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Culture in EU-US relations

Written by Ivana Katsarova,

Flags European Union, United States countries, handshake cooperation, partnership and friendship or sports competition isolated on white

© bravissimos / Fotolia

North America and Europe dominate the global trade in cultural goods. Together they account for 49 % of exports and 62 % of imports. However, there is a significant cultural divide between the EU and USA, which is reflected in contrasting policy approaches towards culture.

Under the 2005 Unesco Convention – not signed by the USA – the EU has a legal obligation to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, a principle also enshrined in Article 167 TFEU. Culture and the audiovisual sectors are supported in the EU through its ‘Creative Europe’ framework programme, but most importantly through the EU-28’s national budgets, with cultural spending representing between 0.2 % and 1.9 % of GDP in the 2000-2005 period.

By contrast, cultural action in the USA is not centrally guided by any federal policy, and the resources made available are relatively small for a country boasting the world’s largest economy. While the EU has a (long) tradition in supporting cultural and creative industries, in the USA, culture is generally viewed as a commodity with the American film and music industries perceived as its main ambassadors.

In 2016, the EU announced a strategy for international cultural relations, seeking, among other things, to fill gaps and remove misconceptions about the EU. In July 2017, the European Parliament welcomed the initiative. Similarly, the EU Delegation in the USA, together with the recently created Euro-American Cultural Foundation, run a number of cultural initiatives to bring the best of EU culture and help advance knowledge of the EU and the value of the transatlantic partnership.

Read this complete briefing on ‘Culture in EU-US relations‘.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/15/culture-in-eu-us-relations/

US development policy: New priorities under President Trump

Written by Michael Kaczmarek with Graham Scott,

US Department of State

© Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock.com.

The new administration of US President Donald Trump has put forward an ‘America First’ vision in the field of development policy. In his 2018 budget proposal, President Trump requests the US Congress to scale back and refocus US political commitments and financial contributions in the areas of economic and development assistance, humanitarian aid and global health.

Limited US foreign assistance funding will be prioritised on the regions, programmes and international organisations that most directly advance US national security and economic interests. The US reasoning is that other countries, other donors and the private sector will fill the resulting development policy gaps, through paying ‘their fair share’.

In line with his scepticism of multilateral agreements and international organisations, President Trump announced on 1 June 2017 that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. While the withdrawal will potentially take years, the USA will immediately cease contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which was not just established to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, but also to help vulnerable societies adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Read the complete briefing on ‘US development policy: New priorities under President Trump‘.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/15/us-development-policy-new-priorities-under-president-trump/

‘Radar’ tool helps EU policy-makers plan for the future

Written by Risto Nieminen,

Radar of future European events

Radar of future European events

Things change. In the European political environment and in the world in general, society has lately changed faster than ever before. Volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) have increased considerably. Today’s challenges are increasingly fast-moving, interconnected, and complex.

Policy-makers nevertheless need solid information on which to base legislation. A systematic approach to scanning and analysing future risks and opportunities increases the accuracy and effectiveness of legislative processes.

How can policy-makers keep ahead of the cycle? Anticipating and preparing for future events is essential for proactive, as opposed to reactive, policy-making. Moreover, contingency planning often assumes a return to the status quo following disruptive events, such as the 2008 financial crisis; when in the current complex environment this may not always be the case.

It is obviously impossible to predict future events with certainty. Nevertheless, the Members of the European Parliament may turn to the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) for advice. The EPRS has developed a ‘radar approach‘, a first step in a process that provides policy-makers with new conceptual tools for anticipating future challenges and planning effective strategies to respond.

The ‘radar approach’ expands on the ‘classical’ linear presentation of possible future events, to provide a visual image that uncovers the links between a large number of seemingly non-related issues. The concept connects information such as long-term trends analysis and scientific foresight, and combines it with short- to medium-term political risks and opportunities. Members can use the tool to navigate uncertainty in the global environment, and to better understand the interconnectedness of complex events, and the current and future environment more generally.

Future developments of the ‘radar’ could include scenario building and stress testing – another powerful tool to explore the future, based on assumptions regarding the factors that drive development.

Do you have a view on elements that should be included in this new policy-making tool? Please feel free to tell us – leave a comment below.

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/14/radar-tool-helps-eu-policy-makers-plan-for-the-future/

Euro area recovery and reform [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

The euro area’s economic recovery has gained pace as investor confidence has strengthened. The election of the reform-minded Emmanuel Macron as French President in May reignited the debate on overhauling the euro area’s economic governance.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and studies on the economic situation of the euro area and reform proposals. Earlier papers on the same topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are thinking’, published in March 2017.

