Месечни архиви: декември 2018

Astronomers [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for astronomers.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

European astronomers have always been leaders in exploring the final frontier. The EU helps to continue this tradition, regardless of whether astronomers are amateur or professional. In 2017, for example, a Belgian astronomer made international headlines with the discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting another star (Trappist-1 system), and a French astronomer discovered the existence of a ring around a dwarf planet in our own solar system (Haumea). Both discoveries were made possible through EU financial support.

A father demonstrates to his child how to use a telescope

© AZP Worldwide / Fotolia

The EU helps to fire up the next generation of astronomers through its financial support to the ‘EU-Universe Awareness project’. This initiative uses astronomy to inspire and encourage a lifelong interest in science among young children (aged 4 to 10). The EU’s support was used to develop the project in five EU countries from 2011 to 2013, and it has since grown into an international network of 16 EU countries.

The EU also pays for the development of world-class research infrastructure to ensure that professional astronomers can continue to conduct cutting-edge research. One example is EU funding of the ‘ASTERICS project’, supporting future collaboration between four new large telescopes. At the same time, the EU provides grants to ambitious astronomers, to encourage further important discoveries.

Every astronomer, whether working from an observatory or from their backyard, can enjoy the remarkable results of EU-funded projects, and hopefully future generations will be inspired to boldly go where no one has gone before!

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/28/astronomers-what-europe-does-for-you/

Watersports enthusiasts [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for watersports enthusiasts.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

European rivers, lakes and seas offer plenty of opportunities to practise watersports. Swimming is by far the most popular activity, but you can also dive, surf or sail, or paddle in a canoe or on a stand-up board.

None of these activities would be enjoyable without clean water. Thanks to EU rules, the vast majority of sites in the EU boast good or excellent bathing water quality.

SUP im Sonnenuntergang

© KarlGroße / Fotolia

Diving and boating also provide a unique opportunity to enjoy nature and observe marine wildlife such as birds and fish. To preserve this natural heritage, the EU has established the ‘Natura 2000’ network of protected areas that allow for the coexistence of wildlife with human activities.

To have an enjoyable and safe watersports experience, you need the right equipment, from swimwear to boats and paddles. Thanks to the EU internal market, you have a wide choice, as a product available in one EU country can be sold in all the others as well. Furthermore, under EU law, defective products must be repaired or replaced within a legal guarantee period of two years, without cost to the consumer.

When you venture out in a boat or with diving gear, your life and safety depends on the equipment. EU rules require watercraft and personal protective equipment sold in the EU to bear the CE label which shows that they conform to safety standards. For the safe and effective use of watersports equipment, such as life vests, it is essential that you understand the instructions. That is why EU rules require the manual to be available in the language of the country where you buy the equipment.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/27/watersports-enthusiasts-what-europe-does-for-you/

Refugees [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for refugees.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

People who flee war and persecution in their own country have a right to apply for protection in another country as refugees. International refugee law obliges countries to provide access to protection and adequate reception conditions that respect applicants’ human rights.

Silhouette Of Refugees People With Luggage Walking In A Row

© Andrey Popov / Fotolia

EU law upholds these principles and aims to ensure that all EU countries not only offer protection, but also have the same understanding as to who qualifies as a refugee. While the final decision to accord protection is taken at national level, EU law has shaped national provisions and added guarantees that a similar level of protection is available to refugees across the EU.

To help countries outside the EU that currently host large numbers of refugees, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the EU has also established a system for all EU countries to receive refugees directly from those countries. This is largely based on EU cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which helps to resettle refugees directly from refugee camps.

The EU also contributes through funding, both in and outside the EU. Within the EU, €7.4 billion funding is planned for 2015-2017. The EU also offers development and humanitarian aid to countries outside the EU, to help them strengthen their societies in the face of difficult times, and to support refugee reception and integration.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/26/refugees-what-europe-does-for-you/

People travelling with cash [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people travelling with cash.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

If you are travelling to or from the EU by air, road, rail or sea with €10 000 or more in cash you must declare it to the customs authorities. This obligation is not designed to make your life difficult but to prevent money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other financial crimes. If you are travelling in a group, the €10 000 limit applies to each person individually.

vacation, tourism, travel, finances and people concept - close up of traveler hands counting euro cash money

© Syda Productions / Fotolia

Cash includes not only banknotes and coins in circulation all over the world but also cheques, promissory notes, money orders and traveller’s cheques. It does not include currency out of circulation, antique coins, bullion coins and casino chips. Gold, precious metals and precious stones are not considered cash yet, but they will be soon.

