of overt and covert instruments in their bid to destabilise their democratic counterparts. Against this backdrop, and following a string of examples of hostile meddling by authoritarian actors ...

Across the world, democratic societies, institutions, processes and values are under increasing external and internal attack. The coronavirus crisis has, meanwhile, exacerbated the systemic struggle between democracy and authoritarianism, prompting authoritarian state and non-state actors to deploy a broad range of overt and covert instruments in their bid to destabilise their democratic counterparts. Against this backdrop, and following a string of examples of hostile meddling by authoritarian actors to undermine democratic governing processes in countries such as Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States (US), Canada and Australia, the focus on foreign interference continues to sharpen. Among the EU's institutions, the European Parliament − arguably the flagship of European democracy − is pushing the policy response to foreign interference to the top of the political agenda. Among other initiatives and actions, in October 2019 it passed a resolution on countering foreign interference and has set up a special committee on foreign interference, whose constituent meeting is scheduled to take place in September 2020.

Australia's restrictions on movement in response to the coronavirus pandemic

27-04-2020

The Australian federal government, and state and territory governments, are working together to provide an effective national response to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government's response, in terms of emergency measures designed to limit the spread of the virus, includes travel restrictions and efforts to ensure that travellers self-isolate on arrival in Australia. State and territory governments, for their part, have imposed travel restrictions between and within their jurisdictions, and ...

The Australian federal government, and state and territory governments, are working together to provide an effective national response to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government's response, in terms of emergency measures designed to limit the spread of the virus, includes travel restrictions and efforts to ensure that travellers self-isolate on arrival in Australia. State and territory governments, for their part, have imposed travel restrictions between and within their jurisdictions, and imposed restrictions on social interaction, among other measures.

Australia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

24-02-2020

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in ...

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in this infographic, which also provides an economic snapshot of Australia.

Government system and institutions of Australia

24-02-2020

The Commonwealth of Australia, as Australia is officially known, was established on 1 January 1901 with the federation of six former British colonies. The Constitution, which came into effect on the same day, provides the rules by which Australia is governed and divides government responsibilities into three separate branches: parliament, executive and judiciary. In addition to being a federation, Australia is also a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elisabeth II, who ...

The Commonwealth of Australia, as Australia is officially known, was established on 1 January 1901 with the federation of six former British colonies. The Constitution, which came into effect on the same day, provides the rules by which Australia is governed and divides government responsibilities into three separate branches: parliament, executive and judiciary. In addition to being a federation, Australia is also a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elisabeth II, who resides in the United Kingdom (UK), is the official head of state of the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia's system of government is modelled on the Westminster system deriving from the British tradition. The Commonwealth parliament, made up of the Queen and the two Houses of Parliament, in addition to holding the legislative power, is at the heart of the tradition of responsible government. This means that government ministers, who all must be members of parliament, are accountable to, and must answer to, the parliament for their actions. There are three levels of government within the country, namely the Commonwealth (federal), state or territory, and local level. Under Australia's federal system, the powers of government are divided between the federal and the state governments. Out of the 10 territories that are part of the Commonwealth, two have been granted a level of self-government by the federal parliament. Consequently, Australia has a federal parliament, as well as six state and two territory parliaments. It also has a federal executive government, as well as six state and two territory executive governments. A third, local level of Australian government was established by state and territory governments. The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the judicial system.

Trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand

03-05-2019

This study explores the context and potential of the FTA negotiations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand. Through an analysis of the status quo, as well as several academic and policy analyses, it highlights the main opportunities for the EU from the negotiations, as well as potential threats and obstacles to agreement. The study explores in detail the likely impacts of market opening on trade in goods and services, as well as the potential in other key areas, including public procurement ...

This study explores the context and potential of the FTA negotiations between the EU and Australia and New Zealand. Through an analysis of the status quo, as well as several academic and policy analyses, it highlights the main opportunities for the EU from the negotiations, as well as potential threats and obstacles to agreement. The study explores in detail the likely impacts of market opening on trade in goods and services, as well as the potential in other key areas, including public procurement and investment. It also highlights the current architecture of FTAs which Australia and New Zealand have established, especially the very recent Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which both are party. It explores how these agreements impact on the EU’s competitiveness in the Australian and New Zealand markets and how FTAs could be leveraged to improve EU integration with these partners and their broader region. The study also considers how trade and sustainable development (TSD) can be effectively integrated into the agreements, in line with the objectives of the EU’s ‘Trade for All’ strategy. Finally, several potential wider, more political impacts of the FTAs are underlined.

Ekstern forfatter

Louise CURRAN

Parliamentary scrutiny of trade policies across the western world

25-03-2019

The Lisbon Treaty increased the European Parliament’s powers over EU trade policy. Ten years after its entry into force it is timely to take stock of how the EP has made use of this leverage in shaping the EU’s trade negotiations. Such an exercise benefits from a comparison with other well-established parliamentary democracies, particularly the key partners with whom the EU has recently negotiated or has started to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement. This study compares parliamentary scrutiny ...

