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Harnessing the new momentum in transatlantic relations: Potential areas for common action during the Biden presidency

10-06-2021

The transatlantic relationship has been witnessing a significant injection of renewed enthusiasm and policy activity since Joe Biden became President of the United States in January 2021. This paper focuses on three important issues on the rapidly evolving transatlantic policy agenda, exploring their potential for generating, in effect, new 'common global goods' during the Biden presidency. First, it looks at pathways towards developing some kind of 'transatlantic green deal', taking climate action ...

The transatlantic relationship has been witnessing a significant injection of renewed enthusiasm and policy activity since Joe Biden became President of the United States in January 2021. This paper focuses on three important issues on the rapidly evolving transatlantic policy agenda, exploring their potential for generating, in effect, new 'common global goods' during the Biden presidency. First, it looks at pathways towards developing some kind of 'transatlantic green deal', taking climate action, trade and climate diplomacy in the round. Second, it analyses the comparative fabrics of US and European societies through the triple lens of violent extremism, the rule of law and technological disruption. Third, the prospects for 'crisis-proofing' the transatlantic space for the future are examined by looking at defence, health security and multilateralism. The paper also explores some potential avenues for closer transatlantic parliamentary cooperation, building on the already strong relationship between the European Parliament and the US Congress.

World Trade Organization TRIPS waiver to tackle coronavirus

04-06-2021

The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled the global debate on whether the multilateral trade regime for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection limits access to essential medical products. Despite embedded flexibilities in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India and South Africa, co-sponsored by a large number of developing countries, submitted an initial proposal for a temporary waiver in response to Covid-19 in October 2020, ...

The coronavirus pandemic has rekindled the global debate on whether the multilateral trade regime for intellectual property rights (IPR) protection limits access to essential medical products. Despite embedded flexibilities in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), India and South Africa, co-sponsored by a large number of developing countries, submitted an initial proposal for a temporary waiver in response to Covid-19 in October 2020, which was met with divided opinions. On 25 May 2021, a revised proposal was tabled for the consideration of the 'TRIPS Council' on 8-9 June 2021. The US administration voiced its support for a vaccines waiver, while EU leaders indicated an openness to discussion, and highlighted the mounting support for the 'third way' public-private partnership proposal.

Trade policy for the Biodiversity Strategy 2030

03-06-2021

International trade influences biodiversity through scale, composition and technique effects. Land and sea use change alter natural habitats, while emissions from production and transportation contribute to climate change. Among exports, animal-based agri-food products are particularly land-intensive. Trade policy can play a role in tackling these problems through stronger enforcement of biodiversity-related provisions in trade agreements. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 commits to better assessing ...

International trade influences biodiversity through scale, composition and technique effects. Land and sea use change alter natural habitats, while emissions from production and transportation contribute to climate change. Among exports, animal-based agri-food products are particularly land-intensive. Trade policy can play a role in tackling these problems through stronger enforcement of biodiversity-related provisions in trade agreements. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 commits to better assessing trade agreements’ potential impact on biodiversity and to better enforce biodiversity-related provisions. The Trade Committee of the European Parliament has adopted an opinion on the trade aspects of the new strategy.

Multilateral investment court: Framework options

03-06-2021

The Council of the EU has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States in the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and host states in relation to international investment agreements, and relies on arbitration procedures. The system has ...

