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Debate: Enhanced cooperation between EU and China

Eurotopics.net - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:55
The EU and China are joining forces in the trade dispute with the US. At the EU-China summit they agreed to cooperate more closely in the areas of economic affairs and environmental protection. Commentators welcome this new unity but warn that Europe must not forget the human rights abuses in China.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] EU and Japan sign trade and data deals

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:54
The EU and Japan on Tuesday signed a free-trade agreement that includes removing EU barriers on Japanese cars and Japanese duties on EU cheeses and meats. They also signed an agreement that recognises EU and Japan's data protection systems as "equivalent". The trade deal will now have to be ratified by the European and Japanese parliaments. EU Council president Donald Tusk hailed it as "the largest bilateral trade deal ever."
Categories: European Union

More than a billion people struggle to stay cool as Earth warms

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:10
More than a billion people are at risk from a lack of air conditioning and refrigeration to keep them cool and to preserve food and medicines as global warming brings more high temperatures, a study showed on Monday (16 July).
Categories: European Union

Thailand confident to ban illegal fishing, forced labor by end of year, says ambassador

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:01
Thailand aims to become free from illegal fishing and forced labour by the end of this year, Virachai Plasai, the Thai ambassador and head negotiator on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, told EURACTIV.com.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] New Cyprus peace effort to start soon

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:24
The new UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute will be in Cyprus on 23 July to start consultations for a possible new round of negotiations to solve the island's division, after previous talks failed last year, Cyprus foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides said in Brussels on Tuesday. Lute will also have talks with Turkey, Greece, the UK and the EU. "We don't have [the] luxury for a new failure," Christodoulides said.
Categories: European Union

Russia seeks Trump's help to go after British activist

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 09:29
Russia has urged the US to help it go after a British human rights campaigner in return for cooperation in an election-meddling probe.
Categories: European Union

May caves in to Brexiteer demands, risking 'no deal'

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 09:29
The British prime minister faces rebellion from both sides of her party as a key Brexit legislation is debated in parliament. The EU in the meantime gets ready for a no-deal scenario.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Pussy Riot jailed for World Cup final stunt

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 09:29
Four protesters from the Russian art group, Pussy Riot, who interrupted the World Cup final match between France and Croatia by invading the pitch have been sentenced to 15 days in jail. The protestors called for the release of political prisoners, the end to illegal detentions at political rallies, and halting policing of people's political views on social media. They were also banned from sports events for three years.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] UK 'Leave' campaign fined and reported to police

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 08:57
The official 'Leave' campaign behind the 2016 victory in the UK referendum on Brexit has been fined and reported to the police, after a nearly two-year investigation. The Electoral Commission found that 'Vote Leave' had overspent by £500,000 (€565,000) on a £7m limit on campaign spending, and had colluded with another Brexit group, 'BeLeave'. The head of the commission also said Vote Leave had "resisted our investigation from the start."
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] IMF warns global trade war could cost $430bn

Euobserver.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 08:46
The global economy could suffer a $430bn loss in GDP as a result of a trade war between the US and the rest of the world, the International Monetary Fund has warned, adding that the US itself would be "especially vulnerable", the Guardian reported. The IMF said the new tariffs risked lowering global growth by 0.5 percent by 2020, and the US would find itself "the focus of global retaliation".
Categories: European Union

The Rome Statute at 20: The International Criminal Court’s achievements and challenges

Written by Ionel Zamfir,

Adopted on 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute is the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was set up to deal with the most serious crimes of international concern – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Its establishment inspired much hope that such horrendous crimes will no longer go unpunished, and that it will significantly deter their occurrence. From its creation, the EU has been a strong supporter of the ICC system. Even if it deals with crimes that are to be universally proscribed, only around two thirds of world countries have ratified the Rome Statute to date. Those still missing include important global and regional players, such as the USA, Russia, China and India, as well as Israel, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The ICC exercises jurisdiction over four types of crime: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and, more recently, the crime of aggression. Its jurisdiction is limited to the states parties’ territories and nationals, unless the UN Security Council explicitly asks it to investigate situations in a country that is not an ICC member. These limitations in the Court’s jurisdiction have prevented it from investigating the atrocities committed in the civil wars in Syria and Iraq, as securing a referral of the situations there from the Security Council has proved impossible.

Since it started operating in 2003, the Court has conducted investigations and trials on some of the world’s most brutal conflicts and has not shied away from investigating those at the highest level of power, such as presidents in office. The Rome Statute explicitly excludes immunity for high-ranking officials. Immunities attached to the official capacity of a person, whether under national or international law, do not bar the Court from exercising its jurisdiction over that person.

