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EU-Japan: Council adopts decision to sign trade agreement

European Council - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 04:07
On 6 July, the Council adopted a decision on the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan, in view of the EU-Japan summit on 11 July 2018.
Categories: European Union

US-North Korea summit [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

© jpldesigns / Fotolia

US President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a historic summit in Singapore on 12 June 2018. They reached a short agreement that emphasised the North’s commitment to ‘work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’, but provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up nuclear weapons or how that might be verified. Following the summit, the United States announced it had agreed with South Korea to suspend all planning on joint military exercises.

This note offers links to reports and commentaries from some major international think-tanks and research institutes on the summit. More reports on North Korea and related issues can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’, published in June 2018 before the summit.

Trump-Kim summit: Gambler’s diplomacy
European Council on Foreign Relations, June 2018

Trump-Kim summit: China and Kim are winners
Atlantic Council, June 2018

US–North Korea summit statement lacks definition
Chatham House, June 2018

Does China win or lose from the US-North Korea thaw?
Cato Institute, June 2018

US-North Korea summit explained: The key players’ views
KF-VUB, German Marshall Fund, June 2018

The Singapore summit’s uncertain legacy
Council on Foreign Relations, June 2018

No, the North Korean nuclear threat is not “over”
Carnegie Europe, June 2018

Are the Korean Peninsula and the world safer after Singapore?
United States Institute of Peace, June 2018

Faint praise for the Trump–Kim Singapore Summit statement
International Institute for Strategic Studies, June 2018

The North Korean summit is over: Now for the hard part
Center for a New American Security, June 2018

Singapore summit: North East Asia set for strategic realignment
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, June 2018

US-North Korea summit: Singapore round goes to Chairman Kim
Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, June 2018

The conventional military balance on the Korean Peninsula
International Institute for Strategic Studies, June 2018

Success with North Korea still needs Japan
Rand Corporation, June 2018

Don’t dismiss the Trump-Kim summit so quickly
Brookings Institution, June 2018

Kim Jong-un’s two strategic decisions
Korea Economic Institute, June 2018

China’s Xi Jinping will sleep more soundly after the Singapore summit
Royal United Services Institute, June 2018

Singapore was just the first episode of Trump’s North Korea show
The German Marshall Fund of the United States, June 2018

How to increase pressure if diplomacy with North Korea fails
Atlantic Council, June 2018

Singapore summit: It’s a start, not a miracle
Heritage Foundation, June 2018

What does the Singapore summit mean for South Korea, China and Japan?
United States Institute of Peace, June 2018

Singapore summit: The meeting is the message
Council on Foreign Relations, June 2018

5 steps to take after Trump’s North Korea summit
Cato Institute, June 2018

Beyond the Trump-Kim summit: A coalition is critical for achieving denuclearization
Atlantic Council, June 2018

Kim Jong-un’s tools of coercion
Brookings Institution, June 2018

Deep Dish: Trump-Kim summit: What happened, why, and what’s next
Chicago Council on Global Affairs, June 2018

The Trump doctrine is winning and the world is losing
International Institute for Strategic Studies, June 2018

Difficulties integrating North Korean defectors suggest challenges in reunifying Korea
Rand Corporation, June 2018

Why this wasn’t Kim’s father’s – or grandfather’s – summit
Rand Corporation, June 2018

After North Korea summit, military cooperation can reduce tensions
United States Institute of Peace, June 2018

North Korea must come clean about its dirty money
Center for a New American Security, June 2018

Assessment of the Singapore summit
Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2018

Read this briefing on ‘US-North Korea summit‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Categories: European Union

[Agenda] Trump rides back in to Europe This WEEK - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 17:51
Trump is back in the EU, amid fresh doubt on Nato and Russia, while the immigration crisis and Brexit dominate internal European affairs.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] EU finds extra €90.5m for north Africa border management - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 16:49
The European Commission approved on Friday three new migration programmes in north Africa, totalling €90.5m, after last week's EU summit dominated by the issue. The schemes are intended to reduce crossings into Europe on the central Mediterranean route and "improve partner countries' ability to better manage their borders." EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said it would include "countries along the migratory routes, including inside Libya, and in the Sahel."
Categories: European Union

The Brief – Who holds the Trump cards at NATO? - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 16:49
Next week’s NATO summit in Brussels could scarcely come at a more difficult time for Europe.
Categories: European Union