The Lisbon Treaty increased the European Parliament’s powers over EU trade policy. Ten years after its entry into force it is timely to take stock of how the EP has made use of this leverage in shaping the EU’s trade negotiations. Such an exercise benefits from a comparison with other well-established parliamentary democracies, particularly the key partners with whom the EU has recently negotiated or has started to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement. This study compares parliamentary scrutiny of trade policy in the EU with the United States, Canada and Australia. It concludes that the European Parliament has become powerful and active in trade policy, on a comparable level to the US Congress. Its powers exceed those of other Western democracies, such as Australia and Canada. From the latter the European Parliament may conclude that it is important to codify some of its informal oversight practices, before they may get lost over time again. This may also help to encourage its trading partners to increase their parliamentary involvement during negotiations with the EU. As regards the implementation of trade agreements however, the EU has very few competences in comparison to all other three countries analysed.

Ekstern forfatter

Bart KERREMANS, Johan ADRIAENSEN, Francesca COLLI, Evelyn COREMANS

FTA negotiations to start with Australia and New Zealand

11-06-2018

On 22 May 2018, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, and adopted the related negotiating directives. The FTAs will mainly focus on further reducing existing trade obstacles, eliminating custom duties on goods, and improving access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand. The first negotiation rounds are expected to take place in July 2018, and the Commission aims to conclude negotiations before the ...

On 22 May 2018, the Council authorised the Commission to negotiate free trade agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, and adopted the related negotiating directives. The FTAs will mainly focus on further reducing existing trade obstacles, eliminating custom duties on goods, and improving access for services and public procurement in Australia and New Zealand. The first negotiation rounds are expected to take place in July 2018, and the Commission aims to conclude negotiations before the end of its term in late 2019.

EU free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand

15-02-2018

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA). For the Commission, the proposals are a step towards fulfilment of the key criteria for the EU's trade relations with third countries, namely the criteria of effectiveness, transparency, and the safeguarding of the European social and ...

This note seeks to provide an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment (IA) accompanying the above proposals, submitted on 13 September 2017 and referred to Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA). For the Commission, the proposals are a step towards fulfilment of the key criteria for the EU's trade relations with third countries, namely the criteria of effectiveness, transparency, and the safeguarding of the European social and regulatory model as underlined in the European Commission's 'Trade for all' communication. One of the objectives of the Commission's 2017 work programme was to open negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. Both countries are important trade partners for the EU and vice versa. In 2015, total trade in commercial services amounted to €4.3 billion between the EU and New Zealand, and €21.9 billion between the EU and Australia. In recent years, the EU has concluded bilateral agreements containing trade-related arrangements. Since 2015, the Commission has been preparing the ground for a free trade agreement (FTA) with both countries. On 26 October 2017 the European Parliament adopted two resolutions in which it called on the Council to authorise the Commission to start negotiations for trade and investment agreements with Australia and with New Zealand. The Parliament called on the Commission to outline the general future architecture of these trade agreements as rapidly as possible. The Parliament also stressed that the future FTAs 'must lead to improved market access and trade facilitation on the ground, create decent jobs, ensure gender equality for the benefit of the citizens on both sides, encourage sustainable development, uphold EU standards, safeguard services of general interest, and respect democratic procedures while boosting EU export opportunities'. The Commission conducted one impact assessment for the two proposals for free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand and its conclusions are considered as valid for the EU's subsequent negotiations with both countries.

What next after the US withdrawal from the TPP? What are the options for trade relations in the Pacific and what will be the impact on the EU?

27-11-2017

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a landmark trade agreement signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries including the US on 4 February 2016. TPP had commercial as well as geopolitical significance for the Obama administration and was a key component of the former president´s so-called “pivot” to Asia. On his first full day in office, on 24 January 2017, President Trump pulled the US out of TPP leaving the other 11 signatories to grapple with the consequences. They have since vowed to move forward even without ...

The Trans-Pacific Partnership was a landmark trade agreement signed by 12 Pacific Rim countries including the US on 4 February 2016. TPP had commercial as well as geopolitical significance for the Obama administration and was a key component of the former president´s so-called “pivot” to Asia. On his first full day in office, on 24 January 2017, President Trump pulled the US out of TPP leaving the other 11 signatories to grapple with the consequences. They have since vowed to move forward even without US participation, reviewing the existing clauses and rebranding the regional agreement under the name of Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Negotiations on the CPTPP will continue in 2018. The European Parliament has requested three experts from the EU, US and Asia to consider the implications of the US withdrawal from the TPP and draw conclusions on how the EU should position itself in this high-growth and geopolitically-strategic area. The findings were presented during a Workshop organised by the Policy Department for the International Trade Committee on 8 November 2017 in Brussels.

Ekstern forfatter

Peter CHASE, Pasha L. HSIEH, Bart KERREMANS

FTA talks with Australia and New Zealand

23-10-2017

On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented recommendations to the Council to authorise the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In October, the Parliament is due to debate reports by the Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the proposed negotiating mandate for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented recommendations to the Council to authorise the launch of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand. In October, the Parliament is due to debate reports by the Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the proposed negotiating mandate for trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

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