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Myanmar: The return of the junta

16-02-2021

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar armed forces seized power and imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi, de facto leader of the country since 2016. The coup threatens to derail Myanmar’s progress towards democracy, which began in 2008 after five decades of brutal military rule. Huge protests have broken out in Myanmar, calling for the restoration of the elected civilian government. The EU is considering additional sanctions against the country.

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar armed forces seized power and imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi, de facto leader of the country since 2016. The coup threatens to derail Myanmar’s progress towards democracy, which began in 2008 after five decades of brutal military rule. Huge protests have broken out in Myanmar, calling for the restoration of the elected civilian government. The EU is considering additional sanctions against the country.

EU human rights sanctions: Towards a European Magnitsky Act

10-12-2020

Sanctions are a key part of the EU's human rights toolbox. The EU adopts restrictive measures – mostly in the form of travel bans and asset freezes – against individuals and organisations responsible for some of the worst human rights violations. Until now, the EU has mostly adopted sanctions targeted at individual countries. Responding to violations from countries not already covered by EU sanctions means adopting a completely new framework for each country. However, the EU is now shifting to a ...

Sanctions are a key part of the EU's human rights toolbox. The EU adopts restrictive measures – mostly in the form of travel bans and asset freezes – against individuals and organisations responsible for some of the worst human rights violations. Until now, the EU has mostly adopted sanctions targeted at individual countries. Responding to violations from countries not already covered by EU sanctions means adopting a completely new framework for each country. However, the EU is now shifting to a more thematic approach, under which sanctions focus on a particular type of problem rather than a country. For example, the EU already has sanctions on chemical weapons and cyber-attacks that can be flexibly applied to offenders from any country in the world, and it has now added thematic human rights sanctions. The United States' 2016 Global Magnitsky Act, named after Sergey Magnitsky, a Russian whistleblower who died in jail after exposing corruption by high-level officials, gives some idea of how future EU human rights sanctions will work. Under the act, the US government has adopted sanctions against over 100 human rights violators from a wide range of countries. The proposal for the EU's new sanctions regime was tabled by the Netherlands in 2018. The necessary legislation was adopted by the Council of the EU on 7 December 2020, in time for UN Human Rights Day on 10 December 2020.

Special purpose vehicle for trade with Iran

13-11-2018

Following the May 2018 announcement of the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and of the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran, the EU is continuing to endorse implementation of the agreement, providing Iran fulfils its nuclear-related obligations. The EU is also committed to ensuring that EU-Iran trade and economic relations continue to benefit from the positive impact of lifting the sanctions. The EU has already introduced measures to alleviate the effects of US sanctions ...

Following the May 2018 announcement of the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and of the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran, the EU is continuing to endorse implementation of the agreement, providing Iran fulfils its nuclear-related obligations. The EU is also committed to ensuring that EU-Iran trade and economic relations continue to benefit from the positive impact of lifting the sanctions. The EU has already introduced measures to alleviate the effects of US sanctions on European firms, and has announced the creation of a new mechanism, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), to facilitate financial transactions with Iran.

US-Russia relations: Reaching the point of no return?

03-10-2018

In August 2018, Russia's embassy in Washington claimed that US-Russia relations were moving towards irreversible breakdown. Long-standing bilateral tensions have been aggravated in recent years by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, sanctions, and accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. Initially, Donald Trump's electoral victory raised hopes in Russia that tensions could ease. But while Trump often appears to share Russian wishes to move from confrontation to a more ...

In August 2018, Russia's embassy in Washington claimed that US-Russia relations were moving towards irreversible breakdown. Long-standing bilateral tensions have been aggravated in recent years by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, sanctions, and accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. Initially, Donald Trump's electoral victory raised hopes in Russia that tensions could ease. But while Trump often appears to share Russian wishes to move from confrontation to a more transactional relationship, a rift has opened up between him and the rest of the US political establishment, which insists that the differences between the two countries are too fundamental to be easily set aside. Growing hostility towards Russia has led to harsher rhetoric and increasingly draconian sanctions. Alongside these more recent developments, US-Russia relations have been complicated for many years by fundamental foreign policy differences. The US sees itself as a global leader and champion of liberal values. For its part, Russia resents what it perceives as US hegemony and unwarranted interference in other countries' internal affairs. Russia is far from being a military equal to the US. Nevertheless, Moscow's nuclear arsenal makes it a potentially formidable adversary. A series of arms-control agreements aims to contain the threat of an arms race or even conflict between the two sides. However, deteriorating relations are making such arrangements look increasingly precarious. Compared to political and security issues, economic ties play only a minor role in US-Russia relations. Bilateral trade and investment have suffered from tensions and are likely to remain limited, not least due to sanctions.

Seven economic challenges for Russia: Breaking out of stagnation?

18-07-2018

This publication describes the current condition of the Russian economy, which has suffered recently from external shocks, such as a collapse in oil prices and Western sanctions. However, it argues that poor economic performance has more to do with long-term internal problems, including a lack of competitive markets, low levels of investment, an absence of innovation and excessive dependence on natural resources. Finally, it discusses President Putin's promises of economic reforms to tackle such ...

This publication describes the current condition of the Russian economy, which has suffered recently from external shocks, such as a collapse in oil prices and Western sanctions. However, it argues that poor economic performance has more to do with long-term internal problems, including a lack of competitive markets, low levels of investment, an absence of innovation and excessive dependence on natural resources. Finally, it discusses President Putin's promises of economic reforms to tackle such issues, and evaluates the prospects for major change.

