32

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A new neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument: Proposal for a new regulation

19-03-2019

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) on 14 June 2018, with a proposed budget of €89.2 billion (in current prices). The AFET and DEVE committees adopted their joint report on the proposal on 4 March 2019. MEPs have agreed to accept a single instrument, but call for a stronger role ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) on 14 June 2018, with a proposed budget of €89.2 billion (in current prices). The AFET and DEVE committees adopted their joint report on the proposal on 4 March 2019. MEPs have agreed to accept a single instrument, but call for a stronger role for Parliament on secondary policy choices, through delegated acts. The committees want the budget for the instrument to be increased by nearly €4 billion, to €93.154 billion. MEPs also specifically call for an increase in the funds allocated to human rights and democracy activities, the percentage of funding that fulfils the criteria for official development assistance, and funds that support climate and environmental objectives. Moreover, MEPs are calling for the introduction of climate and gender mainstreaming targets, the earmarking of certain financial allocations, the suspension of assistance in case of human rights violations, and the reduction of the emerging challenges and priorities cushion to €7 billion. Parliament is expected to vote on its first-reading position during the March II plenary session. Third edition. The 'Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against terrorism

13-03-2019

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools as well as financial support to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between ...

Faced with a growing international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools as well as financial support to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years and is set to grow in the future, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security, such as Europol and eu-LISA. Financing for cooperation with third countries has also increased, including through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted since 2014 range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. To evaluate the efficiency of the existing tools and identify gaps and possible ways forward, the European Parliament set up a Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR), which delivered its report in November 2018. TERR made extensive recommendations for immediate or longer term actions aiming to prevent terrorism, combat its root causes, protect EU citizens and assist victims in the best possible way. In line with these recommendations, future EU counter-terrorism action will most probably focus on addressing existing and new threats, countering radicalisation – including by preventing the spread of terrorist propaganda online – and enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure. Foreseeable developments also include increased information sharing, with planned interoperability between EU security- and border-related databases, as well as investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor's Office.

EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement

06-03-2019

The EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) was signed by the EU and Afghanistan in February 2017. The CAPD is the first contractual relationship between the European Union and Afghanistan, and establishes the legal framework for EU-Afghanistan cooperation. The full entry into force of this mixed agreement is subject to the consent of the European Parliament as well as ratification by the national and certain regional parliaments of the EU Member States. The European ...

The EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) was signed by the EU and Afghanistan in February 2017. The CAPD is the first contractual relationship between the European Union and Afghanistan, and establishes the legal framework for EU-Afghanistan cooperation. The full entry into force of this mixed agreement is subject to the consent of the European Parliament as well as ratification by the national and certain regional parliaments of the EU Member States. The European Parliament is expected to vote on giving its consent to the draft Council decision to conclude the agreement during its March I plenary session.

The first EU-Arab League summit: A new step in EU-Arab relations

22-02-2019

On 24 and 25 February 2019, heads of state or government from the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS) will meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the first-ever EU-LAS summit. The summit comes at a time of heightened EU interest in developing closer cooperation with its main regional counterpart in the Arab world. The meeting will be co-chaired by Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and European Council President, Donald Tusk, who will represent the EU alongside European Commission ...

On 24 and 25 February 2019, heads of state or government from the European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States (LAS) will meet in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the first-ever EU-LAS summit. The summit comes at a time of heightened EU interest in developing closer cooperation with its main regional counterpart in the Arab world. The meeting will be co-chaired by Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and European Council President, Donald Tusk, who will represent the EU alongside European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. A large number of EU and LAS heads of state or government have confirmed their attendance. A wide range of issues and common challenges will be on the agenda, including multilateralism, trade, investment and economic cooperation, technology, migration, climate change, security and the situation in the region. Since 2011, EU-LAS meetings have been taking place regularly at different levels in the context of a political and strategic dialogue. The most recent ministerial meeting, which brought together 10 EU and 15 Arab League foreign ministers, took place in Brussels on 4 February 2019. Moreover, working groups have been gathering in between meetings of senior officials to discuss political and security matters of shared concern. The EU and the LAS share positions on a range of issues, including support for a political transition in Syria, the two-state solution under the Middle East peace process, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state. The two partners also cooperate to find solutions to the war in Yemen and the conflict in Libya. The summit is taking place at a time of intensified talks with Egypt and other North African countries to address the issue of migration. It is also seen as part of a broader effort to build closer ties with Africa. In September 2018, Commission President Juncker urged the EU to strike a new alliance with Africa to boost investment and create millions of jobs. The EU holds regular summits with other regional players, including the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the African Union (AU).

