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Implementation of the common security and defence policy

13-01-2021

The main avenue through which the European Union (EU) contributes to strengthening international peace and security is its common security and defence policy (CSDP). Enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, this policy is the main framework through which EU Member States take joint action on security and defence matters. The European Parliament is set to vote on the annual CSDP report covering 2020 during the January 2021 plenary session.

The main avenue through which the European Union (EU) contributes to strengthening international peace and security is its common security and defence policy (CSDP). Enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, this policy is the main framework through which EU Member States take joint action on security and defence matters. The European Parliament is set to vote on the annual CSDP report covering 2020 during the January 2021 plenary session.

The link between biodiversity loss and the increasing spread of zoonotic diseases

22-12-2020

Over the last decades, a variety of fatal infectious diseases have had zoonotic origins. The linkages between hosts, vectors, parasites and pathogens can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as biodiversity, wildlife and land use. High levels of biodiversity may be a potential source of pathogen transmission, but biodiversity loss can also promote transmission by increasing the number of competent hosts for a pathogen. Biodiversity conservation reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases when ...

Over the last decades, a variety of fatal infectious diseases have had zoonotic origins. The linkages between hosts, vectors, parasites and pathogens can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as biodiversity, wildlife and land use. High levels of biodiversity may be a potential source of pathogen transmission, but biodiversity loss can also promote transmission by increasing the number of competent hosts for a pathogen. Biodiversity conservation reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases when it provides additional habitats for species and reduces the potential contact between wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, host and vector management is a viable option. Other crucial measures include the restriction and sanitary control of wildlife trade, while considering the needs of indigenous peoples and local communities. Each case requires an assessment of the best way to reduce risk while considering implications for other ecosystem functions or services. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Parlamendiväline autor

Frank VAN LANGEVELDE, Hugo René RIVERA MENDOZA

EU-Turkey customs union: Modernisation or suspension?

15-12-2020

Turkey is the EU's fifth largest trading partner, while the EU is Turkey's largest. The association agreement concluded between the European Economic Community (EEC) and Turkey in 1963 was an interim step towards the country's accession to the EEC, membership of which it had applied for in 1959. The EU-Turkey customs union came into force in 1995, and Turkey obtained EU candidate status in 1999. In December 2004, the European Council decided that Turkey qualified for EU accession, making it possible ...

Turkey is the EU's fifth largest trading partner, while the EU is Turkey's largest. The association agreement concluded between the European Economic Community (EEC) and Turkey in 1963 was an interim step towards the country's accession to the EEC, membership of which it had applied for in 1959. The EU-Turkey customs union came into force in 1995, and Turkey obtained EU candidate status in 1999. In December 2004, the European Council decided that Turkey qualified for EU accession, making it possible to open negotiations to this end. In 2008, the Council of the EU adopted a revised accession partnership with Turkey. Since 2016, EU-Turkey relations have suffered due to a deterioration of democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law in Turkey, in the wake of a failed military coup. A European Commission recommendation of 21 December 2016 to launch talks with Turkey on modernising the EU-Turkey customs union was halted by the General Affairs Council of 26 June 2018, which concluded that no further work in this direction should be planned. In 2019 and 2020, Turkey's military operations in Syria, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, coupled with its maritime disputes with Greece and Cyprus, further eroded its relations with the EU. Following some positive signs by Turkey, on 1 October 2020 the European Council once again gave a green light to modernising the customs union, provided that constructive efforts to stop illegal activities vis-à-vis Greece and Cyprus were sustained. The European Council also stressed that in case of renewed unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law, the EU would use 'all the instruments and the options at its disposal', including in accordance with Article 29 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 215 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, to defend its interests and those of its Member States. However, in the light of Turkey's recent conduct and given that the EU-Turkey customs union has not been modernised, but not suspended either, the EU could agree on some new sanctions, as called for in the European Parliament's 26 November 2020 resolution on escalating tensions in Varosha.

