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Review of dual-use export controls

26-11-2019

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous ...

Certain goods and technologies have legitimate civilian applications but can also be used for military purposes; so-called 'dual-use' goods are subject to the European Union's export control regime. The regime is now being revised, mainly to take account of significant technological developments and to create a more level playing field among EU Member States. The proposed regulation would recast the regulation in force since 2009. Among other elements, the proposal seeks to introduce an 'autonomous' EU list for cyber-surveillance technology featuring items that are not (yet) subject to multilateral export control. Moreover, the proposal seeks to introduce human rights violations as an explicit justification for export control. Stakeholders are divided over the incorporation of human rights considerations, with the technology industry particularly concerned that it might lose out to non-European competitors. On 17 January 2018, based on the INTA committee's report on the legislative proposal, the European Parliament adopted its position for trilogue negotiations. For its part, the Council adopted its negotiating mandate on 5 June 2019, and on the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency began negotiations with the European Parliament's delegation on 21 October 2019. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

The INF Treaty and European defence [What Think Tanks are thinking]

22-02-2019

The United States has announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, sparking fears of a fresh nuclear arms race between Russia, the United States and China. The collapse of the 1987 agreement, which bans land-based missiles with a range of between 500 kilometres and 5 500 kilometres, has further exacerbated existing concerns about European security caused by the uncertain commitment of US President Donald Trump to the NATO military alliance. President Trump’s approach ...

The United States has announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, sparking fears of a fresh nuclear arms race between Russia, the United States and China. The collapse of the 1987 agreement, which bans land-based missiles with a range of between 500 kilometres and 5 500 kilometres, has further exacerbated existing concerns about European security caused by the uncertain commitment of US President Donald Trump to the NATO military alliance. President Trump’s approach to security, coupled with Russia’s assertive behaviour, have prompted the European Union to put forward initiatives to increase its military capabilities. President Trump started a six-month process of withdring from the Treaty in February 2019, blaming the decision on Russian violations. Hopes are not high that an agreement can be negotiated during this period. Furthermore, during the 2019 Munich Security Conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on China to join the INF Treaty, but China has argued that this would place unfair limits on its military, and refused. This note offers links to commentaries and studies on the collapse of the INF Treaty, and on European defence. Earlier papers on defence can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’, published in July 2018.

The end of the INF Treaty? A pillar of European security architecture at risk

04-02-2019

The US administration announced on 1 February 2019 that it was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, with effect from 2 February 2019, and that it was giving Russia six months' notice of complete withdrawal. Russia reacted by announcing that it was also suspending its obligations under the Treaty. Both parties said they would begin developing new nuclear-capable missiles banned by the treaty. The 1987 INF Treaty is a landmark nuclear-arms-control treaty ...

The US administration announced on 1 February 2019 that it was suspending its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, with effect from 2 February 2019, and that it was giving Russia six months' notice of complete withdrawal. Russia reacted by announcing that it was also suspending its obligations under the Treaty. Both parties said they would begin developing new nuclear-capable missiles banned by the treaty. The 1987 INF Treaty is a landmark nuclear-arms-control treaty between the United States (US) and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that eliminated and prohibited ground-launched intermediate ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5 500 km. The US announcement follows years of allegations that the Russian Federation has acted in breach of the agreement. Russia, for its part, has also accused the US of violating the treaty. Both deny the allegations. Moreover, both parties consider that the agreement puts their countries at a strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis other nuclear powers, especially China. The parties' announcements undermine a cornerstone of the European security order. The signing of the INF Treaty in 1987 led to the removal and destruction of nearly 3 000 US and Soviet short-, medium- and intermediate-range nuclear-capable missiles stationed in or aimed at Europe. The EU has called on the US to consider the consequences of its possible withdrawal from the INF for its own security, the security of its allies and that of the whole world. The EU has also called on both the US and Russia to remain engaged in constructive dialogue to preserve the INF Treaty, and on Russia to address the serious concerns regarding its compliance with the treaty. NATO considers Russia to be in violation of the INF Treaty, and the alliance has called on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance with the agreement. Any redeployment of intermediate-range missiles will put Europe once more in the line of fire of strategic nuclear weapons. If the INF Treaty is abrogated, Europeans will be faced with stark choices all carrying inherent security risks, including engaging in a deployment race with Russia, or refusing re-deployment of US missiles on European soil, potentially leaving European countries exposed to Russian intimidation. Efforts over the next six months will focus on preserving the INF Treaty against all odds.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, November I 2018

