1980

eredmény(ek)

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Kiadványtípus
Szakpolitikai terület
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Lobbying and foreign influence

19-10-2021

Lobbying and foreign influence are normal, integrated activities in modern public policy-making and geopolitics. When these influencing activities are covert or illicit in nature, however, they can be damaging to public image and levels of public trust in our democratic societies and their institutions, including those of the EU. Although not a modern concept, the frequency and extent of covert influence activities by third countries have been increasing since the mid-2010s. In the EU, this has taken ...

Lobbying and foreign influence are normal, integrated activities in modern public policy-making and geopolitics. When these influencing activities are covert or illicit in nature, however, they can be damaging to public image and levels of public trust in our democratic societies and their institutions, including those of the EU. Although not a modern concept, the frequency and extent of covert influence activities by third countries have been increasing since the mid-2010s. In the EU, this has taken the form of disinformation attacks on the EU, hidden agendas pushed by foreign funded academic think-tanks and funding of Member State political parties by authoritarian regimes, all with the aim of undermining the legitimate decision-making processes and political structures in and of the EU. The term foreign interference is often utilised to differentiate between legitimate influencing activities, such as diplomatic relations, and activities with the intention to disrupt. As this is not an exact science, however, it is also often difficult to distinguish between foreign influence and foreign interference activities. While interference tactics are often coercive, covert, deceptive, and clandestine in nature, influence activities can be made more transparent, thereby making it easier to differentiate between interference and the more legitimate influence activities. In light of the aforementioned growing foreign interference efforts, the EU considers foreign interference tactics as a serious threat and is taking steps to monitor and mitigate them, by, for example, setting up specific bodies or committees, especially in the context of EU elections. In parallel, the EU is also trying to improve the transparency of foreign influence activities. One such measure is broadening the scope of the Transparency Register, a public database of the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, for the registration of transparent and ethical interest representation activities. According to the latest OECD report on lobbying, only three OECD nations (the USA, Australia and Canada) have rules in place that cover foreign influence. On the back of a new Interinstitutional Agreement (IIA) on a mandatory Transparency Register, however, the EU looks set to join those three nations.

Outlook for the European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021

15-10-2021

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, digital policy, migration, energy prices and external relations. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, EU Heads of State or Government will focus on EU coordination, resilience and readiness in terms of health crises and the EU's future preparedness for the short and medium terms. The discussions at the meeting on both digital policy and on migration are expected to be stock-taking exercises, assessing ...

The regular European Council meeting of 21-22 October 2021 will discuss the coronavirus pandemic, digital policy, migration, energy prices and external relations. Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, EU Heads of State or Government will focus on EU coordination, resilience and readiness in terms of health crises and the EU's future preparedness for the short and medium terms. The discussions at the meeting on both digital policy and on migration are expected to be stock-taking exercises, assessing the implementation of previous European Council decisions and possibly adding further specifications to them. If the update of the Schengen Borders Code were to be addressed in the context of migration, this could generate a strong debate, since despite overall support for strong external EU borders, Member States have diverging views on how border protection should be assured. EU leaders could also debate energy prices at length, as the issue has become high profile in many Member States. Regarding external relations, discussions in the European Council will focus on preparations for forthcoming international events, notably the ASEM and the Eastern Partnership summits, and the COP26 climate conference. In addition, the Presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, may brief EU Heads of State or Government on the recent EU-Ukraine Summit, held on 12 October 2021.

EU-China relations in challenging times

14-10-2021

Following the 1975 establishment of diplomatic relations with China, the European Economic Community (EEC) focused its strategic approach – in line with its competences at the time – on support for China's economic opening, launched in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping. While this approach resulted in a swiftly expanding trade and investment relationship, results in other areas are rather mixed. By most accounts, the strategy also failed to contribute to making significant progress on the rule of law in China ...

Following the 1975 establishment of diplomatic relations with China, the European Economic Community (EEC) focused its strategic approach – in line with its competences at the time – on support for China's economic opening, launched in 1978 by Deng Xiaoping. While this approach resulted in a swiftly expanding trade and investment relationship, results in other areas are rather mixed. By most accounts, the strategy also failed to contribute to making significant progress on the rule of law in China and there were no visible results of the EU's human rights engagement. Given that, at the beginning of Deng's reforms, China was very poor, the EEC/European Union (EU) de facto agreed to an arrangement for special and differential treatment, linked to China's status as a developing country. However, with China having become an upper-middle income country and the bilateral trade relationship still characterised by considerable asymmetries, the existing lack of reciprocity in market access and of a level playing field in general have attracted increasing attention. At the same time, China has been regressing in terms of human rights. Furthermore, the country has become much more assertive in the regional context, is fast improving its (offensive) military capabilities and has started to engage in global disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks. As a consequence, the EU has changed its strategic approach considerably, as exemplified by the 2019 Joint Communication, which proposed different legal instruments to ensure a level playing field in trade, and to fend off Chinese attempts to gain access to critical infrastructures. Relations with the European Parliament have deteriorated, pushing Parliament to put the comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) – which had been agreed on 30 December 2020 – on ice.

EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation

13-10-2021

Since its political transition began in the 1980s, Taiwan has become a vibrant democracy and has also joined the ranks of high-income countries. Economic relations between the EU and Taiwan are flourishing, as illustrated by the fact that the EU is Taiwan's most important source of foreign direct investment. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the EU to take the first steps towards a bilateral investment agreement. During its October II plenary session, Parliament is expected to debate ...

Since its political transition began in the 1980s, Taiwan has become a vibrant democracy and has also joined the ranks of high-income countries. Economic relations between the EU and Taiwan are flourishing, as illustrated by the fact that the EU is Taiwan's most important source of foreign direct investment. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the EU to take the first steps towards a bilateral investment agreement. During its October II plenary session, Parliament is expected to debate EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation and vote on a draft recommendation to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - October 2021

13-10-2021

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Outcome of the meetings of EU leaders in Brdo pri Kranju on 5-6 October 2021

13-10-2021

The EU leaders met on 5 October 2021 in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, to discuss informally the Union's role in the world over a working dinner. The meeting was coupled with an EU-Western Balkan Summit the next day. The focus at the dinner was on security and defence in the context of the 'Strategic Compass' process, to be finalised by March 2022, with EU leaders agreeing to continue deepening defence cooperation, not least by strengthening the alliance with NATO. The leaders also confirmed their 2019 ...

The EU leaders met on 5 October 2021 in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, to discuss informally the Union's role in the world over a working dinner. The meeting was coupled with an EU-Western Balkan Summit the next day. The focus at the dinner was on security and defence in the context of the 'Strategic Compass' process, to be finalised by March 2022, with EU leaders agreeing to continue deepening defence cooperation, not least by strengthening the alliance with NATO. The leaders also confirmed their 2019-2024 strategic agenda commitment to strengthen the EU's capacity to 'act autonomously', albeit without agreeing on the modalities. Building unity was central to this preparatory summit. Migration and energy were also raised briefly, but will be addressed in greater detail at future meetings. The EU-Western Balkans Summit on 6 October highlighted the strategic importance of the region for the Union. The focus was on the common commitment to socio-economic recovery and the development of the Western Balkans in the post-pandemic phase, with €30 billion mobilised for investment as part of the economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans. EU leaders also focused on ways to strengthen political dialogue and security cooperation. The 'Brdo Declaration' reaffirmed the region's European perspective and the EU's commitment to enlargement, with the caveats of 'credible reforms', 'rigorous conditionality' and that the assessment of individual countries' progress on the basis of the 'principle of own merits'.

Egypt's foreign policy within a challenging regional context

11-10-2021

In the post-Arab Spring period, Egypt's foreign policy has largely been shaped by the state of affairs in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean. Civil wars and unrest have proliferated in the region, creating a knock-on effect felt first by Iraq and then by Syria, Lebanon and Libya. Conflicts in neighbouring countries, often fought by proxies, have affected Cairo's internal political and security interests and influenced Egyptian foreign policy. One such conflict has to do with the persistence ...