Extending the European Investment Bank's External Lending Mandate to Iran

15-06-2018

The European Commission adopted two delegated decisions designed to counter the effects of United States (US) extraterritorial sanctions against Iran on 6 June 2018. One of the decisions updates Regulation (EC) 2271/96, known as the Blocking Regulation, to prohibit EU companies from complying with the US sanctions against companies investing in, or transacting business with, Iran. The second decision (C(2018) 3730 final) – the subject of this 'At a glance' note – brings Iran within the remit of the ...

The European Commission adopted two delegated decisions designed to counter the effects of United States (US) extraterritorial sanctions against Iran on 6 June 2018. One of the decisions updates Regulation (EC) 2271/96, known as the Blocking Regulation, to prohibit EU companies from complying with the US sanctions against companies investing in, or transacting business with, Iran. The second decision (C(2018) 3730 final) – the subject of this 'At a glance' note – brings Iran within the remit of the European Investment Bank's (EIB) External Lending Mandate (ELM), by adding it to the list of countries outside the EU that are eligible for EIB lending. Both decisions are part of the EU's efforts to protect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) from the repercussions of the unilateral US withdrawal. The JCPOA was agreed between Iran and the E3/EU+3 – France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the EU plus China, Russia and the USA – in 2015, and is designed to ensure the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

EU sanctions: A key foreign and security policy instrument

08-05-2018

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has 42 sanctions programmes in place, making it the world's second-most active user of restrictive measures, after the US. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population ...

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has 42 sanctions programmes in place, making it the world's second-most active user of restrictive measures, after the US. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population. Other measures in the sanctions toolkit include arms embargoes, sectoral trade and investment restrictions, as well as suspensions of development aid and trade preferences. The declared purpose of EU sanctions is to uphold the international security order as well as defending human rights and democracy standards, by encouraging targeted countries to change their behaviour. Measuring their effectiveness is difficult, as sanctions rarely achieve all their aims, and usually there are other causes to which changes can be attributed. However, even when this primary purpose is not achieved, sanctions may have useful secondary effects, for example by deterring other actors from similar behaviour. The broader the international support for EU sanctions and the closer the relationship between the EU and the targeted country are, the stronger the prospects for success will be. On the other hand, effectiveness can be undermined by inconsistent application of sanctions standards and by the difficulty of coordinating implementation between multiple stakeholders.

The EU's Russia policy: Five guiding principles

08-02-2018

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March ...

While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse, after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine. To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict. In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example: Russia's military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics. In the short term, an easing of tensions seems unlikely. In March 2016, EU foreign ministers and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, agreed on five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations: full implementation of the Minsk agreements; closer ties with Russia's former Soviet neighbours; strengthening EU resilience to Russian threats; selective engagement with Russia on certain issues such as counter-terrorism; and support for people-to-people contacts. Implementing each of these principles faces major difficulties. The EU is unlikely to lift sanctions against Russia while implementation of the Minsk agreements remains stalled; the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood remains a zone of confrontation; EU security is threatened by dependence on Russian energy imports and the destabilising effects of aggressive propaganda; EU-Russia cooperation on international issues has become a victim of tensions between the two sides; repressive Russian legislation obstructs EU support for Russian civil society; diplomatic tensions are mirrored by mutual suspicion between ordinary EU citizens and Russians. This is an updated edition of a briefing from October 2016.

Sanctions over Ukraine: Impact on Russia

17-01-2018

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public ...

In early 2014, Russia violated international law by annexing Crimea and allegedly fomenting separatist uprisings in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. The European Union, the United States and several other Western countries responded with diplomatic measures in March 2014, followed by asset freezes and visa bans targeted at individuals and entities. In July 2014, sanctions targeting the Russian energy, defence and financial sectors were adopted. These sanctions have not swayed Russian public opinion, which continues to staunchly back the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine. Despite Western efforts to isolate Russia, the country is playing an increasingly prominent role on the global stage. On the other hand, sectoral sanctions have proved painful, aggravating an economic downturn triggered by falling oil prices, from which the country has only just begun to recover. Sanctions have affected the Russian economy in various ways. The main short-term impact comes from restrictions on Western lending and investment in Russia. Oil and gas production remains unaffected for the time being, but in the long term energy exports are likely to suffer. Meanwhile, Russian counter-sanctions are benefiting the country's agricultural sector, but consumers are losing out in terms of choice and price. Quantitative estimates of the impact are difficult, but most observers agree that sanctions are costing Russia billions of euros a year and holding back a return to higher rates of economic growth. This is an updated edition of a briefing from March 2016, PE 579.084.

EU-Russia people-to-people contacts

08-12-2016

With EU-Russia relations at a post-Cold War low, people-to-people contacts are an important means of overcoming mutual hostility. Individuals and organisations from the EU are continuing to cooperate with Russian counterparts, despite difficulties. On the other hand, there has been a significant downturn in personal travel, and public opinion mirrors frosty diplomatic relations.

With EU-Russia relations at a post-Cold War low, people-to-people contacts are an important means of overcoming mutual hostility. Individuals and organisations from the EU are continuing to cooperate with Russian counterparts, despite difficulties. On the other hand, there has been a significant downturn in personal travel, and public opinion mirrors frosty diplomatic relations.

Būsimi renginiai

25-10-2021
European Gender Equality Week - October 25-28, 2021
Kitas renginys -
FEMM AFET DROI SEDE DEVE BUDG CONT ECON EMPL ITRE TRAN AGRI PECH CULT JURI PETI
25-10-2021
Ninth meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny Group on Europol, 25-26 October
Kitas renginys -
LIBE
26-10-2021
Investment Policy and Investment Protection Reform
Klausymas -
INTA

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