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No way back:Why the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU

25-11-2020

There is no way back for transatlantic politics; in recent years it has suffered severe setbacks that cannot be undone. Although the Biden win promises opportunities for EU-US cooperation, the EU’s drive for strategic autonomy will not stop here. It is high time to look afresh at the very foundations of the transatlantic partnership, in light of not only the politics of today, but also the structural trends in the global balance of power and the lasting institutional ties between the two continents ...

There is no way back for transatlantic politics; in recent years it has suffered severe setbacks that cannot be undone. Although the Biden win promises opportunities for EU-US cooperation, the EU’s drive for strategic autonomy will not stop here. It is high time to look afresh at the very foundations of the transatlantic partnership, in light of not only the politics of today, but also the structural trends in the global balance of power and the lasting institutional ties between the two continents. Above all, the transatlantic future needs a stronger EU. For this to happen, the following issues should be given priority: i) dealing with an increasingly assertive China; ii) gaining more from transatlantic trade relations; iii) safeguarding the benefits of NATO and multilateral institutions like the WTO; iv) battling disinformation and other hybrid threats; and v) reinvigorating cooperation over climate change and global health. Because understanding of and trust in US intelligence and foreign policy positions has been eroded, a ‘thickening’ of transatlantic dialogue structures, including among elected representatives, should be pursued. This could include staff exchanges, track-two dialogues with think tanks and civil society, and an increased frequency of the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue, possibly supplemented with more subordinate bodies on specific issues, such as dealing with China.

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Louise VAN SCHAIK, Ties DAMS

UK Internal Market Bill and the Withdrawal Agreement

20-11-2020

On 9 September 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) government tabled a bill in the House of Commons which would govern the country's internal market after the Brexit transition period ends. It aims to allow goods and services to flow freely between the four jurisdictions of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – replacing the rules now in place through membership of the EU's single market. Certain parts of this UK Internal Market Bill are particularly controversial, as they explicitly ...

On 9 September 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) government tabled a bill in the House of Commons which would govern the country's internal market after the Brexit transition period ends. It aims to allow goods and services to flow freely between the four jurisdictions of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – replacing the rules now in place through membership of the EU's single market. Certain parts of this UK Internal Market Bill are particularly controversial, as they explicitly contravene the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland attached to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) that was ratified in January 2020. First, the bill provides that the UK government may authorise Northern Ireland businesses not to complete exit summary declarations when sending goods to Great Britain, thereby breaching the Union Customs Code applicable to NI. The bill would also allow the UK government to interpret, dis-apply or modify the application of the State aid rules of the European Union, which are applicable to UK measures that affect trade between Northern Ireland and the EU. Last but not least, the bill provides that UK regulations in these areas will have effect notwithstanding their incompatibility with relevant domestic or international law, including the Withdrawal Agreement. The reaction of the European Commission to the bill was immediate, calling for an extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee, which was held the following day, 10 September. On 1 October, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the UK for breaching its obligations under the WA, marking the beginning of an infringement process against the UK. As the UK did not reply by the end of October, the Commission may now proceed with the process, sending a Reasoned Opinion to the UK. Meanwhile, the bill has passed third reading in the House of Commons, even if in the House of Lords the government has been heavily defeated, with amendments removing the controversial clauses. While the government has indicated its intention to re-table the clauses when the bill returns to the Commons in December, it would be open to it to no longer press for their inclusion, if and when agreement is reached in the ongoing negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship.

EU-US dispute over civil aircraft subsidies

17-11-2020

Since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between American and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade. Between 1992 and 2004, the Bilateral Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft regulated the permitted levels of support to aircraft manufacturers. In 2003, Europe's Airbus sold more large civil aircraft than United States-owned Boeing for the first time. The following year, the USA renounced the agreement and launched ...

Since the 1980s onset of intensified sales competition between American and European civil aircraft manufacturers, aircraft trade has been a point of contention in transatlantic trade. Between 1992 and 2004, the Bilateral Agreement on Trade in Large Civil Aircraft regulated the permitted levels of support to aircraft manufacturers. In 2003, Europe's Airbus sold more large civil aircraft than United States-owned Boeing for the first time. The following year, the USA renounced the agreement and launched a World Trade Organization (WTO) case over State aid given to Airbus. The European Union filed a parallel case against US subsidies to Boeing. Following a long-standing dispute, the WTO authorised US imposition of countermeasures worth nearly US$7.5 billion in 2019. In October 2020, in a mirror case brought by the EU against the US subsidies to Boeing, the EU was authorised to impose retaliatory tariffs. On 9 November, the EU imposed these tariffs, on US$4billion worth of US aircraft, food and drink production. In addition to the tariffs, the aviation industry has been hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis. Joe Biden's success in the recent Presidential election strengthen hopes for a negotiated solution to the dispute.

