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Plenary round-up – March II 2021

26-03-2021

The highlight of the March II 2021 plenary session was the joint debate on the preparation of the European Council and Digital Green Certificates. A number of further joint debates were held on 2019 2020 enlargement progress reports on Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, on the reform of EU own resources, on a capital markets recovery package: adjustments to the securitisation framework and on a European strategy for data. These debates were followed by votes. Other debates held following ...

The highlight of the March II 2021 plenary session was the joint debate on the preparation of the European Council and Digital Green Certificates. A number of further joint debates were held on 2019 2020 enlargement progress reports on Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia, on the reform of EU own resources, on a capital markets recovery package: adjustments to the securitisation framework and on a European strategy for data. These debates were followed by votes. Other debates held following Council and Commission statements concerned Turkey's withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, and the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the rule of law in Malta. Proposals on guidelines for the 2022 EU budget, implementation of the Ambient Air Quality Directives, for a new EU-Africa strategy, and legislation on exports, brokering, technical assistance, transit and transfer of dual-use goods, were also debated and voted.

Intra-African Migration

28-10-2020

This study provides a broad perspective of the main trends in intra-African migration, emphasising its regional variations and complex drivers. The analysis is focussed on mapping and describing the structures – routes, hubs, settlements and sites of migration within the continent – as well as identifying the relevant infrastructures that facilitate these movements – ranging from road, railway and transportation networks to social connectivities and brokerage. The analysis not only of spaces and ...

This study provides a broad perspective of the main trends in intra-African migration, emphasising its regional variations and complex drivers. The analysis is focussed on mapping and describing the structures – routes, hubs, settlements and sites of migration within the continent – as well as identifying the relevant infrastructures that facilitate these movements – ranging from road, railway and transportation networks to social connectivities and brokerage. The analysis not only of spaces and flows, but also of infrastructure within these networks shows that there is a multiplicity of interrelations, interconnections and interdependences that need to be captured and understood in order to address both the potential and problems for intra-African migration. By grasping the ‘big picture’ of intra-African migration, policies and activities generated by both the African Union and the European Union will be capable of providing comprehensively integrated and tailored responses. Recommendations are directed towards: improving knowledge of the many structures and infrastructures, along with their articulations and functioning; identifying the negative and positive aspects of migration conducive to sustainable development; and addressing the present Africa-Europe polarisation of views through diplomacy and monitoring.

Údar seachtarach

Cristina UDELSMANN RODRIGUES, Jesper BJARNESEN

Outcome of the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020

19-10-2020

Without reaching any new decisions, the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020 addressed a series of important issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, EU-United Kingdom relations and climate change. It also discussed numerous external relations issues, notably relations with Africa, the EU's southern neighbourhood, Belarus and Turkey. In the context of rising Covid-19 infections across all Member States, the European Council expressed its very serious concern about the developing pandemic ...

Without reaching any new decisions, the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020 addressed a series of important issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, EU-United Kingdom relations and climate change. It also discussed numerous external relations issues, notably relations with Africa, the EU's southern neighbourhood, Belarus and Turkey. In the context of rising Covid-19 infections across all Member States, the European Council expressed its very serious concern about the developing pandemic situation and agreed to intensify overall coordination at EU level and between Member States. Regarding the negotiations on future EU-UK relations, EU leaders expressed their concern about the lack of progress and called on the UK to make the necessary moves. They stressed that the Withdrawal Agreement and its Protocols needed to be implemented in a full and timely manner.

Outlook for the European Council meeting of 15-16 October 2020

09-10-2020

Only two weeks after the last European Council meeting, EU Heads of State or Government gather again on 15-16 October 2020, to address future EU-UK relations, EU-Africa relations and climate change. On climate, EU leaders will evaluate the progress on the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and hold an orientation debate. Regarding EU-UK relations, they will assess the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, receive an update on the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership and discuss ...

