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Balancing Integration and Autonomy. How EFTA countries reconcile EU-approximation and independence

27-02-2020

In 2020, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) celebrates its 60th anniversary. During this respectable lifetime, its composition has frequently changed, starting with seven founding members in 1960 and having four today. EFTA has turned out to be an ‘antechamber’ for the EU, as well as a distinct organisation with its own purpose. Since the foundation of the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992, EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have joined this area, whereas Switzerland has chosen ...

In 2020, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) celebrates its 60th anniversary. During this respectable lifetime, its composition has frequently changed, starting with seven founding members in 1960 and having four today. EFTA has turned out to be an ‘antechamber’ for the EU, as well as a distinct organisation with its own purpose. Since the foundation of the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1992, EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have joined this area, whereas Switzerland has chosen a relationship with the EU based on a number of bilateral agreements. These four EFTA states have in common that they perform a delicate and dynamic balancing act between integration into the EU and preservation of their own autonomy. Reasons for the strong desire for autonomy can partly be found in geographic or historic factors, but these cannot explain their position entirely, as existing EU Member States may also have such particularities. That all EFTA countries have a strong economy based on specific sets of natural resources and/or financial legislation, certainly is another element that explains the desire to keep matters in their own hands as far as possible. Strong consensus oriented democratic systems with components of direct democracy complete the picture. External events, such as the creation of the Internal Market, EU enlargement or the 2008 financial crisis have regularly challenged the balance EFTA countries have built with the EU. Even though they have led to initiatives to integrate closer with the EU or apply for membership, in the end such steps have not been completed. Whereas the UK is an important partner of all EFTA countries, mostly of Norway, its withdrawal from the EU has created another challenge to the balance. In a larger perspective, balancing autonomy and integration is not unique to EFTA countries, but happens also within the EU in the form of opt outs or arrangements for enhanced cooperation. And in view of a large number of countries aspiring for future EU membership, concepts such as flexible arrangements or associate memberships are not likely to disappear from the EU agenda.

Commitments made at the hearing of Phil HOGAN, Commissioner-designate - Trade

22-11-2019

The Commissioner-designate, Phil Hogan, appeared before the European Parliament on 30 September 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committee on International Trade (INTA). During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - A level playing field for all; - Strengthening Europe’s global ...

The Commissioner-designate, Phil Hogan, appeared before the European Parliament on 30 September 2019 to answer questions from MEPs in the Committee on International Trade (INTA). During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document. These commitments refer to his portfolio, as described in the mission letter sent to him by Ursula von der Leyen, President-elect of the European Commission, including: - A level playing field for all; - Strengthening Europe’s global leadership; - Trade for sustainable development and climate action; and - Making trade more transparent.

Diversifying unity. How Eastern Partnership countries develop their economy, governance and identity in a geopolitical context

30-10-2019

This study analyses the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in the year of its 10th anniversary. The Eastern Partnership was set up in 2009 as a joint policy initiative aiming at deepening and strengthening relations between the European Union, its Member States and the six EaP countries of Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. While each of these countries shares a past in the former Soviet Union, they have developed over time in different directions. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have ...

This study analyses the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in the year of its 10th anniversary. The Eastern Partnership was set up in 2009 as a joint policy initiative aiming at deepening and strengthening relations between the European Union, its Member States and the six EaP countries of Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. While each of these countries shares a past in the former Soviet Union, they have developed over time in different directions. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia have concluded Association Agreements with the EU, which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas. They will have to fulfil conditions laid down in the Association Agreements to make progress on reforms of governance, the judiciary and fighting corruption. Moreover, Georgia and Ukraine are seeking to integrate more deeply into the Western world order, aspiring to membership of NATO and the EU. Armenia and Azerbaijan have different ways of cooperating with the EU. Belarus is furthest from the EU because of its poor record on democracy and human rights. All six countries are to a certain extent within Russia’s sphere of influence and have to deal with several geopolitical constraints, but they have increasingly developed economic relations and national identities of their own. It will be a challenge to maintain a common perspective for the next 10 years of the Eastern Partnership and a further divergence between the countries is likely. This will not only be between countries with an Association Agreement and the others, but along multiple vectors. While further developing statehood, the eastern partners will want to decide increasingly for themselves which forms of cooperation they want to pursue in the future. They may choose international partners according to their perceived needs, including Russia, the US, China or Turkey. The EU for its part should continue to pursue its strengths of assisting in achieving better governance and democracy and strengthening economic ties, while contributing to diminishing geopolitical tensions.

