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Coronavirus: The battle continues [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-12-2020

As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be peaking in Europe, governments and citizens are buoyed by the successful human trials of several vaccines which their producers hope to be able to distribute widely over the coming months. There is growing expectation that, as these vaccines start to become available to the general public in coming months, daily life may gradually return to normal, or at least to a ‘new normal’, during the course of 2021. Meanwhile, many regions of the ...

As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be peaking in Europe, governments and citizens are buoyed by the successful human trials of several vaccines which their producers hope to be able to distribute widely over the coming months. There is growing expectation that, as these vaccines start to become available to the general public in coming months, daily life may gradually return to normal, or at least to a ‘new normal’, during the course of 2021. Meanwhile, many regions of the world continue in some form of lockdown to stave off the second wave. The political debate on health policy is currently focussed not only on priorities for distributing the vaccine in the advanced economies, such as those of the EU, but on how to make it available to poorer countries too, as scientists underline that the virus knows no borders. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on pandemic-related issues. Earlier think tank studies on the issue can be found in the ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’ of 10 November.

Brexit: Towards the end-game [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-09-2020

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would ...

There is now growing doubt about possible progress on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has tabled a bill on the internal market within the country, which contains provisions relating to the border between Northen Ireland and the rest of the UK that violate the agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and would thus constitute a breach of international law. The European Parliament has already indicated that it would not be able to ratify any post-Brexit EU-UK trade agreement, if such arrengements were to be adopted. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on numerous challenges facing the UK, EU and their future ties after their divorce.

The State of the Union 2020 [What Think Tanks are thinking]

11-09-2020

In what has now become a tradition, every year in September, the President of the European Commission delivers a State of the Union address before the European Parliament, taking stock of achievements over the past year and presenting priorities for the year ahead. Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her first State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, followed by a debate in plenary. In essence, the Commission’s position is that the priorities that it set out at the beginning of its current ...

In what has now become a tradition, every year in September, the President of the European Commission delivers a State of the Union address before the European Parliament, taking stock of achievements over the past year and presenting priorities for the year ahead. Ursula von der Leyen will deliver her first State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, followed by a debate in plenary. In essence, the Commission’s position is that the priorities that it set out at the beginning of its current mandate remain valid, but with both major challenges and opportunities arising from the coronavirus pandemic. After some initial criticism of ‘too little action, too late’, EU institutions are now working flat out to help to address various aspects of the crisis. Notably, the European Council has agreed on a major financial boost to fight the economic effects of the pandemic, including a measure of common debt. The Commission is also actively pursuing, in parallel, the European Green Deal, the digital agenda, making Europe stronger in the world, a new push for European democracy and efforts to make the economy work for people. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on the state of the union and related issues.

EU budget and recovery fund: Is it a done deal? [What Think Tanks are thinking]

29-07-2020

After nearly five days of tough negotiations, the European Council agreed on the EU’s next seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), worth more than one trillion euros from 2021 to 2027, and crucially, on an additional 750-billion euro fund to help countries recover from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many politicians and analysts have hailed the agreement on the recovery fund in particular as an ‘historic moment’. For the first time, some EU debt will ...

After nearly five days of tough negotiations, the European Council agreed on the EU’s next seven-year budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), worth more than one trillion euros from 2021 to 2027, and crucially, on an additional 750-billion euro fund to help countries recover from the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many politicians and analysts have hailed the agreement on the recovery fund in particular as an ‘historic moment’. For the first time, some EU debt will be mutualised and the EU will tap financial markets on a significant scale to secure funds, which will be disbursed in the form of grants and loans. The European Parliament - which must approve these spending plans - welcomed the fund but criticised the lack of parliamentary scrutiny in its implementation as well as some of the cuts leaders made in spending on innovation and the climate as compared to the European Commission’s MFF proposals and the Parliament’s own demands, and regretted the weakened link between budget spending and the rule of law. This note offers links to first reactions from international think tanks on the budget deal. Earlier publications on financing the EU can be found in a previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 8 June 2020.

Scenarios for geo-politics after coronavirus: A recent Atlantic Council analysis

16-07-2020

The Atlantic Council report, 'What World Post-Covid-19? Three Scenarios', has two main takeaways: first, Chinese-US rivalry could get worse and go global, destabilising an increasingly divided EU and endangering the United States' alliances system in Asia. Second, there is no way around the US, Europe and China cooperating to develop a positive, global 'new normal'.

The Atlantic Council report, 'What World Post-Covid-19? Three Scenarios', has two main takeaways: first, Chinese-US rivalry could get worse and go global, destabilising an increasingly divided EU and endangering the United States' alliances system in Asia. Second, there is no way around the US, Europe and China cooperating to develop a positive, global 'new normal'.