The Cash Control Regulation, which is currently being revised, states that people who do not declare their cash may have it confiscated and receive a substantial fine. Customs authorities can carry out individual checks and checks on baggage and vehicles. All this may inconvenience law-abiding citizens, but it is done to prevent crime. You must fill in an EU Cash Declaration Form on entering and leaving the EU, in the official language of the country concerned. There are some non-EU language versions to help you understand the form if you are not from the EU.

Your personal information will be available to the intelligence agencies that monitor financial transactions, but it will be kept confidential to protect your security when carrying cash. Be aware that individual EU countries may have their own cash control rules and limits for travelling within the EU.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/23/people-travelling-with-cash-what-europe-does-for-you/

Cross-border creditors [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for cross-border creditors.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

Around 50 % of all consumers shop online, and the number of cross-border transactions in the internal market is growing steadily. However, the individual value of such transactions remains relatively small, with almost half coming under €100. Because the amounts involved are small, not all contracts are properly performed, which sometimes leads to cross-border disputes, most of which do not end up in court. According to estimates, there could be as many as 0.5 million cross-border consumer cases of a value below €2 000 and some 130 000 such cases between businesses per year in the EU. The annual number of consumer claims for amounts between €2 000 and €10 000 is estimated at 84 000, and claims between businesses at 208 700.

Young woman calculating and paying bills in home office

© leszekglasner / Fotolia

To assist cross-border creditors who need to take a debtor in a different country to court over a small sum of money, the EU created the European small claims procedure in 2008. This simple, fast procedure is available only for small monetary claims in cross-border cases. Using ready-available standard forms, in all EU languages, its basic elements are identical throughout the EU.

Reform of the procedure in 2015 means creditors can now make cross-border claims up to €5 000. Court fees were reduced, and digital technology is increasingly used to take evidence, further reducing costs and making the proceeding easier.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/22/cross-border-creditors-what-europe-does-for-you/

People living in remote areas [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for people living in remote areas.

Twitter Hashtag #EUandME

If you live in a remote region, you will be aware of the unique challenges that arise from being a long way from urban areas, or possibly from certain geographical or demographic conditions. Despite their differences, islands, mountainous areas and sparsely populated regions are remote areas that share common challenges, including poorer access to a range of job opportunities and to basic services in areas such as transport, education and healthcare. In general, remote regions also experience lower economic growth than the rest of the European Union.

Mountain landscape in Romania. Rural Romanian landscape. Landscape in Magura village and Piatra Craiului Mountains in the background. Traditional Romanian village and mountains panorama.

© marios_b / Fotolia

The EU plays an active role in helping remote regions to address these challenges and to exploit their development potential. EU-funded projects, for example, helped people living in a remote village in Sweden organise their own public transport by setting up a village bus and isolated people living in a sparsely populated Alpine region on the French-Italian border set up a homecare service system. Certain remote areas, referred to as ‘outermost regions’, benefit from specific EU measures, for instance, to support local agricultural production. The EU’s priorities include developing broadband coverage and enhancing the use of digital technologies in these regions, as this improves access to the job market and services. One example is an EU-funded telemedicine project aimed at providing medical services at a distance in remote parts of Saxony. In the case of mountainous areas, priorities include measures to fight environmental degradation and to promote energy efficiency and sustainable tourism.

Further information

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/21/people-living-in-remote-areas-what-europe-does-for-you/

What think tanks are thinking conference: another tough year for the EU

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

2018, the last full year of the current European Parliament’s current term brought tougher challenges and choices for the European Union than the previous year, when, in the words of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the ‘wind was back in European sails’, along with the economic recovery. Still, the passing year was better than the annus horriblis of 2016, when the EU faced a number of existential threats.

