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EU foreign, security and defence policies [What Think Tanks are thinking]

27-10-2020

The European Union faces multifaceted foreign security and defence policy challenges. First and foremost, it awaits the outcome of the US Presidential election, which is set to determine in significant part global economic and political developments in the short to medium term. The Union also faces a tough choice about how to treat China: more as a rival or as a partner, and in which areas? An increasingly assertive Russia represents yet another challenge. The EU’s stance on climate, migration, Africa ...

The European Union faces multifaceted foreign security and defence policy challenges. First and foremost, it awaits the outcome of the US Presidential election, which is set to determine in significant part global economic and political developments in the short to medium term. The Union also faces a tough choice about how to treat China: more as a rival or as a partner, and in which areas? An increasingly assertive Russia represents yet another challenge. The EU’s stance on climate, migration, Africa, terrorism and developments in its near neighbourhood add to this complex scene. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on EU foreign, security and defence policies.

Trump or Biden: Where next for US foreign and defence policy? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

09-10-2020

The United States is heading for a presidential election on Tuesday 3. November that will pit incumbent Republican candidate, Donald Trump, against the former Democrat Vice President and Senator, Joe Biden. Many analysts and politicians say that this contest may well be one of the most important since the end of World War II, as it will offer a stark choice between two entirely different paths for US foreign and defence policy. During his four years in office, analysts stress how President Trump, ...

The United States is heading for a presidential election on Tuesday 3. November that will pit incumbent Republican candidate, Donald Trump, against the former Democrat Vice President and Senator, Joe Biden. Many analysts and politicians say that this contest may well be one of the most important since the end of World War II, as it will offer a stark choice between two entirely different paths for US foreign and defence policy. During his four years in office, analysts stress how President Trump, whose decisions were often unpredictable, has reversed many aspects of traditional US foreign and defence policy, which had previously been based on a respect for international institutions and a strong Transatlantic alliance. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on the US electoral campaign and the legacy of President Trump.

The future of multilateralism and strategic partnerships

11-09-2020

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated global geopolitical trends, including the struggle to uphold multilateralism in a climate of growing nationalism, protectionism and rising great power competition. At the same time, it has demonstrated the need for multilateral cooperation for the effective mitigation of cross-border threats, including health crises. Within this environment, the European Union (EU), a multilateral entity in itself, has illustrated the relevance of cooperation. Beyond ...

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has exacerbated global geopolitical trends, including the struggle to uphold multilateralism in a climate of growing nationalism, protectionism and rising great power competition. At the same time, it has demonstrated the need for multilateral cooperation for the effective mitigation of cross-border threats, including health crises. Within this environment, the European Union (EU), a multilateral entity in itself, has illustrated the relevance of cooperation. Beyond its internal strengthening, the EU has set the defence and reform of multilateralism as one of its key priorities under the current European Commission. This will require a more coordinated and autonomous EU foreign policy, a smart approach towards the escalating US–China rivalry, reinvigorated cooperation with major democracies, and mobilisation of the EU's foreign policy tools, widely defined. As coronavirus leaves parts of the world more fragile and vulnerable, it also precipitates the need for a reformed multilateral system 'fit for purpose' and able to address the challenges of the future. Thinking through new practices to enrich multilateralism will be important for the further development of international cooperation.

COVID-19's impact on human rights outside the EU

03-04-2020

In their attempt to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries around the world have imposed limitations on freedom of movement and other related freedoms within their territories, thereby severely curtailing certain fundamental rights. In the event of a public emergency, international human rights norms do allow for the imposition of limitations under strict conditions. Moreover, so far no other approach has been as effective in slowing down the outbreak, while also upholding the right of the ...

In their attempt to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries around the world have imposed limitations on freedom of movement and other related freedoms within their territories, thereby severely curtailing certain fundamental rights. In the event of a public emergency, international human rights norms do allow for the imposition of limitations under strict conditions. Moreover, so far no other approach has been as effective in slowing down the outbreak, while also upholding the right of the most vulnerable to health and life. However, some governments may be abusing the situation to suppress human rights and wield undue power.

Commitments made at the hearing of Jutta URPILAINEN, Commissioner-designate - International Partnerships

22-11-2019

The Commissioner-designate, Jutta Urpilainen, appeared before the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: Building sustainable partnerships.

The Commissioner-designate, Jutta Urpilainen, appeared before the European Parliament on 01 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, she made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to her portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to her by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: Building sustainable partnerships.

Women in foreign affairs and international security: Contours of a timely debate

17-09-2019

The debate on the participation and role of women in foreign affairs and international security is a timely and relevant one, and is being raised with increasing frequency at both national and international levels. In particular, there is growing attention to the imbalances in the representation of women in leadership and other key positions in the area of foreign and security policy, as well as to the growing body of evidence regarding the positive effect of including women in several key areas ...

