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Russia under Putin 4.0: Stagnation and discontent

23-10-2019

The March 2018 presidential elections were a resounding victory for Vladimir Putin. Since then, however, an unpopular decision to raise the retirement age by five years has cost him some of his support and triggered a wave of protests. In summer 2019, Moscow saw the biggest anti-government rallies for several years over the authorities' decision to exclude independent, 'non-system' opposition candidates from local elections. Even though the decision was upheld, Putin allies struggled to hold onto ...

The March 2018 presidential elections were a resounding victory for Vladimir Putin. Since then, however, an unpopular decision to raise the retirement age by five years has cost him some of his support and triggered a wave of protests. In summer 2019, Moscow saw the biggest anti-government rallies for several years over the authorities' decision to exclude independent, 'non-system' opposition candidates from local elections. Even though the decision was upheld, Putin allies struggled to hold onto their city council majority; they have also done less well than usual in other recent elections. Protests and electoral setbacks are linked to growing discontent – not only due to the pension reform but also to grinding poverty and inequality. Contrasting with the wealth of oligarchs, millions of Russians struggle to make ends meet as incomes register their fifth consecutive year of decline. Despite emerging from recession in 2016, the economy continues to stagnate. At the start of his presidency, Putin announced ambitious targets and massive investments to re-ignite growth, but these seem unlikely to bring more than modest improvements. Growing discontent is not expected to threaten Putin and his United Russia party's grip on power, given that Russians see no real alternatives. In the longer term, United Russia will probably hold onto its parliamentary majority in the next national elections in 2021, while Putin will see out his fourth, and probably final, presidency until its expiry in 2024. Even after that, there is a strong possibility that Putin, or at least a close ally, will remain in charge. In the past, confrontation with the West has helped to distract attention from the country's domestic problems and shore up support for Putin. However, given the need to boost the economy, the Kremlin may be considering options for improved relations in order to get Ukraine-related sanctions lifted, although it is still too early to say whether this will actually happen.

Monetary Policy in the Euro Area after Eight Years of Presidency of Mario Draghi: Where Do We Stand?

16-09-2019

Against the backdrop of slowing growth and subdued inflation in the euro area, we address the question to what extent additional monetary stimulus can be expected from the ECB if needed. We find that “more of the same” policies will probably not be effective and that there are no attractive alternatives there. After more than ten years of exceptionally loose monetary policy it is now the turn of fiscal and structural policies to reinvigorate the European economies.

Against the backdrop of slowing growth and subdued inflation in the euro area, we address the question to what extent additional monetary stimulus can be expected from the ECB if needed. We find that “more of the same” policies will probably not be effective and that there are no attractive alternatives there. After more than ten years of exceptionally loose monetary policy it is now the turn of fiscal and structural policies to reinvigorate the European economies.

Awtur estern

Salomon FIEDLER and Klaus-Jürgen GERN

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure – Overview

14-05-2019

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is a policy tool introduced within the reinforced economic governance framework adopted in 2011. The MIP aims at preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances in Member States, with specific attention to imbalances with potential spillovers effects on other Member States.

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP) is a policy tool introduced within the reinforced economic governance framework adopted in 2011. The MIP aims at preventing and correcting macroeconomic imbalances in Member States, with specific attention to imbalances with potential spillovers effects on other Member States.

Research for REGI Committee - Economic, social and territorial situation of Portugal

13-03-2019

This briefing was prepared to provide information for the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development delegation visit to Portugal of 27 February to 1 March 2019.

This briefing was prepared to provide information for the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development delegation visit to Portugal of 27 February to 1 March 2019.

Economic and Budgetary Outlook for the European Union 2019

30-01-2019

This EPRS study, the third in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the Union and euro area, and their two-year trends. The figures show that growth was moderate in 2018, at 2.1 %, although this is expected to deteriorate slightly in the coming months, given the poorer global outlook than a year ago. That said, unemployment is at a post-crisis low, and is expected to improve further, given ...

