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Amending Budget No 5/2020: Continuation of support to refugees in response to the Syria crisis

07-07-2020

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment ...

Draft Amending Budget No 5/2020 (DAB 5/2020) accompanies the proposed decision of the European Parliament and of the Council to mobilise the Contingency Margin in order to continue support to refugees and host communities in response to the Syria crisis. Under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) heading 4, 'Global Europe', €100 million in commitment and payment appropriations is proposed as resilience support to refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, whereas €485 million in commitment appropriations and €68 million in payment appropriations is proposed as urgent humanitarian support to refugees in Turkey under the Contingency Margin. The European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 5/2020 and the proposal to mobilise the Contingency Margin during its July plenary session.

EU-Turkey relations in light of the Syrian conflict and refugee crisis

09-03-2020

Approximately 3.6 million refugees have entered Turkey since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, the highest number in the region. Despite on-going international and European Union financial and humanitarian support, this ever-increasing refugee presence has resulted in heightened social tensions in Turkey. In the 2019 local elections, the loss of the Istanbul mayoralty by the governing Justice and Development (AK) party was perceived as a major setback for the 'imperial presidency' ...

Approximately 3.6 million refugees have entered Turkey since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011, the highest number in the region. Despite on-going international and European Union financial and humanitarian support, this ever-increasing refugee presence has resulted in heightened social tensions in Turkey. In the 2019 local elections, the loss of the Istanbul mayoralty by the governing Justice and Development (AK) party was perceived as a major setback for the 'imperial presidency' of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Istanbul's new mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu (Republican People's Party, CHP), played a leading role in nurturing aversion for Syrian refugees, stating that Turkey was managing the refugees badly and that 'people are unhappy'. Some Turkish politicians also regard refugees as a security threat – a trend that has grown since September 2019 when the Turkish military began Operation Peace Spring in north-east Syria, with the aim of containing the Kurds and creating a 'safe zone' to which Syrian refugees could return. The Turkish military operation in Syria, as well as the Turkish incursion into Libya, and other geostrategic issues, such as gas drilling disputes with Cyprus, have led relations between the EU and Turkey, already tainted by the drop in democratic standards since the failed military coup in 2016, to deteriorate further. Repeated threats by Erdoğan that Turkey would 'open the gates' and let the refugees enter the EU materialised on 28 February 2020, when Turkey opened its borders with Greece, setting the scene for a new refugee crisis. A swift European response, with the presence of the presidents of the main EU institutions in Greece on 3 March 2020, demonstrated the unity and will to face this critical situation together. Past experience, in particular the 2015 refugee crisis, has however highlighted the weaknesses in the internal and external dimensions of the EU's migration policy. The current crisis is both a stress-test and an opportunity for the EU to clarify its own strategic position in order to develop a new consolidated geopolitical blueprint for the whole Mediterranean and Middle East that would not only tackle the ambition and behaviour of regional powers such as Turkey, but also place the EU on an equal footing with other global powers active in the region.

Outcome of the special European Council, 20-21 February 2020

24-02-2020

On 20-21 February 2020, EU Heads of State or Government held their first meeting specially dedicated to the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) since the publication of the European Commission’s proposal in May 2018. Despite intense preparations and discussions, lasting over two days, EU leaders failed to overcome their differences and to find an agreement. At the end of the meeting, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, declared that ‘we need more time’. When, and under ...

On 20-21 February 2020, EU Heads of State or Government held their first meeting specially dedicated to the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) since the publication of the European Commission’s proposal in May 2018. Despite intense preparations and discussions, lasting over two days, EU leaders failed to overcome their differences and to find an agreement. At the end of the meeting, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, declared that ‘we need more time’. When, and under which conditions, the European Council will reconvene for another attempt to finding an agreement has not decided thus far.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, April 2018

20-04-2018

The April plenary session's highlight was the debate on the future of Europe with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, detailing his ambitions for a reinvigorated Europe, ready to face existing and emerging challenges. Members also heard from the European Council and Commission Presidents on the outcome of the March European Council meeting. High Representative Federica Mogherini made statements on the UN global compacts for migration and refugees, Syria, Russia, the situation in ...

The April plenary session's highlight was the debate on the future of Europe with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, detailing his ambitions for a reinvigorated Europe, ready to face existing and emerging challenges. Members also heard from the European Council and Commission Presidents on the outcome of the March European Council meeting. High Representative Federica Mogherini made statements on the UN global compacts for migration and refugees, Syria, Russia, the situation in the Korean peninsula and of Greek soldiers arrested in Turkey. Parliament adopted, inter alia, legislative resolutions on greenhouse gas emissions, the circular economy, European political parties and foundations, anti-money-laundering, market surveillance of motor vehicles, and organic production and labelling. Members granted discharge for the execution of the 2016 budget to the European Commission and all EU institutions and agencies, except the Council/European Council and European Asylum Support Office.

Renewed chemical attack in Syria

12-04-2018

As the conflict in Syria enters its eighth year, Parliament is due to debate the situation, following a recent escalation. The Assad regime is suspected of having carried out a toxic gas attack on the besieged town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April 2018, killing around 80 people and injuring hundreds. The United Nations Security Council debated the attack during an emergency meeting on 9 April 2018, during which Russia denied Syrian regime responsibility for the attack. The EU has strongly condemned ...

