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Outcome of the informal meeting of EU-27 leaders on 9 May 2019 in Sibiu

13-05-2019

EU-27 Heads of State or Government met on 9 May 2019 in the Romanian city of Sibiu, to discuss the Union’s common future. They adopted the Sibiu Declaration, recalling the achievements and values of the European Union. EU leaders reaffirmed their unity, and recognised the role they have to play to make the EU stronger and the future brighter. They also discussed the forthcoming Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, which will outline policy priorities for the next five years. The European Council President ...

EU-27 Heads of State or Government met on 9 May 2019 in the Romanian city of Sibiu, to discuss the Union’s common future. They adopted the Sibiu Declaration, recalling the achievements and values of the European Union. EU leaders reaffirmed their unity, and recognised the role they have to play to make the EU stronger and the future brighter. They also discussed the forthcoming Strategic Agenda for 2019-2024, which will outline policy priorities for the next five years. The European Council President, Donald Tusk, suggested a process for the forthcoming appointments to a set of high-level EU positions, and called a special summit for 28 May.

Turkish Cypriot community: Financial support instrument

10-04-2019

The Commission runs an aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community in order to prepare for and facilitate reunification of Cyprus.

The Commission runs an aid programme for the Turkish Cypriot community in order to prepare for and facilitate reunification of Cyprus.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, March I 2019

15-03-2019

Highlights of the March I plenary session included debates on Brexit, preparation of the European Council meeting of 21-22 March 2019, and the latest debate on the Future of Europe, with Peter Pellegrini, Slovakia's Prime Minister. Parliament also held debates on a proposed European human rights violations sanctions regime; the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua; opening EU-US trade negotiations; climate change; gender balance in nominations to EU economic and monetary affairs bodies; and on the ...

Highlights of the March I plenary session included debates on Brexit, preparation of the European Council meeting of 21-22 March 2019, and the latest debate on the Future of Europe, with Peter Pellegrini, Slovakia's Prime Minister. Parliament also held debates on a proposed European human rights violations sanctions regime; the situation in Venezuela and Nicaragua; opening EU-US trade negotiations; climate change; gender balance in nominations to EU economic and monetary affairs bodies; and on the urgency to establish an EU blacklist of third countries with weak regimes on anti-money-laundering and countering terrorist financing. Finally, Parliament adopted first-reading positions on three further proposed funding programmes for the 2021-2027 period. A number of Brexit-preparedness measures were also adopted.

Russia in the Middle East: From sidelines to centre stage

21-11-2018

In 2011, it looked as if the Arab Spring uprisings would deal a further blow to Russia's declining influence in the Middle East, by toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of Moscow's few remaining allies in the region. In 2015, Russia launched a military intervention. Though it came at an enormous humanitarian cost, the campaign succeeded in saving Assad's regime, at the same time as reversing the Middle Eastern fortunes of Russia as Assad's main international backer. Russia's involvement ...

In 2011, it looked as if the Arab Spring uprisings would deal a further blow to Russia's declining influence in the Middle East, by toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of Moscow's few remaining allies in the region. In 2015, Russia launched a military intervention. Though it came at an enormous humanitarian cost, the campaign succeeded in saving Assad's regime, at the same time as reversing the Middle Eastern fortunes of Russia as Assad's main international backer. Russia's involvement in Syria has given its relations with neighbouring countries a new momentum. Despite divergent interests, Iran, Turkey and Israel cooperate with Russia and acknowledge its leadership in Syria. Russia's success in imposing its agenda in Syria has bolstered its influence throughout the wider region. Although Moscow's role is not always a constructive one, it has become a key actor and sometimes a mediator in regional conflicts from Libya to Yemen. Russia's regional clout is also helped by its skilful use of energy cooperation to further economic and geopolitical interests. Russia's drive to become a major Middle Eastern player should be seen in the wider context of global geopolitical rivalry with the United States. Moscow's growing influence in the region is as much the result of Western policy failures as its own strength.

Future EU-Turkey relations

23-10-2018

In June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected as president of Turkey, this time with extended powers under the revised Turkish Constitution. Over the previous couple of years, his country's relationship with the EU had been challenged by issues such as the ongoing management of the migration crisis and the EU-Turkey Agreement, the attempted military coup in Istanbul and Ankara, and the ensuing purge, which the EU and international organisations criticised for its disproportionate severity. With ...

In June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected as president of Turkey, this time with extended powers under the revised Turkish Constitution. Over the previous couple of years, his country's relationship with the EU had been challenged by issues such as the ongoing management of the migration crisis and the EU-Turkey Agreement, the attempted military coup in Istanbul and Ankara, and the ensuing purge, which the EU and international organisations criticised for its disproportionate severity. With the constitutional referendum and the subsequent parliamentary and presidential elections, President Erdogan further reinforced his position at the helm of the institutional system and raised concerns among the EU and NATO about his commitment to Western institutions. Turkey deepened its relations with Russia, buying military equipment and coordinating with it on Syrian policies on the ground. At the same time, US-Turkish relations worsened due to the Syrian conflict and the imprisonment of a US pastor by Turkey, although he was subsequently released. Negotiations on Turkey's accession to the EU have nevertheless continued, despite an increasingly lively debate in some Member States about whether or not they should be halted. Some have proposed striking an economic agreement with Turkey as an alternative to membership. Others believe the outcome of the negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU might also provide a possible model for Turkey. Despite the numerous hurdles before it, accession not only remains the ultimate objective of EU-Turkey relations, endorsed by both the European Council and by Turkey, but it also provides potential for reform and dialogue regarding common standards, not least in the area of civil liberties.

