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Four EU scenarios for governance in a post Covid-19 world

26-10-2020

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic ...

Scarcity of medical equipment during the COVID-19 crisis, and the ensuing discussion on ‘reshoring’ certain industries back to Europe, have brought back an old dilemma. Namely, countries wish to be strategically independent while depending on products and resources from other countries to fulfil their economic needs. This reflects the debate about whether markets or governments are better at delivering solutions. We can also define this debate as a choice between ‘competitive capitalism’ and ‘strategic autonomy’. Calls for strategic autonomy have increased since the COVID-19 crisis, at national and EU level. However, strategic autonomy conflicts with the achievements of international cooperative governance. This introduces another dilemma: the choice between interests and values. Pursuing interests alone leads to a vicious cycle of increased competition between markets and between states, ultimately deteriorating into imperialism. Developing value-oriented actions at government and market level can break that vicious cycle. Value-oriented concepts already form part of many EU policies, which place substantial emphasis on environmental and social rights. When ethical values become an integral part of business and government decisions, this is called ‘due diligence’. We can define value-oriented international cooperation between governments as ‘cooperative governance’. Similarly, we can define ethical and value oriented action by private actors — whether NGOs or businesses — as ‘ethical capitalism’. Putting the two dichotomies on a grid creates a model of four possible scenarios for action which can aid our understanding of ongoing discussions on governance in a post COVID-19 world. EU policy makers could also use these scenarios as alternative ways of shaping EU and foreign policy. The management of natural resources, ranging from water, land, forests, energy resources and metals to rare earths, shows a counter-clockwise development through the scenarios. Moving away from unregulated markets, extraction and use were gradually regulated by national governments, who competed against each other in an imperialist setting. The transnational nature of economic and environmental problems has increasingly brought them into the scope of international cooperative governance. Ethical capitalism (changing market forces from within) is a relatively new development complementing government action. Progress through the scenarios is not always sequential: actors face pressures to switch between them. We can draw lessons for governance in a post COVID-19 world from the experiences of natural resources management. This study is the first on ´global trends in external policies´, aiming to develop forward-looking and strategic analyses.

Access to Abortion Services for Women in the EU - Slovakia

23-10-2020

This paper, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, provides basic information on access to abortion services in Slovakia. The legal status of abortions in the country is under permanent pressure despite the legally binding decision by the Constitutional Court back in 2007 which safeguarded women´s right to free choice. Eleven proposals to restrict abortion have been presented in the National ...

This paper, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, provides basic information on access to abortion services in Slovakia. The legal status of abortions in the country is under permanent pressure despite the legally binding decision by the Constitutional Court back in 2007 which safeguarded women´s right to free choice. Eleven proposals to restrict abortion have been presented in the National Parliament, in the last two years. Medical abortion is not available in the country, and together with conscientious objection applied in health services and current COVID-19 pandemics access to abortion services is further limited.

Parlamendiväline autor

Olga Pietruchova, independent gender equality expert, Slovakia.

Evaluating the EU’s Response to the US Global Gag Rule

30-09-2020

This study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, maps out the challenges the European Union faces in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and the prevention of gender based violence in its external action, especially in providing aid to developing countries against the backdrop of US Global Gag Rules.

This study commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, maps out the challenges the European Union faces in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and the prevention of gender based violence in its external action, especially in providing aid to developing countries against the backdrop of US Global Gag Rules.

Parlamendiväline autor

Clara COTRONEO, Petra JENEY, European Institute of Public Administration

In the name of COVID: An Assessment of the Schengen Internal Border Controls and Travel Restrictions in the EU

30-09-2020

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, assesses the mobility restrictive measures adopted by the EU and its Member States in the fight against COVID-19. It examines the reintroduction of Schengen internal border controls and intra- and extra-EU travel restrictions. It assesses their compatibility with the Schengen Borders Code, including proportionality, non-discrimination, privacy ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, assesses the mobility restrictive measures adopted by the EU and its Member States in the fight against COVID-19. It examines the reintroduction of Schengen internal border controls and intra- and extra-EU travel restrictions. It assesses their compatibility with the Schengen Borders Code, including proportionality, non-discrimination, privacy and free movement. The research demonstrates that policy priorities have moved from a logic of containment to one characterized by a policing approach on intra-EU mobility giving priority to the use of police identity/health checks, interoperable databases and the electronic surveillance of every traveller. It concludes that Schengen is not in 'crisis'. Instead there has been an ‘EU enforcement and evaluation gap’ of Member States compliance with EU rules in areas falling under EU competence.