16-11-2018

The highlights of the November I plenary session were the debate on the future of Europe with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, as well as the debate and vote on the interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. Parliament also held debates on floods in Europe; regulating virtual currencies and initial coin offerings; and EU resilience in the face of foreign actors' potential attempts to influence the upcoming EP election campaign. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa ...

The highlights of the November I plenary session were the debate on the future of Europe with Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, as well as the debate and vote on the interim report on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. Parliament also held debates on floods in Europe; regulating virtual currencies and initial coin offerings; and EU resilience in the face of foreign actors' potential attempts to influence the upcoming EP election campaign. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa addressed the Parliament in a formal sitting. Members debated HR/VP Federica Mogherini's statements on the future of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Central American migrants at the Mexican border, and the effects of US sanctions on Iran for European companies. Parliament voted on legislative proposals, inter alia, on energy efficiency; promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources; on the European Electronic Communications Code and BEREC; and on rail passengers' rights and obligations. Members adopted reports on the implementation of the EU Agreements with Georgia and Moldova, and voted on reports on humanitarian visas and on the implementation of the EU Common Position on arms exports. The 2018 Lux Prize, which promotes European cinema, makes promising films accessible to a wider audience and encourages debate on values and social issues across Europe, was awarded to 'Woman at war' (Kona fer í stríð), by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, June 2018

15-06-2018

The June plenary session highlights were the continuation of the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and the preparation of the European Council meeting of 28 and 29 June 2018. The European Commission and Council participated in discussions on, inter alia, the independence of the judiciary in Poland, humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean and solidarity in the EU, and the economic and monetary union package. VP/HR Federica Mogherini's statements ...

The June plenary session highlights were the continuation of the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and the preparation of the European Council meeting of 28 and 29 June 2018. The European Commission and Council participated in discussions on, inter alia, the independence of the judiciary in Poland, humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean and solidarity in the EU, and the economic and monetary union package. VP/HR Federica Mogherini's statements on the Iran nuclear deal, the annual report on human rights and democracy in the world (2017), and on the Georgian occupied territories ten years after the Russian invasion, were also discussed. Debates followed on the first anniversary of the signature of the Istanbul Convention and on the closure of the ivory market to combat poaching. Parliament approved the proposal to amend the regulation on OTC derivatives, an agreement on common rules in the field of civil aviation, on monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions and on fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles. It approved the final text of a proposed directive on proportionality tests for new national professional regulations. It also approved the new composition of Parliament after 'Brexit', and further macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.

EU-Japan cooperation on global and regional security - a litmus test for the EU's role as a global player?

11-06-2018

Within their partnership, the EU and Japan recognise each other as being essentially civilian (or ‘soft’) powers that share the same values and act in the international arena solely with diplomatic means. However, the evolution of the threats they face and the unpredictability now shown by their strategic ally, the US, have led both the EU and Japan to reconsider the option of ‘soft power-only’ for ensuring their security. They have both begun the — albeit long —process of seeking greater strategic ...

Within their partnership, the EU and Japan recognise each other as being essentially civilian (or ‘soft’) powers that share the same values and act in the international arena solely with diplomatic means. However, the evolution of the threats they face and the unpredictability now shown by their strategic ally, the US, have led both the EU and Japan to reconsider the option of ‘soft power-only’ for ensuring their security. They have both begun the — albeit long —process of seeking greater strategic autonomy. The EU’s Global Strategy adopted in 2016 aims clearly to ‘develop a more politically rounded approach to Asia, seeking to make greater practical contributions to Asian security’. Like the EU, Japan has identified ‘a multipolar age’ in which the rules-based international order that has allowed it to prosper is increasingly threatened. In line with its security-related reforms, Japan has decided to ‘take greater responsibilities and roles than before in order to maintain the existing international order’ and resolve a number of global issues. The EU and Japan may increase their cooperation at the global and strategic level and in tackling these challenges at the regional or local level. The Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) between the EU and Japan will provide opportunities for such cooperation, which should also be open to others. This is an opportunity for the EU to demonstrate that it is a consistent and reliable partner, and a true ‘global player’. The Council Conclusions of 28 May 2018 on ‘Enhanced security cooperation in and with Asia’ are a step in this direction but need to be translated into action.

