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Key issues in the European Council

20-06-2019

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues ...

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Outlook for the European Council and Euro Summit meetings, 20-21 June 2019

19-06-2019

The June 2019 European Council will discuss, and potentially agree on, high-level appointments to EU institutions and adopt the 2019-2024 strategic agenda. Other agenda topics are the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s common climate ambition, disinformation, enlargement and foreign policy issues, including relations with Russia. EU-27 leaders will meet for a Euro Summit in extended format to discuss the report submitted by the Eurogroup on EMU reforms.

The June 2019 European Council will discuss, and potentially agree on, high-level appointments to EU institutions and adopt the 2019-2024 strategic agenda. Other agenda topics are the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the EU’s common climate ambition, disinformation, enlargement and foreign policy issues, including relations with Russia. EU-27 leaders will meet for a Euro Summit in extended format to discuss the report submitted by the Eurogroup on EMU reforms.

European Council conclusions - A rolling check-list of commitments to date

14-06-2019

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is a new, updated and more comprehensive edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It distinguishes between four types of European Council conclusions (commitments, reviews, endorsements and statements) and indicates the follow-up given to calls for action made by EU leaders. It also offers an introductory analysis of each policy area, highlighting the background to the main orientations given by the European Council, as well as the follow-up to them and the future challenges.

Mapping threats to peace and democracy worldwide: Introduction to the Normandy Index

03-06-2019

The 'Normandy Index' aims to measure the level of conflict in the world. It is to be presented for the first time on the occasion of the Normandy Global Peace Forum in June 2019, as a result of the partnership between the European Parliament and the region of Normandy. The Index has been designed and prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace. This paper sets out the initial findings of the 2019 exercise and explains how the ...

The 'Normandy Index' aims to measure the level of conflict in the world. It is to be presented for the first time on the occasion of the Normandy Global Peace Forum in June 2019, as a result of the partnership between the European Parliament and the region of Normandy. The Index has been designed and prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) and developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace. This paper sets out the initial findings of the 2019 exercise and explains how the index can be used to compare peace – defined on the basis of a given country's performance against a range of predetermined threats – across countries and regions. It is complemented by 25 individual country case studies, derived from the Index. The paper is part of the EPRS contribution to the Normandy Global Peace Forum, alongside two studies: on the EU's contribution to peace and security in 2019, and on the EU's support for peace in Colombia.

Peace and Security in 2019: Evaluating EU efforts to support peace in Colombia

03-06-2019

This second thematic study in the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peace support efforts in Colombia. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. This study evaluates EU engagement during the 50-year conflict in Colombia, and focuses on peacebuilding since the historic 2016 final agreement between the government and the main armed group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP ...

This second thematic study in the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peace support efforts in Colombia. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. This study evaluates EU engagement during the 50-year conflict in Colombia, and focuses on peacebuilding since the historic 2016 final agreement between the government and the main armed group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP). This is a country where the EU has mobilised a large spectrum of civilian instruments: bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; humanitarian and development aid; and trade relations. After placing the conflict in its geopolitical context, this evaluation analyses the EU approach to and implementation of support to peace in Colombia, the European Parliament's contribution, risks since the signature of the peace agreement, and ways to mitigate them. A parallel study, published separately, provides an overview of current EU action on peace and security and introduces the 2019 Normandy Index. The studies have been drafted with a view to their presentation at the Normandy World Peace Forum, in June 2019.

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.

Balanced and fairer world trade defence: EU, US and WTO perspectives

29-05-2019

This workshop of the Committee on International Trade discussed recent developments in trade defence legislation and practice from the perspectives of the EU, the USA and the WTO. A set of trade defence rules have been agreed in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular on anti-dumping, anti-subsidies and safeguards. The WTO also provides a dispute settlement system for cases brought forward by its members. The EU has recently adopted two sets of new legislation on Trade ...

This workshop of the Committee on International Trade discussed recent developments in trade defence legislation and practice from the perspectives of the EU, the USA and the WTO. A set of trade defence rules have been agreed in the framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in particular on anti-dumping, anti-subsidies and safeguards. The WTO also provides a dispute settlement system for cases brought forward by its members. The EU has recently adopted two sets of new legislation on Trade Defence Instruments (TDI), known as ‘TDI methodology’ and ‘TDI modernisation’. These new rules aim at enhancing the EU’s trade defence, without deviating from its commitment to an open economic environment set in an international rules based order. The US has its own rules and practice for trade defence and continues to distinguish between countries having a market economy and those who don’t - a difference abandoned by the EU in its latest reform. Moreover, the Trump Administration has imposed many new tariffs on foreign imports, often based on the national security exception provided by the WTO - a justification contested by most of the countries targeted. Furthermore, the US expressed concerns about the system of dispute settlement in the WTO, blocking nominations to its Appellate Body. Experts gave their views on whether all these recent developments are contributing to an international trade defence regime that is ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’, taking into account the different perspectives.

