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EU-Iran: The way forward - Can the JCPOA survive the Trump presidency?

07-07-2020

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America ( ...

Two issues have dominated relations between the EU and Iran in recent years: the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – including efforts to conclude it, followed by efforts to save it – and human rights concerns. Even though the European Union (EU) and Iran have worked together over the past two years to save the JCPOA, relations between the two have deteriorated. Iran accuses EU Member States of not standing up to pressure from the United States of America (USA) to isolate Iran and of not doing enough to save the JCPOA. The EU, for its part, is concerned about Iran's enrichment activities; growing tensions in the region and Iran's role in this context, including the provision of military, financial and political support to non-state actors in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen; and its ballistic missile programme. In 2011, the EU put restrictive measures in place to react to serious human rights violations in Iran. These remain in force. Nevertheless, the EU has continued to engage with Iran, in marked contrast to the USA. Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in May 2018, the Trump administration re-imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran and has since then pursued a policy of 'maximum pressure'. The declared goal of the maximum pressure campaign is to push Iran to negotiate a new agreement that would also address Iran's ballistic missile programme, end its support of militant groups in the region, and curb its foreign policy ambitions in western Asia. Instead, the US policy of maximum pressure on Tehran has led to an escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf region, with potentially direct consequences for Europe. With Iran continuing uranium enrichment to levels far exceeding the levels permitted under the JCPOA, and with the USA threatening to trigger the re-imposition of United Nations (UN) sanctions against Iran, further escalation is likely. Security in the EU is linked to the security situation in western Asia. For that reason, Europe should maintain efforts to preserve the JCPOA and seek to reduce tension between Iran and the USA.

Association agreement between the EU and Ukraine

07-07-2020

The European implementation assessment (EIA) evaluates the implementation of the association agreement (EU AA), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), between the EU and Ukraine. The evaluation forms an update of an evaluation published in July 2018. The EIA shows progress and challenges in the implementation of the agreement in Ukraine and stresses the importance of further reforms in this Eastern Partnership country. The EIA consists of two parts, an opening analysis ...

The European implementation assessment (EIA) evaluates the implementation of the association agreement (EU AA), including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), between the EU and Ukraine. The evaluation forms an update of an evaluation published in July 2018. The EIA shows progress and challenges in the implementation of the agreement in Ukraine and stresses the importance of further reforms in this Eastern Partnership country. The EIA consists of two parts, an opening analysis prepared internally by the DG EPRS and a briefing paper prepared externally by the Polish Institute of International Affairs. The EIA has been prepared to accompany the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) in its scrutiny work, namely on its work on the own-initiative annual implementing report on the EU association agreement with Ukraine.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - July 2020

03-07-2020

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

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.

Challenges for environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights in the Amazon region

30-06-2020

The present analysis examines the environmental and human rights challenges in the Amazon region. It finds that the Amazonian countries pursue development policies in the region based on the exploitation on an industrial scale of natural and non-renewable resources that have caused and continue to cause deforestation, loss of biodiversity and engender human rights violations in particular affecting indigenous peoples. The analysis acknowledges the measures taken by the Amazonian countries to establish ...

The present analysis examines the environmental and human rights challenges in the Amazon region. It finds that the Amazonian countries pursue development policies in the region based on the exploitation on an industrial scale of natural and non-renewable resources that have caused and continue to cause deforestation, loss of biodiversity and engender human rights violations in particular affecting indigenous peoples. The analysis acknowledges the measures taken by the Amazonian countries to establish protected areas and support indigenous territories and their rights but concludes that the laws need strengthening and effective enforcement. The analysis argues that the protection of the Amazon biome is an essential part of the global efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and concurs with the view of some scientists that there is an urgency to stop forest loss. The analysis further notes that the most effective guardians of the Amazonian forest and its biodiversity are its indigenous peoples. The analysis concludes by arguing that the European Union has an interest in contributing to the protection of the Amazon and its indigenous peoples. It recommends, among other things, that the EU strengthen its direct support to Amazonian indigenous peoples and environmental defenders and develop effective measures which target EU-based companies whose activities cause deforestation.

Autor externo

Dr. Julian BURGER

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa

25-06-2020

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this ...

The new EU-Africa Strategy presented by the Commission on 9 March puts a reinforced emphasis on the creation of a real partnership with a continent whose relevance for Europe is growing by the day. The three briefings focus on different aspects of this new partnership, the first one dealing with the implications for the political dialogue with a focus on (good) governance and the even bigger challenge of security and migration. The second briefing has a look at more ‘traditional’ aspects of this relationship, development and humanitarian aid, complemented with the rising challenge of climate change. The new approach is also illustrated by the emphasis put on the promotion of bilateral trade and investment relations, the topic of the third briefing. All these briefings also try to incorporate first elements on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the bilateral relationship.

Autor externo

Morten BØÅS, Ondřej HORKÝ-HLUCHÁŇ,Ainhoa MARIN-EGOSCOZABAL

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Political Dialogue: Governance, Security and Migration

25-06-2020

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed ...

