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A new neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument – Global Europe

25-03-2021

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. Council and Parliament agreed in trilogue negotiations, which ended in March 2021, that Parliament would have an enhanced role in defining the main strategic choices of the instrument, through a delegated act and twice-yearly geopolitical ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument. Council and Parliament agreed in trilogue negotiations, which ended in March 2021, that Parliament would have an enhanced role in defining the main strategic choices of the instrument, through a delegated act and twice-yearly geopolitical dialogue. The Commission also committed to inform Parliament prior to any use of the 'emerging challenges and priorities cushion', and take its remarks into consideration. Parliament insisted that any activities related to migration had to be in line with the objectives of the instrument, and also secured safeguards on the amounts for capacity-building, election observation missions, local authorities, Erasmus, the Pacific and the Caribbean. Negotiators also agreed to include a reference, in a recital, to existing EU financial rules that allow for the suspension of assistance if a country fails to observe the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. As a final step, negotiators agreed to change the name of the instrument to the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument - Global Europe. Parliament is expected to vote in plenary on the instrument at second reading by summer 2021. Fifth edition. The 'Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Control of exports, transfer, brokering, technical assistance and transit of dual-use items

22-03-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; known as 'dual-use' goods, they are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposal would place new limits on the export of cyber-surveillance items and strengthen human rights considerations ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; known as 'dual-use' goods, they are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposal would place new limits on the export of cyber-surveillance items and strengthen human rights considerations. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the agreed text resulting from interinstitutional negotiations during the March II plenary session.

Treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons ─ The 'Ban Treaty'

20-01-2021

On 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the TPNW) enters into force. On that day, nuclear weapons development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, use and threat of use, as well as the stationing or deployment of another country's nuclear weapons on a state party's national territory will become prohibited under international law. The TPNW has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative, which has gained ground in recent years, to rid the world of ...

On 22 January 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the TPNW) enters into force. On that day, nuclear weapons development, testing, production, possession, stockpiling, use and threat of use, as well as the stationing or deployment of another country's nuclear weapons on a state party's national territory will become prohibited under international law. The TPNW has been hailed as historic by supporters of an initiative, which has gained ground in recent years, to rid the world of the most destructive weapon known to humankind. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which spearheaded these efforts, was awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Supporters hope that the TPNW will strengthen the international legal framework and gradually advance the political norm against nuclear weapons possession and use. Opponents of the Treaty argue that the conditions for disarmament do not currently exist and that promoters of the TPNW fail to recognise this. They also point to the danger of undermining the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), recognised as the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation and disarmament regime, including by proponents of the TPNW. The nine states known to have military nuclear programmes have not signed the TPMW. Nor have Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which in 2016 re-confirmed its commitment to nuclear deterrence. This raises doubts about the impact of this new instrument and its ability to create normative values. Most EU Member States, 21 of which are members of NATO, oppose the TPNW, and only three have ratified it. The European Parliament has noted that the TPNW provided evidence of the desire to achieve the objective of a nuclear weapons-free world. This is an updated version of an earlier briefing, from January 2018.

Review of dual-use export controls

15-01-2021

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime has just been revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments, increase transparency and create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation will recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal explicitly defines cyber-surveillance technology as dual-use technology and introduces human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. It also includes provisions to control emerging technologies. The proposed regulation introduces greater transparency into dual-use export control by increasing the level of detail Member States will have to provide on exports, licences, licence denials and prohibitions. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Trilogue negotiations ended on 9 November 2020, with agreement on a final compromise text. Endorsed by the INTA committee on 30 November, the Parliament is expected to vote in plenary on the text in early 2021. Sixth edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

The Abraham Accords

05-11-2020

On 15 September 2020, in a White House ceremony, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed the 'Abraham Accords' with Israel, normalising pre-existing relations between them that have grown stronger mainly over fears of an expansionist Iran and loss of faith in the US's role as security provider. The accords, brokered by the US, mark a diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East, which has seen a growing number of Arab League states strengthen ties with Israel. However, the Palestinian Authority ...