Only two weeks after the last European Council meeting, EU Heads of State or Government gather again on 15-16 October 2020, to address future EU-UK relations, EU-Africa relations and climate change. On climate, EU leaders will evaluate the progress on the EU’s objective of climate neutrality by 2050 and hold an orientation debate. Regarding EU-UK relations, they will assess the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, receive an update on the negotiations on the future EU-UK partnership and discuss the preparatory work for all scenarios after 1 January 2021. In addition to EU-Africa relations, other external relations issues are likely to be discussed, notably the poisoning of Alexei Navalny. EU leaders will also return to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa

25-06-2020

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this ...

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this relationship, development and humanitarian aid, complemented with the rising challenge of climate change. The new approach is also illustrated by the emphasis put on the promotion of bilateral trade and investment relations, the topic of the third briefing. All these briefings also try to incorporate first elements on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bilateral relationship.

Údar seachtarach

Morten BØÅS, Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ,Ainhoa MARIN-EGOSCOZABAL

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Political Dialogue: Governance, Security and Migration

25-06-2020

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed ...

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed on the basis of an emerging continent. Africa is home to the youngest population in the world and some of the world’s most fragile states. However, it is also a continent with emerging markets and more effective governments. This brief aims to clarify how well the new Strategy must manage to mainstream a European approach to Africa that considers both the inter-continental dialogue and the diversity of development on this emerging continent within the fields of governance, security and migration. As the COVID-19 has turned into a pandemic, the brief also suggests that the new European strategy must reflect this development and the European Parliament should closely monitor the situation as it discusses the Strategy.

Údar seachtarach

Morten BØÅS

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Trade and Investments

25-06-2020

The new European Commission (EC) is putting EU-African relations to the fore. A Joint Communication of the EC towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa stresses the African Continent’s strategic importance and the EU’s need to strengthen its partnership with (and not for) Africa. Proposals in the Joint Communication maintain promotion of sustainable investments with Africa on top of the EU’s agenda. Partnership with Africa to attract investors and boost regional as well as continental integration ...

The new European Commission (EC) is putting EU-African relations to the fore. A Joint Communication of the EC towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa stresses the African Continent’s strategic importance and the EU’s need to strengthen its partnership with (and not for) Africa. Proposals in the Joint Communication maintain promotion of sustainable investments with Africa on top of the EU’s agenda. Partnership with Africa to attract investors and boost regional as well as continental integration are specific actions aimed to attain sustainable growth and jobs in African countries. This emphasis is not new, being in line with a geopolitically oriented Commission and the European Union’s (EU) trend of shifting from a Donor-recipient model to a relationship based on mutual cooperation, pursuing common interests and mutual benefits. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold in Africa during 2020, it is becoming more urgent that EU and African relations post COVID-19 be tailored to a new scenario and show tangible action using partnership rhetoric.

Údar seachtarach

Ainhoa MARIN-EGOSCOZABAL

Coronavirus in Africa: A crisis with multiple impacts

07-05-2020

At the beginning of May, the number of Covid-19 cases in Africa was lower than in other regions of the world. North African countries and South Africa are the most affected by the pandemic. Limited testing capacity and Africa's young population are often mentioned as possible explanations for this overall low rate. The very early preventive measures adopted by most governments are also credited for slowing down the spread of the disease. Africa's medical systems are poorly equipped to handle a massive ...

