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Cities in a globalised world: Exploring trends and the effect on urban resilience

07-10-2021

Cities are inevitably affected by shocks and disruptions, the pandemic being a case in point. The extent of the impact however depends on cities' preparedness and capacity to adapt. By thinking ahead, cities can explore emerging or plausible developments in order to anticipate them and contain potential disruption. Drawing on a report prepared by the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), this EPRS paper explores the impact on and implications for cities of current global trends, such ...

Cities are inevitably affected by shocks and disruptions, the pandemic being a case in point. The extent of the impact however depends on cities' preparedness and capacity to adapt. By thinking ahead, cities can explore emerging or plausible developments in order to anticipate them and contain potential disruption. Drawing on a report prepared by the European Strategy and Policy Analysis System (ESPAS), this EPRS paper explores the impact on and implications for cities of current global trends, such as climate change, population growth, urbanisation, economic growth, increasing energy demand, higher connectivity and a changing world order, that will have direct consequences for the future of cities and their inhabitants.

International Agreements in Progress - After Cotonou: Towards a new agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states

21-09-2021

After two years of negotiations, the text of a renewed partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states was initialled in April 2021. The current partnership agreement (‘Cotonou’) was due to expire in February 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU started negotiations on a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. The EU and the OACPS agreed on the principle of a common ...

After two years of negotiations, the text of a renewed partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states was initialled in April 2021. The current partnership agreement (‘Cotonou’) was due to expire in February 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU started negotiations on a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. The EU and the OACPS agreed on the principle of a common foundation complemented by three regional protocols. The multi-level negotiations, the coronavirus crisis and difficulties in reaching agreement on sensitive issues, such as migration management and sexual and reproductive health and rights, prevented the new agreement from being finalised by the initial expiry date set in the Cotonou Agreement. Thus, to avoid a legal vacuum in relations, the provisions of that agreement were extended until the end of 2021. The European Parliament insisted on maintaining the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly and was successful in this endeavour; in addition, three regional parliamentary assemblies will be created in the future institutional set-up of the partnership. The new agreement still needs to be signed by the parties, and further legal procedures will be required before it can be provisionally applied or enter fully into force. Seventh edition. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see the EPRS blog.

Ten composite indices for policy-making

08-09-2021

Evidence and data are key to good policy-making, in particular when it comes to setting priorities, mitigating negative impacts and finding optimum trade-offs. The information provided in this publication is designed to help policy-makers by providing sources of data and identifying possible bias in their use. EPRS has selected 10 composite indices in a range of policy areas from reliable sources; indices already used as references by policy-makers. For each index, a chapter presents the producers ...

Evidence and data are key to good policy-making, in particular when it comes to setting priorities, mitigating negative impacts and finding optimum trade-offs. The information provided in this publication is designed to help policy-makers by providing sources of data and identifying possible bias in their use. EPRS has selected 10 composite indices in a range of policy areas from reliable sources; indices already used as references by policy-makers. For each index, a chapter presents the producers and describes their objectives in publishing the index, the data compiled, and how that data is or could be used by policy-makers. The chapters also highlight each index's limitations.

New EU strategic priorities for the Sahel: Addressing regional challenges through better governance

09-07-2021

Recent events have shown that the Sahel region remains highly politically unstable. The military takeover of the Chadian government following President Idriss Déby's sudden death in April 2021 and the repercussions of the August 2020 and May 2021 military coups in Mali are worrying signs of weak democratic governance structures. Burkina Faso's transitional democracy has also been severely destabilised by the activities of extremist groups and internal conflicts. This political fragility and the lack ...

Recent events have shown that the Sahel region remains highly politically unstable. The military takeover of the Chadian government following President Idriss Déby's sudden death in April 2021 and the repercussions of the August 2020 and May 2021 military coups in Mali are worrying signs of weak democratic governance structures. Burkina Faso's transitional democracy has also been severely destabilised by the activities of extremist groups and internal conflicts. This political fragility and the lack of government legitimacy have made the responses to the Sahel's security and humanitarian issues all the more challenging. The continued threat posed by terrorist armed groups and rising intercommunal violence over land and resources have led to both internal and cross-border displacements in Sahel countries. Meanwhile, the inadequacy of governance mechanisms for managing this displacement, compounded by environmental degradation, resource scarcity and population growth, has created a severe humanitarian crisis. Since 2011, the European Union (EU) strategy for the Sahel has focused on both security and development to address these numerous and interconnected challenges. However, EU efforts have remained dominated by a military approach to tackle rising terrorist activity, achieving concrete results but ultimately falling short of long-term regional stability. The new EU integrated strategy in the Sahel aims to strengthen action at the political level, focusing on governance mechanisms, human rights, and collaboration with civil society and local authorities, while maintaining security cooperation with states in the region.

