Месечни архиви: November 2016

World AIDS Day 2016 – Hands up for #HIVprevention

Written by Nicole Scholz,

An official campaign poster by unaids.org for the 2016 World Aids Day.

An official campaign poster by unaids.org for the 2016 World Aids Day.

Every year, 1 December marks World AIDS Day, proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) in 1988, aiming mainly at raising awareness. This year’s specific theme is ‘Hands up for #HIVprevention‘. In the global campaign timeline leading up to World AIDS Day 2016, nine weekly topics were highlighted:

  • use of condoms as a means to prevent infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), as well as other sexually transmitted infections, which has averted an estimated 45 million HIV infections globally since 1990;
  • harm reduction for people who inject drugs, one of the populations most at risk for HIV, e.g. through needle-syringe programmes (the provision of sterile injecting equipment and its safe disposal) and opioid-substitution treatment (replacing injected, illicit drugs with non-injected medications);
  • voluntary medical male circumcision, an intervention that affords lifelong partial protection against HIV transmission from women to men;
  • eliminating new HIV infections among children by providing antiretroviral therapy (an anti-HIV treatment that does not cure HIV, but that can keep the virus under control, allowing the immune system to stay strong) to pregnant or breastfeeding women living with HIV;
  • pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a new HIV prevention strategy that involves people who are HIV-negative but at a high risk of becoming infected, taking HIV medicines on a regular basis to effectively protect them from the virus;
  • empowerment of young women and girls, given that young women aged 15-24 years are at particularly high risk of HIV infection globally, and that gender inequalities, including gender-based violence, increase young women’s and girls’ vulnerability, especially in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • testing viral suppression so that people living with HIV know their HIV status (‘viral load’), people who know their HIV status are accessing treatment, and people on treatment have suppressed viral loads, which greatly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others;
  • HIV prevention among key populations (including sex workers, people injecting drugs, transgender people, prisoners, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and their sexual partners), who, in many countries, remain among the most vulnerable to HIV, with extremely high infection rates, as well as being confronted with stigma and discrimination;
  • investing in HIV prevention to close the prevention gap, since ‘strengthened global political commitment to HIV prevention must be followed by strengthened financial commitment’: in June 2016, UN Member States committed to ensuring that financial resources for prevention are adequate (‘no less than a quarter of AIDS spending globally on average’) and targeted to evidence-based measures reflecting the specific nature of each country’s epidemic.

Global fight: positive trend continues

World Aids Day ribbon

© vik_y / Fotolia

Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030 counts among the targets under Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN in September 2015. Although the SDGs are not legally binding, governments are expected to set up a national framework for achieving them. According to data from 2015 by UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), 36.7 million people live with HIV. New HIV infections have decreased by 6 % overall since 2010 and by as much as 50 % among children. Some 17 million people living with HIV are now receiving antiretroviral therapy. AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 45 % since 2005. Moreover, the number of deaths from tuberculosis (TB) has decreased by 32 % since 2004: TB is one of the most common, life-threatening ‘co-infections’ (concurrent infections by separate pathogens) of HIV and a leading cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS – a person with HIV is at high risk of developing TB, and when a person has both HIV and TB, each disease speeds up the progress of the other.

HIV still a major public health concern in Europe

Despite the encouraging worldwide trend, HIV transmission remains a problem in Europe and neighbouring countries (i.e. the WHO European Region spanning Europe and central Asia), especially in the eastern part of the region. In its HIV/AIDS surveillance report 2014, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) concludes that, despite widely varying trends and patterns across Europe, HIV transmission is continuing in most of the countries. According to the report, over 142 000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2014 – 77 % in the eastern part of the region. The number of infections there has mainly increased among people infected heterosexually, notably women, and among people who inject drugs and their sexual partners.

