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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.

Russian military presence in the Eastern Partnership Countries

04-07-2016

The workshop was organized on June 15, 2016 at the initiative of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) with the aim of assessing the quantitative and qualitative parameters of Russian military presence in the Eastern Partnership Countries, and its implications for European security. Dr. Anna Maria Dyner, Analyst with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and Coordinator of PISM’s Eastern European Programme, covered Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Dr. Gaïdz Minassian, Senior ...

The workshop was organized on June 15, 2016 at the initiative of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) with the aim of assessing the quantitative and qualitative parameters of Russian military presence in the Eastern Partnership Countries, and its implications for European security. Dr. Anna Maria Dyner, Analyst with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and Coordinator of PISM’s Eastern European Programme, covered Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Dr. Gaïdz Minassian, Senior Lecturer at Sciences Po Paris and Associate Research Fellow at the French Fondation pour la Recherche stratégique, covered Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Externe Autor

Isabelle FACON, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, (FRS), France

Ukraine-NATO partnership in a time of crisis

30-06-2016

Sandwiched between Russia to the east and an expanding NATO to the west, Ukraine's relations with NATO are closely interlinked with the country's ties to Russia – and Russia's relations with NATO. Ukraine's NATO aspirations remain a key sticking point in this tense geopolitical situation. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Sandwiched between Russia to the east and an expanding NATO to the west, Ukraine's relations with NATO are closely interlinked with the country's ties to Russia – and Russia's relations with NATO. Ukraine's NATO aspirations remain a key sticking point in this tense geopolitical situation. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

Russia-NATO: A difficult relationship

25-05-2016

NATO-Russia relations have never been easy, but hit a new low in 2014 following Russian annexation of Crimea. Since then both sides have stepped up military activity in their shared eastern European neighbourhood. A return to cooperation in the near future seems unlikely.

NATO-Russia relations have never been easy, but hit a new low in 2014 following Russian annexation of Crimea. Since then both sides have stepped up military activity in their shared eastern European neighbourhood. A return to cooperation in the near future seems unlikely.

Russian military in Eastern Partnership countries

25-05-2016

A strong military presence helps Russia to maintain control over the ex-Soviet republics of eastern Europe, which it sees as its legitimate sphere of influence. Some troops are stationed in agreement with the country concerned, whereas others operate in pro-Russian separatist territories in defiance of the internationally recognised authorities. The main recent changes are the military build-up in the occupied territory of Crimea and an alleged Russian presence in the Donbass.

A strong military presence helps Russia to maintain control over the ex-Soviet republics of eastern Europe, which it sees as its legitimate sphere of influence. Some troops are stationed in agreement with the country concerned, whereas others operate in pro-Russian separatist territories in defiance of the internationally recognised authorities. The main recent changes are the military build-up in the occupied territory of Crimea and an alleged Russian presence in the Donbass.

The Situation of National Minorities in Crimea Following its Annexation by Russia

13-04-2016

National minorities in Crimea have been subject to systematic violations of their rights since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Documented violations have occurred in the areas of freedom of expression, conscience, and religion; the right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of the media and access to information; the right to a fair trial and effective remedy; the right to education in one’s native language; and linguistic and cultural rights. The de facto authorities ...

National minorities in Crimea have been subject to systematic violations of their rights since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia on 18 March 2014. Documented violations have occurred in the areas of freedom of expression, conscience, and religion; the right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of the media and access to information; the right to a fair trial and effective remedy; the right to education in one’s native language; and linguistic and cultural rights. The de facto authorities in Crimea have neglected to investigate cases of grave violations of the rights to life, liberty, security, and physical integrity. The response of the international community has been limited. While Western countries pursue non-recognition policies towards Crimea, international sanctions introduced in response to the occupation of Crimea are weak, and there have been no measures taken to address the international humanitarian law and human rights violations in Crimea. Limited support is available to human rights organisations focused on or working in Crimea, and human rights monitors still cannot gain access to Crimea. The European Union, and the European Parliament, in particular, should actively advocate for the establishment of an international human rights monitoring presence in occupied Crimea. Tailor-made support programmes should be offered to Ukrainian government agencies and civil society working towards the protection of the rights of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea. The European Parliament should continue raising the issue of human rights violations in Crimea and monitor individual cases. Furthermore, the Council of the European Union should consider imposing sanctions for the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in occupied Crimea.

