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On the path to 'strategic autonomy': The EU in an evolving geopolitical environment

28-09-2020

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy ...

In confronting the EU with an unprecedented crisis, the coronavirus outbreak is testing the bloc's unity, but may also accelerate the construction of EU strategic autonomy, as the roadmap for recovery is implemented. Political will, still in the making, and the capacity to act are key prerequisites for achieving effective European strategic autonomy. The EU is increasingly at risk of becoming a 'playground' for global powers in a world dominated by geopolitics. Building European strategic autonomy on a horizontal – cross-policy – basis would strengthen the EU's multilateral action and reduce dependence on external actors, to make the EU less vulnerable to external threats; while promoting a level playing field that benefits everyone. The EU could thus reap the full dividend of its integration and possibly benefit from greater economic gains. To build European strategic autonomy, the EU may choose to use the still 'under-used' or 'unused' potential of the Lisbon Treaty, with the European Council having a key role to play in triggering some of the Treaty provisions, particularly in foreign and security policy. European strategic autonomy may also result from a deepening of the EU integration process. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether the Member States will wish to grasp the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to deepen the European project.

EU-Iran: The way forward - Can the JCPOA survive the Trump presidency?

07-07-2020

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America ( ...

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America (USA) to isolate Iran and of not doing enough to save the JCPOA. The EU, for its part, is concerned about Iran's enrichment activities; growing tensions in the region and Iran's role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; and its ballistic missile programme. In 2011, the EU put restrictive measures in place to react to serious human rights violations in Iran. These remain in force. Nevertheless, the EU has continued to engage with Iran, in marked contrast to the USA. Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018, the Trump administration re-imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran and has since then pursued a policy of 'maximum pressure'. The declared goal of the maximum pressure campaign is to push Iran to negotiate a new agreement that would also address Iran's ballistic missile programme, end its support of militant groups in the region, and curb its foreign policy ambitions in western Asia. Instead, the US policy of maximum pressure on Tehran has led to an escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf region, with potentially direct consequences for Europe. With Iran continuing uranium enrichment to levels far exceeding the levels permitted under the JCPOA, and with the USA threatening to trigger the re-imposition of United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran, further escalation is likely. Security in the EU is linked to the security situation in western Asia. For that reason, Europe should maintain efforts to preserve the JCPOA and seek to reduce tension between Iran and the USA.

Religion und Außenpolitik der EU: Wachsendes Engagement

12-02-2020

Die Religion entwickelt sich zu einer neuen Dimension in der auswärtigen Politik der EU. Dieses Dokument vermittelt einen Überblick über die Grundsätze, den institutionellen Rahmen und die Politik, die dem Ansatz der EU bei religiösen Themen in Drittländern zugrunde liegen. Mittlerweile liegen neun Fallstudien vor, die veranschaulichen, welche wichtige Rolle die Religion in der Außenpolitik unterschiedlichster Länder weltweit spielt.

Die Religion entwickelt sich zu einer neuen Dimension in der auswärtigen Politik der EU. Dieses Dokument vermittelt einen Überblick über die Grundsätze, den institutionellen Rahmen und die Politik, die dem Ansatz der EU bei religiösen Themen in Drittländern zugrunde liegen. Mittlerweile liegen neun Fallstudien vor, die veranschaulichen, welche wichtige Rolle die Religion in der Außenpolitik unterschiedlichster Länder weltweit spielt.

US 'Peace Plan' for the Middle East

07-02-2020

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority ...

On 28 January 2020, United States President Donald Trump released his administration's 'vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace'. The White House Plan, coupled with earlier Trump administration moves, marks a distinct departure from past US policy on the Middle East Peace Process. Key elements are illegal under international law, as they advocate the annexation of occupied territory. Israeli leaders have welcomed the plan, seen as meeting Israel's key demands. The leadership of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have been united in rejecting the proposal, and the PA has since cut ties with Israel and the USA. The plan is meant to serve as the basis for future direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, to stretch over four years. However, the Israeli government has announced plans to implement parts of it unilaterally in the near future.

Escalating US-Iran conflict: The EU's priorities

16-01-2020

On 3 January 2020, a United States (US) strike outside Baghdad killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the al-Qods force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), and arguably the second most important man in Iran after Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The assassination was a reaction to an escalation in the growing conflict between the USA and Iran. Iran retaliated on 8 January 2020, by attacking two US bases in Iraq with missiles; luckily – or intentionally – without ...