Nuclear Safety outside the EU: Proposal for a new Council regulation

20-02-2019

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, the Commission published a proposal for a Council regulation establishing a European instrument for nuclear safety complementing the neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty on 14 June 2018. The proposed regulation will replace Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013 establishing an instrument for nuclear ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, the Commission published a proposal for a Council regulation establishing a European instrument for nuclear safety complementing the neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument on the basis of the Euratom Treaty on 14 June 2018. The proposed regulation will replace Council Regulation (Euratom) No 237/2014 of 13 December 2013 establishing an instrument for nuclear safety cooperation (INSC). The proposed regulation will continue to fund the important activities carried out under the current regulation, namely to support the promotion of a high level of nuclear safety and radiation protection and the application of effective and efficient safeguards of nuclear materials in third countries, building on the activities under the Euratom Treaty. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The end of the INF Treaty? A pillar of European security architecture at risk

04-02-2019

The US administration announced on 1 February 2019 that it was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, with effect from 2 February 2019, and that it was giving Russia six months' notice of complete withdrawal. Russia reacted by announcing that it was also suspending its obligations under the Treaty. Both parties said they would begin developing new nuclear-capable missiles banned by the treaty. The 1987 INF Treaty is a landmark nuclear-arms-control treaty ...

The US administration announced on 1 February 2019 that it was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, with effect from 2 February 2019, and that it was giving Russia six months' notice of complete withdrawal. Russia reacted by announcing that it was also suspending its obligations under the Treaty. Both parties said they would begin developing new nuclear-capable missiles banned by the treaty. The 1987 INF Treaty is a landmark nuclear-arms-control treaty between the United States (US) and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that eliminated and prohibited ground-launched intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5 500 km. The US announcement follows years of allegations that the Russian Federation has acted in breach of the agreement. Russia, for its part, has also accused the US of violating the treaty. Both deny the allegations. Moreover, both parties consider that the agreement puts their countries at a strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis other nuclear powers, especially China. The parties' announcements undermine a cornerstone of the European security order. The signing of the INF Treaty in 1987 led to the removal and destruction of nearly 3 000 US and Soviet short-, medium- and intermediate-range nuclear-capable missiles stationed in or aimed at Europe. The EU has called on the US to consider the consequences of its possible withdrawal from the INF for its own security, the security of its allies and that of the whole world. The EU has also called on both the US and Russia to remain engaged in constructive dialogue to preserve the INF Treaty, and on Russia to address the serious concerns regarding its compliance with the treaty. NATO considers Russia to be in violation of the INF Treaty, and the alliance has called on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance with the agreement. Any redeployment of intermediate-range missiles will put Europe once more in the line of fire of strategic nuclear weapons. If the INF Treaty is abrogated, Europeans will be faced with stark choices all carrying inherent security risks, including engaging in a deployment race with Russia, or refusing re-deployment of US missiles on European soil, potentially leaving European countries exposed to Russian intimidation. Efforts over the next six months will focus on preserving the INF Treaty against all odds.

EU rules on control of arms exports

07-11-2018

The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. While the Common Position has increased information-sharing and transparency of Member States' arms exports, scope remains to enhance convergence of national policies and for stricter implementation of the criteria defined in the EU text. Following the publication of the EU's 19th annual report on arms exports in February 2018, the European Parliament is due to discuss a report ...

The EU's Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. While the Common Position has increased information-sharing and transparency of Member States' arms exports, scope remains to enhance convergence of national policies and for stricter implementation of the criteria defined in the EU text. Following the publication of the EU's 19th annual report on arms exports in February 2018, the European Parliament is due to discuss a report on the implementation of the Common Position during its November I plenary session.

Updating the Blocking Regulation: The EU's answer to US extraterritorial sanctions

07-06-2018

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced the unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear agreement signed by Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – in 2015. He also announced that the US would re-impose sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the implementation of the JCPOA. These sanctions have extraterritorial effect, essentially making it illegal for EU companies and financial institutions ...