Free trade or geo-economics? Trends in world trade

27-09-2019

The European Union (EU) is the biggest integrated economic zone and a guarantor of an open and predictable regulatory system able to determine its own economic destiny. But the behaviour of other global powers is increasingly calling this ability into question. China and the United States, especially, do not separate economic interests from geopolitical interests in the same way the EU does and are increasingly trying to gain geopolitical advantage using their economic might. The EU is known as ...

The European Union (EU) is the biggest integrated economic zone and a guarantor of an open and predictable regulatory system able to determine its own economic destiny. But the behaviour of other global powers is increasingly calling this ability into question. China and the United States, especially, do not separate economic interests from geopolitical interests in the same way the EU does and are increasingly trying to gain geopolitical advantage using their economic might. The EU is known as a fierce defender of a multilateral rules - based trade system with free but fair trade as its strategic policy objective. The EU will therefore do its utmost to save a ‘meaningful multilateralism’ by helping to reform the WTO, improve multilateral investment protection and conclude multilateral trade agreements. At the same time, the EU will defend its own interests by negotiating bilateral trade deals and applying trade defence and investment screening where needed. The EU has a strong interest in keeping the use of geo-economic measures manageable and avoid escalation into a trade war.

El Espacio Económico Europeo, Suiza y el Norte

01-05-2018

El Espacio Económico Europeo (EEE) fue creado en 1994 para ampliar las disposiciones de la Unión sobre el mercado interior a los países de la Asociación Europea de Libre Comercio (AELC). Noruega, Islandia y Liechtenstein son partes en el EEE, mientras que Suiza es miembro de la AELC, pero no forma parte del EEE. La Unión y sus socios en el EEE (Noruega e Islandia) también están vinculados por diversas «políticas septentrionales» y foros centrados en el dinámico extremo septentrional de Europa y en ...

El Espacio Económico Europeo (EEE) fue creado en 1994 para ampliar las disposiciones de la Unión sobre el mercado interior a los países de la Asociación Europea de Libre Comercio (AELC). Noruega, Islandia y Liechtenstein son partes en el EEE, mientras que Suiza es miembro de la AELC, pero no forma parte del EEE. La Unión y sus socios en el EEE (Noruega e Islandia) también están vinculados por diversas «políticas septentrionales» y foros centrados en el dinámico extremo septentrional de Europa y en la región ártica en general.

Foreign Direct Investment in the EU and the Eastern Partnership Countries

05-02-2018

Upon request of the Euronest parliamentary assembly economic committee, investment patterns and policies in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries were compared. The EU is an investment heavyweight, both in terms of attracting as placing foreign direct investment. Many EU Member States protect their investment abroad and some have screening mechanisms for incoming investment. The Eastern Partnership countries are minor investors themselves, but keep attracting a slowly growing level of foreign ...

Upon request of the Euronest parliamentary assembly economic committee, investment patterns and policies in the EU and Eastern Partnership countries were compared. The EU is an investment heavyweight, both in terms of attracting as placing foreign direct investment. Many EU Member States protect their investment abroad and some have screening mechanisms for incoming investment. The Eastern Partnership countries are minor investors themselves, but keep attracting a slowly growing level of foreign direct investment. Investment is supported by the European Investment Bank, the EBRD or the World Bank. Looking at which countries invest in which Eastern Partnership country, it appears that each of them has one main investing country, suggesting a preferred relationship, which would need further research to explain.

La Unión Europea y sus socios comerciales

01-02-2018

A lo largo de los años, la Unión ha pasado, de forma progresiva, de fabricar productos con un alto coeficiente de mano de obra y bajo valor a especializarse en bienes de marca de mayor valor. Dada su economía abierta, el comercio es esencial para la Unión. Para superar los obstáculos al comercio y ofrecer una igualdad de condiciones a sus empresas, la Unión está negociando varios acuerdos de libre comercio (ALC). La Unión es, además, uno de los fundadores y un actor fundamental de la Organización ...

