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EU-India: Trade prospects

12-10-2020

The EU-India Summit held in July 2020 agreed to establish a regular high-level dialogue at ministerial level on bilateral trade and investment relations. In this way, the EU and India expressed a clear political will to work together to overcome issues that have hampered their trade relations in recent years and impeded advances towards a bilateral trade and investment agreement – where negotiations have been stalled since 2013 – and achievement of the potential of economic relations between the ...

The EU-India Summit held in July 2020 agreed to establish a regular high-level dialogue at ministerial level on bilateral trade and investment relations. In this way, the EU and India expressed a clear political will to work together to overcome issues that have hampered their trade relations in recent years and impeded advances towards a bilateral trade and investment agreement – where negotiations have been stalled since 2013 – and achievement of the potential of economic relations between the world's two biggest democracies.

EU-India: Cooperation on digitalisation

12-10-2020

A 'human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies' is the main concept behind the digital transformation of both the EU and India. During their July 2020 summit, the two agreed to promote global digitalisation standards characterised by 'safe and ethical deployment'. Their flagship initiatives – the EU digital single market and 'Digital India' – make them natural partners in the promotion of these global standards. Yet, if their ICT cooperation is to make sound progress ...

A 'human-centric digitalisation to develop inclusive economies and societies' is the main concept behind the digital transformation of both the EU and India. During their July 2020 summit, the two agreed to promote global digitalisation standards characterised by 'safe and ethical deployment'. Their flagship initiatives – the EU digital single market and 'Digital India' – make them natural partners in the promotion of these global standards. Yet, if their ICT cooperation is to make sound progress, some of Delhi's protectionist policies need further consideration.

International Agreements in Progress - After Cotonou: Towards a new agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific states

12-10-2020

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states is due to expire at the end of 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU adopted their negotiating mandates in May and June 2018 respectively, thus starting negotiations for a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions ...

The Cotonou partnership agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states is due to expire at the end of 2020. The then ACP Group of States – which later became the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) – and the EU adopted their negotiating mandates in May and June 2018 respectively, thus starting negotiations for a 'post-Cotonou' agreement in September 2018. The main challenge for the EU is to maintain its cooperation with the three OACPS sub-regions and to continue to promote the values enshrined in the EU Treaties. At the same time, the new partnership should take into account the United Nations' sustainable development goals, the redefinition of European strategies in the concerned regions, the new ambitions of the ACP states and the changing balance of power at the global level. Both the EU and the OACPS have agreed on the principle of a common foundation complemented by three regional protocols. These multi-level negotiations and the ongoing discussions on the next EU multiannual budget prevented the new agreement from being finalised by February 2020, the initial expiry date set in the Cotonou Agreement. Thus, in order to avoid a legal vacuum in relations, the provisions of the latter have been extended until the end of 2020. Negotiations are now in their final stages, however some complex issues remain to be solved, among which the institutional setting of the partnership, including the future of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. Fifth edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing (in French), please see the EPRS blog, https://epthinktank.eu/2018/07/09/le-futur-partenariat-de-lunion-europeenne-avec-les-pays-dafrique-des-caraibes-et-du-pacifique-international-agreements-in-progress/.

WTO e-commerce negotiations

05-10-2020

While e-commerce represents an increasing portion of the economy, international regulation of e-commerce is lagging behind. In 2017, the WTO Ministerial Conference issued a Joint Statement Initiative signalling the intention to launch plurilateral e-commerce talks. In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 76 of 164 WTO members, among them the EU, Australia, China, Japan, and the USA launched e commerce negotiations. Members seek a high-standard outcome building on WTO ...