North Korea’s nuclear summitry [What Think Tanks are thinking]

04-06-2018

The US President, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, are preparing for a high-stakes summit on the latter country’s nuclear programme, following Trump’s decision on 1 June to revive the meeting after having cancelled it the previous week. At the summit, due to take place on 12 June in Singapore, Trump is expected to press for denuclearisation of North Korea in exchange for easing economic sanctions and, possibly some aid. The main sticking point lies on the meaning the two countries ...

The US President, Donald Trump, and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, are preparing for a high-stakes summit on the latter country’s nuclear programme, following Trump’s decision on 1 June to revive the meeting after having cancelled it the previous week. At the summit, due to take place on 12 June in Singapore, Trump is expected to press for denuclearisation of North Korea in exchange for easing economic sanctions and, possibly some aid. The main sticking point lies on the meaning the two countries attribute to the word 'denuclearisation'. Pyongyang, after years of isolation, is engaged in an unprecedented series of high-level meetings with South Korea, China and Russia. This note offers links to reports and commentaries from some major international think-tanks and research institutes on the North Korean nuclear programme. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’, published in September 2017. Credit photo: © jpldesigns / Fotolia

North Korea: No summit for the moment

24-05-2018

Following fears in 2017 of an escalation of the North Korean crisis, an unexpected detente has come in early 2018. North Korean athletes took part in the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and Pyongyang undertook a charm offensive followed by a successful historic inter-Korean summit in late April, which may prompt long-awaited peace talks. A summit between US President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong un had been scheduled for 12 June in Singapore, but Trump called it off on 24 May. The main ...

Following fears in 2017 of an escalation of the North Korean crisis, an unexpected detente has come in early 2018. North Korean athletes took part in the Winter Olympics in South Korea, and Pyongyang undertook a charm offensive followed by a successful historic inter-Korean summit in late April, which may prompt long-awaited peace talks. A summit between US President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong un had been scheduled for 12 June in Singapore, but Trump called it off on 24 May. The main issue is the extent to which Pyongyang's leadership is ready to agree on denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula.

US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-05-2018

President Donald Trump announced on 8 May that the United States was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, ignoring calls from other signatories to preserve the 2015 deal, which lifted sanctions on Teheran in return for measures scaling back its nuclear ambitions. The decision paves the way for reinstating US sanctions against Iran, which will also affect non-US companies doing business with that country. President Trump justified the move by saying that the deal did not go far enough in removing ...

President Donald Trump announced on 8 May that the United States was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, ignoring calls from other signatories to preserve the 2015 deal, which lifted sanctions on Teheran in return for measures scaling back its nuclear ambitions. The decision paves the way for reinstating US sanctions against Iran, which will also affect non-US companies doing business with that country. President Trump justified the move by saying that the deal did not go far enough in removing the threat posed by Iran to the United States and its allies in the Middle East. This note offers links to reports and commentaries from some major international think-tanks and research institutes on the Iran nuclear deal and the US decision.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, February I 2018

09-02-2018

Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. The European Commission also made statements on fair taxation packages and the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of revelations on emission tests on monkeys and humans by the German car industry. Parliament decided to set up a ...

Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. The European Commission also made statements on fair taxation packages and the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of revelations on emission tests on monkeys and humans by the German car industry. Parliament decided to set up a special committee on the Union's authorisation procedure for pesticides (PEST). Parliament adopted agreed first-reading positions on, inter alia, a regulation on ending unjustified geo-blocking and two regulations on EU external action funds – among the priorities for 2018 in the Joint Declaration agreed by the Council, Commission and Parliament.

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