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Religion and the EU's external policies: Increasing engagement

12-02-2020

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

Religion has been emerging as a new dimension in the EU's external policies. This paper provides an overview of the principles, institutional set-up and policies underpinning the EU's approach to religious issues in third countries. Nine case studies meanwhile serve to illustrate the important role played by religion in the foreign policies of a number of different countries worldwide.

EU trade with Latin America and the Caribbean: Overview and figures

16-12-2019

Collectively, the 33 countries forming the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are the EU's fifth largest trading partner. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and agreements with Mexico and Chile that are in the process of being modernised. Furthermore, the EU has inter-regional and bilateral framework ...

Collectively, the 33 countries forming the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) are the EU's fifth largest trading partner. The EU has fully fledged agreements with two Latin American groupings (Cariforum and the Central America group), a multiparty trade agreement with three countries of the Andean Community (Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru), and agreements with Mexico and Chile that are in the process of being modernised. Furthermore, the EU has inter-regional and bilateral framework agreements with both Mercosur and its individual members. The EU's agreements governing trade relations with Latin American and Caribbean subgroupings and individual countries differ considerably in terms of coverage and methodology, depending on the time at which they were concluded and the backdrop to the negotiations. The EU is currently modernising the trade pillars of its agreements with Mexico (an 'agreement in principle' was reached in April 2018) and Chile (negotiations are still ongoing) in order to align them to the current standards of EU FTAs. If the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement, which includes a trade pillar for which a political agreement was reached in June 2019, is successfully ratified, the EU would then have comprehensive agreements governing trade relations with nearly all of Latin America and the Caribbean (with the exception of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela).

Galardonado con el Premio Sájarov 2019: Ilham Tohti

10-12-2019

El espacio para la libertad de conciencia se está reduciendo drásticamente en todo el mundo debido a un aumento del peso geopolítico y geoeconómico de los regímenes autoritarios. El Premio Sájarov a la Libertad de Conciencia es, por lo tanto, más importante que nunca, ya que permite que el Parlamento Europeo llame la atención sobre la difícil situación que viven quienes se oponen a la represión de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, principios en los que se basa la Unión y que ...

El espacio para la libertad de conciencia se está reduciendo drásticamente en todo el mundo debido a un aumento del peso geopolítico y geoeconómico de los regímenes autoritarios. El Premio Sájarov a la Libertad de Conciencia es, por lo tanto, más importante que nunca, ya que permite que el Parlamento Europeo llame la atención sobre la difícil situación que viven quienes se oponen a la represión de los derechos humanos y de las libertades fundamentales, principios en los que se basa la Unión y que promueve en sus relaciones exteriores, de conformidad con el artículo 21 del Tratado de la Unión Europea. El galardonado con el Premio Sájarov 2019 es un reputado profesor de economía uigur, Ilham Tohti, defensor moderado de los derechos de la minoría uigur y del diálogo con la mayoría han en China. En 2014 fue condenado a cadena perpetua acusado de cargos relacionados con el separatismo, en un contexto de endurecimiento por parte de China de la política de lucha contra el extremismo religioso, el separatismo étnico y el terrorismo, que en la actualidad señala a la identidad uigur como una importante amenaza para la seguridad nacional. El Premio Sájarov está dotado con 50 000 euros, y se presentará en una ceremonia que tendrá lugar en el Parlamento Europeo durante la sesión plenaria de diciembre en Estrasburgo, en presencia de los demás finalistas.

China's growing role as a security actor in Africa

08-10-2019

China has emerged as an important economic, political but also security actor in Africa as a result of its 'Going out' policy officially launched in 2001, and the massive roll-out of its signature connectivity strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), since 2013. The presence of Chinese citizens and economic assets in Africa has grown substantially due to China's expanding trade with, and China-funded infrastructure projects in, African countries. Many of those countries are plagued by intrastate ...