State of play of EU–New Zealand FTA talks

12-11-2020

Negotiations on an EU free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand, one of the fastest-growing developed economies in the world, were launched in June 2018. Eight negotiating rounds took place between July 2018 and June 2020, resulting in the closure of the Transparency Chapter of the future FTA. The next round will be scheduled with the New Zealand government following the general elections held on 17 October 2020.

Negotiations on an EU free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand, one of the fastest-growing developed economies in the world, were launched in June 2018. Eight negotiating rounds took place between July 2018 and June 2020, resulting in the closure of the Transparency Chapter of the future FTA. The next round will be scheduled with the New Zealand government following the general elections held on 17 October 2020.

Trade negotiations between the EU and ASEAN member states

11-11-2020

In 2017, the European Union–Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) dialogue partnership celebrated its 40th anniversary. The same year saw the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. The ASEAN region is currently the world's fifth largest economy, a dynamic economic area home to more than 660 million consumers. To ensure better access to opportunities in the region's market, the European Union (EU) started negotiations with ASEAN for a region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007 ...

In 2017, the European Union–Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) dialogue partnership celebrated its 40th anniversary. The same year saw the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. The ASEAN region is currently the world's fifth largest economy, a dynamic economic area home to more than 660 million consumers. To ensure better access to opportunities in the region's market, the European Union (EU) started negotiations with ASEAN for a region-to-region free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007. After negotiations were suspended in 2009, the EU decided to pursue bilateral trade agreements with the individual ASEAN member states. To date, six have begun talks on bilateral FTAs with the EU: Singapore and Malaysia in 2010; Vietnam in 2012; Thailand in 2013; the Philippines in 2015; and Indonesia in 2016. Negotiations have already been concluded and FTAs entered into force with two of these countries, Singapore and Vietnam, in November 2019 and August 2020, respectively. Negotiations are under way with Indonesia, while talks are currently on hold with Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. In the longer term, these bilateral FTAs would allow the establishment of a region-to-region FTA, which remains the EU's ultimate ambition. By bringing together two of the world's largest economic areas, the agreement would establish a free trade area with a combined market of more than 1 billion people. It is in the EU's interest to strengthen its economic cooperation with ASEAN, in order to maintain its competitive position in this dynamically developing region. Closer trade and investment relations could also pave the way towards the EU's goal of a strategic partnership between the two regional blocs, encompassing political as well as economic cooperation.

EU–China Geographical Indications Agreement

05-11-2020

During the November I part-session, Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the EU China agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached, mainly, to agri-food products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographical origin. The agreement adds a new element to the legal framework for EU relations with China that is currently based, in particular ...

During the November I part-session, Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the EU China agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached, mainly, to agri-food products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographical origin. The agreement adds a new element to the legal framework for EU relations with China that is currently based, in particular, on the 1985 European Economic Community–China Trade and Cooperation Agreement. It seeks to protect 100 EU GIs and 100 Chinese GIs in each other's territories against imitation and usurpation, and to bring the principle of reciprocity to bear in EU-China ties.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its implementation into EU Company law

05-11-2020

Building on both European Union (EU) law and chosen Member States’ legislation, this study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee aims at understanding to what extent Member States are supporting the development and the implementation of CSR strategies in the business community, with particular focus on due diligence requirements. It also attempts at providing some recommendations aimed at ...

Building on both European Union (EU) law and chosen Member States’ legislation, this study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI Committee aims at understanding to what extent Member States are supporting the development and the implementation of CSR strategies in the business community, with particular focus on due diligence requirements. It also attempts at providing some recommendations aimed at possibility developing a comprehensive and structured approach to CSR for the whole of the EU.

Awtur estern

Kletia Noti ; Prof. Federico Maria Mucciarelli; Dr Virginia dalla Pozza; Carlo Angelici Mattia PILLININI.