The 2018 agenda was dominated by US President Trump’s decisions, which raised the spectre of a trade war, Brexit negotiations, the unabated rise of populism and anti-establishment movements, unsolved migration issues, problems with the rule of law in some EU countries, Russia’s assertive foreign policy moves and a gradual slowing of economic growth in Europe. Those events and processes featured in the debate on ‘What mattered in 2018 and why: What think tanks are thinking’, organised by the European Parliamentary Research Service in the Library Reading Room on 18 December. These tough issues and other developments form the backdrop for the European elections in 2019.

Speakers from major international think tanks who took part in the debate concluded that most of the challenges discussed have not yet been overcome and some might not even be resolvable for the time being. For example, the long-term stability of and sustainable growth in the European Monetary Union and a wider EU requires far-reaching reforms, involving considerable centralisation, and yet there is no political nor democratic appetite for that, said Maria Demertzis, deputy Director at Bruegel, an influential economic think tank. This is why, despite an ambitious reform agenda advocated by French President Emmanuel Macron, progress in reforming the EMU was limited in 2018. There is also no ideal solution to the migration problem, which has haunted the EU ever since hundreds of thousands of migrants escaping war and poverty in Africa and Asia made it to European shores in 2015 and 2016, noted Camino Mortera-Martinez, a senior research fellow at the Centre for the European Reform, a London-based think tank, which now has an office in Brussels. The refusal of several EU Member States to back the UN-sponsored Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, exposed deep divisions over the issue in the Union, as well as difficulties in formulating a common foreign policy in general.

Mortera-Martinez and others, including Dušan Reljić, head of the Brussels office of the powerful German think tank Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, noted that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, now set for 29 March 2019, will wreak economic and political havoc, especially in the UK, where the political atmosphere is completely poisoned by the Brexit debate. Among the several possible scenarios, the least damaging in the short-term would be the approval of the agreed departure agreement in a crucial vote in January. It is also possible that the government falls, that there is what is known as a ‘hard Brexit’, or that a new referendum is held.

Wojciech Białożyt, Managing Director of the Warsaw-based WiseEuropa think tank, said central and eastern European countries, such as Hungary and Poland, were acting against their own long-term interest when they implemented judicial and other reforms that many EU politicians believe violate the bloc’s rule of law principle. While the Hungarian government has a constitutional majority to pursue the controversial changes, the Polish one however does not, thereby breaking its own constitution. Białożyt expressed hope that some new members from central and eastern Europe would stop attempts to weaken local institutions guaranteeing the rule of law, or the EU might face difficult choices as to what action to take.

All speakers agreed US President Donald Trump’s volatile policies posed the biggest threat to the global economy and rules-based, multilateral system. A full-blown trade war could throw the world into recession. Suggestions how the EU should react to Trump varied. Bruegel’s Demertzis argued that Europe should be ‘reactive’, so as not to exacerbate the situation. Others believed that the abdication of the US from its traditional role of benign protector of the global order offers opportunities for the EU to forge new trade ties and boost its defence cooperation and capability.

The EPRS conference was held under the ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking‘ brand, which is also the title of a weekly publication that gathers links to recent think tank publications on a given topic.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/20/what-think-tanks-are-thinking-conference-another-tough-year-for-the-eu/

Outcome of the meetings of EU Heads of State or Government, 13-14 December 2018

Written by Ralf Drachenberg and Suzana Anghel,

European Council symbol illustration

© Fotolia

The meetings of EU Heads of State or Government that took place on 13-14 December 2018 dealt with a more extensive agenda than originally planned. The European Council set a timeline for the negotiations on the MFF, assessed the implementation of its comprehensive approach to migration, and announced that an in-depth discussion on the Single Market would be held next spring. On external relations, it discussed the February 2019 summit with the League of Arab States, expressed its concern regarding the escalation in the Azov Sea, welcomed progress in the field of security and defence, and addressed the issue of disinformation. Additionally, EU Heads of State or Government issued conclusions on climate change and the fight against racism and xenophobia, as well as on citizens’ dialogues and citizens’ consultations.

Due to developments in the UK, EU Heads of State or Government also needed to discuss Brexit. While the European Council (Article 50) provided assurances on the ‘backstop’, it reiterated that the Withdrawal Agreement ‘is not open for renegotiation’. At the Euro Summit, leaders endorsed the reform of economic and monetary union (EMU) by strengthening the role of the European Stability Mechanism and envisaging the possibility of establishing a euro-area budget.

