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Four EU scenarios for governance in a post Covid-19 world

26-10-2020

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic ...

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic autonomy’. Calls for strategic autonomy have increased since the COVID-19 crisis, at national and EU level. However, strategic autonomy conflicts with the achievements of international cooperative governance. This introduces another dilemma: the choice between interests and values. Pursuing interests alone leads to a vicious cycle of increased competition between markets and between states, ultimately deteriorating into imperialism. Developing value-oriented actions at government and market level can break that vicious cycle. Value-oriented concepts already form part of many EU policies, which place substantial emphasis on environmental and social rights. When ethical values become an integral part of business and government decisions, this is called ‘due diligence’. We can define value-oriented international cooperation between governments as ‘cooperative governance’. Similarly, we can define ethical and value oriented action by private actors — whether NGOs or businesses — as ‘ethical capitalism’. Putting the two dichotomies on a grid creates a model of four possible scenarios for action which can aid our understanding of ongoing discussions on governance in a post COVID-19 world. EU policy makers could also use these scenarios as alternative ways of shaping EU and foreign policy. The management of natural resources, ranging from water, land, forests, energy resources and metals to rare earths, shows a counter-clockwise development through the scenarios. Moving away from unregulated markets, extraction and use were gradually regulated by national governments, who competed against each other in an imperialist setting. The transnational nature of economic and environmental problems has increasingly brought them into the scope of international cooperative governance. Ethical capitalism (changing market forces from within) is a relatively new development complementing government action. Progress through the scenarios is not always sequential: actors face pressures to switch between them. We can draw lessons for governance in a post COVID-19 world from the experiences of natural resources management. This study is the first on ´global trends in external policies´, aiming to develop forward-looking and strategic analyses.

Commitments made at the hearing of Josep BORRELL FONTELLES, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President-designate of the European Commission

22-11-2019

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President designate of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, appeared before the European Parliament on 7 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President designate of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, appeared before the European Parliament on 7 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document.

Los derechos humanos

01-05-2018

La Unión Europea está comprometida con la defensa de la democracia y los derechos humanos en sus relaciones exteriores, de conformidad con sus principios fundacionales: la libertad, la democracia, el respeto de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, y el Estado de Derecho. La Unión persigue integrar las cuestiones relacionadas con los derechos humanos en todas sus políticas y programas; además, cuenta con diversos instrumentos en materia de derechos humanos destinados a acciones ...

La Unión Europea está comprometida con la defensa de la democracia y los derechos humanos en sus relaciones exteriores, de conformidad con sus principios fundacionales: la libertad, la democracia, el respeto de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, y el Estado de Derecho. La Unión persigue integrar las cuestiones relacionadas con los derechos humanos en todas sus políticas y programas; además, cuenta con diversos instrumentos en materia de derechos humanos destinados a acciones específicas, incluida la financiación de proyectos concretos mediante sus diferentes instrumentos de financiación.

La promoción de la democracia y la observación de elecciones

01-05-2018

El apoyo a la democracia en todo el mundo es una de las prioridades de la Unión Europea. La democracia sigue siendo el único sistema de gobierno en el que las personas pueden ejercer plenamente los derechos humanos y es un factor determinante para el desarrollo y una estabilidad duradera. El Parlamento Europeo, como única institución de la Unión elegida directamente por los ciudadanos, está especialmente comprometido con la promoción de la democracia.

El apoyo a la democracia en todo el mundo es una de las prioridades de la Unión Europea. La democracia sigue siendo el único sistema de gobierno en el que las personas pueden ejercer plenamente los derechos humanos y es un factor determinante para el desarrollo y una estabilidad duradera. El Parlamento Europeo, como única institución de la Unión elegida directamente por los ciudadanos, está especialmente comprometido con la promoción de la democracia.

Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017

04-12-2017

Short presentation of two Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017.

Short presentation of two Sakharov Prize Finalists 2017.