The Council of the EU has authorised the European Commission to represent the EU and its Member States in the intergovernmental talks at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), with a view to reforming the existing investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. The latter provides a procedural framework for disputes between international investors and host states in relation to international investment agreements, and relies on arbitration procedures. The system has raised serious concerns among stakeholders across the EU, especially in relation to the transparency and consistency of decisions, the independence of arbitrators, and the cost and duration of arbitral procedures. The intergovernmental talks at UNCITRAL are aimed at reforming the system in a manner that would address these concerns; the overarching goal of the Council mandate is to establish a full-fledged permanent multilateral investment court with an appellate mechanism and tenured judges. UNICTRAL talks started in 2017; in April 2019, the working group identified three areas of concerns, namely a) consistency and predictability of arbitral decisions; b) integrity of arbitrators and decision-makers; and c) cost and duration of ISDS disputes. The states then tabled reform proposals that provided the framework for the discussions launched in October 2019. The UNCITRAL Secretariat has circulated two documents summarising the proposals regarding the selection and appointment of ISDS members, the establishment and scope of an appellate mechanism, and the enforcement mechanism. The proposals range from perfecting the current ISDS to setting up formal investment courts comprised of first-instance and appellate tribunals. The documents include questions to the government delegations. In its reply to the initial draft, the delegation at UNCITRAL for the EU and its Member States supports the establishment of a multilateral investment court composed of a first-instance and an appellate tribunal staffed by full-time adjudicators.

Critical raw materials in EU external policies: Improving access and raising global standards

12-05-2021

Lithium and cobalt (used in rechargeable batteries) and rare earth elements (used in wind turbines) are some of the critical raw materials (CRMs) – raw materials of critical importance – for the EU. Global demand for CRMs is rising, yet the export restrictions imposed by the resource-rich countries intensify the competition for these materials. To boost its access to CRMs, the EU has a dedicated strategy based on three pillars: two internal ones (increasing domestic sourcing and circularity) and ...

Lithium and cobalt (used in rechargeable batteries) and rare earth elements (used in wind turbines) are some of the critical raw materials (CRMs) – raw materials of critical importance – for the EU. Global demand for CRMs is rising, yet the export restrictions imposed by the resource-rich countries intensify the competition for these materials. To boost its access to CRMs, the EU has a dedicated strategy based on three pillars: two internal ones (increasing domestic sourcing and circularity) and an external one, which is mostly about securing supply from third countries. The external pillar of the EU CRMs policy is implemented across a number of other policies, mainly that on trade and development. It also involves deploying raw materials diplomacy. Through its trade policy, the EU seeks to implement its priorities by eliminating trade barriers through bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements, and safeguarding its interests through more assertive tools such as WTO dispute settlement and trade defence instruments. Through its development policy, the EU seeks to secure and diversify its access to CRMs, while promoting sustainable standards, good governance and responsible sourcing. It is also advancing its agenda through international fora (e.g. the UN and the OECD) and dialogues with numerous partners. The EU has also passed laws that help to make global supply chains and finance in the extractive sectors more transparent. In 2020, the European Commission adopted a CRMs action plan mostly based on existing strands of external action. It introduces several novel ideas, notably launching new strategic partnerships with both developed and developing nations, which are focused on extraction, processing and refining of CRMs. In its recent strategies, the EU has also clearly indicated its interest in greening the supply chains and achieving open strategic autonomy as regards CRMs. The success of these will also depend on global cooperation, adequate funding and reconciling differences with resource-rich countries.

Workshop: Achieving Strategic Sovereignty for the European Union

28-04-2021

The notion of European ‘strategic sovereignty’ is increasingly important in debates about the European Union. Given rapidly shifting global geopolitical and technology trends, and the seeming fragmentation of the multilateral order, the EU is being forced to confront its own position in international affairs. A number of concepts have been given life because of the deteriorating international scene including “European sovereignty”, “strategic autonomy”, “digital sovereignty”, “technological sovereignty ...

The notion of European ‘strategic sovereignty’ is increasingly important in debates about the European Union. Given rapidly shifting global geopolitical and technology trends, and the seeming fragmentation of the multilateral order, the EU is being forced to confront its own position in international affairs. A number of concepts have been given life because of the deteriorating international scene including “European sovereignty”, “strategic autonomy”, “digital sovereignty”, “technological sovereignty” and “open strategic autonomy”. However defined, there is a need to move beyond concepts and focus on the nature of economic interdependence, multilateralism and strategic partnerships. This online workshop, requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, zoomed in on each of these elements with case studies that centre on semiconductors, the Iran nuclear deal and EU security and defence.