1. European Council commitments: Implementation and new deadlines

Sebastian Kurz, Austrian Chancellor and President-in-Office of the Council, provided an overview on the progress made in implementing previous European Council conclusions, as well as on the progress in MFF deliberations

Table 1: New European Council commitments and requests with a specific time schedule

2. European Council meeting

Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)

In the event, among the points originally foreseen for the MFF discussion, the European Council conclusions only address the issues of the timetable for negotiations, leaving out the definition of political priorities for the 2021-2027 MFF and the question of the overall level of expenditure for that period. Currently, the aim is for the European Council to reach an agreement in autumn 2019. This wording leaves room for interpretation: were there to be no agreement at the October 2019 European Council, the 12-13 December 2019 meeting could still provide a possible alternative date.

If the European Council only reaches a political agreement at the end of 2019, and if the timetable of the negotiating process for the 2014-2020 MFF were to be repeated, the Parliament and Council would not be expected to reach an agreement before the summer of 2020 at the earliest. Accordingly, the new European Parliament would be responsible for concluding the negotiations for the next MFF. Moreover, the European Council’s agreement on the MFF might come only under the next President of the European Council, since Donald Tusk’s second and final mandate ends on 30 November 2019. This could pose an additional challenge for the negotiations, in the event of delays and last-minute bargaining between Member States, as was the case during the last MFF negotiations (see EPRS Briefing).

Main messages of the EP President: The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, reiterated the Parliament’s priorities for the next MFF, including the need for greater flexibility in the future EU budget and the need for sufficient progress on the Union’s own resources system, which is an essential precondition for obtaining the Parliament’s consent. He criticised the ‘negotiating box’ as presented by the Austrian Presidency, which ‘includes important parts of the legislative proposals for sectoral programmes’, and has therefore been ‘excluded from the negotiations with the Parliament and agreed only between Member States’. He also expressed his regret that it will not be possible to reach an agreement before the European elections.

Single market

EU leaders decided to hold an in-depth discussion on future developments in the single market and European digital policy in spring 2019, looking ahead to the next ‘strategic agenda’. Among the challenges to be addressed, they mentioned services, data economy and artificial intelligence.


In its conclusions, the European Council pointed out that the ‘number of detected illegal border crossings has been brought down to pre-crisis levels’. It nevertheless reiterated the need to remain vigilant on all existing and emerging migration routes. EU Heads of State or Government invited the co-legislators to rapidly conclude the negotiations on the Asylum Agency and the European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG). While welcoming the agreement reached in Council on enhancing the EBCG’s mandate in the area of return and cooperation with third countries, the European Council also called for ‘further efforts to conclude negotiations on the Return Directive and on all parts of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS)’. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, expressed his dissatisfaction with the outcome of the discussion, as the European Council did not come to a political agreement on the five (of seven) legislative proposals on the reform of the Common European Asylum System already close to agreement in Council.

Main messages of the EP President: President Tajani stated that the Parliament is only prepared to adopt the five proposals from the package on reform of the CEAS if the Council approves a negotiating mandate for the remaining two. Furthermore, the Parliament is very disappointed by the negotiating mandate adopted by Council on the EBCG, as it ‘lacks ambition’ and only addresses some of the elements proposed by the Commission.

Other items

External relations

The Heads of State or Government discussed the preparation of the summit with the League of Arab States, to be held in Egypt in February 2019. The President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, expressed the incoming Romanian Presidency’s commitment to a results-oriented summit. The agenda could include trade, investment, countering illegal migration and the fight against terrorism.

The European Council expressed its concern over the situation in the Azov Sea and requested the release of all detained Ukrainian seamen, the return of the seized vessels and free passage of all ships through the Kerch Strait. It reaffirmed its support to the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and reconfirmed the EU’s policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, informed their colleagues about the lack of progress in implementing the Minsk Agreements. President Tusk announced agreement on renewing the sanctions on Russia following its illegal annexation of Crimea.

The EU leaders also discussed, without adopting conclusions, the situation in the Western Balkans.