Euro area governance

Euro coin and puzzles

© Comugnero Silvana / Fotolia

Uneven progress in implementing cross-border bank resolution in the EU
Centre for European Policy Studies, July 2017

Are the spending priorities of euro-area countries converging?
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, June 2017

Eurozone or EU budget? Confronting a complex political question
Bruegel, June 2017

6 years on: Assessing the impact of country specific recommendations
Institute of International and European Affairs, June 2017

Risks and opportunities of establishing a European Monetary Fund based on the European Stability Mechanism
Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, June 2017

The IMF’s new role in Greece proves its value for Europe and the United States
Peterson Institute for International Economics, June 2017

Governance and ownership of significant euro area banks
Peterson Institute for International Economics, May 2017

We need a European Monetary Fund, but how should it work?
Bruegel, May 2017

A European Monetary Fund?
The Graduate Institute, May 2017

Seizing the moment for euro area reform
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, May 2017

What could a euro-area finance minister mean?
Bruegel, May 2017

Ordonnances en France et amélioration économique en zone euro : Quels rapports?
Fondation Robert Schuman, May 2017

Managing deep debt crises in the Euro Area: Towards a feasible regime
Peterson Institute for International Economics, May 2017

Governance and ownership of significant Euro Area banks
Peterson Institute for International Economics, May 2017

An evolutionary path towards a European Monetary Fund?
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2017

Macron, Merkel and the future of the euro
Centre for European Reform, May 2017

The divided Eurozone: Mapping conflicting interests on the reform of the Monetary Union
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, April 2017

Fiscal rules and other rule-based mechanisms in practice: Introduction to case studies of four Member States
Center for Social and Economic Research, April 2017

The instruments providing macro-financial support to EU member states
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2017

Completing the Economic and Monetary Union and the pivotal role of Italy
LUISS School of European Political Economy, March 2017

The Euro crisis, economic governance of the eurozone and future integration
Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, March 2017

Rebalancing the fiscal framework in the European Union: Perspectives of Germany, France and Poland
Polish Institute of International Affairs, March 2017

Other studies:

The Italian banking saga: Symptom of a deeper underlying problem?
Centre for European Policy Studies, July 2017

A European economic miracle?
Peterson Institute for International Economics, June 2017

The Eurozone’s hidden strengths
Centre for European Policy Studies, June 2017

Euro bonhomie
Chatham House, June 2017

Monetary policy normalisation in the US and the euro area
Jacques Delors Institute Berlin, June 2017

Risk-sharing and consumption-smoothing patterns in the US and the euro area: A comprehensive comparison
Centre for European Policy Studies, May 2017

From crisis to cohesion: Restoring growth in Southern Europe
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, May 2017

How export growth achieved adjustment of massive trade deficits in the euro area
Bruegel, May 2017

Financial systems and income inequality
College of Europe, April 2017

Regional and global financial safety nets: The recent European experience and its implications for regional cooperation in Asia
Bruegel, April 2017

Tackling Europe’s crisis legacy: A comprehensive strategy for bad loans and debt restructuring
Bruegel, April 2017

The European Fund for Strategic Investments as a new type of budgetary instrument
Centre for European Policy Studies, April 2017

Banking leverage procyclicality: A theoretical model introducing currency diversification
Centre d’études prospectives et d’informations internationales, April 2017

Long term growth perspectives in Japan and the euro area
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, April 2017

Frankfurt, Paris and Dublin: Post-Brexit rivals to the City of London?
Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, April 2017

Some truths about the euro: The euro, “this wretch, this mangy brute, the source of all misfortune
Fondation Robert Schuman, April 2017

An effective global partner: External representation of the euro area
European Political Strategy Centre, March 2017

Two sides of the same coin? Independence and accountability of the European Central Bank
Transparency International, March 2017

Carving out legacy assets: A successful tool for bank restructuring?
Centre for European Policy Studies, March 2017

Institutional investors and home bias in Europe’s Capital Markets Union
Bruegel, March 2017

The cost channel effect of monetary transmission: How effective is the ECB’s low interest rate policy for increasing inflation?
Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, March 2017

Charting the future now: European economic growth and its importance to American prosperity
Atlantic Council, March 2017

Credit misallocation during the European financial crisis
LUISS School of European Political Economy, March 2017

Are there common structural determinants of potential output growth in Europe? An empirical exercise for 11 EMU countries
LUISS School of European Political Economy, March 2017

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/14/euro-area-recovery-and-reform-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

The European Council in 2016: Overview of decisions and discussions

Written by Suzana Elena Anghel Gavrilescu, Izabela Cristina Bacian, Ralf Drachenberg and Susanna Tenhunen,

The European Council in 2016: Overview of decisions and discussions

Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com

The European Council held five formal meetings in 2016. The analysis of the conclusions of the debates shows that it dedicated 50 % of its attention to migration. The two other main topics were foreign and security policy; and economic governance, competitiveness, and trade, each attracting 20 % of the leaders’ attention.