Autor extern

Daniel FIOTT;Niclas POITIERS;Pauline WEIL;Guntram WOLFF;Jana PUGLIERIN;Riccardo ALCARO

The level playing-field for labour and environment in EU-UK relations

26-04-2021

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 became a major source of divergence between the negotiators. LPF provisions establish rules to safeguard fair competition between the parties' businesses. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' ...

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 became a major source of divergence between the negotiators. LPF provisions establish rules to safeguard fair competition between the parties' businesses. A notable component are the rules on social provisions, labour, environment and climate change, often referred to as the 'trade and sustainable development' (TSD) chapters in other free trade agreements (FTAs). The trading relationship between the EU and the UK is fundamentally different from that with other non-EU countries since, on the one hand, EU laws were applicable to the UK until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 and, on the other, these two economies neighbour each other and are strongly interconnected. The TCA is therefore designed to maintain sufficiently 'convergent' standards to safeguard fair competition, while providing each party with the freedom to implement its own approach to social and environmental protection. To this end, the TCA requires that parties do not weaken or reduce their levels of social, labour and environmental standards as of the end of 2020 (non-regression); the EU commitments on climate change, in particular on climate neutrality by 2050, will also remain for both parties. In addition, the TCA introduces rebalancing provisions creating a mechanism whereby a party can take 'proportionate measures' in order to offset any (adverse) 'material impacts on trade or investment' resulting from 'significant divergences' between parties. It also allows either party to request a review with a view to amending the agreement, and either party can opt to terminate the trade chapters if the amendment is not satisfactory. Although the TCA LPF provisions on labour and environment are in many respects similar to those in the EU's new generation FTAs, they strengthen the enforcement of non-regression provisions by allowing for remedial measures, and also reinforce the precautionary approach. The TCA also represents a notable innovation with its rebalancing and review provisions.

India: Economic indicators and trade with EU

22-04-2021

At the beginning of the century, the EU and India were growing exactly at the same path: how about today? Who is the main trade partner of India: China or the EU? And would you ever think that the EU exports to India pearls and precious stones more than optical instruments? And how much is it easy to do business in New Delhi? Find the answers to these and many more questions in our EPRS publication on ‘India: Economic indicators and trade with EU’, part of a series of infographics produced in collaboration ...

At the beginning of the century, the EU and India were growing exactly at the same path: how about today? Who is the main trade partner of India: China or the EU? And would you ever think that the EU exports to India pearls and precious stones more than optical instruments? And how much is it easy to do business in New Delhi? Find the answers to these and many more questions in our EPRS publication on ‘India: Economic indicators and trade with EU’, part of a series of infographics produced in collaboration with the European University Institute's GlobalStat on the world's main economies. This is an updated edition of an ‘At a Glance’ note published in September 2019.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

22-04-2021

During the April plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the Council decision concluding the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This Agreement, which has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021, is the institutional framework, which, conditional on Parliament's consent, will govern the new EU-UK relationship. It establishes trade on zero-tariff/quota terms and covers a wide range of areas, including energy ...

During the April plenary session, the European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the Council decision concluding the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This Agreement, which has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2021, is the institutional framework, which, conditional on Parliament's consent, will govern the new EU-UK relationship. It establishes trade on zero-tariff/quota terms and covers a wide range of areas, including energy, transport and fisheries.

Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - April 2021

21-04-2021

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

Evenimente viitoare

21-06-2021
Ensuring effective protection of European consumers in the digital economy
Audiere -
IMCO
22-06-2021
AFCO ICM on the Reform of European Electoral Law & Parliament's Right of Inquiry
Alt eveniment -
AFCO
22-06-2021
The development of new tax practices:what new schemes should the EU pay attention to?
Audiere -
FISC

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