Commission to table EU external border proposal by September - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 16:20
The Commission will translate the Council's demands into a set of concrete actions in order to improve control of the EU external borders, Jean-Claude Juncker announced on Friday (6 July) during the visit of the College of Commissioners to Vienna.
Categories: European Union

Russia: EU prolongs economic sanctions by six months

European Council - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 15:50
The Council prolonged EU economic sanctions against Russia until 31 January 2019.
Categories: European Union

EU must get serious about tackling Islamophobia - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 14:55
The European Commission is appointing its new coordinator on anti-Muslim hatred. This is a key opportunity to re-assess this role and ensure the coordinator has a clear human rights based mandate and meaningful resources to tackle racism and discrimination against Muslim communities in Europe, which have been lacking so far.
Categories: European Union

Social voucher solutions ‘create jobs and combat black economy’ - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 14:39
Social voucher solutions are smart ways to stimulate local economies and create jobs, as well as increase spending power and combat the black economy, Nathalie Renaudin tells EURACTIV.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Helping illegal migrants is 'fraternal principle', says French court - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 14:30
France's Constitutional Court ruled Friday that helping someone, "regardless of the legality of their presence on national territory", falls under a "principle of fraternity" included in the French constitution. Referring to France's motto "liberty, equality, fraternity", judges said that a law under which Cedric Herrou, a farmer, was given a four-month suspended sentence last year for helping migrants at the Italian border did not respect the spirit of the constitution.
Categories: European Union

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, July 2018

Written by Katarzyna Sochacka and Clare Ferguson,

© European Union 2018 – Source : EP

The July plenary session highlights were: the continuation of the debate on the Future of Europe, this time with the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, the discussion on the outcome of the European Council meeting of 28-29 June 2018, and the review of the Bulgarian and presentation of the activities of the Austrian Presidencies. The European Commission and Council participated in discussions on the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. VP/HR Federica Mogherini’s statement on the migration crisis and humanitarian situation in Venezuela and at its borders was also discussed. Angola’s President, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, addressed Parliament in a formal sitting. Parliament approved, inter alia, proposals for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System, a European Defence Industrial Development Programme, financial rules applicable to the general EU budget and two amending budgets for 2018. Parliament agreed on the conclusion of a partnership agreement between the EU and Armenia and approved the reform of the electoral law of the EU. Three reports on the social and market aspects of the first mobility package were rejected and sent back to the Transport and Tourism Committee.


Parliament approved the trilogue agreement on proposals for a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) to manage information on third-country nationals travelling into the Schengen area. Parliament wants to ensure that the information used in the proposed online system to address the current lack of information about visa-exempt nationals travelling into Europe, is strictly relevant, and that the system is secure, transparent and accountable.

Mobility Package

Parliament rejected the three reports, as amended, on postings, resting/driving times and cabotage (the social and market rules in the mobility package). Following a vote in the Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) on 4 June, and subsequent rejection of the negotiating mandates in plenary on 14 June, this new round of votes effectively returns the proposals to the committee.

While the majority of the TRAN committee voted in favour of enforcement requirements and specific rules for posting drivers in the road transport sector; and on daily and weekly driving times, minimum breaks and rest periods and positioning by means of tachographs, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee reintroduced its amendments to focus on drivers’ working conditions in the road transport sector.

Members also largely approved a report on reducing charges on heavy-duty vehicles for the use of certain road infrastructure. This report is part of the mobility package and a special legislative procedure applies, in which Parliament is only consulted.

Partnership Agreement between the EU and EAEC and Armenia

Parliament voted in favour of concluding the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the EU and Armenia. Provisionally applied since 1 June 2018, the EU-Armenia Agreement was signed on 24 November 2017. In the non-legislative resolution adopted in parallel, Members considered the signature of this agreement to constitute an important step forward in EU and Armenia cooperation, and translates the commitment to deepening their political and economic relations.

European Defence Industrial Development Programme

Members adopted (478 votes to 179, with 23 abstentions) the European Defence Industrial Development Programme. Part of the European Defence Fund, where the EU has responded to increased security threats and key allies’ withdrawal of support, by creating a €500 million envelope to fund development of defence equipment and technologies, and boost the competitiveness of the EU defence industry. The proposed programme tightens up eligibility criteria, notably for third-country entities participating in programme financed actions. Priorities are direct management and a greater emphasis on SME access to the market.