Taking migration as a case study, it shows that within one year, the European Council was able to move from setting strategic priorities to deliberating and/or endorsing concrete measures, while finally concentrating on follow-up activities by acknowledging the adoption or implementation of concrete actions. It also showed that the European Council has shifted its focus from the Western Balkans route to the Central Mediterranean, based on rapidly changing developments on the ground.

Agenda items constitute the building blocks of policies and the European Council deals with them in a flexible manner. For example, Libya was discussed in some instances within the framework of the migration debate and in other cases as part of the foreign policy debate. Similarly, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), was discussed both in the migration debate, and also in the context of internal security. The Heads of State or Government discussed external security (defence) both as part of the foreign and security policy debate and as part of a broader debate on security, thus reflecting the internal and external security nexus.

This In-depth Analysis confirms last year’s finding that certain agenda items, particularly in the foreign policy realm, are difficult to include when the ‘Annotated draft agenda’ is published, which is almost six weeks ahead of a European Council. Sometimes topics for discussion are added later, and their inclusion on the agenda is confirmed only days before the start of the European Council, at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting.

The analysis also shows the recurrence of certain political messages. For example, in the case of migration, the Heads of State or Government repeatedly called for the implementation of the relocation and resettlement regulations. With respect to Syria, EU leaders recognised the dramatic humanitarian situation on many occasions, and called for humanitarian access within the country. When dealing with economic governance, the European Council repeatedly underlined the importance of deepening and modernising the single market.

The European Council’s focus on Europe’s economy included the performance evaluation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and the proposal to extend it; upgrading the Single Market; and EU support for Member States in tackling youth unemployment. EU leaders also discussed trade issues at greater length than in 2015, focusing on trade defence instruments and free trade agreement negotiations in particular. This focus reflects important changes in international trade, such as rising protectionist tendencies and global overcapacity in certain industrial sectors. Even within the EU, the signature of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) fuelled a broad debate over the future of trade policy, particularly on certain provisions, which have been met with resistance in several Member States.

Continued United Kingdom (UK) membership of the European Union was the focus of the February 2016 European Council. The EU’s leaders reached an agreement, conditional upon a UK vote for the country to remain in the EU, which would (and indeed did), become void following the 23 June 2016 referendum in the UK to leave the EU. The referendum result had an impact on the functioning of the European Council, as it introduced a twin-track approach, with EU-28 and EU-27 meetings. The EU-28 focused on developments linked to the above-mentioned policy topics, whilst the EU-27 concentrated on the future of the EU and on the procedural arrangements for the negotiation process, which would follow the United Kingdom’s notification to leave the EU under Article 50 TEU. The EU-27 met three times in an informal format. Most progress was achieved in September 2016 in Bratislava, when EU leaders adopted a Declaration and Roadmap diagnosing the EU’s problems and laying the groundwork for an EU at 27, in addition to steering short and medium-term EU policy.


Read the complete in-depth analysis on ‘The European Council in 2016: Overview of decisions and discussions‘.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/14/the-european-council-in-2016-overview-of-decisions-and-discussions/

Blue economy in Africa: initiatives, prospects and issues

Written by Eric Pichon and Anne Vernet,

Blue economy in Africa: initiatives, prospects and issues

Fotolia / HandmadePictures

Harnessing the oceans’ resources in a sustainable manner is the ‘new frontier of the African renaissance’ according to the African Union (AU). This ‘blue growth’ will only be achieved if ocean’s health and security at sea are won back. The AU has designed an ambitious maritime strategy, but its implementation suffers from African states’ disputes. The EU could foster this strategy, provided the cooperation with Africa goes beyond security and migration aspects.

This selection of resources complements our ‘At a Glance’ : A maritime strategy for Africa (July 2017)

1. Overview

The main sectors concerned by the blue economy in developing countries are: fishing, shipping, shipbuilding, tourism, resource extractions.

In Africa, South Africa , Mauritius and the Seychelles have already adopted a blue economy strategy.