The debate on the participation and role of women in foreign affairs and international security is a timely and relevant one, and is being raised with increasing frequency at both national and international levels. In particular, there is growing attention to the imbalances in the representation of women in leadership and other key positions in the area of foreign and security policy, as well as to the growing body of evidence regarding the positive effect of including women in several key areas of foreign and security policy. Among these issues, women's role in peacekeeping receives particular attention, as research has repeatedly shown that gender equality contributes to peace, and that peace negotiations involving women have a better chance of being sustainable and effective. Gender-equal societies enjoy better health, stronger economic growth and higher security. The United Nations and the EU have put pronounced emphasis on the issue in the past two decades. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 established the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda in 2000. Since then, more WPS-related resolutions have been adopted, widening the scope and breadth of gendered peace and security. These resolutions have been instrumental in changing the philosophy and rhetoric focused on conflict and gender equality, thereby challenging the international community to do more. Several initiatives are also being implemented at EU level, including through the 2018 EU Strategic Approach to WPS. However, critics posit that a lot remains to be done, as women continue to be under-represented in the field of foreign and security policy across the world.

Peace and Security in 2019: Overview of EU action and outlook for the future

03-06-2019

This is the second EU Peace and Security Outlook produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The series is designed to analyse and explain the contribution of the European Union to the promotion of peace and security internationally through its various external policies. The study provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment. It then focuses on the centrality of the ...

This is the second EU Peace and Security Outlook produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS). The series is designed to analyse and explain the contribution of the European Union to the promotion of peace and security internationally through its various external policies. The study provides an overview of the issues and current state of play. It looks first at the concept of peace and the changing nature of the geopolitical environment. It then focuses on the centrality of the promotion of peace and security in the EU's external action and proceeds to an analysis of the practical pursuit of these principles in three main areas of EU policy: development, democracy support, and security and defence, as well as in the increasingly relevant area of disinformation and foreign influence. It concludes with the outlook for the future. A parallel study, published separately, focuses specifically on EU peacebuilding efforts in Colombia. The studies have been drafted with a view to their presentation at the Normandy World Peace Forum, in June 2019.

India: taking stock of Modi's five years

10-04-2019

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations ...

From 11 April to 18 May 2019, 900 million Indians are invited to take part in the world's biggest democratic event: the election of the 543 members of the Lok Sabha (lower chamber). Voting will be held across the country in seven phases and the result will be declared on 23 May. In 2014 the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) obtained the absolute majority in India's Lok Sabha, and Narendra Modi became prime minister. Enjoying a strong and undisputed mandate, Modi has generated expectations of unleashing the country's economic potential and has adopted many flagship initiatives in a bid to change the country. In the last five years, India has overtaken China as the fastest growing economy, becoming the world's sixth biggest economy and a space power. Doing business in the country has become easier. Poverty has been reduced. The government succeeded in introducing major fiscal unification reform and a new law on bankruptcy. It failed, however to create the necessary stock of jobs for young people or to promote long-awaited labour reforms. The situation for farmers has worsened, and an overnight demonetisation hindered progress among small businesses and rural communities, while failing to bring real advances in the fight against corruption. State banks hold large stocks of bad loans and the government has increased pressure on the central bank and on its independence. Hindu nationalism and religious intolerance, pressure on freedom of expression, possible state intrusion into privacy, citizenship issues and other topics have been matters for concern in the area of human rights, although the country remains a robust democracy governed by the rule of law. Modi has increased the country's presence in the global arena, although the framework of India's relations with the major powers has not changed. Following two summits in 2016 and 2017, the EU and India have embarked on a road towards cooperation on non-trade issues. Trade has meanwhile stagnated and little progress has been made in negotiations on a trade and investment agreement.

China [What Think Tanks are thinking]

08-02-2019

China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and its assertive foreign policy pose a dilemma for European Union policy-makers as to whether to treat the Asian powerhouse as a partner or a rival, or to take a position somewhere in between. Formally, the EU and China are strategic partners since 2003 - a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. No EU country wants to be openly confrontational towards China, contrary to the approach of the ...

China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and its assertive foreign policy pose a dilemma for European Union policy-makers as to whether to treat the Asian powerhouse as a partner or a rival, or to take a position somewhere in between. Formally, the EU and China are strategic partners since 2003 - a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. No EU country wants to be openly confrontational towards China, contrary to the approach of the current United States administration. However, several European governments are wary of Beijing’s economic expansionism and its efforts to take the global lead in digital technologies. Controversy over China’s telecoms giant Huawei has exacerbated those concerns. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on China, its ties with the EU and related issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in September 2018.

Foreign policy and defence challenges [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-01-2019

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries, and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cybersecurity ...

The European Union will face increasingly serious foreign policy and defence challenges in 2019. The current Administration in the United States seems to be abandoning its traditional role of ‘benign protector’ of the rules-based international order. Russia, according to many analysts, continues to try to undermine the democratic process in many Western countries, and China’s foreign policy is becoming more and more assertive, notably in the economic field. Furthermore, migration, Brexit and cybersecurity, as well as a lack of EU unity on certain issues, also feature amongst key challenges. This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on EU foreign and defence policies. Links to more reports on President Donald Trump’s policies, Russia, EU-China relations and NATO are available in previous items in this series, published last year.

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