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Review of EU Enforcement Regulation for trade disputes

20-07-2020

On 12 December 2019, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the EU's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules ('the Enforcement Regulation') of 15 May 2014. The Enforcement Regulation enables the EU to suspend or withdraw concessions or other obligations under international trade agreements in order to respond to breaches by third countries of international trade rules that affect the EU's commercial ...

On 12 December 2019, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the EU's rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules ('the Enforcement Regulation') of 15 May 2014. The Enforcement Regulation enables the EU to suspend or withdraw concessions or other obligations under international trade agreements in order to respond to breaches by third countries of international trade rules that affect the EU's commercial interests. The proposed amendments would enable the EU to impose counter-measures in situations where EU trade partners violate international trade rules and block the dispute settlement procedures included in multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, thus preventing the EU from obtaining final binding rulings in its favour. The latter are required under the current EU regulation to enforce international trade rules. As the Council adopted its negotiating position on 8 April 2020 and the Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament adopted its negotiating position on 6 July 2020, trilogue negotiations can now be launched as the next step in the legislative process. First edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

EU-China relations: Taking stock after the 2020 EU-China Summit

30-06-2020

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations ...

The 22nd EU-China Summit, originally scheduled for March 2020, was postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. While other summits were simply cancelled or postponed indefinitely, the EU and China decided to hold the summit by video-link, on 22 June 2020. This decision testifies to the importance both sides attach to taking their complex relationship forward in difficult times. The 2020 summit offered the opportunity to take stock of progress made on past commitments and to re-calibrate EU-China relations, against the backdrop of the wide-ranging fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, growing United States-China strategic rivalry, rapid geopolitical power shifts and the erosion of multilateralism. Looking at EU-China relations through the lens of the 2019 EU-China strategic outlook, China is seen as being at once a partner for cooperation and negotiation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. China has been a cooperation and negotiating partner for the EU in several fields where interests have converged. Nonetheless, the different norms and values underlying the EU and Chinese political and economic systems have made cooperation challenging. Shared objectives do not necessarily lead to the same approaches to pursuing them. Economic competition has become fiercer in China, in the EU and in third markets. As the Chinese leadership shows growing assertiveness in disseminating alternative models of governance – at international, regional and bilateral levels, China is also acting as a systemic rival, on an increasing number of issues. The coronavirus pandemic has amplified pre-existing political and economic challenges in EU-China relations. It has exposed the EU's over-reliance on China for the supply of strategic goods and also China's confrontational 'Wolf Warrior diplomacy', which has involved the use of a wide range of tools, including disinformation campaigns, political influence and economic coercion, in an attempt to alter narratives critical of China's management of the crisis. It has also clearly demonstrated the need for a 'more robust' EU policy on China.

Hong Kong: A Beijing-imposed security law?

11-06-2020

On 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) authorised its Standing Committee to adopt a national security law for Hong Kong, bypassing the city's Parliament, the Legislative Council. The law, expected to enter into force prior to Hong Kong's legislative elections scheduled for September 2020, is likely to be a turning point for the city's 'high degree of autonomy' and a premature phasing out of the 'One country, two systems' model that was planned ...

On 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) authorised its Standing Committee to adopt a national security law for Hong Kong, bypassing the city's Parliament, the Legislative Council. The law, expected to enter into force prior to Hong Kong's legislative elections scheduled for September 2020, is likely to be a turning point for the city's 'high degree of autonomy' and a premature phasing out of the 'One country, two systems' model that was planned to subsist for 50 years from 1997. The European Parliament is expected to debate a statement from the High Representative during the June plenary session.

China's democratic neighbours and coronavirus: Protecting populations without lockdowns

06-05-2020

North-east Asian countries have deep and historical economic, human and cultural connections with China, based on their geographical proximity to the latter country, and were the first to be exposed to the coronavirus contagion after its initial outbreak. They were not caught unprepared, having dealt with the SARS and the MERS epidemics in recent times. South Korea and Taiwan, in particular, have successfully showcased a model characterised by minimal restrictions on economic activities and daily ...

