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US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel

11-12-2017

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely ...

On 6 December 2017, US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, mirroring the official Israeli position on the status of the city. In doing so, the US has become the first country to officially endorse the Israeli position on a hotly disputed issue that lies at the very heart of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), potentially weakening the role of the US in that process as an impartial mediator and tilting the odds further in Israel’s favour. The move has been widely condemned as a violation of international law and a political provocation. However, it leaves open the possibility to address the status of the city as part of a comprehensive peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.

Energy: a shaping factor for regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean?

16-05-2017

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and ...

Since 2010 the Eastern Mediterranean region has become a hotspot of international energy discussions due to a series of gas discoveries in the offshore of Israel, Cyprus and Egypt. To exploit this gas potential, a number of export options have progressively been discussed, alongside new regional cooperation scenarios. Hopes have also been expressed about the potential role of new gas discoveries in strengthening not only the regional energy cooperation, but also the overall regional economic and political stability. However, initial expectations largely cooled down over time, particularly due to delays in investment decision in Israel and the downward revision of gas resources in Cyprus. These developments even raised scepticism about the idea of the Eastern Mediterranean becoming a sizeable gas-exporting region. But initial expectations were revived in 2015, after the discovery of the large Zohr gas field in offshore Egypt. Considering its large size, this discovery has reshaped the regional gas outlook, and has also raised new regional cooperation prospects. However, multiple lines of conflict in the region continue to make future Eastern Mediterranean gas activities a major geopolitical issue. This study seeks to provide a comprehensive analysis of all these developments, with the ultimate aim of assessing the realistic implications of regional gas discoveries for both Eastern Mediterranean countries and the EU.

Autor externo

Simone TAGLIAPIETRA

The EU security environment: Challenges and shifts

15-06-2016

Over the past few years, the world’s commitment to peace and its capacity to deal with evolving security challenges have been put to the test. The outcomes – an increasing number of refugees, an expanding network of terrorist organisations, some countries’ high dependency on international aid, and a relatively low level of respect for civil liberties around the world – demonstrate an urgent need for reflection and adaptation.

Over the past few years, the world’s commitment to peace and its capacity to deal with evolving security challenges have been put to the test. The outcomes – an increasing number of refugees, an expanding network of terrorist organisations, some countries’ high dependency on international aid, and a relatively low level of respect for civil liberties around the world – demonstrate an urgent need for reflection and adaptation.

Water in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13-01-2016

The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza is one of the fastest growing in the world and its demand for water is increasing. Access and distribution of water in these territories has been an issue within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967. In 1995, the Oslo II Accord adopted a quantitative approach to the water issue, detailing the quantities to be allocated to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, but did not sufficiently take into account the natural, political and ...

The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza is one of the fastest growing in the world and its demand for water is increasing. Access and distribution of water in these territories has been an issue within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1967. In 1995, the Oslo II Accord adopted a quantitative approach to the water issue, detailing the quantities to be allocated to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, but did not sufficiently take into account the natural, political and socio-economic developments that have affected water supply and demand in the region since. Economic disparities, lack of substantial and sufficient infrastructure and of effective water resources management, compounded by pollution and climate change have led to disproportionate allocation of water and to substantial depletion and contamination of water resources. Water consumption by Israelis and Palestinians reflects stark inequalities. Due to the allocations of trans-boundary water resources agreed upon under Oslo II, Israel currently controls approximately 80% of water reserves in the West Bank. Military conflict in Gaza in the summer of 2014 left over a million residents without access to water. The international community and the EU have expressed concern over the limited access to water in the West Bank and Gaza, and have become active on the issue of water management. Reports from the European Commission (EuropeAid) highlight that technical and humanitarian assistance on water issues has to go hand in hand with progress on the political front, in order for effectiveness to be maximised and for long-term results to be achieved.

Political movements in the West Bank and Gaza

12-11-2015

Political movements in the West Bank and Gaza are divided into factions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) which accept the Oslo Accords, and non-PLO factions which reject a two state solution and Israel's right to exist. Fatah and Hamas are the largest Palestinian political movements.

Political movements in the West Bank and Gaza are divided into factions of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) which accept the Oslo Accords, and non-PLO factions which reject a two state solution and Israel's right to exist. Fatah and Hamas are the largest Palestinian political movements.

Occupation/Annexation of a Territory: Respect for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Consistent EU Policy

25-06-2015

Situations of occupation are often among the most difficult conflicts to resolve, in particular if the occupied territory is also illegally annexed. Legally speaking, an illegally annexed territory is occupied. Third parties (like the EU) have an obligation to not recognise an illegal annexation and to not assist in the continued occupation and annexation. An occupying power has limited authority over the occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), but has nevertheless an obligation ...