Main messages from the EP President: President Tajani recalled that the European Parliament’s 2018 Sakharov Prize was awarded to Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker and opponent of the illegal annexation of Crimea, detained by Russia since 2014. The Parliament had adopted several resolutions condemning the illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by Russia, whilst the European Council had deplored this situation in March 2016.

Climate change

The European Council considered the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) held in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018, and referred to the November 2018 ‘strategic vision of the European Commission for achieving a climate-neutral economy by 2050’.

Security and defence

The European Council took stock of progress made since June 2018 on security and defence cooperation, notably on Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), the European Defence Fund, and EU-NATO cooperation. It also endorsed the Civilian CSDP Compact adopted by the Council in November 2018 with the aim of strengthening and streamlining civilian crisis management.


The European Council discussed disinformation for the third time in 2018. It considered it as a form of hybrid warfare, stressing its challenge to democracy and free elections in Europe. President Tusk spoke of a ‘deliberate, large-scale and systemic’ threat which EU leaders are ‘determined to counter’. The latter called for the implementation of the Joint Action Plan on disinformation presented on 5 December 2018, following a request from the European Council.

Fight against racism and xenophobia

The European Council condemned all forms of antisemitism, racism and xenophobia. Chancellor Kurz expressed his satisfaction that the Heads of State or Government all welcomed the adoption on 6 December 2018 of the Council declaration on the fight against antisemitism

Citizens’ Dialogues and Citizens’ Consultations, and preparations for the Strategic Agenda

The European Council welcomed the Citizens’ Dialogues and Citizens’ Consultations as ‘an unprecedented opportunity to engage with European citizens; these could serve as an inspiration for further consultations and dialogues’. Moreover, EU leaders indicated that they will discuss the priorities for the next institutional cycle (2019-2024) at their informal meeting in Sibiu on 9 May 2019, with a view to agreeing on the next Strategic Agenda in June 2019.

3. Euro Summit

EU leaders endorsed the agreement on reform of economic and monetary union (EMU) reached at the Eurogroup meeting of 3 December: (i) the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will provide a backstop to the Single Resolution Fund (SRF), if sufficient progress in risk reduction is made by 2020; (ii) the ESM will be able, under strict conditionality, to provide precautionary loans to Member States and be more closely involved in the surveillance of countries’ finances. The Euro Summit asked the Eurogroup to come up with necessary amendments to the ESM Treaty by June 2019.

Building on the Eurogroup compromise, EU leaders gave finance ministers a mandate to work on the design of a euro-area budget, which would focus on convergence and competitiveness. The size of the new budgetary instrument will be decided in the context of the MFF. However, they did not mention a crucial missing piece in the Banking Union framework: the European deposit insurance scheme (EDIS). They also declined to envisage the euro-area budget having a stabilisation function.

4. Special European Council (Article 50) meeting

Contrary to original plans, EU-27 Heads of State or Government also met in the European Council (Article 50) format on 13 December. Donald Tusk called the meeting following the postponement of the vote on the withdrawal agreement in the UK House of Commons, initially planned for 11 December. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, wanted to discuss with EU leaders ‘the clear concerns that the House has expressed’. Prior to the meeting, President Tusk indicated that EU leaders would ‘not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification’.

After listening to Mrs May’s assessment of the ratification process, EU-27 Heads of State or Government adopted conclusions which state clearly that the Withdrawal Agreement ‘is not open for renegotiation’. However, they provided an assurance that the backstop was purely intended to be ‘an insurance policy to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland and ensure the integrity of the Single Market’. The EU-27 stressed that the aim was to work speedily on a subsequent agreement that would, by 31 December 2020, establish alternative arrangements, so that the backstop would not need to be triggered. It is also specified that ‘if the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered, it would apply temporarily, unless and until it is superseded by a subsequent agreement that ensures that a hard border is avoided’. The European Council also called for work on preparedness at all levels for the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal to be intensified, taking into account all possible outcomes. Following the announcement of President Juncker, the Commission published a further series of legislative proposals to cope with a ‘no-deal’ scenario on 19 December.