Parlamendiväline autor

Sergio Carrera, Ngo Chun Luk

EU External Migration Policy and the Protection of Human Rights

28-09-2020

This in-depth analysis focuses on the human rights implications of EU external migration policy interventions: (1) identifying human rights obligations owed to third-country nationals when engaging in cooperation with third countries and non-EU actors; (2) assessing the means and level of compliance with these obligations when designing and implementing the main policy instruments; and (3) determining the existence and adequacy of operational, reporting, monitoring and accountability mechanisms available ...

This in-depth analysis focuses on the human rights implications of EU external migration policy interventions: (1) identifying human rights obligations owed to third-country nationals when engaging in cooperation with third countries and non-EU actors; (2) assessing the means and level of compliance with these obligations when designing and implementing the main policy instruments; and (3) determining the existence and adequacy of operational, reporting, monitoring and accountability mechanisms available in each case to track and respond to potential violations. Particular attention is paid to soft-law tools, on account of their enhanced potential to erode the enforceability of obligations, to downgrade democratic accountability and generally undermine the rule of law. Paving the way for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, special emphasis is placed on cooperation under the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, the EU Agenda on Migration and the Migration Partnership Framework, including informal arrangements concluded by Frontex or by the Member States themselves. Four case studies guide the analysis and illustrate findings: (1) the EU-Turkey Statement; (2) the multi-modal cooperation with Libya; (3) the Joint Way Forward with Afghanistan; and (4) collaboration with Niger under the EUCAP Sahel mission. The in-depth analysis reveals that the full effect of the EU fundamental rights acquis in extra-territorial situations has not been duly accounted for and proposes a system to ensure compliance with the relevant standards covering the pre-conclusion, design, adoption, implementation, evaluation and review phases, highlighting the role of the European Parliament and civil society organisations.

Parlamendiväline autor

Dr Violeta MORENO-LAX,

Upholding human rights in Europe during the pandemic

23-09-2020

The severe coronavirus outbreak has forced governments across the world to resort to drastic measures in order to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent a public health crisis. As elsewhere, these emergency measures taken in Europe have affected all aspects of societal life and profoundly impacted people's personal freedoms and individual rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Although certain human rights can be suspended in situations of emergency, human ...

The severe coronavirus outbreak has forced governments across the world to resort to drastic measures in order to slow down the spread of the virus and prevent a public health crisis. As elsewhere, these emergency measures taken in Europe have affected all aspects of societal life and profoundly impacted people's personal freedoms and individual rights, as enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Although certain human rights can be suspended in situations of emergency, human rights conventions, such as the ECHR, continue to apply even then. In fact, many human rights instruments provide for such situations and contain dedicated 'emergency clauses' that give governments additional flexibility to address crises. Indeed, within the ECHR framework, Article 15 is one such clause that allows Council of Europe (CoE) member states to temporarily diverge from their ordinary convention obligations to resolve an emergency, provided certain conditions are met. During the coronavirus pandemic, derogation clauses such as Article 15 of the ECHR, have gained particular importance, as so far 10 CoE member states have notified their intention to derogate from certain ECHR provisions in order to tackle the outbreak. This briefing explains the functioning of Article of the 15 ECHR and its application to the current health emergency. Furthermore, it lists some fundamental rights and freedoms that have been affected by the coronavirus emergency measures, while also showcasing how Member States have sought to reconcile measures to protect public health with the fundamental rights principles enshrined in the ordinary framework of the ECHR. The briefing also stresses that it is key to protect the human rights of vulnerable persons, including during the implementation of recovery strategies.