Amazon deforestation and EU-Mercosur deal

29-10-2020

After coming to a political agreement on the trade pillar of the three-pronged EU-Mercosur association agreement in June 2019, the EU and the four founding members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) reached agreement on the political dialogue and cooperation parts in July 2020. However, as environmental deregulation and deforestation continue unabated in Brazil, opposition to the deal is growing. It is unlikely to be submitted to the European Parliament for consent in its current ...

After coming to a political agreement on the trade pillar of the three-pronged EU-Mercosur association agreement in June 2019, the EU and the four founding members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) reached agreement on the political dialogue and cooperation parts in July 2020. However, as environmental deregulation and deforestation continue unabated in Brazil, opposition to the deal is growing. It is unlikely to be submitted to the European Parliament for consent in its current form. A study of the trade pillar's provisions concludes that, taking the risk of deforestation into account, the deal's environmental costs are likely to exceed its economic gains. This raises doubts as to whether Brazil's compliance with its climate change commitments can realistically be achieved based on provisions devoid of an effective enforcement mechanism.

Four EU scenarios for governance in a post Covid-19 world

26-10-2020

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic ...

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic autonomy’. Calls for strategic autonomy have increased since the COVID-19 crisis, at national and EU level. However, strategic autonomy conflicts with the achievements of international cooperative governance. This introduces another dilemma: the choice between interests and values. Pursuing interests alone leads to a vicious cycle of increased competition between markets and between states, ultimately deteriorating into imperialism. Developing value-oriented actions at government and market level can break that vicious cycle. Value-oriented concepts already form part of many EU policies, which place substantial emphasis on environmental and social rights. When ethical values become an integral part of business and government decisions, this is called ‘due diligence’. We can define value-oriented international cooperation between governments as ‘cooperative governance’. Similarly, we can define ethical and value oriented action by private actors — whether NGOs or businesses — as ‘ethical capitalism’. Putting the two dichotomies on a grid creates a model of four possible scenarios for action which can aid our understanding of ongoing discussions on governance in a post COVID-19 world. EU policy makers could also use these scenarios as alternative ways of shaping EU and foreign policy. The management of natural resources, ranging from water, land, forests, energy resources and metals to rare earths, shows a counter-clockwise development through the scenarios. Moving away from unregulated markets, extraction and use were gradually regulated by national governments, who competed against each other in an imperialist setting. The transnational nature of economic and environmental problems has increasingly brought them into the scope of international cooperative governance. Ethical capitalism (changing market forces from within) is a relatively new development complementing government action. Progress through the scenarios is not always sequential: actors face pressures to switch between them. We can draw lessons for governance in a post COVID-19 world from the experiences of natural resources management. This study is the first on ´global trends in external policies´, aiming to develop forward-looking and strategic analyses.

How can international trade contribute to sustainable forestry and the preservation of the world’s forests through the Green Deal?

19-10-2020

High deforestation rates, particularly in tropical areas, remain a pressing concern for the international community, given their impacts on the global climate and the loss of biodiversity. The EU has committed to promoting sustainable forest management both domestically and internationally. However, efforts so far have concentrated on promoting the legality of trade in timber and timber products, via policy instruments such as FLEGT and the EU Timber Regulation. EU trade policy could be employed ...

High deforestation rates, particularly in tropical areas, remain a pressing concern for the international community, given their impacts on the global climate and the loss of biodiversity. The EU has committed to promoting sustainable forest management both domestically and internationally. However, efforts so far have concentrated on promoting the legality of trade in timber and timber products, via policy instruments such as FLEGT and the EU Timber Regulation. EU trade policy could be employed more systematically to promote sustainable forestry and deforestation-free value chains. The report proposes eleven measures to this end, both at the unilateral, bilateral and multilateral level, that inter alia combine market access incentives on the part of consumer markets such as the EU with obligations to promote principles of sustainable production on the part of producer countries.

Awtur estern

Werner RAZA, Bernhard TRÖSTER, Bernhard WOLFSLEHNER, Markus KRAJEWSKI.

Avvenimenti fil-ġejjieni

30-11-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | How to own the room (and the zoom) [...]
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EPRS
30-11-2020
Hearing on Future-proofing the Tourism Sector: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
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TRAN
30-11-2020
LIBE - FEMM Joint Hearing: Combating Gender based Violence: Cyber Violence
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FEMM LIBE

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