To date, of the 11 situations under investigation, 5 have been investigated at the request of states’ parties (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic (CAR) twice, and Mali); 2 at the request of the UN Security Council (in Sudan (Darfur) and Libya); and 4 at the initiative of the Prosecutor (with the assent of the pre-trial chamber (in Burundi, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and Georgia). Of the 11 situations investigated, 10 concern African countries, which has raised questions regarding a possible ‘African bias’ at the Court. However, such allegations ignore the fact that African states themselves referred many of these situations to the Court. This ‘African bias’ criticism has generated some momentum among African states for non-cooperation with the Court, and even for leaving the ICC system, for which a one-year withdrawal notice is required. Three of the four countries that have announced their decision to withdraw to date are African. In the Gambia, the decision was a personal one taken by the former president that his successor immediately annulled. South Africa considered withdrawing after it refused to arrest the Sudanese president, under a Court warrant, on its soil, but the procedure has proved more complicated domestically. Burundi remains the first and only country to date that has actually withdrawn from the Rome Statute. The fact the ICC has started investigations in their territories may actually have contributed to the decision of certain countries to leave. Two of the four that have announced the decision to withdraw are under ICC investigation for possible crimes within its competence committed on their territory: Burundi and the Philippines. Withdrawal has, however, no impact on ongoing proceedings or any matter which was already under consideration by the Court prior to the date upon which the withdrawal became effective.

The ICC has been under intense public scrutiny. Some voices have pointed to a certain ‘political bias’ in the selection of cases (the ‘African bias’ being part of this more general problem). To guarantee the Prosecutor’s impartiality in the selection and prioritisation of cases, extensive internal rules were developed. The Court has also developed extensive tools to protect its most important asset – witnesses, who in many cases have faced intimidation, violence and even death.

With some €1.5 billion spent in 15 years of operation, and with only three final convictions, the Court has been criticised as ineffective. Effectiveness cannot be judged, however, based solely on convictions. The ICC is a court of last resort and the complementarity principle limits its activities: the ICC is competent to conduct investigations only when states are unable or unwilling to prosecute the crimes themselves. The Court’s impact on national judicial systems has also been significant, with many countries having adopted national legislation on the crimes under ICC jurisdiction.

The European Union is a staunch supporter of the ICC and of the principles underpinning the Rome Statute. All its Member States are states parties to the ICC. The EU has developed specific policy tools to structure its cooperation with the Court and to encourage and assist third states to join the ICC system. The EU has included an ICC clause in several of its cooperation agreements with partner countries and has been providing assistance for countries that encounter difficulties in ratifying, accessing and implementing the Rome Statute. It has funded a range of actions with regard to the ICC system through its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights. The EU also recognises the importance of the complementarity principle, prioritising accountability, and justice at the national level. The European Parliament has expressed its support for the ICC in numerous resolutions. It has also called for the appointment of an EU Special Representative on International Humanitarian Law and International Justice to mainstream EU commitment to the ICC across EU foreign policy.

To learn more about the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court and the EU support to it, please read this EPRS briefingInternational Criminal Court: Achievements and challenges 20 years after the adoption of the Rome Statute“, published in July 2018.

Categories: European Union

EU to slam Google with record fine ahead of Juncker US visit

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:57
Google is set to face a record-busting EU antitrust fine this week over its Android mobile operating system but rivals hoping that an order to halt unfair business practices will help them may be disappointed.
Categories: European Union

Croatia’s renovation projects can teach us as much as their football

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:44
What do Croatia’s football team and its energy efficiency programmes have in common? Experience, skill, tenacity and an inspiring amount of success, writes Adrian Joyce.
Categories: European Union

Britain unveils fighter jet model to rival Franco-German programme

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:34
Britain unveiled a model of a sleek proposed fighter jet named Tempest yesterday (16 July), raising questions about the future of European defence cooperation, given that Germany and France launched their own fighter jet programme a year ago.
Categories: European Union

7 nightmare days for Theresa May

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:33
A second referendum or an extension to Article 50 could be the only way to cut the Brexit Gordian knot, argues Denis MacShane as he reflects on a nightmare week for Theresa May.
Categories: European Union

Russia and Ukraine in EU-backed talks to avoid fresh ‘gas wars’

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:32
Officials from Moscow and Kyiv were set to gather in Berlin on Tuesday (17 July) for EU-backed talks on the future of the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine in a bid to minimise disputes when the current contract expires next year.
Categories: European Union

Advanced biofuels are key to decarbonising transportation [Promoted content]

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:30
The recent agreements on the revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) are setting the tone for creating a stable and predictable business environment that will trigger the development of and investment in advanced biofuel production within the EU, argues Markus Rarbach.
Categories: European Union

EU, Japan to sign massive trade deal as US puts up barriers

Euractiv.com - Tue, 07/17/2018 - 07:15
The European Union's top officials arrive in Japan Tuesday (17 July) to sign the single market's biggest trade deal ever and present a united front as Washington upends the international trade order.
Categories: European Union

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