This EPRS study, the third in an annual series, provides an overview of the economic and budgetary situation in the EU and beyond. It summarises the main economic indicators in the Union and euro area, and their two-year trends. The figures show that growth was moderate in 2018, at 2.1 %, although this is expected to deteriorate slightly in the coming months, given the poorer global outlook than a year ago. That said, unemployment is at a post-crisis low, and is expected to improve further, given positive labour market conditions. The study explains the annual EU budget, providing an overview of its headings for 2019, with the total amounting to €165.8 billion (or around 1 % of EU gross national income). The budget focuses on priorities that include stimulating investment, growth and research, the creation of new jobs – especially for young people – and addressing migration and security challenges. The wider budgetary framework – the multiannual financial framework (MFF) – is also analysed in the study, with key decisions on spending for the 2021-2027 period due to be taken during 2019. In this year's edition, the special 'economic focus' offers a bird's eye view of SMEs and SME policy in Europe, and of various recent EU-level initiatives in this field. The EU budget devotes particular attention to SMEs, given their central role in the European economy and in job creation. The EU needs to continue devoting efforts to improving European SMEs' access to finance, since despite recent improvements, they are still too heavily reliant on debt financing which puts them at risk in a downturn.

A new era in EU-China relations: more wide-ranging strategic cooperation?

19-07-2018

China is an important strategic partner for the EU, despite fundamental divergences in some areas, mostly related to state intervention and fundamental human rights. The partnership offers mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue in areas ranging from investment and transport to human rights and cybersecurity. China is navigating in new directions, guided by Xi Jinping's 'Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’. Despite President Xi’s repeated avowals that 'the market ...

China is an important strategic partner for the EU, despite fundamental divergences in some areas, mostly related to state intervention and fundamental human rights. The partnership offers mutually beneficial cooperation and dialogue in areas ranging from investment and transport to human rights and cybersecurity. China is navigating in new directions, guided by Xi Jinping's 'Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’. Despite President Xi’s repeated avowals that 'the market will have a decisive role', public ownership remains the mainstay of the Chinese economy, whereas profound reforms would be needed to tackle the root causes of overcapacity in various industrial sectors. Xi's ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, now also included in the Constitution, is the flagship international connectivity and infrastructure programme dominated by Chinese state-owned companies. Overall, China’s crucial, but complex transition towards more sustainable growth would eventually benefit both, China and the world as a whole. Global economic interdependence, however, makes certain spill-over effects of China’s rebalancing unavoidable. China plays a pivotal role in global governance and the rules-based international order, and this comes with responsibilities. Beijing has begun to shift away from the narrow pursuit of national aims towards a more assertive foreign and security policy, and increased financial, economic and security cooperation with a global outreach. China is also facing domestic concerns, such as lifting millions of people out of poverty and reducing ever-growing income inequalities, deterioration in the situation of human rights and freedoms as well as endemic corruption.

Protectionism and international diplomacy

25-06-2018

Just three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of Cold War aggression and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the world faces even greater uncertainty. In every region of the world, geopolitical shifts are taking place that have brought offensive trade agendas to the fore. The US has withdrawn from underwriting the post-World War Two international economic and foreign policy architecture, instead proposing to build a wall between itself and neighbouring Mexico, imposing ...

Just three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of Cold War aggression and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the world faces even greater uncertainty. In every region of the world, geopolitical shifts are taking place that have brought offensive trade agendas to the fore. The US has withdrawn from underwriting the post-World War Two international economic and foreign policy architecture, instead proposing to build a wall between itself and neighbouring Mexico, imposing unilateral tariff increases while refusing to negotiate new international agreements. In Europe, the project of ever greater integration has been attacked by Brexit, as well as other populist sentiment against the perceived power of EU institutions and the forces of globalisation. The breakdown of the western coalition advocating global governance has left a power vacuum that other key players such as China are forced to respond to. These current tectonic shifts in power and foreign policy positions impact on every country and every individual in the early 21st century. While many governments strive to maintain international cooperation and further integration, it is an unpredictable era. For trade policy has established itself firmly within the arena of high foreign diplomacy and as a result, traditional assumptions and adherence to international norms can no longer be assumed in such a state of political and economic flux. Yet when trade policy becomes a tool of diplomacy and foreign policy, sound economic reasoning can be lost to political decision making. This report shines a spotlight on the rise of protectionism in the 21st century. It examines the diplomatic dynamics behind economic nationalism and its attack on the established liberal international institutions that were created after the second World War to settle disputes without recourse to war. Before focusing on the US, UK, EU and China, the first chapter centers on the threat to economic integration and cooperation in promoting sustainable development through the multilateral rules-based system established under the World Trade Organization.