In October 2016 the African Union’s Extraordinary Summit on Maritime Security and Safety and Development in Africa took place in Lomé, Togo, where an AU Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development (also referred to as the Lomé Charter) was signed on 15 October [the document is not yet available online ]. This follows on the African Union’s 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime (AIM) Strategy (2012) which provides a broad framework for the protection and sustainable exploitation of the African Maritime Domain for wealth creation.

Africa’s blue economic future , Institute for security Studies (ISS)

This short video provides an overview of what is at stake: security and sustainable development.

Blue Economies: Turning Sunken Costs into Sunken Treasure Tim Walker, ISS Africa , 8.06.2016 .

Environmental protection is the best way to ensure Africa’s maritime domain becomes a source of health, wealth and prosperity.

Painting Africa’s economy blue , Essam Yassin Mohammed, International Institute for Environment and Development, 22.07.2015

The first official day of the decade for African Seas and Oceans provides a timely reason to think about how marine resources could better contribute to Africa’s economy.

2. Initiatives and prospects

Main features of the African maritime strategy

Africa’s Blue Economy Policy Handbook , UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), April 2016.

Africa’s “Blue word” is made of vast lakes and rivers and an extensive ocean resource base. The Blue Economy can play a major role in Africa’s structural transformation, sustainable economic progress, and social development. The largest sectors of the current African aquatic and ocean based economy are fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, ports, coastal mining, and energy. This Policy Handbook, offers a step by step guide to help African member States to better mainstream the Blue Economy into their national development plans, strategies, policies and laws. The Blue Economy approach is premised in the sustainable use, management and conservation of aquatic and marine ecosystems and associated resources.

Africa’s Blue Economy: An opportunity not to be missed , Development matters, OECD, 7.06.2016
Blog post by Carlos Lopes, UN Under Secretary General & Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

“It is forecasted that the annual economic value of maritime-related activities will reach 2.5 trillion euros per year by 2020, while the International Energy Agency estimates that renewable energy from the ocean has a power potential sufficient to provide up to 400% of current global energy demand. Yet Africa’s blue potential remains untapped.”

Fisheries

The value of African fisheries . FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular 1093, 2014, 82 p.

Trade in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture UNCTAD, Trade and Environment Review 2016: Fish Trade, 20.12.2016

This note provides a forecast on how the fish and world trade regimes will look like five years after the implementation of SDGs in 2035. Three main trends are likely to affect the supply and demand of fish and fish products. In the trade realm, these trends point to a selective and incremental incorporation of marine live and fish conservation measures in the multilateral trading system, and regional trade agreements in particular. By 2035, wild marine catch will grow only slightly while aquaculture products will fill the gaps in order to address increasing demand. Moreover, tariffs on fish and fish products will be lower, non-tariff measures will continue to proliferate while some unfair practices such as subsidies and IUU fishing activities will be addressed at the multilateral and regional levels.

Maritime security

Fulfilling the Promise of the Lomé Maritime Summit ISS Africa, 21.10.2016.

The Lomé Charter can boost Africa’s blue economies, but states must implement its provisions. A groundbreaking new maritime document, which has been considered and discussed at the highest level, has the potential to truly boost the protection of Africa’s coasts and seas and to create healthy and sustainable blue economies.

The blue economy and maritime security in Africa: why now? Essam Yassin Mohammed, International Institute for Environment and Development, 13.10.2016

As a high-level conference on protecting Africa’s seas and oceans gets under way, Essam Yassin Mohammed reflects on the multiple dimensions to maritime security in Africa’s coastal regions.

Safeguarding Africa’s Seaports to Safeguard Its Economies ISS Africa, 26.07.2016

25 July marked the African Day of Seas and Oceans. Urgent attention must be paid to how seaports can be made less porous.

Trade and Marine industry

Taking Back the Seas: Prospects for Africa’s Blue Economy , Ruppel, Oliver, and David Biam , ISS Paper, 25.02.2016

This paper evaluates the potential economic and regulatory effects of the AU’s proposed laws on maritime transport. International shipping is driven by fierce competition. The history of maritime trade within Africa’s coastal waters has been characterised by foreign exploitation since the early colonial era. Today, the African Union (AU), through its 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy, plans to implement new cabotage laws to finally liberate the continent’s maritime transport industry from foreign dominance. However, certain barriers must first be overcome, including increasing the capacity and efficiency of Africa’s maritime industry. This paper evaluates the AU’s proposed introduction of pro-African cabotage laws focusing on their economic potential and regulatory implications. It also highlights core challenges posed by Africa’s struggle for greater economic liberation of its coastal waters.