China has emerged as an important economic, political but also security actor in Africa as a result of its 'Going out' policy officially launched in 2001, and the massive roll-out of its signature connectivity strategy, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), since 2013. The presence of Chinese citizens and economic assets in Africa has grown substantially due to China's expanding trade with, and China-funded infrastructure projects in, African countries. Many of those countries are plagued by intrastate armed conflicts, jihadist terrorism or maritime piracy off their coasts. The rising number of violent attacks against Chinese workers, calls from the domestic Chinese audience for action, and surging economic loss are some of the factors that have compelled the Chinese government to react. China has shifted from uncompromising non-involvement to selective and incremental engagement in bilateral, regional and international cooperation on peace and security by nuancing, on a case-by-case basis, the narrow boundaries of its normative foreign policy framework, including the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of foreign countries, that had made a previously inward-looking China for decades a free-rider on global security, provided by the US in particular. As in other fields, China has pursued a two-pronged approach to African security issues, to defend its economic and security interests and to expand its influence in Africa. On the one hand, it has contributed to existing multilateral structures and instruments to foster peace and security. It has participated in UN-led peacekeeping missions to Africa and in the UN-mandated counter-piracy action off the Horn of Africa. Both have provided the pretext for China to accelerate its massive blue-water navy build up, to be present in the Indian Ocean and beyond and to set up its first overseas military base, in Djibouti. On the other hand, it has expanded its military presence by engaging African countries bilaterally through joint drills, military training, and military infrastructure-building and multilaterally through the newly created China-Africa fora on security issues. Against this backdrop it remains to be seen how complementary or competitive the future EU-China security cooperation, which so far has remained in its infancy, will be in seeking 'African solutions to African problems'.

Acuerdos internacionales en curso: El pilar comercial del Acuerdo de Asociación UE-Mercosur

30-08-2019

El 28 de junio de 2019, la Unión Europea (UE) y los cuatro miembros fundadores del Mercosur (el «Mercado Común del Sur»), Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay y Uruguay, alcanzaron un «acuerdo de principio» sobre un acuerdo de libre comercio (ALC) como parte de un acuerdo de asociación (AA) más amplio. Sin embargo, a raíz de la destrucción masiva del Amazonas brasileño a través de incendios forestales a gran escala, tanto los responsables políticos de la Unión Europea como los grupos internacionales de defensa ...

El 28 de junio de 2019, la Unión Europea (UE) y los cuatro miembros fundadores del Mercosur (el «Mercado Común del Sur»), Argentina, Brasil, Paraguay y Uruguay, alcanzaron un «acuerdo de principio» sobre un acuerdo de libre comercio (ALC) como parte de un acuerdo de asociación (AA) más amplio. Sin embargo, a raíz de la destrucción masiva del Amazonas brasileño a través de incendios forestales a gran escala, tanto los responsables políticos de la Unión Europea como los grupos internacionales de defensa del medio ambiente han alzado su voz de manera cada vez más clamorosa para expresar su preocupación por las posibles repercusiones del acuerdo sobre el medio ambiente y el cambio climático. Las asociaciones de agricultores de la Unión con intereses defensivos han criticado ferozmente lo que han calificado de acuerdo de «coches por vacas». Por otra parte, el acuerdo ha sido acogido muy calurosamente por las asociaciones industriales de la Unión y varios subsectores de la agricultura de la Unión con intereses ofensivos. Si se eliminan o reducen sustancialmente las barreras arancelarias y no arancelarias, el potencial de crecimiento del comercio birregional de bienes, servicios e inversiones es significativo. Además, el ALC sería una clara señal en favor del sistema comercial multilateral basado en normas y contra las relaciones de poder en el comercio. Tras la revisión jurídica y la traducción del acuerdo, se presentará al Consejo para su firma. Seguidamente se presentará al Parlamento Europeo para su aprobación. Una vez que el Consejo haya adoptado la decisión de celebración del acuerdo, se presentará a los parlamentos de los Estados miembros de la Unión para su ratificación. Primera edición. Los briefings sobre «Acuerdos internacionales en curso» se actualizan en fases clave a lo largo de todo el proceso, desde los debates iniciales hasta la ratificación.

EU framework for FDI screening

17-04-2019

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal was a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aimed to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of ...

On 13 September 2017, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a regulation establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into the EU on grounds of security or public order. The proposal was a response to a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex investment landscape. It aimed to strike a balance between maintaining the EU's general openness to FDI inflows and ensuring that the EU's essential interests are not undermined. Recent FDI trends and policies of emerging FDI providers had cast doubt on the effectiveness of the decentralised and fragmented system of FDI screening – in use in only some EU Member States – to adequately address the potential (cross-border) impact of FDI inflows on security or public order without EU coordinated cooperation among all EU Member States. The proposal's objective was neither to harmonise the formal FDI screening mechanisms then used by almost half of the Member States, nor to replace them with a single EU mechanism. Instead, it aimed to enhance cooperation and information-sharing on FDI screening between the Commission and Member States, and to increase legal certainty and transparency. The European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) and the Council adopted their positions in May and June 2018 respectively, and interinstitutional negotiations concluded in November 2018 with a provisional text. That was first endorsed by the Member States' Permanent Representatives (Coreper) and by INTA in December 2018. After the text's adoption by the European Parliament and the Council in February and March 2019 respectively, it entered into force on 10 April 2019, and will apply from 11 October 2020, 18 months later. Fourth 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.