While e-commerce represents an increasing portion of the economy, international regulation of e-commerce is lagging behind. In 2017, the WTO Ministerial Conference issued a Joint Statement Initiative signalling the intention to launch plurilateral e-commerce talks. In January 2019, in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, 76 of 164 WTO members, among them the EU, Australia, China, Japan, and the USA launched e commerce negotiations. Members seek a high-standard outcome building on WTO agreements, but the legal form of the deal is not yet clear. Participants wish to modernise trade rules to fit the digital age and show that the WTO's negotiating function can deliver. Key issues in the negotiations include e-contracts and e-signatures, data flows, data localisation requirements, disclosure of source code, and customs duties on electronic transmissions. While some divergences persist, in particular on data flows and privacy, the talks are progressing with a view to deliver a consolidated draft text by the end of 2020.

Geopolitical implications of the COVID-19 pandemic

29-09-2020

Since the Coronavirus began its spread across the world, many analysts have speculated about its impact: would it merely accelerate previously-existing trends, or would it prove to be a geopolitical ‘game-changer’, creating a world profoundly different than before? The answer is much more complex than either or: the world during and after COVID-19 will have elements of both, the old and the new, the known and the unknown. This study explores both dimensions of the pandemic’s impact: how does it affect ...

Since the Coronavirus began its spread across the world, many analysts have speculated about its impact: would it merely accelerate previously-existing trends, or would it prove to be a geopolitical ‘game-changer’, creating a world profoundly different than before? The answer is much more complex than either or: the world during and after COVID-19 will have elements of both, the old and the new, the known and the unknown. This study explores both dimensions of the pandemic’s impact: how does it affect the geopolitical context it erupted into, and what possibility space does it open up? The first section assesses the geopolitical trends antedating the pandemic and measures its present and expected impact on them, while the second section lays out the space for action and change created by the disruption. In the third section, the interplay of trends and uncertainties is explored in three scenarios set in 2025: Strategic Distancing; Europe in Self-isolation; and Lockdown World. The study finds that European foreign policy is entering an era of re-definition in which the European Parliament should play a crucial role. This means outlining the elements of strategic autonomy, but also streamlining them with each other. As such, classical foreign policy needs to join forces with other policy areas such as environmental and technological matters, trade, strategic communication – and of course, health. In that sense alone, the pandemic is already proving to be a game-changer.

Външен автор

Florence GAUB, Lotje BOSWINKEL; EUISS

EU External Migration Policy and the Protection of Human Rights

28-09-2020

This in-depth analysis focuses on the human rights implications of EU external migration policy interventions: (1) identifying human rights obligations owed to third-country nationals when engaging in cooperation with third countries and non-EU actors; (2) assessing the means and level of compliance with these obligations when designing and implementing the main policy instruments; and (3) determining the existence and adequacy of operational, reporting, monitoring and accountability mechanisms available ...

This in-depth analysis focuses on the human rights implications of EU external migration policy interventions: (1) identifying human rights obligations owed to third-country nationals when engaging in cooperation with third countries and non-EU actors; (2) assessing the means and level of compliance with these obligations when designing and implementing the main policy instruments; and (3) determining the existence and adequacy of operational, reporting, monitoring and accountability mechanisms available in each case to track and respond to potential violations. Particular attention is paid to soft-law tools, on account of their enhanced potential to erode the enforceability of obligations, to downgrade democratic accountability and generally undermine the rule of law. Paving the way for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, special emphasis is placed on cooperation under the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, the EU Agenda on Migration and the Migration Partnership Framework, including informal arrangements concluded by Frontex or by the Member States themselves. Four case studies guide the analysis and illustrate findings: (1) the EU-Turkey Statement; (2) the multi-modal cooperation with Libya; (3) the Joint Way Forward with Afghanistan; and (4) collaboration with Niger under the EUCAP Sahel mission. The in-depth analysis reveals that the full effect of the EU fundamental rights acquis in extra-territorial situations has not been duly accounted for and proposes a system to ensure compliance with the relevant standards covering the pre-conclusion, design, adoption, implementation, evaluation and review phases, highlighting the role of the European Parliament and civil society organisations.

Външен автор

Dr Violeta MORENO-LAX,

International Agreements in Progress - EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Levelling the playing field with China

11-09-2020

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play. The CAI negotiations are aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties ...

