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Coronavirus in the 'Disunited States of America'

30-10-2020

The potential of the ongoing pandemic to accelerate already existing or underlying trends has become particularly visible ahead of the Presidential election in the United States. The coronavirus crisis has boosted environmental factors that can increase radicalisation, while at the same time intensifying the spread of conspiracy theories that can have a similar effect. The accelerated 'truth decay' and the partisan polarisation of the debate about the handling of the continued surge in Covid 19 cases ...

The potential of the ongoing pandemic to accelerate already existing or underlying trends has become particularly visible ahead of the Presidential election in the United States. The coronavirus crisis has boosted environmental factors that can increase radicalisation, while at the same time intensifying the spread of conspiracy theories that can have a similar effect. The accelerated 'truth decay' and the partisan polarisation of the debate about the handling of the continued surge in Covid 19 cases and deaths will likely further undermine trust in institutions, while accelerated societal anxiety could increase the potential for post-election tension.

Offshore wind energy in Europe

30-10-2020

Offshore wind is a highly promising renewable energy source (RES) that could make a major contribution to global and European efforts to decarbonise the economy by 2050 and keep global warming to around 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The European Commission expects the EU to produce at least 240 gigawatts (GW) of global offshore wind power capacity by 2050, while international organisations specialising in the energy field are even more optimistic ...

Offshore wind is a highly promising renewable energy source (RES) that could make a major contribution to global and European efforts to decarbonise the economy by 2050 and keep global warming to around 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The European Commission expects the EU to produce at least 240 gigawatts (GW) of global offshore wind power capacity by 2050, while international organisations specialising in the energy field are even more optimistic about the prospects of this energy source. Europe accounts for 80 % of global offshore wind capacity and is the dominant region in terms of technologies and manufacturing. Offshore wind accounts for 210 000 jobs in Europe (over half of all jobs in wind energy), and this number should increase further with greater investment. Wind is the only offshore RES that is currently deployable on a commercial scale and there is vast untapped potential in the world's oceans and seas, even if only some potential sites can be developed. Offshore wind has a higher capacity and more consistent output than other variable RES, with the International Energy Agency describing it as a unique 'variable baseload' technology that could help to integrate the decarbonised energy systems of the future. A major constraint on offshore wind has been the difficulty of building fixed constructions in depths greater than 60 metres. Floating bases for offshore wind turbines could then prove to be a game changing technology, allowing much wider exploitation of wind resources. Many of the leading projects for commercialising these floating technologies are based in Europe. Hybrid projects linking offshore wind to other uses – such as hydrogen production or battery storage – represent another important avenue for offshore wind to contribute more widely to our energy systems. The Commission is expected to adopt a new strategy for offshore RES in 2020, proposing further EU action to scale up deployment of offshore wind and invest in its underlying technologies. Some EU Member States have set their own indicative targets for offshore wind deployment by 2030, accompanied by a range of support schemes. The European Parliament has been supportive of offshore wind energy, in particular the potential for a North Sea offshore grid (energy hub).

Access to Abortion Services for Women in the EU - Slovakia

23-10-2020

This paper, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, provides basic information on access to abortion services in Slovakia. The legal status of abortions in the country is under permanent pressure despite the legally binding decision by the Constitutional Court back in 2007 which safeguarded women´s right to free choice. Eleven proposals to restrict abortion have been presented in the National ...

This paper, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, provides basic information on access to abortion services in Slovakia. The legal status of abortions in the country is under permanent pressure despite the legally binding decision by the Constitutional Court back in 2007 which safeguarded women´s right to free choice. Eleven proposals to restrict abortion have been presented in the National Parliament, in the last two years. Medical abortion is not available in the country, and together with conscientious objection applied in health services and current COVID-19 pandemics access to abortion services is further limited.

Външен автор

Olga Pietruchova, independent gender equality expert, Slovakia.

Understanding EU-NATO cooperation: Theory and practice

08-10-2020

The European Union and NATO have gone through the most acute strategic challenges of the Euro-Atlantic space together. Their history of cooperation is long and has seen both ups and downs. Already in 1949, the two defence players in western Europe, NATO and the Western Union (later the Western European Union), had begun to interact. In the 1990s, as the shift from nuclear deterrence to crisis management took place, the EU and NATO began to cooperate on operations, particularly in the Balkans. In ...