Externe Autor

Natalia SHAPOVALOVA (CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, Poland), Olga BURLYUK (Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University in association with Policy Association for an Open Society, Czech Republic)

Ukraine: What to watch for in 2016

12-02-2016

With the entry into force of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as part of the Association Agreement (AA) on 1 January 2016, Ukraine has taken a significant step forward on its long road to European integration. However, 2016 will entail a new series of tests for the country. While Kyiv is under continued pressure to fulfil the February 2015 Minsk II ceasefire agreement, the interruption of electricity supply to Crimea — occupied by Russia since March 2014 — has added ...

With the entry into force of the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as part of the Association Agreement (AA) on 1 January 2016, Ukraine has taken a significant step forward on its long road to European integration. However, 2016 will entail a new series of tests for the country. While Kyiv is under continued pressure to fulfil the February 2015 Minsk II ceasefire agreement, the interruption of electricity supply to Crimea — occupied by Russia since March 2014 — has added fuel to bilateral tensions over the peninsula, which could intensify in 2016. Ukraine's default on its US$3 billion debt to Russia, and Moscow's response will further strain bilateral ties. The growing fragility of the pro-European government coalition could increase the likelihood of early parliamentary elections and impede the on-going reform process. At the same time, the national security situation – precarious overall as it is – could be further undermined by cyber-attacks. In addition, a number of external developments, for example, the split within the EU vis-à-vis the Russia-backed 'Nord Stream 2' gas pipeline and the forthcoming Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, planned for April 2016, will require attention.

Kazakhstan's long-held stability threatened

08-02-2016

Russia's annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine are worrying Kazakhstan, given its large Russian minority in the regions bordering Russia. Kazakhstan's proximity to Afghanistan exposes the country to threats such as religious extremism, drug trafficking and terrorism, particularly after NATO's withdrawal from Afghanistan. Russia is increasing its influence in regional security matters and pushing Kazakhstan for greater cooperation in the fight against shared threats.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and the conflict in eastern Ukraine are worrying Kazakhstan, given its large Russian minority in the regions bordering Russia. Kazakhstan's proximity to Afghanistan exposes the country to threats such as religious extremism, drug trafficking and terrorism, particularly after NATO's withdrawal from Afghanistan. Russia is increasing its influence in regional security matters and pushing Kazakhstan for greater cooperation in the fight against shared threats.

Putin's Russia [What Think Tanks are thinking]

09-10-2015

Russia's assertive foreign policy, annexation of Crimea, conflict with Ukraine and, recently,  military operation in Syria are further challenging the assumptions of the post-Cold War world order. Meanwhile, on the domestic front, President Vladimir Putin's government is seen to be increasingly repressive. The sanctions against Moscow imposed by the United States and the European Union have hit the Russian economy hard, but do not appear to have weakened President Putin's resolve to pursue policies ...

Russia's assertive foreign policy, annexation of Crimea, conflict with Ukraine and, recently,  military operation in Syria are further challenging the assumptions of the post-Cold War world order. Meanwhile, on the domestic front, President Vladimir Putin's government is seen to be increasingly repressive. The sanctions against Moscow imposed by the United States and the European Union have hit the Russian economy hard, but do not appear to have weakened President Putin's resolve to pursue policies which are highly criticised in the West. The EU, US and other countries are looking for the best options of dealing with Russia while trying to determine what drives President Putin's actions. This note offers links to commentaries, studies and reports by major international think tanks, which discuss Russia's policies and how to respond to them.

Occupation/Annexation of a Territory: Respect for International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Consistent EU Policy

25-06-2015

Situations of occupation are often among the most difficult conflicts to resolve, in particular if the occupied territory is also illegally annexed. Legally speaking, an illegally annexed territory is occupied. Third parties (like the EU) have an obligation to not recognise an illegal annexation and to not assist in the continued occupation and annexation. An occupying power has limited authority over the occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), but has nevertheless an obligation ...

Situations of occupation are often among the most difficult conflicts to resolve, in particular if the occupied territory is also illegally annexed. Legally speaking, an illegally annexed territory is occupied. Third parties (like the EU) have an obligation to not recognise an illegal annexation and to not assist in the continued occupation and annexation. An occupying power has limited authority over the occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL), but has nevertheless an obligation to respect not only IHL but also international human rights law. The EU has so far not adopted a consistent policy in these cases, but there are elements of good practice that can be used. A future EU policy should be based on non-recognition – as has been the case with regard to Crimea. The EU and its member states should refuse to recognise legislative and other changes in the occupied territory, they should refrain from engaging in economic and other activities that sustain the occupation and they should seriously consider sanctions against the responsible government.

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