Mali: Yet another coup

16-06-2021

On 24 May 2021, the Malian transitional government suffered a coup – the second in nine months – which cast a shadow on the transition process that should lead to a presidential election in early 2022. These developments risk further destabilising the Sahel and challenge the implementation of the new EU strategy in the region.

On 24 May 2021, the Malian transitional government suffered a coup – the second in nine months – which cast a shadow on the transition process that should lead to a presidential election in early 2022. These developments risk further destabilising the Sahel and challenge the implementation of the new EU strategy in the region.

New Ethiopian dam sparks controversy among Nile states

21-04-2021

Successive negotiation rounds between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate. This new dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (the Nile's main tributary), will bring into operation Africa's largest hydropower plant. It is expected to secure access to electricity for the majority of Ethiopians, to foster economic development and to provide revenues from the sale of surplus electricity abroad. For its part, Sudan ...

Successive negotiation rounds between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt about the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have ended in stalemate. This new dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile (the Nile's main tributary), will bring into operation Africa's largest hydropower plant. It is expected to secure access to electricity for the majority of Ethiopians, to foster economic development and to provide revenues from the sale of surplus electricity abroad. For its part, Sudan expects the new dam will not only help regulate the flow of the Nile and prevent devastating floods but also provide access to cheap energy; still, it fears the new dam will hinder the yield of its own dam – Roseires – situated within a short distance downstream. Egypt too is worried about the potential impact of the new dam on its own Aswan High Dam, and that it will give Ethiopia control over the flow of the Nile and reduce the fresh water available for Egyptians. Yet again, the GERD has reignited a long rivalry about the sharing of waters among the Nile basin countries. Most – including Ethiopia – have signed a comprehensive framework agreement on the water management of the Nile and its tributaries. However, Sudan and Egypt have refused to take part in the Nile basin comprehensive framework agreement, unless it recognises their right to oversee the use of most of the Nile waters, which a bilateral treaty of 1959 accorded to them, but which is contested by other basin countries. The EU supports the African Union in the quest for a negotiated solution on the GERD, which risks further setbacks due to the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region. This is an update of a Briefing published in December 2020. The author acknowledges the assistance of Christian Meseth from the Directorate-General for External Policies (DG EXPO) with the updating.

The external dimension of the new pact on migration and asylum: A focus on prevention and readmission

07-04-2021

The challenges posed by migration have put EU Member States' solidarity to the test. Responding to a European Council request, in September 2020 the European Commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum, to reinforce solidarity among the Member States and to strengthen EU migration management and asylum procedures, while also making them more consistent. The proposed pact has an external aspect as well: building on current EU migration partnership frameworks, it aims to reinforce international ...

The challenges posed by migration have put EU Member States' solidarity to the test. Responding to a European Council request, in September 2020 the European Commission proposed a new pact on migration and asylum, to reinforce solidarity among the Member States and to strengthen EU migration management and asylum procedures, while also making them more consistent. The proposed pact has an external aspect as well: building on current EU migration partnership frameworks, it aims to reinforce international partnerships with a view to ensuring effective returns, combating migrant smuggling more effectively, and developing legal migration channels. In the context of migration, the EU's external policy has among its objectives to help third countries tackle the root causes of irregular migration or quests for asylum. The European Parliament often emphasises this point, while warning at the same time that security and migration management concerns should not result in diverting funds from core EU development cooperation objectives. This is also a concern among academia and non-governmental organisations dealing with migration issues: several have pointed out that the Commission's proposals for the above-mentioned pact and the working document, recommendations and legislative proposals accompanying it put a lesser emphasis on pathways to legal migration than on measures aimed at incentivising third countries to retain possible irregular migrants or to accept returns.