Syria: Stalled Peace Process and Blocked Humanitarian Access

24-11-2016

Amid stalled peace talks and a worsening humanitarian situation, the EU is working alongside the UN Special Envoy for Syria to engage key regional and international players and broker a return to the negotiating table. In parallel, an EU emergency humanitarian initiative for Aleppo has been launched to attempt to break the deadlock over humanitarian access and deliver aid to some of the 275 000 people in Aleppo and 13.5 million people across the country who are in desperate need of assistance.

Amid stalled peace talks and a worsening humanitarian situation, the EU is working alongside the UN Special Envoy for Syria to engage key regional and international players and broker a return to the negotiating table. In parallel, an EU emergency humanitarian initiative for Aleppo has been launched to attempt to break the deadlock over humanitarian access and deliver aid to some of the 275 000 people in Aleppo and 13.5 million people across the country who are in desperate need of assistance.

The European Year for Development: Human Rights

01-12-2015

Human rights have become an integral part of most donors' development cooperation. In addition to their intrinsic value, human rights are considered instrumental in achieving sustainable development. Implementing the international development goals related to civil and political rights and governance will be challenging. The EU has gradually refined its policy on integrating human rights into development cooperation. The EU approach includes imposing different forms of conditionality, supporting ...

Human rights have become an integral part of most donors' development cooperation. In addition to their intrinsic value, human rights are considered instrumental in achieving sustainable development. Implementing the international development goals related to civil and political rights and governance will be challenging. The EU has gradually refined its policy on integrating human rights into development cooperation. The EU approach includes imposing different forms of conditionality, supporting projects and programmes, and mainstreaming human rights across development actions. Aid to governance and civil society has increased in the last decade, reaching 9 % of the EU’s sectorallocable aid in 2013. Implementing a rights-based approach to development will be decisive, but challenging. The European Parliament, a strong supporter of integrating human rights into development cooperation, has its own toolbox to support human rights abroad.

The European year for development: Sustainable development and climate action

01-11-2015

The European Year for Development: Food Security

01-10-2015

Food security is a multilayered concept, covering availability, access, use and stability. It is recognised as a global public good. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is also a human right. Following the 2007/2008 food crisis, the international community committed to investing more in agriculture and to better governance. The MDG target to halve the proportion of hungry people was nearly achieved, but 795 million people remain undernourished. The Sustainable Development Goals include an ambitious ...

Food security is a multilayered concept, covering availability, access, use and stability. It is recognised as a global public good. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is also a human right. Following the 2007/2008 food crisis, the international community committed to investing more in agriculture and to better governance. The MDG target to halve the proportion of hungry people was nearly achieved, but 795 million people remain undernourished. The Sustainable Development Goals include an ambitious zero hunger target and address the structural causes of food insecurity. Helping small farmers to enhance sustainable production is one important way to address food insecurity in developing countries. The EU has made food and nutrition security a focal area of development cooperation. The EU and its Member States committed to reducing the number of stunted children by 7 million before 2025. Parliament has supported a human rights-based approach to addressing food security and has expressed strong concerns over land grabbing.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: 17 Goals Agreed, Now for the Hard Part

23-09-2015

After more than two years of consultations and negotiations, 193 UN member states agreed on 2 August 2015 to a new sustainable development agenda that is as ambitious as it is fraught with potential pitfalls. Titled ‘Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development‘, the agenda will be formally adopted at the UN summit on 25-27 September in New York. With 17 sustainable development goals (SGDs), it aims for an economic and societal transformation, integrating all three pillars ...

After more than two years of consultations and negotiations, 193 UN member states agreed on 2 August 2015 to a new sustainable development agenda that is as ambitious as it is fraught with potential pitfalls. Titled ‘Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development‘, the agenda will be formally adopted at the UN summit on 25-27 September in New York. With 17 sustainable development goals (SGDs), it aims for an economic and societal transformation, integrating all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. The sectorial scope of the new agenda is enormous, including areas such as migration, industrialisation and energy. The SDGs are universal in nature, creating responsibilities for all countries, spanning domestic development outcomes, assistance to other countries and global public goods. The EU has played a major role in the process and has fought hard for the inclusion of EU values such as human rights and good governance, and for effective implementation and review processes. The ambitious agenda creates implementation challenges at all levels, including indicators and data collection, communication and outreach, the financing challenge and the balance between universality and national ownership.

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