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  • Author: Steven Blockmans, Luigi Scazzieri
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On January 20th, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had been implementing its commitments as part of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) agreed by the E3+3 in Geneva on November 24th of last year. In particular, the Agency confirmed that Iran had not installed new centrifuges, that it had stopped enriching uranium above 5%, that it had disabled connections between cascades being used to enrich up to 20%, and that it had begun the process of diluting half of its stockpile of 20%, while the other half is to be converted to oxide over the next six months. Over the next six months, the IAEA will continue to monitor Iranian enrichment, and activities at Arak, Fordow and Natanz. Immediately following the IAEA announcement, the US and EU suspended some of the sanctions currently imposed on Iran. Sanctions relief, quantified at $7 billion, comprises both the suspension of some sanctions and the repatriation of $4.2 billion of oil revenues in tranches.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements, International Security, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the trade policy landscape of the EU and the wider Europe, with a focus on issues arising from the signature on 27 June 2014 of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs) between the EU and three East European countries (Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), and actual or prospective issues relating to the customs union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan (BRK), and the Eurasian Economic Union whose founding treaty was signed on 29 May 2014.The huge expansion of intercontinental free trade area negotiations currently underway, in which the EU is an active participant alongside much of the Americas and Asia, stands in contrast with Russia's choice to restrict itself to the Eurasian Economic Union, which is only a marginal extension of its own economy. Alone among the major economies in the world, Russia does not seek to integrate economically with any major economic bloc, which should be a matter of serious concern for Moscow. Within the wider Europe, the EU's DCFTAs with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are a major new development, but Russia now threatens trade sanctions against Ukraine in particular, the economic case for which seems unfounded and whose unilateral application would also impair the customs union.The Belarus-Russia-Kazakhstan customs union itself poses several issues of compatibility with the rules of the WTO, which in turn are viewed by the EU as an impediment to discussing possible free trade scenarios with the customs union, although currently there are far more fundamental political impediments to any consideration of such ideas. Nonetheless, this paper looks at various long-term scenarios, if only as a reminder that there could be much better alternatives to the present context of conflict around Ukraine.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Jørgen Mortensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper first takes a step backwards with an attempt to situate the recent adoption of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union in the context of discussions on the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and the 'Maastricht criteria', as fixed in the Maastricht Treaty for membership in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) in a longer perspective of the sharing of competences for macroeconomic policy-making within the EU. It then presents the main features of the new so-called 'Fiscal Compact' and its relationship to the SGP and draws some conclusions as regards the importance and relevance of this new step in the process of economic policy coordination. It concludes that the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union does not seem to offer a definitive solution to the problem of finding the appropriate budgetary-monetary policy mix in EMU, which was already well identified in the Delors report in 1989 and regularly emphasised ever since and is now seriously aggravated due to the crisis in the eurozone. Furthermore, implementation of this Treaty may under certain circumstances contribute to an increase in the uncertainties as regards the distribution of the competences between the European Parliament and national parliaments and between the former and the Commission and the Council.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Bruno Vandecasteele
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Besides the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) bilateral and multilateral framework and the Civil Society Forum, the European Union (EU) engages with the EaP countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – through multilateral parliamentary cooperation, namely within the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly (EuroNest PA).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus
  • Author: Lukas Obholzer, Christine Reh
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Affairs Committee is currently reviewing the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure to increase the effectiveness, transparency and inclusiveness of first-reading agreements under co-decision. This CEPS Policy Brief takes a stand as to which rules should be adopted to achieve these objectives. Given the steep rise of early agreements and Parliament's role as a guarantor of EU legitimacy, we place a premium on inclusiveness and transparency. The rules suggested are designed to maintain efficiency for technical proposals, facilitate effective decision-making on urgent files and increase the overall legitimacy of legislative decision-making in the EU.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Transport is the only sector in the EU in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Unless this trend can be reversed, the EU will have little chance of reaching its objectives in the context of global obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions between 80% and 95% by 2050 compared to 1990. Many different solutions exist, including, for example, new technology such as electrification of road transport, modal shift, optimising existing technologies and policy measures and more radical measures such as binding GHG emissions targets. While there is some merit to all of these approaches, this Policy Brief argues that current EU policy thinking is not (yet) bold enough to credibly tackle the GHG emissions challenge from transport.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Kleimann