3. Main issues and challenges

Piracy, Illegal fishing

The State of Maritime Piracy 2016 . Oceans Beyond Piracy, 2017,

Latest report by Oceans Beyond Piracy analyzing maritime piracy: human cost, economic cost, and business models like robbery, kidnapping, hijacking.

Fish Wars: How Fishing Can Start and Stop Conflict . Secure Fisheries, 3.03.2017.

Is the world on the brink of interstate fish wars? Probably not: a large-scale military dispute is not likely to erupt over tuna, and conflict over fish affected by climate change could occur over a long time horizon. But as fish become more difficult to find, understanding the links between fisheries and violent armed conflict is increasingly important.

Western Africa’s missing fish: The impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and under-reporting catches by foreign fleets , ODI, June 2016

Overfishing in the world’s oceans is at the centre of a crisis of sustainability. Nowhere is that crisis more visible than in Western Africa. Current rates of extraction are driving several species towards extinction while jeopardising the livelihoods of artisanal fishing communities across a broad group of countries, including Senegal, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mauritania. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is at the heart of the problem. Drawing on a unique satellite tracking database, this report presents new evidence of the scale and pattern of IUU fishing. Infographics.

Millions of Africans face food insecurity as fish stocks diverted to make animal feed for Western factory farms , The Independent, 9.09.2016

Farmed chicken, salmon and pork are all reared using fishmeal, and as global demand for cheap meet rises, producers are casting their net wider to obtain fish for animal feed, even effectively taking them from the mouths of people in West Africa.

The Global Ocean Grab: A Primer , Transnational institute, 2.09.2014

This primer unveils a new wave of ocean grabbing, answering the most important questions about the mechanisms that facilitate it and the impacts on people and the environment.

Africa’s blue revolution in turbulent waters , Africa Renewal, August 2014

Africa loses billions of dollars each year to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, according to a 2014 report by the Africa Progress Panel, an advocacy group on sustainable development in Africa led by Kofi Annan, a former United Nations secretary-general. Titled Grain, Fish, Money: Financing Africa’s Green and Blue Revolutions , the report states that Africa’s mismanagement and neglect of the fishery sector result in huge financial losses. Of the $23 billion that the fishing companies in the US make each year, $1.3 billion comes from West Africa, it states.

Border disputes

Maritime Boundaries Delimitation and Dispute Resolution in Africa . Beijing Law Review , 8, 55- 78.

Despite the provisions of UNCLOS , Africa has several unresolved maritime boundary disputes. In this light, this article aims to exa mine the African situation, and discuss the challenges involved in the delimitation and management of maritime bound a- ries in Africa. This article presents the issues, causes, essence and the security imperative of maritime boundary disputes in Africa

Kenya-Somalia Maritime Dispute: Whose Sea Is It Anyway? RFI, 20.09.2016
The International Court of Justice in The Hague on Monday began a week of hearings on the long-running dispute between Kenya and Somalia over their maritime border. At stake is a narrow triangle in the Indian Ocean. Determining who owns it may decide the fate of potentially lucrative oil and gas reserves.

Climate change

Ocean, Environment, Climate Change and Human Mobility Environmental Migration Portal, 2016

The impacts of climate change on the ocean and marine ecosystems profoundly affect human livelihoods and mobility. Recognizing the need to respond to the challenges arising from the interaction between ocean and marine ecosystem change and human migration and displacement, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ocean and Climate Platform (OCP) are working together to bring visibility to this issue and promote concrete action to address these challenges. This document, prepared jointly by IOM and OCP, provides an overview of the following: (a) links between ocean, climate change and human mobility; (b) key challenges that countries, communities and individuals face; and (c) possible solutions to address them.

COP22: Protect Fish Stocks to Build Climate Resilience Along African Coasts , Africa Progress Panel, 15.11.2016

The governments of Mauritania, the Seychelles… have been helping to establish the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) since early 2015, an initiative to protect fish stocks through the twin principles of transparency and participation. The FiTI is a global multi-stakeholder initiative, in which countries seek to shed a light on access to fish resources – who has access, what are the (financial) conditions, and how much is extracted?

West Africa Is Being Swallowed by the Sea , Foreign policy, 21.10.2016

Encroaching waters off the coast of Togo, Ghana, Mauritania, and others are destroying homes, schools, fish, and a way of life.

Africa: Rising Sea Temperatures Are Shaping Tropical Storms in Southern Africa , The conversation, 16.02.2017

Studies over the past half century in southern Africa show that there’s been a southward shift in tropical cyclones in the region, and in particular the location of their landfall. One study looked at the records of tropical cyclones in South East Africa going back 66 years. Another investigated 19th century tropical cyclone landfalls in Madagascar .