Amending Budget No 5 to the 2018 EU budget: Cancellation of the Turkey reserve, and reinforcement of the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and humanitarian aid

28-09-2018

Amending Budget No 5 for 2018 cancels the reserve related to support to Turkey from the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA II), as the condition set by the European Parliament and the Council for its lifting has not been met. Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 5/2018, on the other hand, reinforces, in commitment appropriations, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to fund additional actions linked to the Central Mediterranean migratory route and it reinforces, in payment appropriations, the Humanitarian ...

Amending Budget No 5 for 2018 cancels the reserve related to support to Turkey from the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA II), as the condition set by the European Parliament and the Council for its lifting has not been met. Draft Amending Budget (DAB) 5/2018, on the other hand, reinforces, in commitment appropriations, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to fund additional actions linked to the Central Mediterranean migratory route and it reinforces, in payment appropriations, the Humanitarian Aid. This budgetary proposal is scheduled to be voted during the October I plenary session.

Amending Budget No 3 to the 2018 EU budget: Facility for Refugees in Turkey

28-06-2018

Draft Amending Budget No 3/2018 (DAB 3/2018) proposes to add €500 million in commitment appropriations to the 2018 budget as the EU contribution to the second tranche of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). The funding is needed, inter alia, to continue paying the salaries of over 5 000 teachers providing education to more than 300 000 refugee children in Turkey. During the July plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 3/2018. Although with ...

Draft Amending Budget No 3/2018 (DAB 3/2018) proposes to add €500 million in commitment appropriations to the 2018 budget as the EU contribution to the second tranche of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). The funding is needed, inter alia, to continue paying the salaries of over 5 000 teachers providing education to more than 300 000 refugee children in Turkey. During the July plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to vote on the Council position on DAB 3/2018. Although with some hesitation, the European Parliament's Committee on Budgets recommends the adoption of DAB 3/2018.

The migration challenge [What Think Tanks are thinking]

21-06-2018

Next week, European Union Heads of State or Government will discuss the politically charged issue of reforming the EU’s migration and asylum policies. Divisions among EU members over how to handle migrants were exposed again earlier this month when Italy’s new government tightened its migration policy, while the German ruling coalition faced a potentially destabilising rift over the issue. The EU's southern borders remain under pressure from irregular migrants escaping poverty and war in the Middle ...

Next week, European Union Heads of State or Government will discuss the politically charged issue of reforming the EU’s migration and asylum policies. Divisions among EU members over how to handle migrants were exposed again earlier this month when Italy’s new government tightened its migration policy, while the German ruling coalition faced a potentially destabilising rift over the issue. The EU's southern borders remain under pressure from irregular migrants escaping poverty and war in the Middle East and Africa. Although the 2016 agreement between the EU and Turkey significantly slowed the influx of migrants into Europe, the problem continues to be used for political gain by nationalist, anti-immigrant and populist movements across the EU. This note offers links to commentaries and studies on migration by major international think tanks. Earlier papers on the same topic can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking', published in March 2018.

Peace and Security in 2018: An evaluation of EU peacebuilding in the Western Balkans

22-05-2018

This first thematic study of the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peacebuilding efforts in the Western Balkans. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. Examining EU engagement in the Western Balkans, the study assesses the extent to which the Union has been able to transform and strengthen the region's governance, economy and resilience. The study is organised around three key inter-connected ...

This first thematic study of the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peacebuilding efforts in the Western Balkans. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. Examining EU engagement in the Western Balkans, the study assesses the extent to which the Union has been able to transform and strengthen the region's governance, economy and resilience. The study is organised around three key inter-connected (and at times overlapping) phases in EU post-conflict peacebuilding − stabilisation, state-building and EU enlargement − to explain the strengths, weaknesses and limits of EU engagement. It ends with an assessment of the new EU strategy for the Western Balkans and analyses the potential to remedy past deficiencies and help move the region towards genuine, inclusive and sustainable peace. A parallel study, published separately, provides an overview of current EU action on peace and security and of the outlook for the future. The studies have been drafted with a view to their presentation at the Normandy World Peace Forum, in June 2018.

Oversight and Management of the EU Trust Funds - Democratic Accountability Challenges and Promising Practices

16-04-2018

This study provides a comparative assessment of the governance and oversight frameworks of selected EU trust funds (EUTFs) and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). It explores how these EUTFs and the FRT add to and ‘mix’ the instruments set up under the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. It addresses the issue of their added value in light of the EU Better Regulation guidelines, their impact on the role of the European Parliament as a budgetary authority and the right to good administration ...

This study provides a comparative assessment of the governance and oversight frameworks of selected EU trust funds (EUTFs) and the Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRT). It explores how these EUTFs and the FRT add to and ‘mix’ the instruments set up under the EU Multiannual Financial Framework. It addresses the issue of their added value in light of the EU Better Regulation guidelines, their impact on the role of the European Parliament as a budgetary authority and the right to good administration. The study recommends reducing the complexity of the EUTF and FRT governance frameworks, and strengthening their consistency with the EU’s cooperation efforts in third countries and EU Treaty values. Finally, it recommends reinforcing the venues for democratic accountability, fundamental rights and rule-of-law impact assessments, which are trust-enhancing.

Údar seachtarach

Prof. Sergio CARRERA, Senior Research Fellow, CEPS & Professor in the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the European University Institute (EUI) Dr. Leonhard DEN HERTOG, former Research Fellow, CEPS Dr. Jorge NÚÑEZ FERRER, Senior Research Fellow, CEPS Mr Roberto MUSMECI, Researcher, CEPS Ms Lina VOSYLIŪTĖ, Researcher, CEPS Ms Marta PILATI, Research Trainee, CEPS

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