Awtur estern

Ms Kamala DAWAR

The ESM and the IMF: comparison of the main features

27-04-2018

This document provides a comparison of the main objectives, tools and governance structures of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It contributes to the debate on recent proposal regarding the possible evolution of the ESM into a “European Monetary Fund”, in the wider context of the discussions on how to strengthen the governance of Economic and Monetary Union. The note also presents summaries of three external papers prepared in spring 2017, upon ...

This document provides a comparison of the main objectives, tools and governance structures of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It contributes to the debate on recent proposal regarding the possible evolution of the ESM into a “European Monetary Fund”, in the wider context of the discussions on how to strengthen the governance of Economic and Monetary Union. The note also presents summaries of three external papers prepared in spring 2017, upon a request of the Economic and Monetary Committee on this subject.

Senegal: bastion of democracy, migration priority for the EU

06-02-2018

Senegal is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. Free and fair presidential elections in March 2012, for which the EU deployed an Election Expert Mission (EEM), brought Macky Sall to the presidency. The regular organisation of legislative elections, political pluralism, a free press, and a vibrant civil society are all proof of Senegal's democratic culture. Senegal has a long tradition of migration to the EU and other African countries, and today 5 % of its population live abroad ...

Senegal is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. Free and fair presidential elections in March 2012, for which the EU deployed an Election Expert Mission (EEM), brought Macky Sall to the presidency. The regular organisation of legislative elections, political pluralism, a free press, and a vibrant civil society are all proof of Senegal's democratic culture. Senegal has a long tradition of migration to the EU and other African countries, and today 5 % of its population live abroad. Remittances account for more than 10 % of GDP. As a priority partner in the Migration Partnership Framework, Senegal has been constructive in the political dialogue on migration, while maintaining its position that more should be done on legal migration into the EU. Senegal is one of the main benificiaries of the EU Trust Fund. Development cooperation, still at the core of relations with Senegal, has been structured to ensure increased coordination between the EU, Member States, and the Senegalese authorities. The challenge going forward will be to ensure that Senegal honours its commitments on the readmission of irregular migrants, and encourage progress on human rights.

A stable Egypt for a stable region: Socio-economic challenges and prospects

19-01-2018

Seven years after the 2011 uprising in Egypt, a combination of domestic challenges, together with instability in the Middle East and North Africa region has stalled the country’s ongoing transition. Stability in Egypt is key for the region, and the country’s international partners such as the EU have a clear interest in helping move the country towards stability and prosperity. To that end, this study investigates the main challenges facing Egypt, focusing on social, economic, political and environmental ...

Seven years after the 2011 uprising in Egypt, a combination of domestic challenges, together with instability in the Middle East and North Africa region has stalled the country’s ongoing transition. Stability in Egypt is key for the region, and the country’s international partners such as the EU have a clear interest in helping move the country towards stability and prosperity. To that end, this study investigates the main challenges facing Egypt, focusing on social, economic, political and environmental challenges. The study analyses the implications of these challenges for Egypt’s stability in the coming decades. The study then examines the key drivers of EU-Egypt relations and provides a number of policy recommendations on how the EU can support Egypt’s longer-term stability. The study argues that the EU’s economic and security engagement with Egypt should not come at the expense of supporting democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The study also argues that EU programmatic assistance to Egypt should focus on youth, women, education, and entrepreneurship. Finally, the study also argues that the EU’s engagement is likely to be more successful if EU member states are more unified in their approach towards Egypt.

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