Review of the Projected Impacts of Climate Change on Coastal Fishes in Southern Africa Potts, W.M., Götz, A. & James, N. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries (2015) 25: 603.

The coastal zone represents one of the most economically and ecologically important ecosystems on the planet, none more so than in southern Africa. This manuscript examines the potential impacts of climate change on the coastal fishes in southern Africa and provides some of the first information for the Southern Hemisphere, outside of Australasia.

4. EU initiatives

Maritime strategy, in relation with African countries

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Developing the international dimension of the Integrated Maritime Policy of the European Union COM/2009/0536 final, 15.10.2009

Integrated Maritime Policy in the Mediterranean , European Commission, Maritime Affairs.

Though the Mediterranean Sea is bounded by over 20 countries, much of it lies outside national jurisdictions. Cooperation is therefore essential to

  • manage maritime activities,
  • protect the marine environment & maritime heritage
  • prevent & combat pollution
  • improve safety & security at sea
  • promote blue growth & job creation.

Security at sea and migration management

EU strategy in the Horn of Africa , EPRS At a Glance, 7.12.2016

The Horn of Africa countries are plagued by violence and insecurity. A hub on the Red Sea trade and migration route, bordering the unstable areas of the Sahel and central Africa, the region is of strategic interest for the European Union. The EU has adopted an integrated framework to align various external policy programmes and instruments aimed at securing the region. However, strong antagonisms between the states concerned add to the difficulty of achieving a coordinated approach.

Critical maritime Routes programme , funded by the EU

The 2014 EU Maritime Security Strategy gave new impetus for programmes focused on maritime security. Setting out the strategic interests of the EU and member states in the global maritime domain, it outlines the need to identify and address maritime security challenges. It also engages with the need for a comprehensive and cross-sectoral European wide approach.

Council conclusions on the Gulf of Guinea – Action Plan 2015-2020 , 16 March 2015

European Union Tackling Illegal Fishing in Western Africa by Supporting Regional Cooperation DG Europeaid – International Cooperation and Development, European Commission”, 5.09.2016

A four-day campaign co-funded by the EU against illegal fishing off the West Africa Coast has shown concrete results in tackling illegal fishing in Western Africa. From 28 August to 1 September 2016, the West African Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) organised a regional operation at sea to control vessels fishing in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea. For the first time, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) has taken part in such an exercise.

The Maritime Dimension of CSDP: Geostrategic Maritime Challenges and their Implications for the European Union , DG EXPO, European parliament, 2013

This study analysis the impact that the changing maritime security context is having on the EU’s maritime neighbourhood and along the EU’s sea lines of communications (SLOCs) and takes stock of the EU’s existing policies and instruments in the maritime security domain. Based on this analysis, the study suggests that the EU requires a comprehensive maritime security strategy that creates synergies between the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy and the maritime dimension of CSDP and that focuses more comprehensively on the security and management of global maritime flows and sea-based activities in the global maritime commons.

Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements

Sustainable fisheries partnership agreements , European Commission, Fisheries

New Fishing Deals with Mauritania and Liberia Approved , EurActiv, May 11, 2016
The European Parliament has approved new fisheries agreements with Mauritania and Liberia. Spain is set to be a big beneficiary of the plans.

New Fisheries Agreement and Protocol between the EU and Liberia EPRS Plenary at a Glance, Popescu, Irina, 4 May 2016.

The first-ever EU fisheries agreement with Liberia and its associated implementation protocol were signed and entered into provisional application in December 2015. Their conclusion is now subject to approval by the European Parliament in a plenary vote.

EU-Mauritania Fisheries Agreement: New Protocol , EPRS Plenary at a Glance, Popescu, Irina, 2 May 2016.

Of all the fisheries partnership agreements currently in force, the EU-Mauritania agreement is by far the most significant in economic terms. A new protocol, setting the details for implementation of the agreement over the coming four years, was signed and entered into provisional application in November 2015. Parliament’s consent is now required for the conclusion of this protocol.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/12/blue-economy-in-africa-initiatives-prospects-and-issues/

The European Commission at mid-term: State of play of President Juncker’s ten priorities

Written by Etienne Bassot and Wolfgang Hiller,

Weekly meeting of the Juncker Commission

© European Union, 2017; EC – Audiovisual Service / Etienne Ansotte

At a time when, more than ever, citizens expect the European Union institutions to address their concerns and deliver on promises and commitments made, this analysis provides an overview of the work carried out by the European Commission at the mid-term of its current mandate, notably in the context of its ten priority fields of action. It reviews what the Commission has delivered, compared with what it committed to doing before it received the European Parliament’s vote of consent and took office two and a half years ago. In so doing, this study seeks to provide an independent, objective and authoritative tool for Members of the European Parliament and the wider public to assess the performance to date of the current Commission.