EU is maintaining momentum to curb HIV/AIDS

Two bodies set up by the European Commission – the HIV/AIDS Think Tank and the HIV/AIDS Civil Society Forum – aim to strengthen cooperation between the EU and its neighbourhood, and to foster the involvement of NGOs and other stakeholders in the development of policies. The Commission’s current action plan on HIV/AIDS in the EU and neighbouring countries 2014-2016 prolongs the previous action plan with an increased focus on areas such as HIV treatment as prevention, particularly in heterosexual transmission, and on HIV co-infections such as TB and viral hepatitis. According to the action plan, access to integrated prevention and treatment needs to be increased, particularly in Eastern European countries. This includes measures such as harm-reduction and antiretroviral treatment, especially in prisons. Moreover, in January this year, a three-year joint action on HIV and co-infections (HA-REACT) was launched with funding from the EU health programme. This addresses gaps in the prevention of HIV and co-infections (especially TB and viral hepatitis), among drug users. The EU is also financing HIV/AIDS projects in the framework of the EU’s programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. At international level, the EU supports the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector as well as people affected by these diseases.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/30/world-aids-day-2016-hands-up-for-hivprevention/

Ratification of international agreements by EU Member States

Written by Kristina Grosek and Giulio Sabbati,

International agreements play a crucial role in defining international relations, and are a source of conventional international law. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties defines a treaty as ‘an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation’.

Ratification of international agreements (IAs) means the concluding party formally consents to be bound by the agreement or treaty. Ratification procedures follow certain principles but differ from one country to another depending on constitutional and legal requirements and the type of agreement. In EU Member States, the national and regional parliaments’ involvement varies, as does the possibility of holding referendums. For ‘mixed’ agreements between the EU with third countries where Member States need also to ratify, they each apply their own domestic procedures.

Procedure for concluding international agreements

Ratification of international agreements in Member States

Ratification of international agreements in Member States

The executive branch has near exclusive competence in the process of concluding IAs, although may be subject to a mandate voted in parliament. In general, the government negotiates an agreement, agrees on the text and subsequently the state representative, endowed with full powers, and signs it. A clear distinction should be made between definitive signature of an IA and a signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. A definitive signature does not require further ratification in order for the agreement to enter into force.

Conversely, a signature subject to ratification, accept­ance or approval does not establish the party’s consent to be bound. Such an agree­ment cannot enter into force unless it passes through a domestic ratification procedure. Depending on the specific state’s constitution, approval of ratification involves either the executive or parliament. Agreements requiring parliamentary approval are in most cases those of greater political or financial importance, or otherwise significant.

The role of EU national parliaments

Bicameral Parliaments - the role of the upper chamber

Bicameral Parliaments – the role of the upper chamber

In accordance with the constitutions and legislation of each Member State, or if stipulated in the agreement itself, certain IAs require approval of national parliaments in order to be ratified and enter into force. In most cases, domestic legislation defines the types of IAs requiring parliamentary approval or, in some cases, exceptions for which approval is not necessary. Parliamentary approval normally involves the procedure for the adoption of an act, or in some cases (e.g. UK), parliament need only not object. In the EU, all unicameral parliaments and the lower chambers of bicameral parliaments are always involved. In the 13 Member States with bicameral parliaments, the upper chamber’s role varies. The Belgian Senate is not involved in ratifications, while the Slovenian National Council has only limited competence in adoption of legislation. In Germany and Austria, the involvement of the upper chamber depends on the treaty type and its relevance for the regions (represented in those chambers). In the remaining Member States (Czech Republic, Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and the UK) both chambers are involved.

Involvement of EU regions and their parliaments or assemblies

Regional Parliaments in the Member States

Regional Parliaments in the Member States

With the exception of Belgium, regional parliaments do not play a major role in the ratification procedure of IAs, other than through their seats in second chambers. In Belgium, an agreement needs to be approved by all parliaments concerned. That means that, for Belgium, when all levels are concerned, the agreement needs to be approved by eight parliaments. In other Member States with regional parliaments, their approval is not needed for the ratification of IAs and involvement of regions is limited mainly to negotiations (e.g. Portugal and Spain). Belgian regions and communities can conclude their own treaties in fields within their competences. In Germany and Austria, regions (Länder) can conclude IAs on their own, with the federal government’s approval. Similarly, in Spain and Italy, in areas falling within their responsibility, regions can enter into IAs with foreign states. In the UK, regional parliaments have no role in IAs.