On 3 January 2020, a United States (US) strike outside Baghdad killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the al-Qods force within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC), and arguably the second most important man in Iran after Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The assassination was a reaction to an escalation in the growing conflict between the USA and Iran. Iran retaliated on 8 January 2020, by attacking two US bases in Iraq with missiles; luckily – or intentionally – without casualties. Although both the USA and Iran have refrained from any further action, few expect this to mark the end of tensions between the USA and Iran in the region. The EU reaction to the assassination has been to try to de-escalate the situation to prevent all-out war, to focus on stabilising Iraq, and to limit damage to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

A new neighbourhood, development and international cooperation instrument

29-11-2019

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), with a proposed budget of €89.2 billion (in current prices). Parliament adopted its first-reading position in plenary on 27 March 2019. MEPs agreed to accept a single instrument, but called for a stronger role for Parliament ...

In the context of the Commission's proposal for a multiannual financial framework (MFF) for the 2021-2027 period, on 14 June 2018 the Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), with a proposed budget of €89.2 billion (in current prices). Parliament adopted its first-reading position in plenary on 27 March 2019. MEPs agreed to accept a single instrument, but called for a stronger role for Parliament on secondary policy choices, through delegated acts, and for the budget for the instrument to be increased by nearly €4 billion, to €93.154 billion. MEPs also specifically called for an increase in the funds allocated to human rights and democracy activities, the percentage of funding that fulfils the criteria for official development assistance, and funds that support climate and environmental objectives. Moreover, Parliament's amendments include the introduction of gender mainstreaming targets, the earmarking of certain financial allocations, the suspension of assistance in case of human rights violations, and the reduction of the emerging challenges and priorities cushion to €7 billion. The Council adopted a partial mandate on 13 June 2019, and an additional mandate – on the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD+) – on 25 September 2019. Following the committees' decision of 8 October 2019 to enter into interinstitutional negotiations on the basis of Parliament's first-reading position, a first trilogue meeting took place on 23 October 2019. The second is scheduled for 5 December 2019. Fourth edition. The 'Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

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 European Parliament's evolving soft power - From back-door diplomacy to agenda-setting: Democracy support and mediation

27-09-2019

For the past 40 years, Members of the European Parliament have been working at boosting Parliament's role in EU foreign policy. These efforts have continued to be stepped up since the launch of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) in 1993. Over recent decades, the European Parliament has significantly raised its profile as a credible moral force with strong focus on strengthening human rights, supporting democracy and enhancing the rule of law worldwide. Perhaps less visible than the European ...

For the past 40 years, Members of the European Parliament have been working at boosting Parliament's role in EU foreign policy. These efforts have continued to be stepped up since the launch of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) in 1993. Over recent decades, the European Parliament has significantly raised its profile as a credible moral force with strong focus on strengthening human rights, supporting democracy and enhancing the rule of law worldwide. Perhaps less visible than the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought, the European Parliament's democracy support activities are part of its 'soft-power' approach to international relations. Moreover, Parliament can convey messages through channels that are different from, and complementary to, those employed by the EU's traditional diplomatic players; for example, through its parliamentary networks. Parliament also enjoys Treaty-based information and consultation rights, which allow its Members to shape the EU's external policies. In addition, the European Parliament has become a public forum for debating with representatives of partner countries and international organisations, as well as influential non-state actors. MEPs pro-actively engage in inter-parliamentary delegations and missions to third countries as well as joint parliamentary assemblies. Moreover, parties in different countries often share strong links via their political families.

Politische Maßnahmen der EU im Interesse der Bürger: Terrorismusbekämpfung

28-06-2019

Angesichts der zunehmenden Bedrohung durch den Terrorismus weltweit engagiert sich die Europäische Union (EU) mehr denn je bei der Terrorismusbekämpfung. Für die Bekämpfung von Kriminalität und die Wahrung der Sicherheit sind zwar in erster Linie die Mitgliedstaaten verantwortlich; die EU bietet allerdings Instrumente für die Zusammenarbeit, die Koordinierung und (in gewissem Umfang) die Harmonisierung sowie finanzielle Unterstützung, um gegen dieses grenzüberschreitende Phänomen vorzugehen. Darüber ...