Much has changed since the creation of the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in 2007. The developing world has been changing fast. Development policy and practices are also transforming, albeit at a slower pace. The divide between emerging economies and ‘fragile states’ is increasing. This is also the case in Africa. As not only Africa, but also the EU-Africa relationship is changing and evolving into new dimensions, there is clearly a need to develop a new European strategy, constructed on the basis of an emerging continent. Africa is home to the youngest population in the world and some of the world’s most fragile states. However, it is also a continent with emerging markets and more effective governments. This brief aims to clarify how well the new Strategy must manage to mainstream a European approach to Africa that considers both the inter-continental dialogue and the diversity of development on this emerging continent within the fields of governance, security and migration. As the COVID-19 has turned into a pandemic, the brief also suggests that the new European strategy must reflect this development and the European Parliament should closely monitor the situation as it discusses the Strategy.

Autor externo

Morten BØÅS

A Comprehensive EU Strategy for Africa - Trade and Investments

25-06-2020

The new European Commission (EC) is putting EU-African relations to the fore. A Joint Communication of the EC towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa stresses the African Continent’s strategic importance and the EU’s need to strengthen its partnership with (and not for) Africa. Proposals in the Joint Communication maintain promotion of sustainable investments with Africa on top of the EU’s agenda. Partnership with Africa to attract investors and boost regional as well as continental integration ...

The new European Commission (EC) is putting EU-African relations to the fore. A Joint Communication of the EC towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa stresses the African Continent’s strategic importance and the EU’s need to strengthen its partnership with (and not for) Africa. Proposals in the Joint Communication maintain promotion of sustainable investments with Africa on top of the EU’s agenda. Partnership with Africa to attract investors and boost regional as well as continental integration are specific actions aimed to attain sustainable growth and jobs in African countries. This emphasis is not new, being in line with a geopolitically oriented Commission and the European Union’s (EU) trend of shifting from a Donor-recipient model to a relationship based on mutual cooperation, pursuing common interests and mutual benefits. As the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold in Africa during 2020, it is becoming more urgent that EU and African relations post COVID-19 be tailored to a new scenario and show tangible action using partnership rhetoric.

Autor externo

Ainhoa MARIN-EGOSCOZABAL

Coronavirus in south-east Asia: Health, political and economic impact

19-06-2020

Coronavirus has affected the 10 south-east Asian countries in very different ways. Thanks to quick and decisive action, Vietnam came through relatively unscathed; Singapore also seemed to have the virus under control, before a second wave of infections among migrant labourers took off. Malaysia and Thailand initially struggled, but now seem to have turned the situation around. In Indonesia and the Philippines, the disease continues to spread rapidly. Although weak healthcare systems make Cambodia ...

Coronavirus has affected the 10 south-east Asian countries in very different ways. Thanks to quick and decisive action, Vietnam came through relatively unscathed; Singapore also seemed to have the virus under control, before a second wave of infections among migrant labourers took off. Malaysia and Thailand initially struggled, but now seem to have turned the situation around. In Indonesia and the Philippines, the disease continues to spread rapidly. Although weak healthcare systems make Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, the three poorest countries of the region, highly vulnerable, they have not reported many infections so far. Despite such differences, some of the issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic are common to all countries of the region. For example, pre-existing inequalities have widened, particularly affecting low-paid workers in informal employment, migrants, and refugees. Meanwhile, governments are clamping down on free speech and adopting emergency powers, raising concerns over authoritarian tendencies. Although the countries of the region are cooperating with each other and neighbours such as China, tensions (for example, in the South China Sea) have become more apparent. All south-east Asian economies have been affected, but the impact varies considerably. Vietnam is expected to do relatively well, and several other countries will also see modest growth. Due to a global downturn in trade and tourism, Singapore and Thailand are suffering most. Overall, the region is forecast to see less of an economic impact than Europe or North America, and growth is expected to rebound in 2021.

EU and UK citizens' rights after Brexit: An overview

18-06-2020

This EPRS paper analyses the implications of Brexit for the rights of both European Union and United Kingdom citizens and provides an overview of the rights protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, as well as of the national measures envisaged by the UK and the EU Member States to give effect to the relevant provisions thereof. As a result of the UK leaving the EU and becoming a third country, UK citizens are no longer EU citizens and they will therefore ...

This EPRS paper analyses the implications of Brexit for the rights of both European Union and United Kingdom citizens and provides an overview of the rights protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, which entered into force on 1 February 2020, as well as of the national measures envisaged by the UK and the EU Member States to give effect to the relevant provisions thereof. As a result of the UK leaving the EU and becoming a third country, UK citizens are no longer EU citizens and they will therefore lose a series of rights based on EU citizenship once the transition period provided for in the agreement expires. Currently, UK and EU citizens may still move to the EU and the UK respectively, under the applicable EU rules. Beyond the end of the transition period, the agreement guarantees the rights of EU and UK citizens who had made use of their freedom of movement rights by the end of 2020.

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