North-east Asian countries have deep and historical economic, human and cultural connections with China, based on their geographical proximity to the latter country, and were the first to be exposed to the coronavirus contagion after its initial outbreak. They were not caught unprepared, having dealt with the SARS and the MERS epidemics in recent times. South Korea and Taiwan, in particular, have successfully showcased a model characterised by minimal restrictions on economic activities and daily lives, where safeguarding the health of the people has not had devastating consequences for the health of the economy, as witnessed in other parts of the world. They have also showed that it is possible to effectively manage the coronavirus threat transparently, without authoritarian methods. Their models, illustrating that it is possible to implement a successful – albeit sometimes unnoticed – alternative to a liberal laissez-faire model or to a drastic lockdown, could become precious assets for public diplomacy and soft power tools. Given the high rate of information and communications technology penetration in the region, it has been easier for the authorities to make use of big data and contact-tracing by smartphone in order to prevent the pandemic from spreading, as well as collect information on those infected. However, this approach has raised issues of privacy, especially as the details collected allow the identification of those infected and could possibly expose them to stigmatisation. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, South Korea is a healthy democracy. It successfully held a general election on 15 April 2020, giving substance to the statement made by the European Parliament's President, David Sassoli: 'Democracy cannot be suspended in the face of Covid-19'.

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).

2019 Sakharov Prize laureate: Ilham Tohti

10-12-2019

Space for freedom of thought is shrinking dramatically across the globe, as the geo-political and geo-economic clout of authoritarian regimes expands. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is therefore more important than ever: it enables the European Parliament to draw attention to the plight of those who stand up against the repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms, principles on which the EU is based and which it promotes in its external relations, in line with Article 21 of the ...

Space for freedom of thought is shrinking dramatically across the globe, as the geo-political and geo-economic clout of authoritarian regimes expands. The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is therefore more important than ever: it enables the European Parliament to draw attention to the plight of those who stand up against the repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms, principles on which the EU is based and which it promotes in its external relations, in line with Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union. The 2019 Sakharov Prize laureate is renowned Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti, a moderate advocate of the rights of the Uyghur minority and of dialogue with the Han majority in China. In 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on separatism-related charges, against the backdrop of China's hardening policy of countering religious extremism, ethnic separatism and terrorism – one that now frames Uyghur identity as a major national security threat. The Sakharov Prize is a €50 000 award, which will be presented at a ceremony in the European Parliament during the December plenary session in Strasbourg, in the presence of the other finalists.

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'.

International Agreements in Progress: The trade pillar of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement

30-08-2019

On 28 June 2019, the European Union (EU) and the four founding members of Mercosur (the 'Southern Common Market') – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached an 'agreement in principle' on a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of a wider association agreement (AA). However, spurred by massive destruction of the Brazilian Amazon through large-scale forest fires, EU policy-makers and international environmental groups alike have since become increasingly vocal in expressing concerns about the ...

On 28 June 2019, the European Union (EU) and the four founding members of Mercosur (the 'Southern Common Market') – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – reached an 'agreement in principle' on a free trade agreement (FTA) as part of a wider association agreement (AA). However, spurred by massive destruction of the Brazilian Amazon through large-scale forest fires, EU policy-makers and international environmental groups alike have since become increasingly vocal in expressing concerns about the deal's potential environmental and climate change implications. EU farmers' associations with defensive interests have fiercely criticised what they have referred to as a 'cars for cows' deal. On the other hand, the deal has been warmly welcomed by EU industry associations and several sub-sectors of EU agriculture with offensive interests. If tariff and non-tariff barriers are eliminated or substantially lowered, the potential for growth in bi-regional trade in goods, services and investment is significant. In addition, the FTA would be a strong signal in favour of the rules-based multilateral trading system and against power politics in trade. After the agreement's legal review and translation, it will be presented to the Council for signature. It will then be submitted to the European Parliament for consent. Once the Council has adopted the decision concluding the agreement, it will be presented to EU Member State parliaments for ratification. First edition. The 'International Agreements in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification.

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.

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