The European Union and NATO have gone through the most acute strategic challenges of the Euro-Atlantic space together. Their history of cooperation is long and has seen both ups and downs. Already in 1949, the two defence players in western Europe, NATO and the Western Union (later the Western European Union), had begun to interact. In the 1990s, as the shift from nuclear deterrence to crisis management took place, the EU and NATO began to cooperate on operations, particularly in the Balkans. In the early 2000s, the two cemented a strategic partnership based on mutually reinforcing cooperation, with crisis management at its heart. One concrete example is the EU's Operation Althea, still ongoing today, which the EU took over from NATO in 2004 and conducted while also making use of NATO assets. The dynamic of cooperation has intensified in the face of new threats ranging from terrorism to climate change to hybrid warfare. Each of these challenges shares one feature: they are common to both the EU and NATO. This realisation has given political impetus to formalise the current level of cooperation, through a joint declaration and concrete follow-up actions. In practice, this means joint training and exercises on matters ranging from cyber defence to hybrid warfare. There is also close coordination on foreign policy issues, including on 5G and cooperation with China, with the aim of crafting a solid joint approach. While the coronavirus pandemic has tested the resilience of EU-NATO cooperation, being met with coordination and a robust crisis response, questions nevertheless remain regarding the way forward for EU-NATO cooperation. For instance, the need to clarify the relationship between the EU and NATO's mutual defence clauses has become apparent. The materialisation of EU ambitions for strategic sovereignty, not least through multiple defence cooperation initiatives, will also present a test to the resilience of EU-NATO cooperation.

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.

Evaluating the EU’s Response to the US Global Gag Rule

30-09-2020

This study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, maps out the challenges the European Union faces in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and the prevention of gender based violence in its external action, especially in providing aid to developing countries against the backdrop of US Global Gag Rules.

This study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, maps out the challenges the European Union faces in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and the prevention of gender based violence in its external action, especially in providing aid to developing countries against the backdrop of US Global Gag Rules.

Външен автор

Clara COTRONEO, Petra JENEY, European Institute of Public Administration

La nomination des juges de la Cour Suprême des États-Unis

29-09-2020

Suite au récent décès de l’une des juges de la Cour Suprême des États-Unis, l'un des sièges dans cette Cour est devenu vacant. Dans ce contexte, la Bibliothèque de droit comparé du Parlement européen a le plaisir de mettre à disposition des lecteurs une mise à jour d’un extrait d’une étude que la même Bibliothèque avait publiée précédemment et qui concerne la procédure pour la nomination des juges de la Cour Suprême des États-Unis.

Suite au récent décès de l’une des juges de la Cour Suprême des États-Unis, l'un des sièges dans cette Cour est devenu vacant. Dans ce contexte, la Bibliothèque de droit comparé du Parlement européen a le plaisir de mettre à disposition des lecteurs une mise à jour d’un extrait d’une étude que la même Bibliothèque avait publiée précédemment et qui concerne la procédure pour la nomination des juges de la Cour Suprême des États-Unis.

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

Understanding the financing of intergovernmental organisations: A snapshot of the budgets of the UN, NATO and WTO

23-09-2020

Access to stable and adequate financial resources is a crucial condition for the realisation of the global goals of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs). In recent decades, alongside global political changes and the evolution in the role of multilateral cooperation, the resourcing and budgetary management of IGOs have also changed. Moreover, funding available to IGOs has become ever more diversified and complex both in terms of its origin and type. This briefing presents selected aspects of the ...

Access to stable and adequate financial resources is a crucial condition for the realisation of the global goals of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs). In recent decades, alongside global political changes and the evolution in the role of multilateral cooperation, the resourcing and budgetary management of IGOs have also changed. Moreover, funding available to IGOs has become ever more diversified and complex both in terms of its origin and type. This briefing presents selected aspects of the financing of three of the world's largest IGOs: the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It presents the size and evolution of their budgets as well as the main contributing countries to these budgets, with a particular focus on the EU Member States. The analysis is based mainly on budgetary data for the financial year 2018.

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'.

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