The analysis reveals that overall, at the mid-term of its mandate, the College has delivered more than eight out of ten initiatives announced, of which approximately two fifths have reached the final stage, thus showing that the European institutions are collectively delivering. This average of course covers a variety of situations: in some of the priority areas, almost all of the originally announced initiatives have already been presented. Some, such as the connected digital single market, for example, have made significant progress; others less so, as is the case for negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United States. In yet other areas, such as justice and fundamental rights, or jobs, growth and investment, gaps still remain.

This analysis is both exhaustive – as it covers all the ten priority areas the Commission set itself – and selective – as it focuses, for each priority, on the main legislative proposals or initiatives and on the latest developments.

It aims to be both quantitative and qualitative: for each of the ten chapters, covering one of the ten priorities, it offers a qualitative overview prepared by the European Parliamentary Research Service’s in-house experts, complemented by a quantitative graphic providing a snapshot of initiatives at the key stages, from ‘requested by the European Parliament’ and/or ‘announced by the Commission’, to ‘submitted to the co-legislators’, ‘under negotiation’, ‘close to adoption’, ‘adopted’ or, in a few cases, ‘blocked’ or ‘withdrawn’. These snapshots are regularly updated on the ‘Legislative Train Schedule’ application on the European Parliament’s website.

Finally, the analysis is timely, as it comes, updated as of the end of June 2017, at the mid-term of the Juncker Commission’s mandate and just two months before the 2017 State of the Union speech to be delivered by the President of the European Commission to the European Parliament, during its September 2017 plenary session.


Read the complete in-depth analysis on ‘The European Commission at mid-term: State of play of President Juncker’s ten priorities‘ in PDF.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/12/the-european-commission-at-mid-term-state-of-play-of-president-junckers-ten-priorities/

Horizon scanning and analysis of techno-scientific trends

Written by Lieve Van Woensel with Victoria Joseph,

Horizon scanning and analysis of techno-scientific trends

© VectorsMarket / Shutterstock.com

The Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel aims to provide the European Parliament with information about techno-scientific advances and to support the Parliament’s Members with evidence so that they can anticipate the possible future impact of these developments. To do this, and to prepare the ground for future STOA studies, STOA needs to explore a range of policy areas and anticipate future developments in relevant technologies. There are, however, areas that have not yet been analysed in sufficient detail, and this study on horizon scanning and analysis of techno-scientific trends aims at addressing this gap, by showing how to identify such areas. This could support strategic decision-making and inspire thinking processes for planning and executing STOA activities.

The study, in two parts, was conducted by experts in the use of data-analytics and covers:

  1. a horizon scan of ‘trendy’ techno-scientific topics, combined with a controversy analysis between the stakeholders involved in these topics; and
  2. an in-depth analysis of eight trending topics, to get an insight into the different perspectives, perceptions and viewpoints of the diverse stakeholders involved in the technology, its applications and its consequences.

Horizon scanning gives an overall view of the techno-scientific landscape, to support the development of strategies for anticipating future advances. The controversy analysis drew on three factors: intra-topic controversy, inter-stakeholder controversy, and topic activity. Algorithms used in this study distinguish between the following stakeholder groups: academia; industry; expert institutions; media; non-corporate interests; private persons; and individual experts. The horizon scanning process explored big data sets gathered from social media sources (Twitter) and news articles, to identify topics with a high presence. A scan then measured controversy on social media for 24 technology-related topics, selected, based on experience and intuition, for their inherent policy interest. A subset of relatively highly controversial topics among stakeholders were identified, and five selected because they had not been investigated in-depth by STOA in the past. These topics are:

  • big data;
  • gene technology;
  • electric vehicles;
  • autonomous cars;
  • impact of algorithms.

The experts used different data analysis methods, combining artificial intelligence-based and human-based methods to collect and analyse news articles and tweets.

Three other trending topics with a potential high impact on society and high STOA relevance were added to the list for in-depth analysis, because of known MEP interest, general topical interest or the possible need for urgent action. These are:

  • screen addiction;
  • fake news, especially in connection with disrespect for evidence and misinformation regarding science and technology;
  • bioterrorism

Following the initial horizon scan and the controversy analysis, the experts conducted an in-depth analysis on the eight selected topics to detect key areas of interest for the topic and better understand stakeholder and public sentiment, as reflected in social media (Twitter) and news articles.

