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Since the People's Republic of China (PRC) launched its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, President Xi Jinping's signature foreign policy project has drawn widespread criticism, including for challenging the traditional model of multilateral infrastructure financing. Western-led bilateral and plurilateral infrastructure and connectivity initiatives designed as alternatives have remained fragmented and have been dwarfed in scope and scale by a geographically and thematically rapidly expanding ...

Strategic Compass: Towards adoption

Kort overzicht 26-11-2021

On 15 November 2021, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission (HR/VP) Josep Borrell presented the draft European Union (EU) 'Strategic Compass'. Amidst geopolitical competition, rising threats, accelerated technological development, climate crisis and global instability, the compass aims to facilitate a 'common sense of purpose' in Union security and defence, strengthen action, deepen partnerships, and stimulate innovation. On 30 November ...

Over the summer and autumn of 2021, in what is increasingly viewed as a hybrid warfare tactic aimed at destabilising Europe, Aliaksandr Lukashenka's Belarussian regime has instrumentalised migrants, manipulating the organisation of flights from the Middle East to Minsk and deliberately orchestrating migrants' onward travel to the EU-Belarus border. With weather conditions endangering migrants' lives, the situation has also led to serious humanitarian consequences. This activity – which many argue ...

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is often compared with the EU. Both organisations brought together former adversaries and successfully resolved tensions through cooperation, helping to bring peace and prosperity to their regions. However, the EU and ASEAN operate in very different ways. ASEAN is a strictly intergovernmental organisation in which decisions are based on consensus. While this approach has made it difficult for south-east Asian countries to achieve ...

Sustainability-related provisions are a key part of international trade negotiations. Since the free trade agreement (FTA) signed with South Korea in 2009, EU trade deals each include dedicated trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapters encompassing issues such as environment, labour rights, climate change and responsible business conduct. In an effort to step up implementation and enforcement of these chapters, in 2018 the Commission published a non-paper setting out a 15-point action plan ...

Kyrgyzstan is the most democratic but also the least stable of the former Soviet Central Asian republics. The most recent upheaval resulted in the cancellation of the October 2020 parliamentary elections. New elections scheduled for November 2021 are likely to consolidate the position of Sadyr Japarov, the country's new president. A controversial new constitution raises concerns over the future of Kyrgyz democracy.

The Mexico dialogue between the Venezuelan government and opposition, as well as the latter's decision to run in the 21 November 2021 local and regional elections, have revived hopes for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the country's political conflict. Nevertheless, the Maduro government has suspended the third round of negotiations, dimming prospects for a successful outcome of the dialogue. The EU is observing the elections.

Human rights sanctions are nothing new, but the death in 2009 of Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky in detention resulted in calls for more vigorous action to counter continuing abuses in many countries. Adopted by the US in 2016, the Global Magnitsky Act was the first of a new generation of human rights sanctions programmes, which, in contrast to traditional sanctions targeted at individual countries, can be flexibly applied to perpetrators from all over the world, regardless of their geographical ...

The level playing-field (LPF) provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) constitute a key part of the agreement, and are the product of some of the more challenging issues in the negotiations. The LPF provisions seek to safeguard fair competition between the parties. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' (TSD ...

The purpose of this study is to support the European Parliament (EP), in particular its standing delegations, in implementing the commitment made in the EP resolution of 23 October 2020 on gender equality in EU foreign and security policy. Based on desk research as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical analysis, the study describes the existing EP practices of gender equality promotion, analyses whether the current practices deliver on the commitment, and presents what can be learned both ...