A lo largo de los años, la Unión ha pasado, de forma progresiva, de fabricar productos con un alto coeficiente de mano de obra y bajo valor a especializarse en bienes de marca de mayor valor. Dada su economía abierta, el comercio es esencial para la Unión. Para superar los obstáculos al comercio y ofrecer una igualdad de condiciones a sus empresas, la Unión está negociando varios acuerdos de libre comercio (ALC). La Unión es, además, uno de los fundadores y un actor fundamental de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC).

Rusia

01-02-2018

Desde 2014, la anexión ilegal de Crimea por parte de Rusia, su apoyo a grupos rebeldes en el este de Ucrania, sus políticas en relación con sus países vecinos, sus campañas de desinformación y diversos acontecimientos internos negativos han tensado las relaciones entre Rusia y la Unión. Estas tensiones también se han visto aumentadas tras la intervención de Rusia en Siria. Desde 2014, la Unión ha ido renovando periódicamente las sanciones a Rusia. No obstante, la Unión y Rusia siguen manteniendo ...

Desde 2014, la anexión ilegal de Crimea por parte de Rusia, su apoyo a grupos rebeldes en el este de Ucrania, sus políticas en relación con sus países vecinos, sus campañas de desinformación y diversos acontecimientos internos negativos han tensado las relaciones entre Rusia y la Unión. Estas tensiones también se han visto aumentadas tras la intervención de Rusia en Siria. Desde 2014, la Unión ha ido renovando periódicamente las sanciones a Rusia. No obstante, la Unión y Rusia siguen manteniendo una fuerte interdependencia y la Unión aplica un planteamiento de «compromisos selectivos» con respecto a este país.

La política europea de vecindad

01-01-2018

La política europea de vecindad se aplica a Argelia, Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bielorrusia, Egipto, Georgia, Israel, Jordania, Líbano, Libia, Marruecos, Moldavia, Siria, Territorios Palestinos, Túnez y Ucrania. Su objetivo es reforzar la prosperidad, la estabilidad y la seguridad para todos. Se basa en la democracia, el Estado de Derecho y el respeto de los derechos humanos. Es una política bilateral entre la Unión y cada país socio, completada con iniciativas regionales de colaboración: la Asociación ...

La política europea de vecindad se aplica a Argelia, Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bielorrusia, Egipto, Georgia, Israel, Jordania, Líbano, Libia, Marruecos, Moldavia, Siria, Territorios Palestinos, Túnez y Ucrania. Su objetivo es reforzar la prosperidad, la estabilidad y la seguridad para todos. Se basa en la democracia, el Estado de Derecho y el respeto de los derechos humanos. Es una política bilateral entre la Unión y cada país socio, completada con iniciativas regionales de colaboración: la Asociación Oriental y la Unión por el Mediterráneo[1].

Tres vecinos de la Asociación Oriental: Ucrania, Moldavia y Bielorrusia

01-01-2018

Seis Estados de la antigua Unión Soviética participan en la Asociación Oriental con la Unión, creada en 2009: Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bielorrusia, Georgia, Moldavia y Ucrania. Esta Asociación se creó para apoyar la labor de reforma política, social y económica de estos países, con el fin de reforzar la democratización y la buena gobernanza, la seguridad energética, la protección del medio ambiente y el desarrollo económico y social. Con la excepción de Bielorrusia, todos los miembros de la Asociación ...

Seis Estados de la antigua Unión Soviética participan en la Asociación Oriental con la Unión, creada en 2009: Armenia, Azerbaiyán, Bielorrusia, Georgia, Moldavia y Ucrania. Esta Asociación se creó para apoyar la labor de reforma política, social y económica de estos países, con el fin de reforzar la democratización y la buena gobernanza, la seguridad energética, la protección del medio ambiente y el desarrollo económico y social. Con la excepción de Bielorrusia, todos los miembros de la Asociación participan en la Asamblea Parlamentaria Euronest.

Próximos actos

03-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square
Otro acto -
EPRS
11-06-2020
CONT Public Hearing: Implementation of EU funds
Audiencia -
CONT
11-06-2020
STOA Roundtable on Digital Sovereign Identity
Seminario -
STOA

Socios