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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.

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'.

China [What Think Tanks are thinking]

08-02-2019

China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and its assertive foreign policy pose a dilemma for European Union policy-makers as to whether to treat the Asian powerhouse as a partner or a rival, or to take a position somewhere in between. Formally, the EU and China are strategic partners since 2003 - a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. No EU country wants to be openly confrontational towards China, contrary to the approach of the ...

China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and its assertive foreign policy pose a dilemma for European Union policy-makers as to whether to treat the Asian powerhouse as a partner or a rival, or to take a position somewhere in between. Formally, the EU and China are strategic partners since 2003 - a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. No EU country wants to be openly confrontational towards China, contrary to the approach of the current United States administration. However, several European governments are wary of Beijing’s economic expansionism and its efforts to take the global lead in digital technologies. Controversy over China’s telecoms giant Huawei has exacerbated those concerns. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on China, its ties with the EU and related issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are thinking' published in September 2018.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - January 2019

14-01-2019

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.

Special purpose vehicle for trade with Iran

13-11-2018

Following the May 2018 announcement of the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and of the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran, the EU is continuing to endorse implementation of the agreement, providing Iran fulfils its nuclear-related obligations. The EU is also committed to ensuring that EU-Iran trade and economic relations continue to benefit from the positive impact of lifting the sanctions. The EU has already introduced measures to alleviate the effects of US sanctions ...

Following the May 2018 announcement of the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and of the re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran, the EU is continuing to endorse implementation of the agreement, providing Iran fulfils its nuclear-related obligations. The EU is also committed to ensuring that EU-Iran trade and economic relations continue to benefit from the positive impact of lifting the sanctions. The EU has already introduced measures to alleviate the effects of US sanctions on European firms, and has announced the creation of a new mechanism, a special purpose vehicle (SPV), to facilitate financial transactions with Iran.

Multilateralism in international trade: Reforming the WTO

22-10-2018

Since its establishment in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has embodied the multilateral trading system. Despite successes in some areas, including the effective settlement of numerous trade disputes and the conclusion of new multilateral trade agreements, the WTO currently faces serious challenges to its legitimacy and its effective functioning. Of particular concern is the US blockage of new appointments to the WTO’s Appellate Body (AB), which fulfils a key role in the WTO dispute settlement ...

Since its establishment in 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has embodied the multilateral trading system. Despite successes in some areas, including the effective settlement of numerous trade disputes and the conclusion of new multilateral trade agreements, the WTO currently faces serious challenges to its legitimacy and its effective functioning. Of particular concern is the US blockage of new appointments to the WTO’s Appellate Body (AB), which fulfils a key role in the WTO dispute settlement system. This impasse could soon paralyse the practical enforcement of multilateral trade rules, which would undermine the rules-based system. In addition, certain countries’ contentious trade practices cannot be addressed under existing WTO rules, and rules on transparency are not fully complied with. The WTO has also had limited success in adding new issues to its trade agenda, and the 2001 Doha round was inconclusive. This has led many countries to pursue their own trade agreements outside the WTO’s multilateral framework. The EU is a key supporter of the multilateral trading system and seeks to address the challenges that the WTO faces. In September 2018, the Commission published a concept paper on WTO reform, in particular in the areas of rule-making, regular work and transparency, and dispute settlement. Other countries have also been working on WTO reform, sometimes together with the EU. A meeting of 13 WTO members, including the EU, to discuss reform proposals is due to take place in Canada on 24 and 25 October 2018. The European Parliament strongly supports the multilateral trading system and has expressed its support for efforts to reform the WTO. Parliament’s International Trade Committee is currently drafting an own-initiative report on the matter. This is a further update of a briefing published in December 2017.

Consequences of US trade policy on EU-US trade relations and the global trading system

17-10-2018

The Trump Administration’s trade policy is driven by the belief that previous Administrations have let other countries take advantage of the United States for foreign policy reasons, as demonstrated by America’s more open trade regime and its trade deficits. It is determined to end this perceived imbalance by demanding reciprocity instead, and is willing to use tough tactics to achieve this through strict enforcement of its procurement and trade defense law; expansive tax provisions; bringing the ...