At the beginning of May, the number of Covid-19 cases in Africa was lower than in other regions of the world. North African countries and South Africa are the most affected by the pandemic. Limited testing capacity and Africa's young population are often mentioned as possible explanations for this overall low rate. The very early preventive measures adopted by most governments are also credited for slowing down the spread of the disease. Africa's medical systems are poorly equipped to handle a massive epidemic, despite notable recent progress in preparedness for epidemics in general and increased testing capacity for the coronavirus. On the other hand, African economies have been severely hit by the pandemic. The drop in oil and other commodity prices, the disruption in global supply chains affecting African exporters, the drying up of external financial flows compounding an already difficult financial situation for many states, as well as the effects of confinement particularly on urban populations living off informal daily activities, are taking a heavy toll on the continent's economies. This creates a risk of social instability, with poorer people already facing food deprivation in urban slums. Long-term confinement and social distancing are simply impossible in many African settings. The pandemic has also affected the fragile democratic institutions of some African countries. Restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, as well as the postponement of elections can undermine recent democratic progress. Africa needs massive help to overcome these challenges. The international community has prepared various packages, including a debt moratorium to relieve the economic and financial burden. The European Union is refocusing the funds earmarked for Africa to fighting the pandemic. The consequences of the outbreak will profoundly reshape the discussions on a renewed Africa-EU partnership, and if correctly seized, might be the opportunity to strengthen this partnership.

Implementation of the EU trust funds and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey: Overview

16-03-2020

The EU trust funds (TFs) for external action and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are innovative tools first introduced under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period, as made possible by the 2013 Financial Regulation (FR) applicable to the EU budget. Their objective has been to facilitate a swifter and more flexible response to emerging crises and fast moving events, for which funds earmarked in advance had proved insufficient. The EU has set up four trust funds ...

The EU trust funds (TFs) for external action and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey are innovative tools first introduced under the current multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2014-2020 period, as made possible by the 2013 Financial Regulation (FR) applicable to the EU budget. Their objective has been to facilitate a swifter and more flexible response to emerging crises and fast moving events, for which funds earmarked in advance had proved insufficient. The EU has set up four trust funds since then, in addition to the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, which, despite some similarities with the trust funds, is a distinct coordination mechanism. The TFs' implementation is ongoing and the Commission reports to the European Parliament regularly on the state of play. Regular reports and evaluations have shown that the EU trust funds have had some positive results, and to some extent met their objectives. However, they have also raised questions. For instance, ad hoc instruments outside the EU budget fall short when it comes to democratic accountability: there is a general need for greater transparency and Parliament scrutiny. Moreover, there is a perceived risk that the TFs could be used to divert development aid funds towards other ends incompatible with official development assistance. While Parliament welcomed the introduction of the EU TFs, acknowledging their advantages, it has insisted that the setting up of instruments outside the EU budget should be the exception to the rule, mostly owing to the above-mentioned concerns. The aim should be to preserve the unity of the EU budget and the principles of accountability, transparency, effectiveness and sound budgetary management, and to safeguard Parliament's right to democratic scrutiny. As argued in a Cost of Non-Europe report, a better coordinated EU development aid budget, incorporating all external assistance, could prove more strategic, bringing efficiency gains, accountability and transparency. This briefing supplements an earlier EPRS briefing on EU trust funds, from November 2015, PE 572.797.

EU-Africa academic cooperation

12-12-2019

EU-Africa academic cooperation is one of the priority of the strategic partnership between both regions. It allows the mobility of students, researchers and academic staff as well as the cooperation between academic institutions from both regions. The cooperation is supported, not least with the EU funds, through the Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 programmes as well as through the Inter-Africa Mobility Scheme. With the new financial perspective and the new ‘post-Cotonou’ agreement, still in negotiations ...

EU-Africa academic cooperation is one of the priority of the strategic partnership between both regions. It allows the mobility of students, researchers and academic staff as well as the cooperation between academic institutions from both regions. The cooperation is supported, not least with the EU funds, through the Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 programmes as well as through the Inter-Africa Mobility Scheme. With the new financial perspective and the new ‘post-Cotonou’ agreement, still in negotiations, it is important to ensure the future of the EU-Africa academic cooperation is relevant in scale to the needs and expectations and is focusing on topics important for both regions.

Imeachtaí atá ar na bacáin

27-10-2021
Public Hearing - A European Withholding Tax Framework
Éisteacht -
FISC
27-10-2021
Public Hearing on “Impact of the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) on modal shift
Éisteacht -
TRAN
27-10-2021
An inclusive economy for women in the green and digital transformation - side event
Imeacht eile -
FEMM

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