Referendums and international agreements

Possibility of referendum on the ratification of international agreements

Possibility of referendum on the ratification of international agreements

Referendums for ratification of IAs are possible in the majority of Member States. Which countries allow for that possibility in a specific case depends on the type of IA. Some Member States exclude the possibility of a referendum for ratification of an IA but allow/require referendums in case of constitutional change, transfer of sovereign powers or EU membership (Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Slovenia). The possibility of a referendum for IA ratification is rarely mentioned expressly in national constitutions or applicable legislation (e.g. France and the Netherlands which specifically allow for referendums on ratification of IAs), but on the other hand a referendum for ratification is not excluded under existing legislative provisions. In Denmark and Hungary there is no possibility of a referendum on the obligations arising from existing IAs. The Czech Republic provides for a referendum only in the case of transferring sovereign powers. Belgium and Germany do not allow referendums for ratification of an IA. Belgium provides for referendums only at regional level, while in Germany, a referendum is possible only in connection with a revision of the country’s existing territorial division. Cyprus does not have provisions on referendums in the constitution, but has adopted a law providing for the possibility.


National ratification of EU international agreements – mixed agreements

The European Union, having legal personality (Article 47 TEU), is a subject of international law and can negotiate and conclude international agreements within the scope of its competences (Article 5 TEU, Articles 2-4 TFEU).

At EU level, the procedure for concluding IAs is set out in Article 218 TFEU; other articles may have specific provisions on the conclusion of IAs (e.g. Article 207 TFEU on the common commercial policy). Depending on the competences involved (EU exclusive competences or shared competences), the conclusion of EU IAs may or may not require ratification by Member States according to their national procedures. If an agreement falls under exclusive EU competence, the EU has the authority to negotiate and conclude the agreement, without any process of national ratification in Member States. When an agreement falls under shared or concurrent competences, the agreement is then considered ‘mixed‘ and needs to go through a two-stage ratification process: the EU and the Member States both need to ratify the agreement, with each Member State following its own national procedures. This two-stage ratification of mixed agreements gives more say to Member States, and even certain regions within them, but also makes the ratification process longer.


Download the PDF version of this briefing on ‘Ratification of international agreements by EU Member States‘ with additional explanations.

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/30/ratification-of-international-agreements-by-eu-member-states/

The new European electronic communications code [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Marcin Szczepański (1st edition),

The new European electronic communications code

© xiaoliangge / Fotolia

On 14 September 2016, the Commission proposed a new European electronic communications code which overhauls the existing legislative framework for telecommunications. The code has been designed to take into account changes in markets, consumer trends and technology, all of which have significantly changed since 2009 when the framework was last amended.

The code’s provisions include measures to stimulate investment in and take-up of very high capacity networks in the European Union, new spectrum rules for mobile connectivity and 5G, as well as changes to governance, the universal service regime, end-user protection rules, and numbering and emergency communication rules.

This proposal comes within the framework of the digital single market strategy, and is one of the legislative proposals under the initiative ‘Connectivity for a European gigabit society’.

 

Versions

Stage: Commission proposal

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/30/the-new-european-electronic-communications-code/

WIFI4EU – Promotion of internet connectivity in local communities [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Christian Scheinert (1st edition),

Businesswoman using a tablet

© Minerva Studio / Fotolia

On 14 September 2016, the Commission published a proposal for the promotion of very fast wireless internet access in local communities.

This service would be provided free of charge to the public at large. The areas covered would encompass public administrations, libraries and hospitals, as well as outdoor spaces accessible to all. The aim is to increase accessibility to high-performance mobile internet, and to raise awareness of the benefits of such connectivity. It is planned to simplify administrative procedures and to use EU funds to provide financial support to the establishment of such networks.