European Union involvement in the United Nations system: Broad partnership based on shared commitment to multilateralism

22-09-2020

Over the years, the EU has become a key player in the United Nations system. The UN remains an organisation of sovereign states, and this is reflected in the functioning of its bodies, agencies and programmes. The EU enjoys observer status in many of these and is the only international organisation to have secured enhanced observer status in the UN General Assembly. The EU leverages its influence through its significant financial contribution to the UN system, through its enhanced partnerships with ...

Over the years, the EU has become a key player in the United Nations system. The UN remains an organisation of sovereign states, and this is reflected in the functioning of its bodies, agencies and programmes. The EU enjoys observer status in many of these and is the only international organisation to have secured enhanced observer status in the UN General Assembly. The EU leverages its influence through its significant financial contribution to the UN system, through its enhanced partnerships with various entities within the UN system, and through close coordination with its Member States on positions to be defended in the organisation.

Shaping a European Child Guarantee

22-09-2020

The briefing presents data on the problem of child poverty in the European Union followed by an overview of policy initiatives by the Commission, the Council and the European Palriament. It concludes with points from the debate in research on how to shape an effective Child Guarantee. The note covers aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The briefing presents data on the problem of child poverty in the European Union followed by an overview of policy initiatives by the Commission, the Council and the European Palriament. It concludes with points from the debate in research on how to shape an effective Child Guarantee. The note covers aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

State of play of existing instruments for combating impunity for international crimes

14-08-2020

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament ...

The European Union and its Member States have been at the forefront of the fight against impunity for core international crimes, collectively providing political, technical and financial assistance to international, regional and domestic accountability efforts. Focusing on the current EU framework on accountability and six country situations (Rwanda, Colombia, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and Iraq), this study offers recommendations to guide future EU policy and the engagement of the European Parliament in the fight against impunity. The recommendations include enhancing the capacity, efficiency and coordination of EU institutions working on accountability, as well as encouraging comprehensive, impartial and inclusive approaches to country situations. EU action in bilateral and multilateral fora is also covered, with a view to enhancing the universal reach of accountability mechanisms and the protection of their integrity, encouraging cooperation and assistance, and to upholding the principle of complementarity.

Parlamendiväline autor

Olympia BEKOU

Impact investing in the framework of business and human rights

31-07-2020

Impact investments are an emerging sustainable investment strategy and represent a small and medium enterprise-led approach to development. Impact investments are executed only when a positive financial return can be achieved alongside a measurable positive impact on an individual or societal level. Impact investors thus go beyond more established sustainable investment strategies such as exclusion or integration by explicitly aiming at impact, investing in business models that directly address social ...

Impact investments are an emerging sustainable investment strategy and represent a small and medium enterprise-led approach to development. Impact investments are executed only when a positive financial return can be achieved alongside a measurable positive impact on an individual or societal level. Impact investors thus go beyond more established sustainable investment strategies such as exclusion or integration by explicitly aiming at impact, investing in business models that directly address social issues. Most impact investment funds invest in areas such as healthcare, education or employment and thus improve the situation of the target group. At the same time, however, there is no explicit human rights perspective integrated into the investment process yet. Given the rather small scale of investments which is usually in the range of EUR 200 000 to EUR 5 million per transaction, unintended negative consequences can occur, if only to a very limited extent. This in-depth analysis discusses the impact investing industry in the context of sustainable finance and analyses central aspects of the concept such as financing instruments, the impact measurement process or the impact logic of the investors. The analysis also discusses the limitations impact investing faces such as commercial boundaries of business models, and illustrates modified concepts to mitigate these challenges which are summarised as social finance.

Parlamendiväline autor

Dr. Barbara SCHECK, Dr. Wolfgang SPIESS-KNAFL.

Eelseisvad üritused

28-10-2020
Climate Change and Health
Seminar -
ENVI
28-10-2020
Public Hearing "Women and digitalisation"
Kuulamine -
FEMM AIDA
28-10-2020
Worskhop on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Seminar -
PETI

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