Main messages of the EP President: The backstop is the guarantee that there will not be a hard border on the island of Ireland. For the Parliament, this is not negotiable. While the Parliament is prepared to clarify the terms of future relations, the withdrawal agreement could not be reopened.


Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/20/outcome-of-the-meetings-of-eu-heads-of-state-or-government-13-14-december-2018/

2018: Challenges and choices [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski,

Concept 2018 Review
© christianchan / Fotolia

After 2017 brought optimism for the European Union, 2018 has proved a year of tougher challenges and choices. It was a time of slower growth, with the spectre of a global trade war. Turbulent negotiations on Brexit brought an agreement, but the chances of its approval by the UK House of Commons look unpromising. It was a year of uncertainty for transatlantic ties and for US global leadership. Tensions re-emerged over migration. Progress in overhauling the euro-area was limited. The simmering Russia-Ukrainian conflict erupted again. These and other developments form the backdrop for the European elections in 2019.

This note offers links to recent selected commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on the state of the EU in 2018 and its outlook in several important areas.


The proposed UK-EU Brexit deal: An explainer
Open Europe, December 2018

Le Brexit dans tous ses états
Institut français des relations internationales, December 2018

Brexit brief: Special edition
Institute of International and European Affairs, November 2018

New research shows economic and fiscal consequences of the Brexit deal
The UK in a Changing Europe, November 2018

The November Draft Withdrawal Agreement
Institute for Government, November 2018

The Brexit deal and the UK-EU security relationship
DCU Brexit Institute, November 2018

What happens if Parliament rejects May’s Brexit deal?
Centre for European Reform, November 2018

What impact would a No Deal Brexit have on European Parliament elections?
Institut Jacques Delors, November 2018

LSE blog: Brexit
London School of Economics, November 2018

Brexit: Next steps in UK’s withdrawal from the EU
House of Commons Library, 2018

More think tank papers on Brexit
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, December 2018

Trump and trade

Trump, Xi reach trade war truce… for now
Atlantic Council, December 2018

The Trump-Xi meeting at G-20: Kicking the can down the road
Rand Corporation, December 2018

What the 2018 (and 2020) elections mean for U.S. trade policy
European Centre for International Political Economy, December 2018

What might a Trump withdrawal from the World Trade Organization mean for US tariffs?
Peterson Institute of International Economics, November 2018

Consequences of U.S. trade policy on EU-U.S. trade relations and the global trading system
German Marshall Fund, November 2018

Disciplining China’s trade practices at the WTO: How WTO complaints can help make China more market-oriented
Cato Institute, November 2018

The EU response to US trade tariffs
Bruegel, October 2018

Crisis in the WTO: Restoring the dispute settlement function
Centre for International Government Innovation, October 2018

How the United States should confront China without threatening the global trading system
Peterson Institute of International Economics, August 2018

Power in the international trading system: Trump Administration risks destroying world trade order
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, July 2018

More papers on Trump’s presidency, trade and international policies
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, September 2018

Foreign policy, defence

New realities in foreign affairs: Diplomacy in the 21st century
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, December 2018

American climate leadership without American government
Brookings Institution, December 2018

Strategic autonomy: Towards ‘European sovereignty’ in defence?
European Union Institute for Security Studies, November 2018

Western countries must rethink how to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine
Chatham House, December 2018

The EU and NATO: A partnership with a glass ceiling
Istituto Affari Internazionali, December 2018

From the Azov Sea to Washington DC: How Russophobia became Russia’s leading export
Atlantic Council, November 2018

Under the gun: Rearmament for arms control in Europe
European Council on Foreign Relations, November 2018

Fighting terrorism and radicalisation in Europe’s neighbourhood: How to scale up EU efforts
European Policy Centre, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, November 2018

NATO in the Trump era: Surviving the crisis
Clingendael, September 2018

The Trump administration’s National Security Strategy
Real Instituto Elcano, July 2018

More think tank papers on global trends
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, December 2018

More think tanks papers on climate
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, December 2018

More think tank papers on China
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, September 2018

More think tank papers on Russia
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, September 2018

More think tank papers on NATO
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, July 2018

EMU reform, economy, institutions

Euro area reform: An anatomy of the debate
Centre for Economic Policy Research, Bruegel, November 2018