This action comes within the framework of the digital single market, and is one of several legislative proposals announced by the Commission with its communication, ‘Connectivity for a competitive digital single market – Towards a European gigabit society’.

Versions

Stage: Commission proposal

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/29/wifi4eu-promotion-of-internet-connectivity-in-local-communities-eu-legislation-in-progress/

All about the money: EU Budget, Data Protection, Tunisia – November II Plenary Session

Written by Clare Ferguson,

May digest

© European Union 2014 – European Parliament

The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have spent three weeks negotiating a provisional agreement on the Commission’s proposed 2017 EU budget, which comes before Parliament’s November plenary session for a vote in plenary on Wednesday. The proposals use the flexibility of the multi-year spending programme, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), to increase spending on youth, jobs, growth and dealing with the migration crisis. Budget commitments scheduled in the proposals total €157.86 billion, with payments amounting to €134.49 billion in funding for EU priorities. However, the recent crises, which challenged the EU’s capacity to act quickly, have highlighted the need for even greater flexibility. Without modifying the ceilings which the MFF imposes on EU spending categories for the 2014-2020 period, the Commission and the Parliament support an increase in budgetary flexibility  to spend money where it is most urgently needed.

 

A recent example of an urgent requirement for funding is the recent earthquakes in Italy, as well as increased occurrences of flooding through the EU. Members will consider an assessment of the EU Solidarity Fund on Wednesday evening, as well as making decisions on two requests for financial assistance. The fund is destined to support EU regions hit by major natural disasters, and to date has allocated almost €4 billion to mitigate the effects of 70 different disasters in 24 European countries. However, the speed with which the funds are disbursed and the lengthy procedures involved have come under sharp criticism.

 

Turning to citizens’ finances, the European Order for Payment Procedure allows a company or individual in another country to claim for amounts owed by someone in another Member State. However, on Thursday, the Parliament is due to consider a Legal Affairs Committee call to reject the Commission’s implementation report on the procedure and require the preparation of a fresh one. The difficulty hinges on the fact that the Commission assessment was submitted late, and somewhat complacently concluded that no revision of the procedure was necessary – supposed to simplify and speed up the cost of claiming money across borders – when in fact it appears that the benefits of the procedure are little-known to European citizens.

 

Shielding citizens from a different type of threat is behind Parliament’s determination to ensure that all individuals benefit from a high level of data protection according to European standards when their data is transferred outside the EU, including to the USA. On Wednesday evening, MEPs will thus consider whether to consent to the Council’s conclusion of the EU-US Umbrella Agreement, aimed at complementing specific EU legislation on data protection with stronger safeguards on the protection of personal data exchanged between law enforcement authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. This agreement is a parallel measure to the ‘Privacy Shield’  arrangements, intended to protect data transferred by the private sector.

 

On Thursday, the President of the Republic of Tunisia, Beji Caid Essebsi, will address a formal sitting of the Parliament. Tunisia has a science and technology agreement with the EU since 2004, and is a Horizon 2020 associated country since January 2016. Tunisia is also one of the 16 European Neighbourhood Policy ‘partner countries’ targeted by the European Neighbourhood Instrument, which funds EU cooperation in promoting development in 16 countries to the south and east, with a view to encouraging reform, more prosperous economies and greater stability in the region. In 2014, Tunisia received €186.8 million towards improving education and training, modernising its security sector. The EU is by far Tunisia’s largest export market . Currently, Tunisia is the subject of proposed associated country status to a new public-public Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), which seeks to support research to enhance stable access to resources such as food and water in the region.

 

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/29/all-about-the-money-eu-budget-data-protection-tunisia-november-ii-plenary-session/

Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Cemal Karakas (1st edition),

Telecommunication Isometric Flowchart

© macrovector / Fotolia

On 14 September 2016, the European Commission proposed an updated regulation on the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) as part of its wider telecoms package. The new proposal aims at transforming BEREC into a single fully fledged agency. The Commission proposes allocating new tasks to BEREC and granting it legally binding powers. New tasks include providing guidelines for national regulatory authorities (NRAs) on geographical surveys, developing common approaches to meet end-user interests, but also developing common approaches to deliver peer-reviewed opinions on draft national measures (e.g. radio spectrum assignments) and on cross-border disputes.