Situations of occupation are often among the most difficult conflicts to resolve, in particular if the occupied territory is also illegally annexed. Legally speaking, an illegally annexed territory is occupied. Third parties (like the EU) have an obligation to not recognise an illegal annexation and to not assist in the continued occupation and annexation. An occupying power has limited authority over the occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), but has nevertheless an obligation to respect not only IHL but also international human rights law. The EU has so far not adopted a consistent policy in these cases, but there are elements of good practice that can be used. A future EU policy should be based on non-recognition – as has been the case with regard to Crimea. The EU and its member states should refuse to recognise legislative and other changes in the occupied territory, they should refrain from engaging in economic and other activities that sustain the occupation and they should seriously consider sanctions against the responsible government.

Commitments Made at the Hearing of Johannes Hahn - Commissioner-Designate

14-11-2014

Johannes Hahn, the recently-confirmed European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, appeared before the European Parliament's Committee for Foreign Affairs (AFET) on 30 September 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in his answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting in advance, Commissioner Hahn made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of his most salient points.

Johannes Hahn, the recently-confirmed European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, appeared before the European Parliament's Committee for Foreign Affairs (AFET) on 30 September 2014 to answer MEPs' questions. In that hearing and in his answers to the questionnaire prepared for the meeting in advance, Commissioner Hahn made a number of statements of interest to the European Parliament. This document provides a summary of his most salient points.

The Prospect of Eastern Mediterranean Gas Production: An Alternative Energy Supplier for the EU?

15-04-2014

Israeli gas discoveries in 2009 and 2010 have transformed the Eastern Mediterranean into a natural gas producing region and a potential energy exporter for European and Asian markets. However, the turbulent political situation in Egypt, the Syrian civil war, the tensions between Israel and Gaza, the long-lasting dispute between Turkey and Cyprus, and the maritime border disputes cast a shadow on this economic opportunity. Moreover, the gas industry in the Eastern Mediterranean is at an infant stage ...

Israeli gas discoveries in 2009 and 2010 have transformed the Eastern Mediterranean into a natural gas producing region and a potential energy exporter for European and Asian markets. However, the turbulent political situation in Egypt, the Syrian civil war, the tensions between Israel and Gaza, the long-lasting dispute between Turkey and Cyprus, and the maritime border disputes cast a shadow on this economic opportunity. Moreover, the gas industry in the Eastern Mediterranean is at an infant stage, and the countries concerned seem unable to coordinate their plans for future exports. Global actors are ready to exploit the Eastern Mediterranean’s strategic implications. Russia aims to safeguard its gas monopoly, the United States to support its business interest, and Europe to increase its energy security and reduce dependence on Russia in the light of the Crimean crisis. In this context, the European Union should back the strategic triangle of Israel, Cyprus and Turkey as a first step towards the construction of an Eastern Mediterranean energy corridor.

Gaza's Population at the Breaking Point

29-11-2013

Over the past six years, Gaza's 1.8 million residents – 70 % of whom are refugees and 80 % of whom depend on humanitarian assistance for their daily livelihood – have struggled with the land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel for security reasons. In the last year, the decline of Gaza's socio-economic situation has accelerated dizzyingly. Almost one in three people is unemployed, with youth and women the hardest hit. The blockade and Israel's restrictions on the movement of goods and persons ...

Over the past six years, Gaza's 1.8 million residents – 70 % of whom are refugees and 80 % of whom depend on humanitarian assistance for their daily livelihood – have struggled with the land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel for security reasons. In the last year, the decline of Gaza's socio-economic situation has accelerated dizzyingly. Almost one in three people is unemployed, with youth and women the hardest hit. The blockade and Israel's restrictions on the movement of goods and persons to and from the territory mean that sustainable economic activity in Gaza is next to impossible. This bleak economic picture goes hand-in-hand with the fragile humanitarian situation, which has also deteriorated further in the last few months, as Egypt has closed most of the illegal tunnels for reasons of national security and limited crossings at Rafah. Fuel shortages have closed the only electric power plant in Gaza, adding to residents' sea of troubles. In the recent words of the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 'Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable.' To alleviate Gaza's economic woes and prevent a further radicalisation of the political landscape, humanitarian assistance must be delivered to the people in need. This assistance must be supplemented by greater efforts to improve governance in Gaza and to bring about a political solution to the siege of the enclave.

Security situation in Sinai

20-09-2013

Following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013, attacks by Jihadist militias against the Egyptian army in the Sinai peninsula have risen dramatically. The international community and the EU have condemned these attacks. Military actions have intensified but democracy will need to be restored quickly in Egypt, in order to prevent Sinai from turning into a new battlefield for various forms of radical extremists.

Following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013, attacks by Jihadist militias against the Egyptian army in the Sinai peninsula have risen dramatically. The international community and the EU have condemned these attacks. Military actions have intensified but democracy will need to be restored quickly in Egypt, in order to prevent Sinai from turning into a new battlefield for various forms of radical extremists.

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Western Balkans: A rocky road to enlargement
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Where all students can succeed: Analysing the latest OECD PISA results
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The Future of Artificial Intelligence for Europe
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