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Coronavirus and international sanctions: Should sanctions be eased during the pandemic?

20-05-2020

The coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns that international sanctions may be exacerbating the risk of a humanitarian crisis. In March 2020, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to waive restrictions on food and medicines that are affecting the world's most vulnerable countries. Especially since the suffering caused by the international trade embargo against Iraq in the 1990s, the European Union has sought to design its sanctions for maximum effect at the least ...

The coronavirus pandemic has raised concerns that international sanctions may be exacerbating the risk of a humanitarian crisis. In March 2020, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to waive restrictions on food and medicines that are affecting the world's most vulnerable countries. Especially since the suffering caused by the international trade embargo against Iraq in the 1990s, the European Union has sought to design its sanctions for maximum effect at the least possible humanitarian cost. Usually it does this by targeting restrictions at key individuals or organisations, and in some cases sectors, rather than a country's economy as a whole. Critics of sanctions claim that US-imposed trade restrictions have prevented Iran from purchasing essential medical supplies needed to fight the pandemic. They also argue that EU and US sanctions make desperately impoverished Zimbabwe and Sudan even more vulnerable than they would otherwise be. Both the European Union and the United States defend their policies, but acknowledge the importance of humanitarian exceptions. Although the European Union has not said that it will lift any of its restrictive measures, it has offered various forms of support to several sanctions-hit countries.

Challenges facing India's democracy and economy

13-05-2020

India has a 70-year history of democracy, tolerance and rule of law, and a successful record of managing its patchwork of cultures and religions. In recent months, however, following the second consecutive victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in the May 2019 general elections, this situation has been changing under the impact of an ever-increasing Hindu nationalist grip on society and politics. After Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, lost its autonomy ...

India has a 70-year history of democracy, tolerance and rule of law, and a successful record of managing its patchwork of cultures and religions. In recent months, however, following the second consecutive victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in the May 2019 general elections, this situation has been changing under the impact of an ever-increasing Hindu nationalist grip on society and politics. After Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, lost its autonomy, the government adopted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), allowing foreigners from six religious communities living in three neighbouring countries to apply for Indian citizenship at a faster pace. This new legislation has prompted protests and divisions across India, as, according to both internal and external observers, citizenship would be determined along religious criteria, which risks undermining the country's traditional secularism. The government's plan to launch a national register of citizens has further increased the Muslim community's fear of discrimination. Communal tensions flared into violence in late February 2020 in Delhi, claiming 53 lives. At the same time, India's economy is experiencing a severe downturn: even before the coronavirus outbreak started to have an effect, its growth was slackening and so was job creation, while at the same time unemployment is high, consumer confidence and spending are low, and trust in the banking sector is eroding as credit weakness and non-performing loans hinder its performance. Contrary to expectations, the Union budget for financial year 2021 has not tackled existing structural weaknesses or generated a large fiscal stimulus as an answer to the slowdown.

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'.

Australia's restrictions on movement in response to the coronavirus pandemic

27-04-2020

The Australian federal government, and state and territory governments, are working together to provide an effective national response to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government's response, in terms of emergency measures designed to limit the spread of the virus, includes travel restrictions and efforts to ensure that travellers self-isolate on arrival in Australia. State and territory governments, for their part, have imposed travel restrictions between and within their jurisdictions, and ...

The Australian federal government, and state and territory governments, are working together to provide an effective national response to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government's response, in terms of emergency measures designed to limit the spread of the virus, includes travel restrictions and efforts to ensure that travellers self-isolate on arrival in Australia. State and territory governments, for their part, have imposed travel restrictions between and within their jurisdictions, and imposed restrictions on social interaction, among other measures.

Australia: Economic indicators and trade with EU

24-02-2020

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in ...

Australia was the world's 13th largest economy in 2018, with growth in gross domestic product (GDP) at 2.9 %. It has a strong and dynamic relationship with the EU. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU were formally launched in June 2018. In 2018, Australia was the EU's 19th largest trading partner, with a 1.2% share of the EU's total trade. Further information on EU-Australia trade relations, such as the composition of trade between the two partners, can be found in this infographic, which also provides an economic snapshot of Australia.

Government system and institutions of Australia

24-02-2020

The Commonwealth of Australia, as Australia is officially known, was established on 1 January 1901 with the federation of six former British colonies. The Constitution, which came into effect on the same day, provides the rules by which Australia is governed and divides government responsibilities into three separate branches: parliament, executive and judiciary. In addition to being a federation, Australia is also a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elisabeth II, who ...