Stakeholders have been divided over the Commission’s review as regards the effectiveness and powers of BEREC. While the role of NRAs is widely acknowledged, some stakeholders stressed that the institutional set-up at EU and BEREC levels should be adjusted (e.g. a clearer division of powers, accountability issues, transparency in decision-making). In the European Parliament, the proposal has been referred to the ITRE Committee.

Versions

Stage: Commission proposal

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/29/body-of-european-regulators-for-electronic-communications-berec-eu-legislation-in-progress/

Understanding the Human Brain: A New Era of Big Neuroscience

Written by Gianluca Quaglio with James Tarlton,

Decoding the human brain remains one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. On 29 November 2016, the STOA (Science and Technology Assessment) Panel will host a workshop entitled ‘Understanding the Human Brain: A New Era of Big Neuroscience’, at which representatives from some of the world’s leading brain initiatives will present their work and discuss the future of neuroscience projects across the globe.

Brain concept

Shutterstock / Anita Ponne

The workshop is organised jointly with the European Commission, and will highlight the following initiatives:

  • the EU FET flagship human brain project (HBP), launched by the European Commission in 2013 with predicted funding of €1 billion over its ten-year lifespan, which focuses on developing a European research infrastructure for advancing brain research, medicine and brain-inspired information technology;
  • the US brain research through advancing innovative neurotechnologies initiative (BRAIN), launched in 2013 with a budget of €4.5 billion over 12 years, which focuses on the development of new technologies for recording brain circuit activity and mapping the brain in unprecedented detail;
  • the Japan Brain/MINDS project, launched at the end of 2014, and due to receive €300 million over ten years, which aims at understanding the cellular and circuit basis of behaviour, using models of human brain diseases.

Representatives from each initiative will give an overview of their project, its status, achievements, opportunities for cooperation, and future plans. The event will be chaired by MEP and STOA Vice-Chair Evžen Tošenovský, and moderated by Maurizio Corbetta from the University of Padova, Italy. Roberto Viola, Director General of the European Commission’s DG CONNECT will introduce the event, which will include presentations by leading representatives of HBP (Katrin Amunts), the US BRAIN initiative (Walter Koroshetz), and Japan’s Brain/MINDS project (Tetsuo Yamamori).


Twitter hashtag: #HBPSTOA
See also: humanbrainproject.eu


These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion between representatives of the three initiatives and the European Commission, as well as Members of the European Parliament and leading experts in neuroscience. The panellists will discuss international opportunities for cooperation in neuroscience research and the benefits that such research will bring to individual citizens and society as a whole.

This STOA workshop will add momentum and ideas to the ongoing discussions about strengthening collaboration among the international brain initiatives. A first proposal for European HBP and US brain initiative cooperation will be announced, which will serve as a starting point for future joint international activities in this field.

Throughout 29 and 30 November, the Human Brain Project will run an exhibition showcasing the project’s work and its unique contributions to European neuroscience, computing and research ethics (Balcony ASP 5G). Some of the HBP’s leading researchers will be available to provide tours of the exhibition and answer questions about the project.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/28/understanding-the-human-brain-a-new-era-of-big-neuroscience/

The EU’s Eastern Partnership [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

The Eastern Partnership was launched in 2009 as a regional programme of the European Neighbourhood Policy to promote integration and cooperation between the European Union, its Member States and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It has achieved limited progress, partly due to conflicts and political instability in the region. Nevertheless, it has sent a signal of the EU’s willingness to strengthen ties with the region, offering incentives to governments and civil society to push ahead with democratic and economic reforms. Three of the six former Soviet republics involved – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – have concluded Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreements with the EU.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports by major international think tanks on the Eastern Partnership. More reports on the topic can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking’.