The EU budget and coronavirus [What Think Tanks are thinking]

06-07-2020

European Union leaders and institutions are now discussing plans to provide a major boost to the European economy to help it recover from the coronavirus crisis. They are doing so in the context of the new long-term EU budget, which would see the total ‘own resources’ ceiling for the Union more or less doubled. On 19 June 2020, the members of the European Council exchanged views by video-conference on the European Commission’s linked proposals, tabled on 27 May, for (i) a new ‘Next Generation EU’ ...

European Union leaders and institutions are now discussing plans to provide a major boost to the European economy to help it recover from the coronavirus crisis. They are doing so in the context of the new long-term EU budget, which would see the total ‘own resources’ ceiling for the Union more or less doubled. On 19 June 2020, the members of the European Council exchanged views by video-conference on the European Commission’s linked proposals, tabled on 27 May, for (i) a new ‘Next Generation EU’ recovery fund, and (ii) an updated Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the next seven-year financing period, from 2021 to 2027, in which the recovery fund would be embedded. The European Council will discuss these proposals again (in person) on 17-18 July in Brussels. In this context, think tankers and policy analysts have been debating the proposals and assessing their potential effectiveness. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on financing the fight against the coronavirus can be found in a previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 8 June.

Coronavirus: An uncertain outlook [What Think Tanks are thinking]

26-06-2020

While many countries, notably in Europe, are currently easing restrictive measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the latter is now rapidly spreading in other parts of the world, notably in the Americas and Indian sub-continent. The number of people globally who have tested positive for the disease is now approaching 10 million, exacerbating an already precarious situation in certain conflict-afflicted areas, such as Yemen. In Europe, analysts continue to examine the ...

While many countries, notably in Europe, are currently easing restrictive measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), the latter is now rapidly spreading in other parts of the world, notably in the Americas and Indian sub-continent. The number of people globally who have tested positive for the disease is now approaching 10 million, exacerbating an already precarious situation in certain conflict-afflicted areas, such as Yemen. In Europe, analysts continue to examine the various ways of financing and promoting economic recovery from the depressive effects of the pandemic. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the topic can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 12 June.

Coronavirus and international power [What Think Tanks are thinking]

12-06-2020

Policy analysts and politicians alike acknowledge the ‘game-changing’ impact or potential of the coronavirus pandemic for the world economy and geo-political order, as well as on regional disputes and domestic politics in many countries. For the European Union, the crisis highlights the need for closer and more effective cooperation and action at European level, not least because a number of major players around the world are attempting to use the crisis to increase their international influence, ...

Policy analysts and politicians alike acknowledge the ‘game-changing’ impact or potential of the coronavirus pandemic for the world economy and geo-political order, as well as on regional disputes and domestic politics in many countries. For the European Union, the crisis highlights the need for closer and more effective cooperation and action at European level, not least because a number of major players around the world are attempting to use the crisis to increase their international influence, often at the EU’s expense. This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the topic can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 8 June.

Coronavirus: Financing the recovery [What Think Tanks are thinking]

08-06-2020

As the coronavirus pandemic now appears to have peaked in several parts of the world, analysts are turning their attention to how best to revive economies from the abrupt and severe economic downturns they have been suffering as a result of the lockdowns imposed over the last three months. Among the tools in play are macro-economic policy (spending and taxation measures), monetary policy and sector-specific support or incentives. They are also reflecting on how best to counter the impact of the crisis ...

As the coronavirus pandemic now appears to have peaked in several parts of the world, analysts are turning their attention to how best to revive economies from the abrupt and severe economic downturns they have been suffering as a result of the lockdowns imposed over the last three months. Among the tools in play are macro-economic policy (spending and taxation measures), monetary policy and sector-specific support or incentives. They are also reflecting on how best to counter the impact of the crisis, depending on the type of economy concerned (notably advanced industrialised or emerging market economies). This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports from international think tanks on coronavirus and related issues. Earlier publications on the topic can be found in the previous item in this series, published by EPRS on 28 May.

Financing the European Union [What Think Tanks are thinking]

07-02-2020

The European Union is preparing its next long-term budget – the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). However, more than a year and a half after the European Commission made its MFF proposal, differences persist over the size of the budget and spending levels on individual policies. The European Parliament has called for an ambitious budget, capable of financing new initiatives, such as the European Green Deal. Despite tensions, a decision on the next MFF is still expected in 2020, before ...

The European Union is preparing its next long-term budget – the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). However, more than a year and a half after the European Commission made its MFF proposal, differences persist over the size of the budget and spending levels on individual policies. The European Parliament has called for an ambitious budget, capable of financing new initiatives, such as the European Green Deal. Despite tensions, a decision on the next MFF is still expected in 2020, before the planned start of the next financing period at the beginning of the following year. The later the decision comes, the more significant the negative consequences for beneficiaries of the EU budget, as some aid programmes could be delayed. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the EU’s long-term budget and related issues. The current item includes a recent package of publications on the MFF prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service.

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