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced the unilateral US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark nuclear agreement signed by Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – in 2015. He also announced that the US would re-impose sanctions on Iran that had been lifted as part of the implementation of the JCPOA. These sanctions have extraterritorial effect, essentially making it illegal for EU companies and financial institutions to engage in a wide range of economic and commercial activities with Iran. Companies that disregard the US secondary sanctions face major fines and/or criminal charges in the US, or even exclusion from the US market. US sanctions will be reinstated after a 90- or 180-day wind-down period, to allow companies to make the necessary arrangements. Following the signing of the JCPOA in 2015, European companies have entered into important commercial and investment agreements with Iranian counterparts, worth billions of euros. Many of these companies also have important commercial ties with the US. Faced with the prospect of penalties in the US, several EU companies have already announced that they are ending their dealings with Iran, unless a way can be found to exempt or shield them from US secondary sanctions. In response, the Commission adopted a delegated act on 6 June 2018 to update the annex to the 'Blocking Regulation', which was adopted in 1996 to protect EU businesses against the effects of the extraterritorial application of legislation adopted by a third country. The Blocking Regulation forbids EU persons from complying with extraterritorial sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgment based on them. The effectiveness of the regulation as a mechanism to offset US sanctions has been questioned, however its adoption sends an important political message. Parliament now has two months to object to the delegated act, but may signal earlier that it will not do so, thus allowing the measure to come into force earlier than the end of the two-month period.

Future of the Iran nuclear deal: How much can US pressure isolate Iran?

25-05-2018

In July 2015, Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark agreement to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for the termination of restrictive measures against Iran. Following certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had complied with its nuclear dismantlement commitments, implementation of the JCPOA commenced on 16 January ...

In July 2015, Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the UK and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark agreement to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for the termination of restrictive measures against Iran. Following certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had complied with its nuclear dismantlement commitments, implementation of the JCPOA commenced on 16 January 2016. On that day, known as Implementation Day, all nuclear-related UN, US and EU sanctions on Iran were lifted. President Trump, who took office in January 2017, has consistently called the JCPOA 'a terrible deal'. In January 2018, he announced that the US would cease implementing the JCPOA in May 2018 unless Congress and US allies successfully addressed what he called the agreement's 'disastrous flaws'. During the short period given by President Trump, the US worked with EU allies on a 'supplemental agreement', to address the perceived weaknesses of the JCPOA. However, sufficient common ground could not be reached and on 8 May, President Trump announced that the US was leaving the nuclear deal with Iran and would (re)-impose sanctions. These block American firms from doing business in Iran, and bar foreign firms that do business with Iran from accessing the entire US banking and financial system. In addition, companies that violate the sanctions risk huge fines. The E3/EU have repeatedly stressed their support for the continued full and effective implementation of the JCPOA by all sides, pointing to the fact that it imposes very tough nuclear inspections and that the IAEA has confirmed 10 times that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the agreement. Russia and China have likewise expressed their unwavering support for the agreement. Iran has given the EU 60 days to ensure the continued implementation of the JCPOA, in particular its trade and economic aspects. The US has threatened to impose sanctions on European companies that continue to do business in Iran, but also signalled willingness to continue working on a 'supplemental agreement'.

Renewed chemical attack in Syria

12-04-2018

As the conflict in Syria enters its eighth year, Parliament is due to debate the situation, following a recent escalation. The Assad regime is suspected of having carried out a toxic gas attack on the besieged town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April 2018, killing around 80 people and injuring hundreds. The United Nations Security Council debated the attack during an emergency meeting on 9 April 2018, during which Russia denied Syrian regime responsibility for the attack. The EU has strongly condemned ...

As the conflict in Syria enters its eighth year, Parliament is due to debate the situation, following a recent escalation. The Assad regime is suspected of having carried out a toxic gas attack on the besieged town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April 2018, killing around 80 people and injuring hundreds. The United Nations Security Council debated the attack during an emergency meeting on 9 April 2018, during which Russia denied Syrian regime responsibility for the attack. The EU has strongly condemned the latest use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, and the United States, France and the United Kingdom have signalled their willingness to respond with air-strikes in order to uphold the global ban on the use of chemical weapons.

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