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Formally, the EU and China have been strategic partners since 2003 – a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. However, more recently, EU officials and politicians have been expressing increasing concerns over China’s economic expansionism and human rights violations. The current coronavirus pandemic and developments in Hong Kong have had a marked negative impacted on EU-China relations. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies ...

A year and a quarter after the Covid-19 pandemic first broke out, the disease continues to wreak havoc in many countries around the world. The process of vaccination continues at varying speeds across the globe, but with a clear discrepancy between rich and poor countries. Significant pressure is being applied by NGOs, international institutions and a number of national governments to help poor countries with vaccinations, notably because of actual or potential dangerous mutations of the coronavirus ...

An increasing number of politicians and analysts argue that the European Union should boost its ‘strategic autonomy’ and/or develop a higher degree of ‘European sovereignty’. These concepts encompass a greater potential for independence, self-reliance and resilience in a wide range of fields – such as defence, trade, industrial policy, digital policy, economic and monetary policy, and health policy – following a series of events in recent years that have exposed Europe’s vulnerability to external ...

Nearly two months ago, on 20 January, Joseph Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, at the end of perhaps the most divisive electoral processes in his country's history. The new President's supporters and advocates, including many in Europe, are counting on him to set a new course for the US in global politics, moving to firm up and advance the multilateral, rules-based world order and rekindle America's traditional alliances, notably within the NATO framework. Very high hopes ...

The European Union and the United Kingdom reached a last-minute deal on trade and other issues on 24 December 2020, thereby avoiding major disruption from 1 January 2021, the date on which the transition period ended. However, many politicians and experts have noted that the agreement does not cover all areas of potential partnership, as well as leaving some issues ambiguous, so there is much potential for complex further negotiations in the future. In practice, the EU-UK trading relationship has ...

As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be peaking in Europe, governments and citizens are buoyed by the successful human trials of several vaccines which their producers hope to be able to distribute widely over the coming months. There is growing expectation that, as these vaccines start to become available to the general public in coming months, daily life may gradually return to normal, or at least to a ‘new normal’, during the course of 2021. Meanwhile, many regions of the ...

Joseph Biden, who takes office as the next US President on 20 January 2021 has started to announce nominations for key posts in his Administration. Most commentators outside the US, as well as many at home, hope that a Biden presidency will seek to restore a rules-based international order, which has been badly shaken by his predecessor, Donald Trump. Although pundits warn against expecting miracles from the new President in international policy, as the national agenda is likely to be his top priority ...

Joseph Biden, a former US Vice-President and long-time Senator with a strong interest in foreign affairs, won the US Presidential election for the Democrats, defeating the incumbent Republican President, Donald Trump. Over the past four years, Trump shook the established rules-based international order, notably by withdrawing US funding from various multilateral organisations and pulling out of various international agreements, by renegotiating trade deals, imposing provocative customs duties, and ...

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would ...

In what has now become a tradition, every year in September, the President of the European Commission delivers a State of the Union address before the European Parliament, taking stock of achievements over the past year and presenting priorities for the year ahead. Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her first State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, followed by a debate in plenary. In essence, the Commission’s position is that the priorities that it set out at the beginning of its current ...