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play. The CAI negotiations are aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties (BITs) China and EU Member States concluded prior to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 when the EU gained competence for most investment issues. The CAI is intended to go far beyond traditional investment protection to also cover market access, investment-related sustainable development, and level playing field issues, such as transparency of subsidies, and rules on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and forced technology transfer. Although leaders at the 2019 EU-China Summit jointly committed to concluding the CAI talks in 2020, lack of engagement at the highest political level on the Chinese side has raised doubts as to whether a breakthrough can be reached in time, with China more focused on navigating the uncertainties of its relations with the United States from January 2021. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

Forests in south-east Asia: Can they be saved?

11-09-2020

Nowhere in the world are forests shrinking faster than in south-east Asia. Rapid population growth and economic development put intense pressure on the environment. Between 1990 and 2020, an area larger than Germany was deforested, over half of it in Indonesia. Land clearing for agriculture is the main cause of deforestation. Driven by booming global demand, oil palm plantations have spread into formerly forested land, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, which are the world's largest producers. ...

Nowhere in the world are forests shrinking faster than in south-east Asia. Rapid population growth and economic development put intense pressure on the environment. Between 1990 and 2020, an area larger than Germany was deforested, over half of it in Indonesia. Land clearing for agriculture is the main cause of deforestation. Driven by booming global demand, oil palm plantations have spread into formerly forested land, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia, which are the world's largest producers. Logging, much of it illegal, is also a serious threat to the region's forests. Deforestation destroys the habitats of iconic large mammals such as the orang-utan and tiger, as well as thousands of lesser-known, but still vital, animal and plant species; it also contributes to climate change. Smoke from fires on forested and cleared land causes economic disruption and thousands of premature deaths. Worrying though all this is, there are tentative signs of change. With international encouragement, south-east Asian governments are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of balanced development. Significant efforts are being made to protect forests and to make timber and palm oil production more sustainable. Perhaps reflecting such efforts, the pace of deforestation in most countries has come down slightly since a mid-2010s peak. However, it is too early to say whether this improvement can be sustained. The EU has played a leading role in helping south-east Asian countries to curb deforestation, for example by helping them to tackle illegal logging. It has also revised its biofuels policy to ensure that European demand for palm oil does not exacerbate the problem.

EU-China geographical indications agreement

02-09-2020

On 6 November 2019, the EU and China concluded negotiations on a standalone agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached to (mainly) agricultural products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographic origin. GIs are a type of intellectual property right (IPR) protected at multilateral level under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ...

On 6 November 2019, the EU and China concluded negotiations on a standalone agreement on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs), i.e. distinctive signs attached to (mainly) agricultural products that have a given quality, reputation or other characteristics that are attributable to their specific geographic origin. GIs are a type of intellectual property right (IPR) protected at multilateral level under the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and in the EU under a sui generis GI protection regime. The reciprocal EU-China agreement seeks to protect 100 EU GIs in China and 100 Chinese GIs in the EU against imitation and usurpation. On 20 July 2020, the Council endorsed its signature, and the European Parliament has now to give its consent for the agreement's conclusion. Once in force, the agreement could help boost EU exports of high-quality foodstuffs, wines and spirits to the EU's third-largest destination for agrifood exports, and foster rural development. It would also expand global recognition of the EU's sui generis GI protection regime, a key EU trade policy objective.

State of play of existing instruments for combating impunity for international crimes

14-08-2020

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament ...

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament in the fight against impunity. The recommendations include enhancing the capacity, efficiency and coordination of EU institutions working on accountability, as well as encouraging comprehensive, impartial and inclusive approaches to country situations. EU action in bilateral and multilateral fora is also covered, with a view to enhancing the universal reach of accountability mechanisms and the protection of their integrity, encouraging cooperation and assistance, and to upholding the principle of complementarity.

Външен автор

Olympia BEKOU

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European Gender Equality Week - October 26-29, 2020
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