New Ethiopian dam sparks controversy among Nile states

15-12-2020

Successive negotiation rounds between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate. This new dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (the Nile's main tributary), will bring into operation Africa's largest hydropower plant. It is expected to secure access to electricity for the majority of Ethiopians, to foster economic development and to provide revenues from the sale of surplus electricity abroad. For its part, Sudan ...

Successive negotiation rounds between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate. This new dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (the Nile's main tributary), will bring into operation Africa's largest hydropower plant. It is expected to secure access to electricity for the majority of Ethiopians, to foster economic development and to provide revenues from the sale of surplus electricity abroad. For its part, Sudan expects the new dam will not only help regulate the flow of the Nile and prevent devastating floods but also provide access to cheap energy; still, it fears the new dam will hinder the yield of its own dam – Roseires – situated within a short distance downstream. Egypt too is worried about the potential impact of the new dam on its own Aswan High Dam, and that it will give Ethiopia control over the flow of the Nile and reduce the fresh water available for Egyptians. Yet again, the GERD has reignited a long rivalry about the sharing of waters among the Nile basin countries. Most – including Ethiopia – have signed a comprehensive framework agreement on the water management of the Nile and its tributaries. However, Sudan and Egypt have refused to take part in the Nile basin comprehensive framework agreement, unless it recognises their right to oversee the use of most of the Nile waters, which a bilateral treaty of 1959 accorded to them, but which is contested by other basin countries. The EU supports the African Union in the quest for a negotiated solution on the GERD, which risks further setbacks due to the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region.

G20 Summit of November 2020: Great expectations despite boycott calls

19-11-2020

On 21-22 November, under Saudi Arabia's presidency, the G20 will hold its first regular summit in a virtual format. Unavoidably the focus will be on the current crisis, more specifically on protecting lives and livelihoods and restoring growth. Given the crucial role it played in tackling the 2008-2009 financial crisis, hopes are high regarding the G20's potential role in proposing a financial and economic solution to deal with the ongoing downturn. Several major G20 members have invested massive ...

On 21-22 November, under Saudi Arabia's presidency, the G20 will hold its first regular summit in a virtual format. Unavoidably the focus will be on the current crisis, more specifically on protecting lives and livelihoods and restoring growth. Given the crucial role it played in tackling the 2008-2009 financial crisis, hopes are high regarding the G20's potential role in proposing a financial and economic solution to deal with the ongoing downturn. Several major G20 members have invested massive amounts of money to keep their economies afloat, in line with the decision of the extraordinary G20 summit held in the spring, but the depth of the current crisis requires additional action. Some critics have argued that the G20 is not up to its perceived role. The lack of US leadership in particular has been seen as an obstacle preventing the group from living up to its full potential. One of the crucial measures adopted by the G20 has been to freeze the official debt payments of developing countries, with the measure recently being extended. Many voices consider that this will not be enough to avoid state defaults however. Saudi Arabia, the first Arab country to hold the presidency, has been eager to use the opportunity provided by its G20 presidency to showcase its ambitious internal reform programme and its economic potential. The Saudis' leadership of the G20 in these times of turmoil has not escaped criticism, first of all because of the perceived inconsistency between stated objectives at G20 level and internal reality in the country, but also because of the role the country played in the oil price crash of 2020. Given the dire human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and in its fighting in Yemen, calls for a boycott of the summit have been multiplying. The European Parliament has suggested that the EU should downgrade its presence at the summit.

40 years of the Hague Convention on child abduction: legal and societal changes in the rights of a child

06-11-2020

This in-depth analysis has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee in the context of the workshop to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It looks into the implementation of the 1980 Convention, as regards the respect of autonomy of parts, validity of agreements and mediation, and describes, from a practitioner’s point of ...

This in-depth analysis has been commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee in the context of the workshop to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It looks into the implementation of the 1980 Convention, as regards the respect of autonomy of parts, validity of agreements and mediation, and describes, from a practitioner’s point of view, how the parents and children see the process. The paper concludes that in order to protect the interest of the child, the 1980 Convention should be maintained with restricted exceptions, but more should be done in terms of prevention. The new measures should include, in particular, harmonisation of the relocation proceedings and principles, enforceability of mediation agreements, and increasing of the autonomy of the parties through the inclusion of residence and custody plans in prenuptial agreements.