The study presents a number of visualisations of the in-depth analysis, demonstrating a variety of key aspects: the subtopics that emerge from each trending topic; the issues discussed within the topic; trending geographical locations; applications of the respective technology; and stakeholder-specific information. It also demonstrates the level of positive and negative sentiment on social media and the key issues giving rise to these sentiments. Ultimately, this provides an idea of the public and stakeholders’ main expectations and concerns, in relation to each trending topic.

Please feel free to tell us what important technological developments you see that might have a significant impact on the way we live in the future, and that European policy-makers should know about, by leaving a comment below or filling in our feedback questionnaire.

To keep up-to-date with STOA activities, follow our website, the EPRS blog, Twitter, YouTube and Think Tank website.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/11/horizon-scanning-and-analysis-of-techno-scientific-trends/

Single market information tool (SMIT) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cemal Karakas (1st edition),

compliance concept flowchart

© cacaroot / Fotolia

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by measures such as price discrimination based on residency, geo-blocking of online audio-visual content, or limited cross-border parcel delivery. While many businesses do not cooperate with the Commission by e.g. disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission.

On 2 May 2017, the Commission presented a ‘compliance package’ of three proposals on enhancing the practical functioning of the single market. One of these introduces the single market information tool (SMIT). The use of SMIT would be a measure of last resort and subject to confidentiality requirements. SMIT would provide the Commission with e.g. powers to request business-related information (such as cost structure or product volumes sold), and to address regulatory and market failures in a more timely and efficient way.

Versions

Stage: EESC

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/11/single-market-information-tool-smit-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Access to culture in the European Union

Written by Magdalena Pasikowska-Schnass,

Elevare la conoscenza e la cultura

© hurca.com / Fotolia

Culture, by its very nature, is a difficult concept to define precisely; and it is just as difficult to impose the statistical rigour needed to back cultural policy ambitions and funding. The same terminological and statistical difficulties apply to the issue of access to culture and participation in culture. Culture has many facets and can be approached from the perspective of self-expression or creation, enjoyment of various forms of expression as a consumer, or skills enabling the above.

Access to culture is understood as the opportunity to benefit from cultural offer, whereas cultural participation implies the consumption of various cultural goods and services by the public at large. Any discussion of access to culture needs to cover areas such as financial means and public spending, social integration, skills and education, geographical and social isolation, minority rights, cultural rights and freedom of expression. All of these have an impact on access to and consumption of culture, and are potential barriers to broad public participation in a rich cultural life.

These barriers can be addressed at all levels of governance: local, regional, national and European (subsidiarity principle permitting), since each level refers to different cultural needs and has a different scope of action. Local and regional authorities take decisions at the level closest to the population and are better placed to take local conditions and infrastructure needs into consideration to support particular sectors or projects. They can include citizens in decision making, and can establish cross-border cooperation. The national level is generally responsible for addressing needs when it comes to large-scale infrastructural or cultural projects and giving a general direction to cultural policy. The European Union has limited competencies in this policy area. Its prerogatives relate mostly to support for Member States’ cultural policies, focusing mainly on developing cultural cooperation, safeguarding diversity and heritage, and promoting cross-border initiatives.

Beginning with a review of the definitions of the concepts given by some international, cultural and statistical bodies, this paper discusses access to and participation in culture. It then identifies barriers, outlines the work being done at European Union level to overcome them and proposes ways to improve access to culture.

The data and studies analysed cover a wide range of actions and tools. The EU institutions have considered factors that hinder access to culture in policy areas besides culture itself, including education, digital and other new technologies, copyright, human rights, regional development, and rural or peripheral areas.

The European Parliament has approved a number of resolutions and recommendations concerning equal access to cultural services and goods regardless of disability, language or ethnicity, the role of cultural heritage and cultural services in rural and remote areas, and the potential of new technologies to promote access to culture for those who have limited opportunities to benefit from the culture on offer.

The European Commission has issued communications and regulations setting out recommendations and laying down rules that aim to improve access to culture for all. It now faces a new challenge, that of supporting a digital shift that offers digital access to culture as well as digital culture. Digital environments create both opportunities and threats to cultural production and consumption since the right balance between consumers, artists, creators and those involved in cultural activities in digital environments has yet to be struck.


Read the complete in-depth analysis on ‘Access to culture in the European Union‘ in PDF.


Associations with culture

Table 1 – Associations with ‘culture’: EU average and highest results by country

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2017/07/10/access-to-culture-in-the-european-union/