As the conflict in Syria enters its eighth year, Parliament is due to debate the situation, following a recent escalation. The Assad regime is suspected of having carried out a toxic gas attack on the besieged town of Douma near Damascus on 7 April 2018, killing around 80 people and injuring hundreds. The United Nations Security Council debated the attack during an emergency meeting on 9 April 2018, during which Russia denied Syrian regime responsibility for the attack. The EU has strongly condemned the latest use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict, and the United States, France and the United Kingdom have signalled their willingness to respond with air-strikes in order to uphold the global ban on the use of chemical weapons.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, February II 2018

02-03-2018

The session's highlights included debates on the humanitarian situation in Syria, the outcome of the informal European Council, and activation of Article 7 (1) with regard to Poland. The European Commission also made statements on UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2018, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, its former President Barroso's lobbying activities, and removal of third countries from the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Among the votes held ...

The session's highlights included debates on the humanitarian situation in Syria, the outcome of the informal European Council, and activation of Article 7 (1) with regard to Poland. The European Commission also made statements on UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2018, the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, its former President Barroso's lobbying activities, and removal of third countries from the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Among the votes held, Parliament agreed to set up a new special committee on tax questions (TAXE 3) and elected a new vice-president.

Plenary round-up – Brussels, November II 2017

01-12-2017

The adoption of the 2018 budget was one of the main points of the November II plenary session. It also included debates on the State of Energy Union 2017 and the situation in Yemen, with a resolution adopted on the latter. Members addressed an oral question to the European Commission regarding negotiations for a Convention establishing a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes (MIC). Members also adopted, inter alia, reports on transnational arrangements for mitigating the impact ...

The adoption of the 2018 budget was one of the main points of the November II plenary session. It also included debates on the State of Energy Union 2017 and the situation in Yemen, with a resolution adopted on the latter. Members addressed an oral question to the European Commission regarding negotiations for a Convention establishing a multilateral court for the settlement of investment disputes (MIC). Members also adopted, inter alia, reports on transnational arrangements for mitigating the impact of the introduction of IFRS 9, on the instrument contributing to stability and peace, on the ranking of unsecured debt instruments in insolvency hierarchy as well as on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy.

Iraqi Kurdistan's independence referendum

11-10-2017

On 25 September 2017, the government of the autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq, under its president, Masoud Barzani, organised a referendum on independence, disregarding calls by the Iraqi central government and the international community to postpone it. The referendum was held in the Kurdistan Region's constituencies and also in the neighbouring 'disputed' territories, in particular the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, which have de facto if not legally been governed by the Kurdish authorities since ...

On 25 September 2017, the government of the autonomous Region of Kurdistan in Iraq, under its president, Masoud Barzani, organised a referendum on independence, disregarding calls by the Iraqi central government and the international community to postpone it. The referendum was held in the Kurdistan Region's constituencies and also in the neighbouring 'disputed' territories, in particular the oil-rich area of Kirkuk, which have de facto if not legally been governed by the Kurdish authorities since the moment they were recaptured from ISIL/Da'esh. Even though the 'yes' side has won, it is by no means certain that a Kurdish state will emerge in the near future. Such a state would be weakened by internal divisions and poor economic conditions. In addition, Syria, Turkey and Iran strongly condemned the referendum and have taken retaliatory action. Among other considerations, they are worried that an independent Kurdish state would encourage their own Kurdish populations to seek greater autonomy. However, the prospect of a Greater Kurdistan is remote, since the regional Kurdish landscape is dominated by the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) and its affiliate parties, which do not share the Iraqi Kurdish leaders' ideology or strategic alliances. Concerned by the fragmentation of the Middle East, the EU, the USA, Russia, and most of the region's powers other than Israel, disapproved of the referendum, which took place in the context of the ongoing fight against ISIL/Da'esh, and called for negotiations within the existing Iraqi borders. This briefing updates Regional implications of Iraqi Kurdistan's quest for independence, EPRS, December 2016.

The EU, Middle East and North Africa [What Think Tanks are thinking]

06-10-2017

Developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pose a growing challenge for the European Union. Many countries in the region face war, political turmoil and popular anger, due to the impact of poverty in generating instability, migration and, in some cases, terrorism. The EU wants to contribute to stability in MENA through instruments such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean, but there are calls for the EU to play an even more active role in the region ...

Developments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) pose a growing challenge for the European Union. Many countries in the region face war, political turmoil and popular anger, due to the impact of poverty in generating instability, migration and, in some cases, terrorism. The EU wants to contribute to stability in MENA through instruments such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean, but there are calls for the EU to play an even more active role in the region. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports by major international think tanks on EU-MENA relations and the general problems found within the region and some specific countries.

Workshop: Sectarianism in the Middle East

14-07-2017

Sectarian conflict and polarisation has become a key feature of Middle East politics in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. This workshop looked at some of the key drivers of this, such as the troubled legacy of foreign intervention, state failure, regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, ruling strategies of authoritarian regimes as well as the spread of identity and sect-based political movements. With in-depth analysis of the two key arenas of sectarian conflict in the ...

Sectarian conflict and polarisation has become a key feature of Middle East politics in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011. This workshop looked at some of the key drivers of this, such as the troubled legacy of foreign intervention, state failure, regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, ruling strategies of authoritarian regimes as well as the spread of identity and sect-based political movements. With in-depth analysis of the two key arenas of sectarian conflict in the contemporary Middle East, Syria and Iraq, and a paper on the consequences of state collapse, this publication looks also tries to make recommendations how the EU could help reduce sectarian tensions.

Ārējais autors

Dr Toby MATTHIESEN, St Antony's College, Oxford University, Dr Simon MABON, Lancaster University ; Dr Renad MANSOUR, Chatham House, Dr Raphael LEFÈVRE, Oxford University

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