General studies

EU Eastern Partnership

Kolja21 / Creative Commons

Dilemmas of Europeanisation: Political choices and economic transformations in the Eastern Partnership countries
Latvian Institute for International Affairs, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2016

Eastern Europe’s superfluous men
Carnegie Europe, October 2016

Key actors in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood: Competing perspectives on geostrategic tensions
Finnish Institute of International Affairs, September 2016

More effective EU democracy support in the Eastern Partnership: Ideas for the Slovak EU presidency and beyond
EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, July 2016

A shared European home: The European Union, Russia and the Eastern Partnership
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, May 2016

ENP review: Towards effective EU action in the Eastern neighbourhood?
EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy, May 2016

Civil society and the fight against corruption: Promoting effective anti-corruption policies by reforming the public sector and law enforcement authorities
Institute for European Politics, February 2016

Towards a new EU Global Strategy: Challenges and opportunities in Eastern Neighbourhood
Central European Policy Institute, December 2015

A more geopolitical Eastern Partnership: U-turn or “the lady’s not for turning”?
Latvian Institute of International Affairs, November 2015

Ten talking points from the new ENP
European Council for Foreign Relations, November 2015

Eastern Partnership revisited
Stefan Batory Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, October 2015

Belarus

Grand political media barometer report on communication of Belarus’ independent political forces
Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, September 2016

A containing ally: Belarus’ regional role in the context of the new containment
Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, September 2016

The European Union and Belarus: Time for a new policy
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, February 2016

Belarus: Time for a ‘principled’ re-engagement
European Union Institute for Security Studies, February 2016

Georgia

What the EU can, may and should do to support Georgia
Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, September 2016

Georgia and Europe: A short guide
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

Deepening EU-Georgian relations: What, why and how?
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

Transfer of know-how to small and mid-size businesses in Georgia: White paper
Center for Social and Economic Research, September 2015

Moldova

Ever-intractable Transdniestria
Carnegie Europe, November 2016

Republic of Moldova 2016 State of the country report
Expert Group, September 2016

Deepening EU-Moldovan relations: What, why and how?
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

Moldova and Europe: A short guide
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

The Europeanisation of Moldova: Is the EU on the right track?
Clindendael, July 2016

Financial Monitor: An analysis of main reforms in the financial sector of Moldova
Expert Group, July 2016

Moldova at an impasse: Can the formation of the latest government forestall crisis?
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, March 2016

A useful crisis for Moldova
Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, January 2016

Transnistria zig-zagging towards a DCFTA
Polish Institute of International Affairs, January 2016

Ukraine

Ukraine and Europe: A short guide
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

Deepening EU-Ukrainian relations: What, why and how?
Centre for European Policy Studies, August 2016

Lessons from Ukraine: Why a Europe-led geo-economic strategy is succeeding
Transatlantic Academy, July 2016

#EngagEUkraine: Engagement der Ukrainer in Polen und Deutschland
Institut für Europäische Politik, May 2016

Elements for an Eastern Partnership plus: A new association package for Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine
Romanian Center for European Policies, June 2015

Other countries

Not frozen! The unresolved conflicts over Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh in light of the crisis over Ukraine
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, July 2016

A deepening and widening conflict: The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and the regional context
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, June 2016

The frozen conflicts of the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood and their impact on the respect of human rights
Trans European Policy Studies Association, April 2016

A forgotten conflict: Escalation in Nagorno Karabagh. Unpredictable effects of ‘the no peace, no war’ situation
Hellenic Foundation for European Foreign Policy, April 2016

Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Why the ‘black garden’ will not blossom any time soon
Egmont, April 2016

Changing perceptions of the West in the South Caucasus: Adoration no more
Chatham House, February 2016

The limited influence of the European Union in Armenia and Azerbaijan: A domestic explanation
College of Europe, December 2015

EU democratization policies in the Neighbourhood countries and Russia’s reaction as a destabilizing factor. A comparative case study of Georgia and Moldova
College of Europe, November 2015

