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Norway's political parties ahead of the elections

05-09-2017

On 11 September 2017, Norwegian voters will be heading to the polls amid concern over weak growth, an increasingly assertive Russia, as well as the impact of Brexit on the country's economy.

On 11 September 2017, Norwegian voters will be heading to the polls amid concern over weak growth, an increasingly assertive Russia, as well as the impact of Brexit on the country's economy.

The European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the North

01-09-2017

The European Economic Area (EEA) was set up in 1994 to extend the EU’s provisions on its internal market to the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are parties to the EEA. Switzerland is a member of EFTA but does not take part in the EEA. The EU and EEA partners (Norway and Iceland) are also linked by various ‘northern policies’ and forums which focus on the rapidly evolving northern reaches of Europe and the Arctic region as a whole.

The European Economic Area (EEA) was set up in 1994 to extend the EU’s provisions on its internal market to the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are parties to the EEA. Switzerland is a member of EFTA but does not take part in the EEA. The EU and EEA partners (Norway and Iceland) are also linked by various ‘northern policies’ and forums which focus on the rapidly evolving northern reaches of Europe and the Arctic region as a whole.

EU-Norway agreement on fishing in the Skagerrak

07-12-2016

The EU-Norway agreement on the Skagerrak, allowing fishing vessels from Denmark, Norway and Sweden to fish in each other's waters, has been updated. The new agreement, aimed at bringing fisheries management in the Skagerrak into line with international principles of coastal state jurisdiction, was signed in January 2015 and has been applied provisionally pending its entry into force. Parliament's consent is necessary for the conclusion of this agreement.

The EU-Norway agreement on the Skagerrak, allowing fishing vessels from Denmark, Norway and Sweden to fish in each other's waters, has been updated. The new agreement, aimed at bringing fisheries management in the Skagerrak into line with international principles of coastal state jurisdiction, was signed in January 2015 and has been applied provisionally pending its entry into force. Parliament's consent is necessary for the conclusion of this agreement.

The quest for natural gas pipelines - EU and Eastern Partner energy policies: Security versus transit benefits

14-07-2016

The European Union has been increasing efforts to maintain gas supply security especially vis-à-vis its main gas supplier, Russia. In that context, Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, serving either as gas suppliers (Azerbaijan) or transit/corridor countries (all the others except Armenia), have an undeniable role for the EU. Security of gas supply depends on close EU cooperation with its EaP partners and interconnections between them. There have been some welcome developments, such as the Southern ...

The European Union has been increasing efforts to maintain gas supply security especially vis-à-vis its main gas supplier, Russia. In that context, Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, serving either as gas suppliers (Azerbaijan) or transit/corridor countries (all the others except Armenia), have an undeniable role for the EU. Security of gas supply depends on close EU cooperation with its EaP partners and interconnections between them. There have been some welcome developments, such as the Southern Gas Corridor that transports Caspian gas to the EU, which reflects the importance of the EaP partners and also contributes to EU energy security and the ambitious Energy Union project. On the other hand, a project aimed at doubling the capacity of the Nord Stream gas pipeline directly connecting Germany and Russia under the Baltic Sea has raised some criticism.

EU Arctic Policy in Regional Context

06-07-2016

EU Arctic policy has evolved significantly in recent years, culminating in the April 2016 Joint Communication from the European Commission and the HRVP for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Communication focuses on the environment and climate change, sustainable development, and peaceful international cooperation, with overarching support for scientific research. This coincides with most of the priorities of the EU’s Arctic Member States, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The Communication does ...

EU Arctic policy has evolved significantly in recent years, culminating in the April 2016 Joint Communication from the European Commission and the HRVP for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The Communication focuses on the environment and climate change, sustainable development, and peaceful international cooperation, with overarching support for scientific research. This coincides with most of the priorities of the EU’s Arctic Member States, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The Communication does not focus on security issues or on hydrocarbon development. Arctic oil and gas are not the primary keys to EU energy security, but do play a role, and are important for the EU’s two main suppliers, Norway and Russia – sustainable management of these resources is in the EU’s interest. While the region has been a model for cooperation – Arctic collaboration with Russia continues via multiple mechanisms, despite wider tensions. That it will remain so cannot be taken for granted. The EU supports peaceful Arctic cooperation via multiple mechanisms, including the Arctic Council, the Barents-Euro Arctic Council, and via multiple cross-border collaboration platforms. As the EU becomes increasingly engaged in Arctic issues, continued focus on policy coherence, engagement with other Arctic stakeholders, and the priorities of the region’s citizens will be essential.

Potential and Challenges of e-Voting in the European Union

02-06-2016

This study was commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament’s Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee. It addresses the potentials and challenges of the implementation of Internet voting in European Parliament elections. It considers the social, political, legal, and technological implications of its introduction as an alternative to on-paper ballot and builds on the recent experience of previous trials and successful e-enabled elections ...