5G in the EU and Chinese telecoms suppliers

08-04-2019

The spectrum auctions of fifth-generation (5G) mobile telecoms networks planned in 17 EU Member States for 2019 or 2020 have sparked a highly politicised debate in the EU about whether the use of Chinese 5G equipment in critical EU infrastructure poses a threat to security. While Australia, Japan, and New Zealand have followed the United States (US) in imposing a (partial) ban on Chinese telecom vendors, EU Member States appear to privilege EU-coordinated national risk-mitigating measures over a ...

The spectrum auctions of fifth-generation (5G) mobile telecoms networks planned in 17 EU Member States for 2019 or 2020 have sparked a highly politicised debate in the EU about whether the use of Chinese 5G equipment in critical EU infrastructure poses a threat to security. While Australia, Japan, and New Zealand have followed the United States (US) in imposing a (partial) ban on Chinese telecom vendors, EU Member States appear to privilege EU-coordinated national risk-mitigating measures over a ban.

Towards a new EU policy approach to China: 21st EU-China Summit – April 2019

08-04-2019

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that ...

With the European Parliament elections set for May 2019, the 21st EU-China Summit has been advanced, to be held in Brussels on 9 April 2019, only nine months after the previous one. The 2018 summit's joint statement captured a broad range of deliverables that had been achieved over a three-year period, since the EU and China had failed to agree on joint statements in 2016 and 2017. Considering that not even the short-term commitments on the trade and investment agenda from 2018 have been met, that the context of US-China great power competition looms large and that the EU has adopted more assertive language in its recently issued EU-China strategic outlook, it remains to be seen whether meaningful outcomes will be reached at this year's summit.

Taiwan's political survival in a challenging geopolitical context

26-03-2019

Since the landmark victory of Tsai Ing-wen from Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2016 presidential elections, mainland China has intensified the island's international isolation and intimidation through political pressure, economic coercion and military drills. In a January 2019 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1979 'Message to Compatriots in Taiwan', China's President, Xi Jinping, alluded to the inevitability of unification based on a 'one country ...

Since the landmark victory of Tsai Ing-wen from Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2016 presidential elections, mainland China has intensified the island's international isolation and intimidation through political pressure, economic coercion and military drills. In a January 2019 speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of the 1979 'Message to Compatriots in Taiwan', China's President, Xi Jinping, alluded to the inevitability of unification based on a 'one country, two systems' formula, which is widely rejected in Taiwan. Taiwan's successful transition from an authoritarian anti-communist bulwark led by the Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT), to a liberal multi-party democracy that embraces individual political freedoms, the rule of law and universal human rights, is a challenge for the authoritarian one-party system of the People's Republic of China (PRC), as it belies mainland China's rhetoric that a liberal multi-party democracy is unsuitable for Chinese people. Taiwan's political survival within the fragile status quo of cross-strait relations ultimately depends on the United States' continued national interest in ensuring that Taiwan's defence capabilities and the US's military supremacy over the PRC act as a deterrent against a potential invasion of Taiwan by mainland China's military forces. Against the backdrop of the PRC's increasingly aggressive Taiwan policy and growing US-China strategic competition on multiple fronts, the US has expanded its long-standing commitments in support of Taiwan's defence and democracy, and considers the island as a partner in promoting the goals and values of the US's free and open Indo-Pacific strategy. The EU maintains a 'One China' policy, which recognises the PRC government as the sole legal government of China. However, since the EU and Taiwan are like-minded in many regards and the EU respects Taiwan's governance system, it is interested in closer cooperation with Taiwan on non-political issues, even in the absence of diplomatic recognition.

Marco de la UE para el control de las IED

06-02-2019

La Comisión Europea presentó en 2017 una propuesta para la creación de un marco de la UE que permita el control de la inversión extranjera directa (IED) y con el que pretende alcanzar un equilibrio entre el mantenimiento de la apertura general de la UE a los flujos de IED y la garantía de que no se menoscaben intereses esenciales de la Unión. El Parlamento y el Consejo han llegado a un acuerdo sobre la propuesta, que está previsto se someta a votación en el Parlamento en primera lectura durante el ...

La Comisión Europea presentó en 2017 una propuesta para la creación de un marco de la UE que permita el control de la inversión extranjera directa (IED) y con el que pretende alcanzar un equilibrio entre el mantenimiento de la apertura general de la UE a los flujos de IED y la garantía de que no se menoscaben intereses esenciales de la Unión. El Parlamento y el Consejo han llegado a un acuerdo sobre la propuesta, que está previsto se someta a votación en el Parlamento en primera lectura durante el Pleno de febrero.

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