In the post-Arab Spring period, Egypt's foreign policy has largely been shaped by the state of affairs in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean. Civil wars and unrest have proliferated in the region, creating a knock-on effect felt first by Iraq and then by Syria, Lebanon and Libya. Conflicts in neighbouring countries, often fought by proxies, have affected Cairo's internal political and security interests and influenced Egyptian foreign policy. One such conflict has to do with the persistence of Islamic terrorist networks, such as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), in northern Sinai. Another is between the Palestinian factions and between Hamas and Israel, in both of which Egypt has been a mediator. Fighting against groups such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-Sinai Province has been a key reason for Egypt's interest in reinforcing alliances with Israel, the Arab Gulf countries, the United States, Russia and the European Union. Following Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's re-election for a second term in 2018, competition with regional players, such as Turkey, and the role of political Islam, have become more dominant and intertwined with Egypt's geopolitical and economic interests. In 2020-2021, Egypt successfully mitigated the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy and was the only Middle East and North Africa (MENA) country with a positive GDP growth (3.6 %). Despite declining revenues in some sectors, such as tourism, ratings agencies predict that the country will continue to score the highest levels of GDP growth in the MENA region in 2021-2024. Reinvigorated, Egypt seems to be looking for greater strategic influence and power. The country aims to continue partnering with the EU in areas of strategic importance and is likely to play a decisive role in Libya and the eastern Mediterranean. Some initiatives, such as its mediation in the Libyan civil war, participation in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, and joint military naval exercises with EU Member States, speak of the main prerogatives of Egyptian foreign policy and its incremental alignment with EU interests. The European Parliament supports enhanced EU-Egypt cooperation but has raised red flags with regard to the situation of human rights in the country.

Where will the EU's Strategic Compass point?

07-10-2021

As Member States encounter increasingly complex security threats, momentum to push for EU initiatives to deliver on the Union's level of ambition in defence has emerged. A process aimed at bringing clarity, guidance and incentives to completing the common security and defence policy, the Strategic Compass is a first for the European Union. Announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the European Union speech, a European Defence Summit is expected to take place in February ...

As Member States encounter increasingly complex security threats, momentum to push for EU initiatives to deliver on the Union's level of ambition in defence has emerged. A process aimed at bringing clarity, guidance and incentives to completing the common security and defence policy, the Strategic Compass is a first for the European Union. Announced by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in her 2021 State of the European Union speech, a European Defence Summit is expected to take place in February 2022. It is envisaged that, following its much-anticipated presentation, EU leaders will endorse the Compass in March 2022. European Council President Charles Michel branded 2022 'the year of European defence'. Launched in 2020, developing the Strategic Compass entails a complex strategic reflection, threat analysis and strategic dialogue among Member States. It is structured around four interlinked thematic baskets: crisis management, defence capabilities, resilience, and partnerships. Unlike the 2016 EU Global Strategy, which saw the EU institutions take the lead, this process is Member State-led, with the institutions playing a supporting and coordinating role. The main challenge of the Strategic Compass appears to be, on the one hand, providing clarity in the EU's objectives (defining the ends, the ways and the means), and on the other, ensuring Member State 'buy-in'. The latter is essential for the follow-up to the process, the findings from which should ideally be reflected in national defence planning processes. The process provides opportunities to improve links between the operational and capability dimensions of EU defence initiatives and external crisis management, to consolidate existing strategic partnerships and rethink the configuration of new ones, and to provide a concrete vision for the commitments made since 2016 to boost the EU as a defence actor. However, experts caution that the Compass risks remaining a paper exercise, should the political will to follow up not materialise.

The Arctic: Opportunities, concerns and security challenges

30-09-2021

Global warming and growing interest in the Arctic's economic potential are bringing changes for the region's 4 million people. The EU's 2016 Arctic policy, prioritising sustainability, economic development and international cooperation, is being revised to reflect these developments. The Foreign Affairs Committee report, on the October I session agenda, notes some of the environmental and security concerns, including the risk of geopolitical tensions.

Global warming and growing interest in the Arctic's economic potential are bringing changes for the region's 4 million people. The EU's 2016 Arctic policy, prioritising sustainability, economic development and international cooperation, is being revised to reflect these developments. The Foreign Affairs Committee report, on the October I session agenda, notes some of the environmental and security concerns, including the risk of geopolitical tensions.

EU cyber-defence capabilities

30-09-2021

Cyberspace has become the fifth domain of warfare alongside the traditional sea, land, air and space. As societies digitalise and become more technologically connected, cyber risks and vulnerabilities increase. The European Union (EU) has been highly active in strengthening cyber capabilities and coordination frameworks through a collection of initiatives and proposals, notably since 2017. The European Parliament will debate recent as well as future measures during the October I 2021 plenary session ...

Cyberspace has become the fifth domain of warfare alongside the traditional sea, land, air and space. As societies digitalise and become more technologically connected, cyber risks and vulnerabilities increase. The European Union (EU) has been highly active in strengthening cyber capabilities and coordination frameworks through a collection of initiatives and proposals, notably since 2017. The European Parliament will debate recent as well as future measures during the October I 2021 plenary session, with a focus on cyber-defence capabilities, the subject of a report discussed and voted in the Foreign Affairs (AFET) Committee in July 2021.

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