This study was commissioned and supervised by the European Parliament’s Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the AFCO Committee. It addresses the potentials and challenges of the implementation of Internet voting in European Parliament elections. It considers the social, political, legal, and technological implications of its introduction as an alternative to on-paper ballot and builds on the recent experience of previous trials and successful e-enabled elections to issue technical recommendations regarding Internet voting in the European Union.

External author

Alexander H. Trechsel in collaboration with: Vasyl Kucherenko and Frederico Silva

Comparing EU and EFTA Trade Agreements: Drivers, Actors, Benefits, and Costs

30-05-2016

EFTA states have built up a network of 26 preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with 37 partners, compared to more than 120 trade agreements concluded by the EU with more than 45 partners. There are substantial differences between EU and EFTA PTAs in terms of scope and ambition. EFTA agreements still focus on traditional areas of market access, while the post-1990 EU agreements are more elaborate, values-driven, political and comprehensive. As a bloc, the EU has more leverage when it negotiates ...

EFTA states have built up a network of 26 preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with 37 partners, compared to more than 120 trade agreements concluded by the EU with more than 45 partners. There are substantial differences between EU and EFTA PTAs in terms of scope and ambition. EFTA agreements still focus on traditional areas of market access, while the post-1990 EU agreements are more elaborate, values-driven, political and comprehensive. As a bloc, the EU has more leverage when it negotiates around the world. The size of its market and its highly developed common policies mean that the EU can bring more to the negotiating table and has stronger tools to enforce its economic interests and political conditions compared to the smaller EFTA states whose political and economic cooperation is limited. Although the EFTA states do not form a customs union like the EU, they usually negotiate PTAs as a group, bringing their combined economic and political weight to bear. However, they retain the right to reach bilateral trade agreements with third countries outside the EFTA framework, such as Switzerland's PTAs with Japan and China, and Iceland's bilateral PTA with China. EFTA's small size nonetheless has some benefits. Since EFTA states are not so constrained by — often diverging — interests they can be more flexible in their negotiations. In some cases EFTA has concluded trade deals relatively quickly compared to the EU, but this has been at the expense of relatively shallow trade agreements.

External author

Andreas MAURER

The 1995 enlargement of the European Union: The accession of Finland and Sweden

04-11-2015

This year, Finland and Sweden, like Austria, celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their accession to the European Union. This historical study focuses specifically on the entry into the Union of the first two countries. Distinct economic and social policies, as well as issues of neutrality during the Cold War, had kept the two Nordic countries from developing closer relations with the European Community. However, economic and geopolitical changes allowed this situation to evolve into a deeper and ...

This year, Finland and Sweden, like Austria, celebrate the twentieth anniversary of their accession to the European Union. This historical study focuses specifically on the entry into the Union of the first two countries. Distinct economic and social policies, as well as issues of neutrality during the Cold War, had kept the two Nordic countries from developing closer relations with the European Community. However, economic and geopolitical changes allowed this situation to evolve into a deeper and mutually beneficial relationship. This is the latest study in the European Union History Series, which is primarily based on documents preserved in and made available to the public by the Historical Archives of the Parliament and the archives of other EU institutions.

Adult Education and Open Educational Resources

15-09-2015

This study reviews the current use of Open Educational Resources in Adult Education, assesses its potential and makes recommendations for policy interventions, taking account of the European Commission’s policy frameworks. It incorporates new research on over 12 Member States, leveraging on a synthesis of existing research from a range of projects including POERUP (Policies for OER Uptake) and a 2014-15 study on Shared OER for the Joint Research Centre, augmented by two more recent studies for JRC ...

This study reviews the current use of Open Educational Resources in Adult Education, assesses its potential and makes recommendations for policy interventions, taking account of the European Commission’s policy frameworks. It incorporates new research on over 12 Member States, leveraging on a synthesis of existing research from a range of projects including POERUP (Policies for OER Uptake) and a 2014-15 study on Shared OER for the Joint Research Centre, augmented by two more recent studies for JRC and LLP.

External author

Paul Bacsich, with additional research from Giles Pepler, Sara Frank Bristow, Ebba Ossiannilsson, Alistair Creelman, Eva Szalma and Ilmars Slaidins (Sero Consulting Ltd, the UK)

Internationalisation of Higher Education

15-07-2015

A study on the understanding of Internationalisation of Higher Education in the European context, based on two surveys, an analysis of the role of digital learning, ten national reports from Europe and seven from outside Europe. The study results in conclusions and recommendations on the future of Internationalisation of Higher Education in Europe, based on the national reports and a Delphi process among experts in international higher education.

A study on the understanding of Internationalisation of Higher Education in the European context, based on two surveys, an analysis of the role of digital learning, ten national reports from Europe and seven from outside Europe. The study results in conclusions and recommendations on the future of Internationalisation of Higher Education in Europe, based on the national reports and a Delphi process among experts in international higher education.

External author

Hans de Wit and Fiona Hunter (Centre for Higher Education Internationalisation - CHEI) ; Laura Howard (European Association for International Education - EAIE) ; Eva Egron-Polak (International Association of Universities - IAU)

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