On 15 September 2020, in a White House ceremony, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed the 'Abraham Accords' with Israel, normalising pre-existing relations between them that have grown stronger mainly over fears of an expansionist Iran and loss of faith in the US's role as security provider. The accords, brokered by the US, mark a diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East, which has seen a growing number of Arab League states strengthen ties with Israel. However, the Palestinian Authority and all Palestinian factions denounced the agreements, on which they were not consulted and which make no reference to ending Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. The accords are expected to generate important economic benefits for the participating states.

On the path to 'strategic autonomy': The EU in an evolving geopolitical environment

28-09-2020

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy ...

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy on a horizontal – cross-policy – basis would strengthen the EU's multilateral action and reduce dependence on external actors, to make the EU less vulnerable to external threats; while promoting a level playing field that benefits everyone. The EU could thus reap the full dividend of its integration and possibly benefit from greater economic gains. To build European strategic autonomy, the EU may choose to use the still 'under-used' or 'unused' potential of the Lisbon Treaty, with the European Council having a key role to play in triggering some of the Treaty provisions, particularly in foreign and security policy. European strategic autonomy may also result from a deepening of the EU integration process. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Member States will wish to grasp the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to deepen the European project.

EU-Iran: The way forward - Can the JCPOA survive the Trump presidency?

07-07-2020

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America ( ...

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America (USA) to isolate Iran and of not doing enough to save the JCPOA. The EU, for its part, is concerned about Iran's enrichment activities; growing tensions in the region and Iran's role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; and its ballistic missile programme. In 2011, the EU put restrictive measures in place to react to serious human rights violations in Iran. These remain in force. Nevertheless, the EU has continued to engage with Iran, in marked contrast to the USA. Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018, the Trump administration re-imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran and has since then pursued a policy of 'maximum pressure'. The declared goal of the maximum pressure campaign is to push Iran to negotiate a new agreement that would also address Iran's ballistic missile programme, end its support of militant groups in the region, and curb its foreign policy ambitions in western Asia. Instead, the US policy of maximum pressure on Tehran has led to an escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf region, with potentially direct consequences for Europe. With Iran continuing uranium enrichment to levels far exceeding the levels permitted under the JCPOA, and with the USA threatening to trigger the re-imposition of United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran, further escalation is likely. Security in the EU is linked to the security situation in western Asia. For that reason, Europe should maintain efforts to preserve the JCPOA and seek to reduce tension between Iran and the USA.

Religion and the EU's external policies: Increasing engagement

12-02-2020

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

US 'Peace Plan' for the Middle East

07-02-2020

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority ...

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been united in rejecting the proposal, and the PA has since cut ties with Israel and the USA. The plan is meant to serve as the basis for future direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to stretch over four years. However, the Israeli government has announced plans to implement parts of it unilaterally in the near future.

Escalating US-Iran conflict: The EU's priorities

16-01-2020

On 3 January 2020, a United States (US) strike outside Baghdad killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the al-Qods force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), and arguably the second most important man in Iran after Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The assassination was a reaction to an escalation in the growing conflict between the USA and Iran. Iran retaliated on 8 January 2020, by attacking two US bases in Iraq with missiles; luckily – or intentionally – without ...

On 3 January 2020, a United States (US) strike outside Baghdad killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the al-Qods force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), and arguably the second most important man in Iran after Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The assassination was a reaction to an escalation in the growing conflict between the USA and Iran. Iran retaliated on 8 January 2020, by attacking two US bases in Iraq with missiles; luckily – or intentionally – without casualties. Although both the USA and Iran have refrained from any further action, few expect this to mark the end of tensions between the USA and Iran in the region. The EU reaction to the assassination has been to try to de-escalate the situation to prevent all-out war, to focus on stabilising Iraq, and to limit damage to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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