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Human rights in EU trade agreements: The human rights clause and its application

08-07-2019

The practice of linking human rights with trade liberalisation has gained ground among many trade partners. Not only the EU, but also other important trade powers, such as the US and Canada, embed human and labour-rights provisions in their new trade agreements. For the EU, this ensues inevitably from the normative vision underlying all of its external policies, as enshrined in the Treaties. Accordingly, the EU has committed to respecting and promoting human rights and democracy through its external ...

The practice of linking human rights with trade liberalisation has gained ground among many trade partners. Not only the EU, but also other important trade powers, such as the US and Canada, embed human and labour-rights provisions in their new trade agreements. For the EU, this ensues inevitably from the normative vision underlying all of its external policies, as enshrined in the Treaties. Accordingly, the EU has committed to respecting and promoting human rights and democracy through its external action. The main mechanism for incorporating human rights into the EU's bilateral agreements consists of an 'essential elements' human rights clause that enables one party to take appropriate measures in case of serious breaches by the other party. The clause, which also covers democratic principles and often the rule of law, is more than just a legal mechanism enabling the unilateral suspension of trade commitments in times of crisis. It enshrines the parties' commitments to human rights and thus puts EU relations with third countries on a solid regulatory base, opening the path to dialogue and cooperation on human rights issues. So far, the EU has clearly preferred a constructive engagement to more restrictive measures, and has not activated the clause to suspend trade preferences under any of its trade agreements. Civil society and the European Parliament have, on the other hand, encouraged the European Commission to use the clause in a more robust way in order to respond to serious breaches of human rights and democratic principles. This briefing focuses exclusively on the EU's bilateral and regional free trade agreements. EU unilateral human and labour rights provisions in trade arrangements are addressed in a separate briefing. A forthcoming EPRS paper will provide more information about labour rights (many of which also form part of the human rights enshrined in international conventions) in EU bilateral agreements.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore trade and investment deals pass major milestone

29-04-2019

Following the signature of the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements on 19 October 2018, the European Parliament gave its consent on 13 February 2019 to conclude both agreements. These deals were created by dividing the initial free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore in 2014, but not ratified, into two separate instruments: a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement. The trade agreement will enter into force with the finalisation of Singapore's internal administrative ...

Following the signature of the EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements on 19 October 2018, the European Parliament gave its consent on 13 February 2019 to conclude both agreements. These deals were created by dividing the initial free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore in 2014, but not ratified, into two separate instruments: a trade agreement and an investment protection agreement. The trade agreement will enter into force with the finalisation of Singapore's internal administrative procedures and the conclusion of the final formalities by the EU and Singapore. In contrast, the investment protection agreement, which falls under the shared competence of the EU and its Member States, needs to be ratified by the EU Member States also, following their national procedures. Singapore will be the first member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to conclude bilateral trade and investment agreements with the EU. The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN members as steps towards achieving the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. Therefore, the EU Singapore agreements are considered a reference as regards the EU's ambition to conclude trade and investment agreements with other ASEAN members.

EU cooperation with Greenland

11-04-2019

The overall aim of the European Union-Greenland Partnership Agreement is to boost ties and cooperation between the EU and Greenland, with education and training as one of several key areas of cooperation. As part of the partnership, and taking Greenland's needs into account, the focal point of EU-Greenland financial cooperation is education and training, with a special emphasis on boosting the pre-school and elementary school system, as well as on providing support for vocational education and post-elementary ...

The overall aim of the European Union-Greenland Partnership Agreement is to boost ties and cooperation between the EU and Greenland, with education and training as one of several key areas of cooperation. As part of the partnership, and taking Greenland's needs into account, the focal point of EU-Greenland financial cooperation is education and training, with a special emphasis on boosting the pre-school and elementary school system, as well as on providing support for vocational education and post-elementary education.

Trade and investment agreements with Singapore

07-02-2019

The trade and investment agreements with Singapore, the EU's largest commercial partner in the region, are the first between the EU and a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN countries as steps towards the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. The European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the agreements with Singapore during the February plenary ...