Angesichts der zunehmenden Bedrohung durch den Terrorismus weltweit engagiert sich die Europäische Union (EU) mehr denn je bei der Terrorismusbekämpfung. Für die Bekämpfung von Kriminalität und die Wahrung der Sicherheit sind zwar in erster Linie die Mitgliedstaaten verantwortlich; die EU bietet allerdings Instrumente für die Zusammenarbeit, die Koordinierung und (in gewissem Umfang) die Harmonisierung sowie finanzielle Unterstützung, um gegen dieses grenzüberschreitende Phänomen vorzugehen. Darüber hinaus ist das Handeln der EU über ihre eigenen Grenzen hinweg von der Prämisse geprägt, dass ein Zusammenhang besteht zwischen Entwicklung und Stabilität sowie zwischen interner und externer Sicherheit. Die Ausgaben der EU für die Terrorismusbekämpfung sind im Laufe der Jahre gestiegen und sollen dies auch in Zukunft tun; so soll die Zusammenarbeit zwischen den nationalen Strafverfolgungsbehörden verbessert und die für die Sicherheit zuständigen EU-Einrichtungen wie Europol und eu-LISA stärker unterstützt werden können. Auch die für die Zusammenarbeit mit Drittstaaten vorgesehenen Mittel wurden aufgestockt, unter anderem durch das Stabilitäts- und Friedensinstrument (IcSP). Seit 2014 wurden zahlreiche neue Vorschriften und Instrumente verabschiedet: Die betroffenen Bereiche reichen von der Vereinheitlichung der Begriffsbestimmungen terroristischer Straftaten und der entsprechenden Sanktionen über den Informations- und Datenaustausch, den Grenzschutz und die Bekämpfung der Terrorismusfinanzierung bis hin zur Regulierung von Feuerwaffen. Zur Bewertung der Wirksamkeit der bestehenden Instrumente und zur Bestimmung von Lücken und möglichen künftige Vorgehensweisen hat das Europäisches Parlament den Sonderausschuss Terrorismus (TERR) eingerichtet, der im November 2018 seinen Bericht vorlegte. Der Sonderausschuss TERR gab umfassende Empfehlungen für umgehende und längerfristige Maßnahmen zur Terrorismusprävention, Bekämpfung der Ursachen, zum Schutz der Unionsbürger und zur bestmöglichen Unterstützung der Opfer ab. Im Einklang mit diesen Empfehlungen werden sich die zukünftigen EU-Maßnahmen zur Terrorismusbekämpfung sehr wahrscheinlich auf die Reaktion auf existierende und neue Bedrohungen, die Bekämpfung von Radikalisierung – unter anderem durch die Verhinderung der Verbreitung von Terrorpropaganda im Internet – und die Steigerung der Widerstandsfähigkeit kritischer Infrastruktur konzentrieren. Die zu erwartenden Entwicklungen umfassen darüber hinaus einen besseren Informationsaustausch, einschließlich geplanter Interoperabilität, zwischen den sicherheits- und grenzbezogenen EU-Datenbanken sowie die Ermittlung und Verfolgung terroristischer Straftaten auf EU-Ebene durch die vorgeschlagene Erweiterung des Mandats der jüngst eingerichteten Europäischen Staatsanwaltschaft. Dies ist die aktualisierte Fassung eines Briefings, das vor der Europawahl 2019 veröffentlicht wurde.

Kooperationsabkommen zwischen der Europäischen Union und Afghanistan

06-03-2019

Das EU-Afghanistan Kooperationsabkommen über Partnerschaft und Entwicklung wurde im Februar 2017 von der EU und Afghanistan unterzeichnet. Das Kooperationsabkommen über Partnerschaft und Entwicklung ist die erste vertragliche Beziehung zwischen der Europäischen Union und Afghanistan und legt den rechtlichen Rahmen für die Zusammenarbeit zwischen der EU und Afghanistan fest. Für das vollständige Inkrafttreten dieses gemischten Abkommens bedarf es der Zustimmung des Europäischen Parlaments und der ...

Das EU-Afghanistan Kooperationsabkommen über Partnerschaft und Entwicklung wurde im Februar 2017 von der EU und Afghanistan unterzeichnet. Das Kooperationsabkommen über Partnerschaft und Entwicklung ist die erste vertragliche Beziehung zwischen der Europäischen Union und Afghanistan und legt den rechtlichen Rahmen für die Zusammenarbeit zwischen der EU und Afghanistan fest. Für das vollständige Inkrafttreten dieses gemischten Abkommens bedarf es der Zustimmung des Europäischen Parlaments und der Ratifizierung durch die nationalen Parlamente sowie bestimmte regionale Parlamente der EU-Mitgliedstaaten. Das Europäische Parlament stimmt voraussichtlich auf seiner März-I-Plenartagung über den Entwurf des Beschlusses des Rates über den Abschluss des Abkommens ab.

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