Traditional religion and political power: Examining the role of the church in Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine and Moldova
Foreign Policy Centre, October 2015

Azerbaijan’s risky game between Russia and the West
Polish Institute of International Affairs, October 2015

#ElectricYerevan: why Armenia’s future is in Europe
Istituto Affari Internazionali, July 2015

The state of corruption: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine
Transparency International, July 2015

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/25/the-eus-eastern-partnership-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

Outcomes of COP 22 climate change conference

Written by Gregor Erbach,

The COP 22 climate change conference, which took place in Marrakech (Morocco) from 7-18 November 2016, also served as the first meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on 4 November 2016. The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and agreed to finalise the detailed rules for its implementation within two years.

Background: the Paris Agreement

COP22 Marrakech 2016

©2016 COP22 MAROC

The Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015 by the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aims to maintain the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, whilst making efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees. It requires all parties to submit nationally determined contributions (NDC), outlining their plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The plans are to be reviewed every five years, starting in 2018. Fast-track ratification of the Paris Agreement by the EU in October 2016 enabled its entry into force on 4 November 2016, which was conditional on ratification by at least 55 parties representing at least 55 % of global emissions. By the end of COP 22, more than 100 parties, representing over 75 % of global emissions, had ratified the Agreement.

Outcome of COP 22 in Marrakech

The parties adopted 35 decisions, mostly related to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The decisions set 2018 as the deadline for developing a rulebook for the implementation of the Agreement, based on transparency and accountability. The parties decided that the Adaptation Fund, which was created in 2001, will serve the Agreement. They adopted a five-year work plan for the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. The parties endorsed the Marrakech Action Proclamation, which reaffirms their commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement. They established the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, a platform that facilitates the involvement of non-state actors in pre-2020 climate action.

Outside the formal negotiations, the ‘Climate Vulnerable Forum‘, a group of 48 developing countries, declared their intention to switch to 100 % renewable energy between 2030 and 2050. Canada, Germany, Mexico, and the USA laid out strategies for decarbonising their economies by 2050, with more countries to follow.

European Parliament

On 6 October 2016, Parliament adopted a resolution on COP 22, which notes that current NDCs are not sufficient for meeting the ambitious objectives of the Paris Agreement and urges developed countries, especial­ly the EU, to reduce their emissions below the current pledges. A delegation of 12 Members, headed by Giovanni La Via (EPP, Italy), represented Parliament at COP 22. Parliament is currently considering a number of legislative proposals aimed at implementing the Paris Agreement at EU level, notably a reform of the EU emissions trading system, a new effort-sharing regulation, and a regulation for emission reductions in the land-use sector.


US climate commitments in limbo

Engagement by the USA, the world’s second-largest GHG emitter, was widely regarded as critical to the successful conclusion of the Paris Agreement in 2015. In its NDC, the USA commits to reducing its emissions by 26-28 % below 2005 levels by 2025. During COP 22, the Obama administration presented a mid-century strategy for deep decarbonisation, which outlines pathways to reduce net GHG emissions by 2050 to one fifth of 2005 levels.

Meanwhile, the outcome of the US presidential election cast doubt over future US commitment to climate action. President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly called climate change a hoax, and recently said that he intends to reconsider US participation in the Paris Agreement, while some 300 US companies addressed an open letter to Trump in support of low-carbon energy and the implementation of the Paris Agreement.


Download this at a glance note on the ‘Outcomes of COP 22 climate change conference‘ in PDF.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/24/outcomes-of-cop-22-climate-change-conference/

The upcoming Trump Presidency [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, won the US presidential election on 8 November, unexpectedly defeating the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, after a bitter campaign during which the business tycoon, with little political experience, made a number of controversial promises to radically change the government’s policies on migration, health care, climate change, international trade and NATO.

This note offers links to recent commentaries and reports published by major international think tanks and other research centres in response to the US election outcome. Analyses published before the ballot can be found in a previous edition of ‘What think tanks are thinking.’