The Trump Administration’s trade policy is driven by the belief that previous Administrations have let other countries take advantage of the United States for foreign policy reasons, as demonstrated by America’s more open trade regime and its trade deficits. It is determined to end this perceived imbalance by demanding reciprocity instead, and is willing to use tough tactics to achieve this through strict enforcement of its procurement and trade defense law; expansive tax provisions; bringing the WTO dispute settlement to a halt; withdrawing from and forcing others to renegotiate existing bilateral and multilateral agreements; adopting a novel “national security” argument to justify breaking WTO tariff commitments for steel, aluminum and possibly autos; and enacting punitive tariffs on billions of dollars of imports from China, possibly threatening a trade war. The scenarios for U.S.-EU trade relations as well as the global trading system are anything but rosy. The EU can stand up to the Administration’s “bullying,” or it can take advantage of America’s need for a “re-balancing” to build its own stature by taking simple steps to improve EU-U.S. trade, forging a way forward in the WTO, and providing necessary leadership to address the dangers China’s economic system poses to the global trading order.

Autor extern

Peter CHASE, Peter SPARDING, Yuki MUKAI

The future partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom: Negotiating a framework for relations after Brexit

25-09-2018

Following the European Council's additional guidelines of March 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have started discussions on their future relationship after Brexit. The aim is to agree on a political framework for their future partnership by autumn 2018, to be adopted alongside the withdrawal agreement. Conclusion of a treaty or treaties establishing future EU-UK relations will only take place after the UK leaves the Union and becomes a third country. Both parties have expressed ...

Following the European Council's additional guidelines of March 2018, the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) have started discussions on their future relationship after Brexit. The aim is to agree on a political framework for their future partnership by autumn 2018, to be adopted alongside the withdrawal agreement. Conclusion of a treaty or treaties establishing future EU-UK relations will only take place after the UK leaves the Union and becomes a third country. Both parties have expressed the desire to remain in a close partnership, which would cover several areas including trade and economic matters, internal security, foreign and security policy, and cooperation on defence. This study looks at the respective aims for, and principles underpinning, the negotiations, as expressed publicly to date by each party, and analyses some of the legal constraints and existing practices or precedents shaping EU cooperation with third-country partners. This allows assessment of the possibilities and limits of any future EU-UK partnership, in light of the stated objectives and 'red lines' officially announced, leading to the conclusion that, notwithstanding several common aims, significant divergences still persist with respect to the means of achieving the stated objectives.

State of EU-US relations

05-09-2018

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September ...

Over a year and a half into the presidency of Donald Trump, transatlantic relations continue to adapt to new realities under the 'America First' foreign policy. Its implications have touched several areas, such as climate, defence, sanctions and cooperation within multilateral institutions. EU-US trade relations have deteriorated significantly. However, following a visit by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to the US in July, new bilateral trade talks are being prepared. During its September plenary session, the European Parliament is expected to discuss an own-initiative report addressing these issues.

Protectionism and international diplomacy

25-06-2018

Just three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of Cold War aggression and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the world faces even greater uncertainty. In every region of the world, geopolitical shifts are taking place that have brought offensive trade agendas to the fore. The US has withdrawn from underwriting the post-World War Two international economic and foreign policy architecture, instead proposing to build a wall between itself and neighbouring Mexico, imposing ...

Just three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall signifying the end of Cold War aggression and the ascendancy of international liberalism, the world faces even greater uncertainty. In every region of the world, geopolitical shifts are taking place that have brought offensive trade agendas to the fore. The US has withdrawn from underwriting the post-World War Two international economic and foreign policy architecture, instead proposing to build a wall between itself and neighbouring Mexico, imposing unilateral tariff increases while refusing to negotiate new international agreements. In Europe, the project of ever greater integration has been attacked by Brexit, as well as other populist sentiment against the perceived power of EU institutions and the forces of globalisation. The breakdown of the western coalition advocating global governance has left a power vacuum that other key players such as China are forced to respond to. These current tectonic shifts in power and foreign policy positions impact on every country and every individual in the early 21st century. While many governments strive to maintain international cooperation and further integration, it is an unpredictable era. For trade policy has established itself firmly within the arena of high foreign diplomacy and as a result, traditional assumptions and adherence to international norms can no longer be assumed in such a state of political and economic flux. Yet when trade policy becomes a tool of diplomacy and foreign policy, sound economic reasoning can be lost to political decision making. This report shines a spotlight on the rise of protectionism in the 21st century. It examines the diplomatic dynamics behind economic nationalism and its attack on the established liberal international institutions that were created after the second World War to settle disputes without recourse to war. Before focusing on the US, UK, EU and China, the first chapter centers on the threat to economic integration and cooperation in promoting sustainable development through the multilateral rules-based system established under the World Trade Organization.

Autor extern

Ms Kamala DAWAR

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