The European Parliament after the elections
Clingendael, November 2018

European fiscal rules require a major overhaul
Bruegel, October 2018

Reform of the international monetary system and new global economic governance: How the EU may contribute
Egmont, October 2018

The Italian budget: A case of contractionary fiscal expansion?
Peterson Institute for International Economics, October 2018

European Parliament elections 2019: The litmus test for the Spitzenkandidaten process
Centre for European Reform, December 2018

ESM reform: No need to reinvent the wheel
Jacques Delors Institut, Bertelsmann Stiftung, August 2018

Competing visions of Europe are threatening to tear the Union apart
Chatham House, August 2018

Europe’s surprising economic success story
Centre for European Policy Studies, July 2018

The future of the Economic and Monetary Union
Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies, Clingendael, June 2018

More think tanks papers on EMU reform
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, November 2018

More think tanks papers on the State of the Union
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, November 2018


The Global Compact for Migration and the EU: Global effects of a regional backlash
Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale, December 2018

À propos du Pacte mondial pour des migrations sûres, ordonnées et régulières
Institut des relations internationales et stratégiques, October 2018

EU migration policies in the Sahel-stagnation in a mode of crisis
Clingendael, December 2018

Three years into the refugee displacement crisis
German Marshall Fund, December 2018

For a European policy on asylum, migration and mobility
Institut Jacques Delors, November 2018

EU migration policy bears no relation to reality
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, November 2018

In search of a new equilibrium: Immigration policymaking in the newest era of nativist populism
Migration Policy Institute, November 2018

It’s not a refugee crisis: It’s a crisis of shrinking humanity and inequality
Friends of Europe, November 2018

Reforming Europe’s refugee policies: Austrian-Danish plan will not work
Centre for European Policy Studies, October 2018

State of play in the debate on migration management in Europe
Clingendael, October 2018

More think tanks papers on migration
What think tanks are thinking, EPRS, December 2018

Read this briefing on ‘2018: Challenges and choices‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Visit the European Parliament page on ‘Migration in Europe‘.

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/20/2018-challenges-and-choices-what-think-tanks-are-thinking/

The two first-ever UN global agreements on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions

Written by Joanna Apap and Ionel Zamfir,

old suitcase with some clothing and chalkboard with text migrants day
© nito / Fotolia

These figures are expected to grow for a number of reasons, including population growth, conflicts,increasing connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Migration provides immense opportunity and benefits – for the migrants, host communities and communities of origin. However, when poorly regulated it can create significant challenges. These challenges include overwhelming social infrastructures with the unexpected arrival of large numbers of people and the deaths of migrants undertaking dangerous journeys.

Today, over 258 million persons around the world live outside their country of birth. In 2017, high-income countries hosted 64 %, or nearly 165 million, of the total number of international migrants worldwide. Moreover, most of the growth in the global population of international migrants is due to movements toward high-income countries, which host 64 million of the 85 million migrants added since 2000.

The large-scale migratory flows affecting several regions in the world in the last several years have brought the plight of persons who are forced to flee their homes due to war, insecurity or persecution more forcefully than ever to the world’s attention. They have also exposed how ill-prepared the international community has been to deal with this challenge and how disproportionate the distribution of the burden of caring for such people has been among countries.

The number of international migrants includes 26 million refugees or asylum seekers, or about 10 % of the total number of migrants in the world. At the end of 2017, almost 20 million were recognised as refugees under the UNHCR mandate – a figure the UN agency considers a record.

Although a majority of the world’s international migrants live in high-income countries, low- and middle-income countries host nearly 22 million, or 84 %, of all refugees and asylum seekers. While critical voices have pointed to the lack of political will in developed countries as an explanation for this state of affairs, the causes are more complex and nuanced. Most often, refugees tend to move to neighbouring countries for practical reasons.

Moreover, there are huge discrepancies not only in the number of refugees hosted in the world across regions and countries, but also in the quality of protection offered. Many of the countries that host refugees, particularly developing countries in Africa and Asia, have either not ratified the Geneva Convention or do not comply with all their obligations. They hold refugees in camps, do not grant them the right to move freely and to work and rely largely on international solidarity to fulfil their basic needs. They do not provide a path to integration and naturalisation, generating protracted refugee situations. This encourages secondary movements of refugees, who try to reach countries offering more adequate protection and integration prospects, such as in Europe. These imbalances among countries and regions have clearly exposed the need for fairer burden sharing and more solidarity across countries.