The trade and investment agreements with Singapore, the EU's largest commercial partner in the region, are the first between the EU and a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN countries as steps towards the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. The European Parliament is due to vote on giving its consent to the conclusion of the agreements with Singapore during the February plenary session.

International Agreements in Progress: Bilateral trade deal with Japan – largest to date for EU

01-02-2019

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of ...

Following the signature of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in July 2018, and the conclusion of the ratification procedures by both partners at the end of 2018, the agreement entered into force on 1 February 2019. The agreement is the EU's largest bilateral trade agreement to date. It establishes a free trade area with a combined market of around 640 million consumers, accounting for roughly a third of the world's gross domestic product (GDP). The European Commission's analysis of the economic impact of the agreement, published in June 2018, indicated that the EU's GDP could rise by approximately 0.14 %, and EU exports to Japan by around €13 billion by the time the EPA is fully implemented in 2035. The agreement will provide for significant economic opportunities for sectors such as agri-food and textiles, and it is predicted that no EU sector will be impacted by noticeable losses. In addition to exploiting the untapped potential of bilateral trade and strengthening the EU's economic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, the EPA, together with the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), will provide a platform for stronger relations between the EU and Japan. The agreement also conveys a strong message on the parties' commitment to promoting a free and fair trading system and to rejecting trade protectionism.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Singapore trade and investment agreements closer to conclusion

09-10-2018

On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the EU to sign and conclude two agreements with Singapore. These agreements were created by dividing the free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore (EUSFTA) in 2014, but not ratified, into separate trade and investment protection agreements. When presenting the agreements, the Commission underlined that they demonstrate the commitment of Singapore and the EU to fair trade and open markets. The Council of the EU is ...

On 18 April 2018, the European Commission proposed to the Council of the EU to sign and conclude two agreements with Singapore. These agreements were created by dividing the free trade agreement reached between the EU and Singapore (EUSFTA) in 2014, but not ratified, into separate trade and investment protection agreements. When presenting the agreements, the Commission underlined that they demonstrate the commitment of Singapore and the EU to fair trade and open markets. The Council of the EU is expected to authorise the signature of the agreements in October 2018. The Commission aims to have the trade agreement come into effect before the end of its mandate in 2019, after its approval by the Council and the European Parliament. Singapore will be the first member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to sign bilateral trade and investment agreements with the EU. The EU views bilateral agreements with ASEAN members as steps towards achieving the final objective of a region-to-region trade and investment agreement with ASEAN. Therefore, the EU Singapore agreements are considered a reference as regards the EU's ambition to conclude trade and investment agreements with other ASEAN members. Second edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 607.255, June 2017.

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

04-10-2018

The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated in 2015 with Vietnam has been described as the most ambitious deal of its type ever between the EU and a developing country. Not only will it eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. According to European Commission figures, the FTA could boost Vietnam's booming economy by as much as 15 % of GDP, with Vietnamese exports to Europe ...

The free trade agreement (FTA) negotiated in 2015 with Vietnam has been described as the most ambitious deal of its type ever between the EU and a developing country. Not only will it eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, it will also open up Vietnamese services markets to EU companies and strengthen protection of EU investments in the country. According to European Commission figures, the FTA could boost Vietnam's booming economy by as much as 15 % of GDP, with Vietnamese exports to Europe growing by over one third. For the EU, the agreement is an important stepping stone to a wider trade deal with south-east Asia. However, Vietnamese manufacturing sectors may suffer from competition with the EU. NGOs and the European Parliament have also criticised the Commission for pursuing closer ties with a politically repressive regime, although the deal includes some safeguards against negative outcomes. Conclusion of the FTA was delayed by a 2017 opinion of the European Court of Justice. The Court ruled that the EU does not have the power to conclude agreements on certain investment-related issues on its own; therefore, the text as it then stood would also have to be ratified by the 28 Member States. To enable at least some parts of the FTA to be ratified more speedily at EU level, in August 2018 the EU and Vietnam agreed to take provisions on investment, for which Member State ratification is required, out of the main agreement and put them in a separate Investment Protection Agreement (IPA). Both the FTA and IPA are currently in translation and are expected to be formally submitted to the Council in late 2018, possibly enabling the FTA to come into force in the second half of 2019. Third edition. The ‘International Agreements in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the process, from initial discussions through to ratification. To view earlier editions of this briefing, please see: PE 614.702, February 2018.