Autor externo

Erdal YALCIN, Hannes WELGE, André SAPIR, Petros C. MAVROIDIS

Serbia at risk of authoritarianism?

02-05-2019

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of ...

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of authoritarian rule, attacks on independent media, electoral fraud and corruption. Although the protests only started recently, they highlight worrying longer-term trends. Press freedom has been in decline for several years, particularly since Vučić became prime minister in 2014. A large part of the media is now controlled either directly by the state or by pro-SNS figures. Independent journalists face threats and even violence, and perpetrators are rarely convicted. In the National Assembly, the governing coalition uses its parliamentary majority to systematically block meaningful discussions of legislative proposals. In protest, the opposition started a boycott of plenary debates in February 2019. The tone of verbal attacks by SNS politicians and their allies on independent media, the political opposition and civil society is often virulent. Criticising government policy is framed as betrayal of Serbian interests. The aim seems to be to marginalise critical voices while concentrating power in the hands of the SNS-led government. Elected to the mainly ceremonial role of president in 2017, Vučić nevertheless remains the dominant figure. If Serbia's drift towards authoritarianism continues, it could become a major obstacle to EU accession, for which 2025 has been mentioned as a possible date.

What role in European defence for a post-Brexit United Kingdom?

30-04-2019

'Europe's security is our security', states the 2018 British National Security Capability Review. The expected departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will not alter geography, and the UK will remain a European country. The UK and the countries of the EU share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there ...

'Europe's security is our security', states the 2018 British National Security Capability Review. The expected departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will not alter geography, and the UK will remain a European country. The UK and the countries of the EU share the same strategic environment and, by default, the same threats to their peace and security. Historically, pragmatically and geographically, they remain deeply linked from a security and defence perspective, and there is political consensus on the need to nurture this linkage. Official documents from the British government also confirm this: the UK is exiting the EU, not Europe. In legal terms, after leaving the EU, the UK will become a third country to the EU and cooperation will continue on that basis. While the EU's common security and defence policy has an established precedent in cooperating closely with third countries on missions and operations, albeit without providing them with decision-making roles, the EU's new defence integration initiatives are currently exploring third-party cooperation. As the UK played a founding role in developing the EU's security and defence policy, it is naturally deeply interconnected with the other EU Member States in this area. As one of the EU's biggest military powers, the UK brings a particularly valuable contribution and know-how to the field. Both parties have made commitments to ensure as close as possible a partnership in foreign policy, security and defence matters. The area of security and defence has the potential to result in a positive post-Brexit tale.

Reconciliation in the Western Balkans: The difficulty of emulating the EU model

17-04-2019

In 2017, the European Union turned 60, celebrating not only six decades of peace between its Member States but also integration – based on a framework for a peaceful European ethos – which helped bring reconciliation to its citizens that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve. In the Western Balkans, which were torn apart by wars after the disintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, conflicting narratives about the past continue to charge intra-regional relations with animosity ...

In 2017, the European Union turned 60, celebrating not only six decades of peace between its Member States but also integration – based on a framework for a peaceful European ethos – which helped bring reconciliation to its citizens that would have otherwise been impossible to achieve. In the Western Balkans, which were torn apart by wars after the disintegration of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, conflicting narratives about the past continue to charge intra-regional relations with animosity, and a number of bilateral disputes await resolution. Just as the European Communities helped to bring peace to post-World War II western Europe, so does the EU promote the reconciliation process in the countries that were once part of Yugoslavia. A credible promise of accession to the EU for all Western Balkan countries gives them an incentive to improve their working relationships and work on reconciliation more vigorously. Since 2017, the EU has renewed its attempts to infuse the Western Balkan countries' enlargement process with fresh energy. In a March 2018 statement, the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, said it was 'time to close the wounds of the past' and take steps to guarantee stability for the whole of Europe. The European Commission's new enlargement strategy of February 2018, apart from placing special emphasis on solving all bilateral disputes, highlights reconciliation as a prerequisite for EU accession, and envisages a dedicated flagship initiative. This briefing aims to draw attention to the importance of reconciliation, both as part of the Western Balkans' EU integration process and as an answer to the region's widely perceived need to come to terms with the past. Civil-society representatives and experts often see reconciliation in the region as a prerequisite for building sustainable cooperation in many areas and a process that would help local youth to overcome their prejudices and restore their trust in their countries and region. However, achieving reconciliation requires cooperation in practice, something that will likely take decades to accomplish.

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