The Commonwealth of Australia, as Australia is officially known, was established on 1 January 1901 with the federation of six former British colonies. The Constitution, which came into effect on the same day, provides the rules by which Australia is governed and divides government responsibilities into three separate branches: parliament, executive and judiciary. In addition to being a federation, Australia is also a representative democracy and a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elisabeth II, who resides in the United Kingdom (UK), is the official head of state of the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia's system of government is modelled on the Westminster system deriving from the British tradition. The Commonwealth parliament, made up of the Queen and the two Houses of Parliament, in addition to holding the legislative power, is at the heart of the tradition of responsible government. This means that government ministers, who all must be members of parliament, are accountable to, and must answer to, the parliament for their actions. There are three levels of government within the country, namely the Commonwealth (federal), state or territory, and local level. Under Australia's federal system, the powers of government are divided between the federal and the state governments. Out of the 10 territories that are part of the Commonwealth, two have been granted a level of self-government by the federal parliament. Consequently, Australia has a federal parliament, as well as six state and two territory parliaments. It also has a federal executive government, as well as six state and two territory executive governments. A third, local level of Australian government was established by state and territory governments. The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the judicial system.

Accords internationaux en marche: Le futur partenariat de l’UE avec les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (« post-Cotonou »)

19-02-2020

L’accord de partenariat entre l’Union européenne et les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) devait expirer en février 2020. La renégociation de cet « Accord de Cotonou » offre l’opportunité de revoir les relations entre les pays ACP et l’Union en tenant compte des objectifs de développement durable des Nations unies, de la redéfinition des stratégies européennes dans les régions concernées, des nouvelles ambitions des pays ACP et de l’évolution de l’équilibre des pouvoirs au niveau ...

L’accord de partenariat entre l’Union européenne et les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) devait expirer en février 2020. La renégociation de cet « Accord de Cotonou » offre l’opportunité de revoir les relations entre les pays ACP et l’Union en tenant compte des objectifs de développement durable des Nations unies, de la redéfinition des stratégies européennes dans les régions concernées, des nouvelles ambitions des pays ACP et de l’évolution de l’équilibre des pouvoirs au niveau mondial. Le principal défi pour l’Union européenne est de maintenir ses relations dans les trois sous-régions, tout en restant fidèle aux valeurs promues dans les traités européens. La question du financement est également sur la table. Le groupe ACP et l’Union européenne ont adopté leurs mandats de négociation respectivement en mai et juin 2018 et les négociations ont débuté en septembre 2018. Les parties prenantes se sont accordées sur le principe d’un socle commun complété par trois protocoles régionaux. Ces négociations à plusieurs niveaux ainsi que les discussions en cours sur le futur budget de l’UE ont empêché de finaliser l’accord à temps. Afin d’éviter un vide juridique dans les relations après l’échéance prévue de l’accord de Cotonou, les dispositions de ce dernier ont été prolongées jusqu’au 31 décembre 2020 au plus tard. Quatrième édition. Les Briefings 'Accords internationaux en marche' sont actualisés à des étapes clés de la procédure de ratification. Versions précédentes de ce briefing : PE 625.111, juillet 2018, PE 630.280, novembre 2018, PE 637.981, juillet 2019.

Trade and investment agreements with Vietnam

05-02-2020

In 2019, Vietnam became the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU. The agreements are expected to bring major economic benefits to both sides, but opinions are divided on whether the Parliament should consent to them, due to human rights issues in Vietnam.

In 2019, Vietnam became the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU. The agreements are expected to bring major economic benefits to both sides, but opinions are divided on whether the Parliament should consent to them, due to human rights issues in Vietnam.

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.

Commitments made at the hearing of Josep BORRELL FONTELLES, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President-designate of the European Commission

22-11-2019

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President designate of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, appeared before the European Parliament on 7 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document.

The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President designate of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, appeared before the European Parliament on 7 October 2019 to answer MEPs’ questions. During the hearing, he made a number of commitments which are highlighted in this document.

Gaidāmie notikumi

03-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square
Cits pasākums -
EPRS
11-06-2020
CONT Public Hearing: Implementation of EU funds
Uzklausīšana -
CONT
15-06-2020
EPRS online Book Talk | A Certain Idea of France: The life of Charles de Gaulle
Cits pasākums -
EPRS

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