The right to respect for private life: digital challenges, a comparative-law perspective - The United States

04-10-2018

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing the right to respect for private life in different legal systems, and between the ways in which the systems address the challenges that the ‘digital age’ poses to the exercise of that right. It analyses, with reference to the United States and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the nature of the right to respect for private ...

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing the right to respect for private life in different legal systems, and between the ways in which the systems address the challenges that the ‘digital age’ poses to the exercise of that right. It analyses, with reference to the United States and the subject at hand, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the nature of the right to respect for private life, ending with some conclusions on the challenges discussed. Unlike jurisdictions that have adopted an omnibus approach to privacy protection, the US takes a sectoral approach to regulating privacy, with different regulatory regimes for different contexts and sectors of the economy. This report provides an overview of the different areas of law addressing privacy, including constitutional, statutory, and common law, as well as of relevant scholarly commentary. The report concludes with a summary of the current legislative outlook.

Külső szerző

EPRS, Comparative Law

The right to respect for private life: digital challenges, a comparative-law perspective - The United Kingdom

04-10-2018

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing the right to respect for private life in different legal systems, and between the ways in which the systems address the challenges that the ‘digital age’ poses to the exercise of that right. It analyses, with reference to the United Kingdom, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the nature of the right to respect for private life. Chapter 2 describes ...

This study forms part of a wider-ranging project which seeks to lay the groundwork for comparisons between legal frameworks governing the right to respect for private life in different legal systems, and between the ways in which the systems address the challenges that the ‘digital age’ poses to the exercise of that right. It analyses, with reference to the United Kingdom, the legislation in force, the most relevant case law and the nature of the right to respect for private life. Chapter 2 describes the concept of a right to respect for private life as it is recognised in UK legislation. This section of materials is subdivided into two parts. The first part outlines statutory protection for privacy interests, including the recently enacted Data Protection Act 2018 that gives domestic effect to the General Data Protection Regulations. The rest of chapter 2 discusses the most prominent set of statutory restrictions or qualifications upon the right. Privacy interests are thus revealed to be limited in the interests of national security and the prevention, investigation and detection of crime including crimes connected to the sexual abuse of children and young persons. Particular sets of laws authorise interception, examination and retention of digital online communications. Relevant obligations imposed on ISPs and telecommunications companies are described as are safeguards against unlawful forms of intrusion into these communications. Chapter 3 provides an overview of relevant jurisprudence in privacy related matters. A central focus of this chapter is the relatively recently developed tort of misuse of personal information. An evaluation of the overall state of UK law is offered in chapter 4. Finally, the conclusion identifies some privacy-related issues that are likely to arise in the near future.

Trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru

07-08-2018

This European Implementation Assessment consists of two parts. The in-house opening analysis (part I) presents briefly the signature of the trade agreement between the EU and Colombia and Peru. It also presents the socio-economic situation in Colombia and Peru and the relations between the EU and Colombia and Peru as well as the relations between the EU and Andean Community. The research paper prepared by external experts (part II) presents detail analysis of trade in goods and services and foreign ...

This European Implementation Assessment consists of two parts. The in-house opening analysis (part I) presents briefly the signature of the trade agreement between the EU and Colombia and Peru. It also presents the socio-economic situation in Colombia and Peru and the relations between the EU and Colombia and Peru as well as the relations between the EU and Andean Community. The research paper prepared by external experts (part II) presents detail analysis of trade in goods and services and foreign direct investments. The paper also evaluated in detail the implementation of the trade and sustainable development chapter of the agreement in both Colombia and Peru. They are followed by the presentation of the international cooperation of Colombia and Peru. Finally, the paper provides recommendation for the improvement of the implementation of the trade agreement.

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