To meet these growing challenges, the international community has adopted two distinct legally non-binding compacts on refugees and migration, respectively. The latter has received a lot of public attention and been the focus of much political controversy, while the first has been quietly adopted. As some commentators have failed to adequately distinguish between the two,it is important to highlight their distinct scope and role. Refugees are persons fleeing persecution in their home countries, as defined in the Geneva Refugee Convention. Persons who may face torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment if returned to their countries of origin and thus deserve international protection are treated similarly to refugees under international law. For migrants, on the other hand, there is no international legal definition. The countries that have ratified the Geneva Convention – and this is the case for all EU countries – have clearly defined legal obligations with respect to refugees. This is not the case with migrants, although states are bound to respect general international human rights obligations towards any person on their territory, including migrants – such as the prohibition of arbitrary detention.

The drafting process was initiated in September 2016, when all 193 UN member states adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, paving the way for two non-binding international compacts on refugees, and migration. Two global compacts were prepared and negotiated during two years, a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees. The Global Compact on Migration was prepared by the International Organization on Migration (IOM) through broad consultations with UN member states and stakeholders. This was endorsed by oral acclamation in Marrakech by164 UN member states after two years of negotiations. The compact on refugees was, on the other hand, drafted by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which also underwent a similar rigorous consultations process. The Global Compact on Refugees was endorsed by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 2018.Conversely, the EU was both supportive and involved in the UN-launched process for the preparation of both global compacts.

The Global Compact on Migration, comprising of 23 objectives for better managing migration at local, national, regional and global levels, is the first ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all its dimensions. The global compact is non-legally binding. It is grounded in values of state sovereignty, responsibility-sharing, non-discrimination, and human rights, and recognises that a cooperative approach is needed to optimise the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its risks and challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination. It will therefore be up to the Member States to implement it in full respect of their sovereignty. The EU has shared competence with Member States with regards to migration, and migration policy is a matter of domestic law.

Addressing issues such as a fairer distribution of refugees(e.g. through broader voluntary participation in UNHCR led-resettlement),better integration of refugees in their host society as well as supporting appropriate conditions for return to their home countries, are among the main objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. The Global Compact on Refugees also encourages the involvement not only of state actors but also of other stakeholders, such as local authorities and private entities in responding to refugee crises. However, with regard to refugees, the Compact does not include any new commitments compared to the Geneva Conventions, but only practical solutions about how to implement these. The Compact explicitly states that it is non-binding. It also envisages involving refugees themselves and host communities in designing the appropriate policy responses. The Global Compact on Refugees proposes a global refugee forum at ministerial level, which, according to the third draft,will convene every four years from 2019. It will provide participating states with the opportunity to make pledges in various forms, such as providing financial, material and technical assistance to host countries; and providing resettlement places and complementary pathways for admission. The Refugees Compact includes a programme of action, which outlines a threefold set of solutions to end refugee crises, based on voluntary repatriation when conditions allow,integration into the host society and resettlement to third countries.

EU Member States, however, are bound by the EU Treaties to respect human rights and uphold the values of the Union as well as respect UN norms (Articles 2 and 3 TEU). The European Court of Justice and European Court of Human Rights will always have a role should a Member State fail to fulfil its obligations with respect to the EU treaties and,respectively, its human rights obligations. The UN universal periodic review is a further mechanism of oversight as to how well UN member states respect UN norms and values.

To read more on these two compacts, see our forthcoming EPRS briefings:

  • A global compact on migration: Placing human rights at the heart of migration management by Joanna Apap
  • A global compact : Strengthening international cooperation to ease the plight of refugees in the world by Ionel Zamfir

Source Article from https://epthinktank.eu/2018/12/17/the-two-first-ever-un-global-agreements-on-a-common-approach-to-international-migration-in-all-its-dimensions-global-compact-for-safe-orderly-and-regular-migration-and-a-global-compact-on-refugees/