A new EU-Africa Strategy – A partnership for sustainable and inclusive development

22-03-2021

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) have converging interests in a number of areas, such as the fight against climate change and the promotion of sustainable, job-creating economic growth in Africa. However, they still have to find common ground on migration, security management, and fundamental values. In March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) proposed to build ...

The European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) have converging interests in a number of areas, such as the fight against climate change and the promotion of sustainable, job-creating economic growth in Africa. However, they still have to find common ground on migration, security management, and fundamental values. In March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission (HR/VP) proposed to build a new and comprehensive partnership with Africa, emphasising the EU's will to strengthen the links between the two continents. In line with this proposed partnership, the European Parliament is expected to discuss on an own-initiative report during its March II plenary session.

Charting a course through stormy waters: The EU as a maritime security actor

25-02-2021

The European Union (EU) is a one-of-a-kind maritime actor, which brings both opportunities and responsibilities. It is argued that if the EU-27 were to combine the capacities and capabilities of their navies, they would form one of the world's largest maritime powers. There is therefore space for better integration of capabilities and for greater coherence among the EU's tools to promote its multi-dimensional strategic maritime interests. As around 90 % of global goods are traded via maritime routes ...

The European Union (EU) is a one-of-a-kind maritime actor, which brings both opportunities and responsibilities. It is argued that if the EU-27 were to combine the capacities and capabilities of their navies, they would form one of the world's largest maritime powers. There is therefore space for better integration of capabilities and for greater coherence among the EU's tools to promote its multi-dimensional strategic maritime interests. As around 90 % of global goods are traded via maritime routes, freedom of navigation, security, sustainability and respect for international law are crucial for the EU. These routes are however becoming increasingly contested and restricted, reflecting new patterns of global power distribution. In the security and defence field, the EU's common security and defence policy instruments, particularly its missions and operations abroad, are the most visible manifestation of its maritime actorness. The maritime dimension of the EU's security and defence policy has been put in the spotlight by Portugal, the holder of the EU Council presidency in the first half of 2021. Two of the 17 EU missions and operations are naval military operations: EUNAVFOR Somalia Atalanta in the western part of the Indian Ocean, and EUNAVFOR MED Irini in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea. EU Member States also participate in multinational maritime coalitions as well as in NATO's own maritime operation, Sea Guardian, patrolling the entire Mediterranean Sea. In following the orientations provided by its maritime and global strategies, the EU is aiming to increase its capacity and reliability as a maritime security actor. One example is its coordinated maritime presences, launched in January 2021 with a pilot case in the Gulf of Guinea to boost the EU's maritime capacity and global outreach. Another is the EU's action to boost its maritime defence capabilities through the various post-2016 initiatives that aim to incentivise collaborative projects. Finally, the EU has also enhanced its cooperation with NATO in ensuring maritime security in the transatlantic space, although political obstacles remain.

International Agreements in Progress - After Cotonou: Towards a new agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states

20-01-2021

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states was due to expire in February 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU started negotiations for a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. This time around, the main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions and to continue to promote the values enshrined in the EU ...

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states was due to expire in February 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU started negotiations for a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. This time around, the main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions and to continue to promote the values enshrined in the EU Treaties. At the same time, the new partnership should take into account the United Nations' sustainable development goals, the redefinition of the EU's strategies for the regions concerned, the ACP states' new ambitions and the changing balance of power at the global level. Both the EU and the OACPS have agreed on the principle of a common foundation complemented by three regional protocols. These multi-level negotiations, the coronavirus crisis and difficulties in reaching agreement on sensitive issues, such as migration management and sexual and reproductive health and rights, prevented the new agreement from being finalised by the initial expiry date set in the Cotonou Agreement. Thus, to avoid a legal vacuum in relations, the provisions of this agreement were extended until the end of 2021. After two years of negotiations, a political deal was reached in December 2020, including on the most complex issues. The European Parliament insisted on maintaining the ACP-EU joint parliamentary assembly and was successful in this endeavour; in addition, three regional parliamentary assemblies will be created in the future institutional set-up of the partnership.

Avvenimenti fil-ġejjieni

25-10-2021
European Gender Equality Week - October 25-28, 2021
Avveniment ieħor -
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
Avveniment ieħor -
LIBE
26-10-2021
Investment Policy and Investment Protection Reform
Smigħ -
INTA

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