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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.

Lo Spazio economico europeo (SEE), la Svizzera e il Nord

01-05-2018

Lo Spazio economico europeo (SEE) è stato istituito nel 1994 allo scopo di estendere le disposizioni applicate dall'Unione europea al proprio mercato interno ai paesi dell'Associazione europea di libero scambio (EFTA). La Norvegia, l'Islanda e il Liechtenstein sono membri del SEE, mentre la Svizzera fa parte dell'EFTA ma non del SEE. L'UE è inoltre legata ai suoi partner SEE (la Norvegia e l'Islanda) da varie «politiche settentrionali» e forum incentrati sulle aree più settentrionali dell'Europa, ...

Lo Spazio economico europeo (SEE) è stato istituito nel 1994 allo scopo di estendere le disposizioni applicate dall'Unione europea al proprio mercato interno ai paesi dell'Associazione europea di libero scambio (EFTA). La Norvegia, l'Islanda e il Liechtenstein sono membri del SEE, mentre la Svizzera fa parte dell'EFTA ma non del SEE. L'UE è inoltre legata ai suoi partner SEE (la Norvegia e l'Islanda) da varie «politiche settentrionali» e forum incentrati sulle aree più settentrionali dell'Europa, in rapida evoluzione, e sulla regione artica nel suo insieme.

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.

L'Unione europea e i suoi partner commerciali

01-02-2018

Nel corso degli anni, l'UE ha abbandonato la produzione di prodotti ad alta intensità di manodopera e a basso valore specializzandosi in prodotti di marca di valore più elevato. Nell'ambito della sua economia aperta, il commercio è essenziale per l'UE. Per superare gli ostacoli agli scambi e garantire parità di condizioni per le sue imprese, l'Unione sta negoziando una serie di accordi di libero scambio (ALS). L'UE è inoltre fondatrice e un attore fondamentale dell'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio ...

Nel corso degli anni, l'UE ha abbandonato la produzione di prodotti ad alta intensità di manodopera e a basso valore specializzandosi in prodotti di marca di valore più elevato. Nell'ambito della sua economia aperta, il commercio è essenziale per l'UE. Per superare gli ostacoli agli scambi e garantire parità di condizioni per le sue imprese, l'Unione sta negoziando una serie di accordi di libero scambio (ALS). L'UE è inoltre fondatrice e un attore fondamentale dell'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio (OMC).

Russia

01-02-2018

I rapporti tra l'UE e la Russia si sono deteriorati a partire dal 2014 a causa dell'annessione illegale della Crimea da parte della Russia, del sostegno ai gruppi ribelli nell'Ucraina orientale, delle politiche nei paesi di vicinato, delle campagne di disinformazione e degli sviluppi interni negativi. Le tensioni sono inoltre aumentate a seguito dell'intervento russo in Siria. Dal 2014 l'UE rinnova sistematicamente le sanzioni nei confronti del paese. UE e Russia restano strettamente interdipendenti ...

I rapporti tra l'UE e la Russia si sono deteriorati a partire dal 2014 a causa dell'annessione illegale della Crimea da parte della Russia, del sostegno ai gruppi ribelli nell'Ucraina orientale, delle politiche nei paesi di vicinato, delle campagne di disinformazione e degli sviluppi interni negativi. Le tensioni sono inoltre aumentate a seguito dell'intervento russo in Siria. Dal 2014 l'UE rinnova sistematicamente le sanzioni nei confronti del paese. UE e Russia restano strettamente interdipendenti e l'UE ricorre al «dialogo selettivo».

Politica europea di vicinato

01-01-2018

La politica europea di vicinato (PEV) si applica ad Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaigian, Bielorussia, Egitto, Georgia, Israele, Giordania, Libano, Libia, Moldova, Marocco, Palestina, Siria, Tunisia e Ucraina. È intesa a rafforzare la prosperità, la stabilità e la sicurezza di tutti i soggetti interessati. La PEV si basa sulla democrazia, lo Stato di diritto e il rispetto dei diritti umani ed è una politica bilaterale tra l'Unione e ciascun paese partner, che prevede iniziative di cooperazione regionale ...

La politica europea di vicinato (PEV) si applica ad Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaigian, Bielorussia, Egitto, Georgia, Israele, Giordania, Libano, Libia, Moldova, Marocco, Palestina, Siria, Tunisia e Ucraina. È intesa a rafforzare la prosperità, la stabilità e la sicurezza di tutti i soggetti interessati. La PEV si basa sulla democrazia, lo Stato di diritto e il rispetto dei diritti umani ed è una politica bilaterale tra l'Unione e ciascun paese partner, che prevede iniziative di cooperazione regionale: il partenariato orientale e l'Unione per il Mediterraneo[1].

Tre vicini del partenariato orientale: Ucraina, Moldova e Bielorussia

01-01-2018

La politica di partenariato orientale dell'UE, istituita nel 2009, include sei Stati dell'ex Unione sovietica: Armenia, Azerbaigian, Bielorussia, Georgia, Moldova e Ucraina. Il partenariato è stato istituito per promuovere l'impegno riformista in questi paesi in ambito politico, sociale ed economico, allo scopo di accrescere la democratizzazione e il buon governo, la sicurezza energetica, la protezione dell'ambiente e lo sviluppo economico e sociale. Tranne la Bielorussia, tutti i membri del partenariato ...

La politica di partenariato orientale dell'UE, istituita nel 2009, include sei Stati dell'ex Unione sovietica: Armenia, Azerbaigian, Bielorussia, Georgia, Moldova e Ucraina. Il partenariato è stato istituito per promuovere l'impegno riformista in questi paesi in ambito politico, sociale ed economico, allo scopo di accrescere la democratizzazione e il buon governo, la sicurezza energetica, la protezione dell'ambiente e lo sviluppo economico e sociale. Tranne la Bielorussia, tutti i membri del partenariato partecipano all'Assemblea parlamentare Euronest.

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