Parlamendiväline autor

Adriana DE RUITER

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its implementation into EU Company law

05-11-2020

Building on both European Union (EU) law and chosen Member States’ legislation, this study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee aims at understanding to what extent Member States are supporting the development and the implementation of CSR strategies in the business community, with particular focus on due diligence requirements. It also attempts at providing some recommendations aimed at ...

Building on both European Union (EU) law and chosen Member States’ legislation, this study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee aims at understanding to what extent Member States are supporting the development and the implementation of CSR strategies in the business community, with particular focus on due diligence requirements. It also attempts at providing some recommendations aimed at possibility developing a comprehensive and structured approach to CSR for the whole of the EU.

Parlamendiväline autor

Kletia Noti ; Prof. Federico Maria Mucciarelli; Dr Virginia dalla Pozza; Carlo Angelici Mattia PILLININI.

THE CHILD PERSPECTIVE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE 1980 HAGUE CONVENTION

31-10-2020

This in-depth analysis, commissioned by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Legal Affairs in the context of the Workshop to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, examines the way in which subject children feature within Convention proceedings. It considers the aims of the Convention, and the lack of supranational control of its application. It draws on empirical ...

This in-depth analysis, commissioned by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Legal Affairs in the context of the Workshop to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, examines the way in which subject children feature within Convention proceedings. It considers the aims of the Convention, and the lack of supranational control of its application. It draws on empirical research relating to the effects and consequences of child abduction to discuss the opportunities for children and young people to participate within Convention proceedings, and highlights the international obligations for such participation within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and other regional instruments. Different jurisdictional approaches are explained, and the role of culture in this context is probed. The impact of COVID-19 on abducted children is also explored.

Parlamendiväline autor

Marilyn FREEMAN

State of play of EU-Iran relations and the future of the JCPOA

30-10-2020

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), spearheaded by the European Union (EU), was a successful multilateral non-proliferation agreement. The hope was that it would also pave the way for dealing with other outstanding issues over which the EU and United States (US) were at loggerheads with Iran. Instead, with the election of President Trump, the main focus has been to save the JCPOA. As Iran has decreased its compliance with the deal and regional friction has intensified, particularly as ...

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), spearheaded by the European Union (EU), was a successful multilateral non-proliferation agreement. The hope was that it would also pave the way for dealing with other outstanding issues over which the EU and United States (US) were at loggerheads with Iran. Instead, with the election of President Trump, the main focus has been to save the JCPOA. As Iran has decreased its compliance with the deal and regional friction has intensified, particularly as a result of the US maximum pressure campaign, the EU has faced increasing challenges to maintain a working relationship with Tehran and to pursue its strategic objectives on Iran – a tall order even in more conducive circumstances. While the outcome of the US presidential elections in November 2020 will affect developments thereafter, the EU should shape its policy independent of a rturn to constructive multilateralism in Washington. It must further develop its strategic autonomy, enhance and expand its interaction with Tehran to ensure the JCPOA’s survival, while also taking a more proactive role in mitigating and mediating conflicts in the region.

Parlamendiväline autor

Rouzbeh PARSI, Aniseh BASSIRI TABRIZI

Tackling violence against women and domestic violence in Europe – The added value of the Istanbul Convention and remaining challenges

30-10-2020

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to understand the implementation of the Convention, its added value, arguments against the ratification of the Convention, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women (VAW) and domestic violence (DV). The 27 EU Member States are included in the study, together with Turkey, which offers a comparator of the impact ...

This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to understand the implementation of the Convention, its added value, arguments against the ratification of the Convention, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women (VAW) and domestic violence (DV). The 27 EU Member States are included in the study, together with Turkey, which offers a comparator of the impact of the ratification of the Convention by a non-EU country.

Parlamendiväline autor

Nathalie MEURENS, Hayley D’SOUZA, Saredo MOHAMED, Nazia CHOWDHURY, Stelios CHARITAKIS, Kate, REGAN, ICF Prof. Dr Els LEYE, Ghent University/Consultant

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