Integrated farm statistics

Farm statistics provide evidence used to make decisions on where to allocate funding within the framework of the EU common agricultural policy. In line with its policy to update all its statistical data, the Commission proposes updating integrated farm statistics to make collection more flexible, detailed, and coherent, and to reduce the data collection burden. Parliament adopted the agreement on this draft regulation.

Reform of the electoral law of the European Union

Members of the European Parliament approved, by a comfortable majority (397 votes to 207, with 62 abstentions) the reform of the electoral law of the EU ahead of the European elections of May 2019. Among other things, the reform introduces minimum thresholds for larger constituencies, although these will not be implemented until the 2024 EU elections. The reforms also include provisions on extending voting to different methods, and increased data protection. The idea of enabling EU citizens to vote from third countries was, however, not taken up by the Council.

Financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union

Parliament discussed and approved the compromise agreed on the revision of the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union. The new revised Financial Regulation limits trust funds to external actions, retains the non-profit principle, and ends transfers from structural funding to the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), as well as maintaining the competences of the budgetary authority. Reforms to the financial rules for five regulations in the common agricultural policy field were agreed in December.

Amending budget No 2/2018: 2017 surplus

Parliament approved Amending Budget No 2 to the 2018 EU budget, which moves the surplus from the 2017 EU budget to the 2018 budget. The sum involved, €555.5 million, will decrease Member States’ contributions to the 2018 budget. The surplus is a result of a previous amending budget, plus the high level of competition fines feeding into the EU budget in 2017, as well as delays in spending.

Amending budget No 3/2018: Extension of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey

Parliament approved an amending budget for €500 million in aid to be paid in 2018 as the second tranche of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. Parliament agreed to the funding for some 5 000 teachers providing education for over 300 000 refugee children in Turkey, on the condition that Parliament is fully associated in the decision-making process on the facility, when reviewed under the 2019 budgetary procedure.

2019 budget – trilogue mandate

Parliament also considered and adopted its mandate for trilogue negotiations for the 2019 draft EU budget, its position for initial negotiations with the Council. Parliament’s priorities for the 2019 budget are sustainable growth, innovation, competitiveness, citizenship, security, the fight against climate change, transition to renewable energy, migration, and young people.

Statute for social and solidarity-based enterprises

Parliament adopted a legislative-initiative resolution on a statute for social and solidarity-based enterprises, calling for a common definition, based on specific criteria, enabling enterprises with a positive social, environmental or community impact, that employ 14.5 million people, to overcome regulatory obstacles.

Opening of trilogue negotiations

Two parliamentary committees’ decisions to enter into interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations were confirmed: four reports on financial services proposals (ECON); and on the European citizens’ initiative (AFCO). A confirmatory vote was held on the latter, allowing negotiations with the Council to begin. As for the proposal on copyright in the digital single market (JURI), the plenary voted against the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations, meaning the report will come back to the agenda for the September part-session.

Read this ‘At a glance’ note on ‘Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, July 2018‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Categories: European Union

EU-Ukraine Summit 2018

Council lTV - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 13:30

The EU-Ukraine Summit takes place on 9 July 2018 in Brussels. The implementation of the association agreement and its free trade area, the Minsk agreement, the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and regional issues are at the top of the agenda. The EU is represented by Donald TUSK, President of the European Council, and by Jean-Claude JUNCKER, President of the European Commission. Ukraine is represented by President Petro POROSHENKO. The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica MOGHERINI, Vice-Presidents Maroš ŠEFČOVIČ and Valdis DOMBROVSKIS and Commissioner Cecilia MALMSTRÖM also participate at the Summit.

Download this video here.

Categories: European Union

Debate: Copyright: EU Parliament puts reform on ice - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 12:26
The EU Parliament has rejected controversial plans for a reform of Internet copyright laws that would introduce compulsory upload filters. In a plenary session the parliament voted by a thin majority against presenting the bill to the member states. Commentators discuss the pros and cons of the reform and see it as a ray of hope for European policy that the topic has drawn so much attention.
Categories: European Union

Debate: A new case of Novichok in Britain - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 12:26
Two more British citizens have been found unconscious after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok. According to British police they had come into contact with a "contaminated object". Journalists speculate on whether the object was a left-over from the Skripal case or whether the Russian - or British - secret service had a hand in the poisoning.
Categories: European Union


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