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  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Although some Spaniards joke that the country has got along fine with a caretaker government for 315 days, this year has been a lost one. There are some pressing issues that need to be tackled now that there is finally a functioning government. But the new Popular Party (PP) government no longer has an absolute majority. As a minority administration it will have to negotiate its laws and reforms in a deeply fragmented parliament, the result of the upending of the PP and the Socialist Party (PSOE) by two new parties, the far left Unidos Podemos (UP) and the centrist Ciudadanos (C’s). The government has a lot on its plate, including the following: (a) belatedly approving the budget for 2017 and meeting the EU’s threshold for the deficit (3% of GDP) in 2018 (a target imposed by Brussels that the PP persistently missed); (b) deciding what to do about the push for independence in Catalonia (the region’s government says it will hold a referendum on the issue in September 2017 regardless of whether the central government approves it or not); (c) cleaning up corruption in the political class; (d) making the judiciary more independent; (e) possibly deepening the labour market reforms in a bid to reduce the still very high unemployment rate (18.9%); (f) reforming an education system whose early school-leaving rate of 20% is close to double the EU average; (g) bolstering the ailing pension system hit by a sharp fall in the number of social security contributors and a rapidly ageing population; and (h) making its voice heard more in the post-Brexit debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Spain, European Union
  • Author: Patricia Goff
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is noteworthy for the expanded role that Canadian provinces and territories played in the negotiation. In this particular instance, these sub-federal actors had a seat at the negotiating table at the request of their European Union partners. However, this paper argues that CETA is exceptional in this regard. Despite the fact that regional trade agreements increasingly contain provisions that relate to areas of provincial and territorial jurisdiction, each trade negotiation is distinct. The CETA experience should not create the expectation that provinces and territories will always participate in the same capacity. Any enhanced role will depend on the federal government’s strategic assessment of any specific trade negotiation.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Political Economy, Treaties and Agreements, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Canada, European Union
  • Author: Patrick Leblond
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is possibly the most ambitious regional free trade agreement that Canada and the European Union have negotiated so far. One of its main components is a chapter that seeks to liberalize trade and investment in financial services between Canada and the European Union, while ensuring that markets and their agents will be properly regulated and protected through prudential regulation. However, this chapter is unlikely to have a significant impact on the financial services sector in Canada and the European Union in the short and medium term. Although some observers fear that CETA might undermine the high quality of financial regulations in Canada or the European Union, this paper’s analysis demonstrates that such concerns are unfounded.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Markets, Treaties and Agreements, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Canada, European Union
  • Author: Guillaume Van der Loo
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In an advisory referendum held in the Netherlands on April 6th, over 61% of the voters rejected the ratification of the Association Agreement (AA) between the EU and Ukraine. If the Dutch government were to act on the outcome of the referendum, which had a low turnout of 32%, an unprecedented situation would emerge in which an EU international agreement cannot enter into force because a member state is not in a position to ratify it. Although the political character of this referendum and the Dutch Advisory Referendum Act (DRA) and the geopolitical implications of the AA itself have already been the subject of heated discussions in the Netherlands and beyond, the legal implications of this referendum remain unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Netherlands, European Union
  • Author: Anthony Luzzatto Gardner
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Four years ago the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for the “over six decades [in which it has] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.” How quickly the mood has changed. While it has become fashionable to charge that the European Union is on the verge of collapse in the face of dire current challenges, rumors of the European Union’s demise would appear premature. The successes achieved in 2015, as well as the potential future areas of good news, are frequently underappreciated. The United States is firmly committed to investing in its relationship with the European Union. This is a partnership that delivers, as it will bring dividends to both the United States and the European Union for the long term.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Democracy, Europe , Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: August Reinisch
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Since the transfer of foreign direct investment powers from the European Union member states to the European Union itself in the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, the European Commission, the main external trade actor for the European Union, has started to negotiate international investment agreements as well as investment chapters in enlarged free trade agreements (FTAs). Both contain substantive protection standards and enforcement mechanisms in case of disputes, usually both state–state and investor–state arbitration (ISA). With regard to the latter, it was unclear whether the European Commission, the European Union’s experienced World Trade Organization (WTO) litigator, would continue to use the interstate template of trade disputes or venture into ISA. After an initial orientation period, the European Commission rmly endorsed ISA, as demonstrated by the negotiations with Canada on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and with the United States on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Meanwhile, however, public opposition to the TTIP, and to ISA in particular, has formed in unexpected dimensions. It even led the European Commission to partially interrupt its trade negotiations with the United States in order to conduct a public consultation on the investment aspects of the TTIP. Ever since, ISA has remained one of the most controversial parts of the planned trade agreements. Most recently, the European Commission tabled a TTIP proposal to set up a permanent investment court that would replace the system of ad hoc ISA. This paper analyzes in detail the development of the European Union’s position toward the use of ISA as a means for settling investor-state disputes.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: European Union