US flag 2016

Delpixel / shutterstock

The next  commander in chief
Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

Le monde selon Trump. Anticiper la nouvelle politique étrangère américaine
Institut français des relations internationales, November 2016

The partner we need in Washington: Priorities for the new administration
German Marshall Fund, November 2016

Trump’s election foreshadows further divisions in Europe
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

Europe in the Trumpworld: EU trade and security under the new US executive
European Centre for International and Political Economy, November 2016

Berlin’s new pragmatism: Will it be enough after Trump’s election?
German Marshall Fund, November 2016

Trump and Europe: The sun sets on the West
Centre for European Reform, November 2016

How Europe should deal with a Trump Administration
Fundacion Real Instituto Elcano, November 2016

What Europe should do about a problem like Trump
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

Why the EU must fashion a tough pre-Trump agenda
Friends of Europe, November 2016

Europe, alone in Trump’s world
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

Europe’s nightmare
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, November 2016

What will President Trump mean for US allies?
Hudson Institute, November 2016

Yes, he can
Centre for European Policy Studies, November 2016

Views from the Capitals: Europe reacts to President-elect Trump
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

What a Trump Presidency means for U.S. and global climate policy
Brookings Institution, November 2016

President Trump: What next for global climate action?
Bruegel, November 2016

Politique internationale: Les habits neufs du président Trump
Institut français des relations internationales, November 2016

What a President Trump means for foreign policy
Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

What will foreign policy look like under President Trump?
Brookings Institution, November 2016

What a Donald Trump Presidency means for the Middle East
Atlantic Council, November 2016

The looming battle for Trump’s foreign policy
Cato Institute, November 2016

Trump in the Middle East: A new strategy or more of the same?
Bipartisan Policy Center, November 2016

Probable U.S. policy directions under President Trump
Polish Institute of International Affairs, November 2016

Under Trump, the U.S. Will Become an Enemy of the International Community
Institute for Policy Studies, November 2016

EU migration policies after the US elections: pushing the limits?
European Policy Centre, November 2016

The most important non-issue in the 2016 campaign
Brookings Institution, November 2016

The challenges and opportunities that await President-Elect Trump
Atlantic Council, November 2016

Why a Trump Presidency might not be as awful as we fear
Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

A divided and pessimistic electorate
Pew Research Center, November 2016

Chatham House experts comment on US election
Chatham House, November 2016

Aspen Institute’s experts comment on election
Aspen Institute, November 2016

Donald Trump’s Jacksonian revolt
Hudson Institute, November 2016

So what happens now?
Cato Institute, November 2016

America’s dark underbelly is now its face
Institute for Policy Studies, November 2016

Why Trump won
Hoover Institution, November 2016

Five predictions on what a Trump Presidency means for financial regulation
Bipartisan Policy Center, November 2016

The demographic blowback that elected Donald Trump
Brookings Institution, November 2016

Trump and the consequences of radical uncertainty
German Marshall Fund, November 2016

Making sense of America’s election
German Marshall Fund, November 2016

The insurgency takes Washington
European Policy Centre, November 2016

Income inequality boosted Trump vote
Bruegel, November 2016

Trumped up trade: The end of an era
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2016

Donald Trump as a Nixonian president
Clingendael, November 2016

El mundo en manos de Trump
Barcelona Centre for International Affairs, November 2016

Trump wins, and now?
Carnegie Europe, November 2016

Politiquement  incorrect
Fondation Robert Schuman, November 2016

U.S. allies and rivals digest Trump’s victory
Carnegie Europe, November 2016

Ill fares the world: What next? 10 observations on the US elections
Fondation Européenne d’Etudes Progressistes, November 2016

Quelle sera la politique étrangère du président Trump?
Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, November 2016

Vers un nouvel isolationnisme américain?
Institut Thomas More, November 2016

Trump alla ricerca di una bussola politica
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, November 2015

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2016/11/24/the-coming-trump-presidency-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/