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The first 16 months of the EU's common commercial policy (CCP) in the post-Lisbon period provide indicative insights into how the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers interpret their respective roles under the new legal framework introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. This paper analyses the amendments, the institutional capacities to respond to the reform challenges and the evolving institutional balance applying to Lisbon-era common commercial policy. Against this backdrop, the paper gives an overview of the changing dynamics of EU trade and investment policy in a context of enhanced politicization resulting from the European Parliament's involvement in the decision-making process. Particular importance is given to the question whether enhanced EP involvement in decision-making has the potential to lead to a scenario resembling the policy process in the United States, where congressional responsibility for trade and investment policy has resulted in the capture of the policy agenda by special interest groups and snail-paced policy progress (if any) in recent years. Accordingly, the paper scrutinizes the political preferences that the European Parliament is introducing into current European trade policy debates as well as the framework legislation and trade agreements. Finally, it is argued that parliamentary involvement in making common commercial policy has the potential to narrow the gap between European public political preferences and perceptions, on the one hand, and actual EU trade policies on the other, and to place EU trade and investment policies on a foundation of renewed public political support. In the author's view, however, it is imperative that such an achievement is based on well-informed, responsible, sustainable and clearly communicated policy proposals from the MEPs, who respond to and seek to balance the multiplicity of interests of CCP stakeholders in European civil society and respect the Union's international obligations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński, Andrew Byrne
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In spite of the formal role laid out for the General Affairs Council (GAC) in the Treaties, it has been weakened since it was extracted from the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) and set up to function on its own. Its current uneven composition is leading to further marginalisation. Reforming the GAC can bring it to the centre of gravity of the Council proceedings and address a number of problems in the current institutional structure. For that to happen, however, countries holding the rotating Council presidency need to consider placing their head of state or government in the chair of the GAC meetings. Upgrading GAC in this way would streamline the diverse work of the Council, it would help in alleviatin g the heavy political burden that now falls on the understaffed President of the European Council and it would allow the institution of the rotating presidency to regain a higher political profile by creating out of national leaders a de facto Vice President of the European Council.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Peadar ó Broin
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Less than a year has passed since the Lisbon Treaty became part of EU law, thereby bringing to an end almost a decade of intergovernmental wrangling over EU institutional reform. Yet despite its protracted ratification process and pledges from national administrations and EU authorities that the Lisbon Treaty had closed the issue of treaty reform for the foreseeable future, a number of modifications to the EU treaties are currently in the pipeline. One such proposal, relating to the number of seats in the European Parliament, has already left the drawing board and is presently pending national ratification. But perhaps most significant are those proposals that could amount to major treaty reform in areas such as the Franco-German Declaration of Deauville, which proposes significant changes in the area of economic and monetary union and, possibly also institutional reform.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński, Peadar ó Broin
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It has only been one year since the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force and already there is a stack of pending issues requiring primary law change in the EU. The Franco-German Deauville Declaration of 18 October 2010 is probably the most politically prominent of them all, yet it is not the first, nor will it be the last in a long, incremental process of constant treaty revision similar to the national process of amending national constitutions. All of these proposals have one feature in common: none of them is an overarching treaty change and each one is designed in such a way that amends only one element of the system. This, in theory, should avoid the need to submit the change to public referenda in the EU as part of the ratification process.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Lisbon
  • Author: Noriko Fujiwara, Diarmuid Torney
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Among the many unresolved issues on the agenda of the forthcoming UN climate change negotiations in Cancun is the issue of what will happen to the Kyoto Protocol, since at present, there will be no targets for greenhouse (GHG) emissions from developed countries under the Protocol beyond 2012. To illuminate this aspect of the Protocol, this Policy Brief looks closer at the nature of the commitments and the compliance regime under the Kyoto Protocol. We argue that the compliance regime of the Protocol is not as robust as many of the Protocol's supporters might think. The precise legal form of the commitments in the climate regime may have little impact on whether countries actually achieve their targets. Instead, we argue, negotiators should focus on agreeing a framework of commitments that are credible and enforceable, rather than focus excessively on the legal form of those commitments.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, United Nations
  • Author: Goran Tirak
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: Bosnia or BiH) has often been described as a failed state, but in reality it is actually not that far behind other Western Balkan countries that have aspirations to join the EU. Due to recent developments, however, there is a danger that this gap will widen.
  • Topic: Civil War, Peace Studies, Treaties and Agreements, Territorial Disputes, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Elena Gnedina
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 2009 gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia has led to a severe drop in Russian gas supplies to some EU member states. The dispute has once again shown that the status quo is defective and unsustainable as a policy. This Policy Brief argues that – beyond ad hoc temporary measures, such as the monitoring by EU experts agreed on January 12th and the 2009-10 price agreement apparently reached on January 18th – the problem needs a comprehensive and robust solution. This would be a gas transit consortium, bringing all major stakeholders – Gazprom, Naftohaz, one or a few European energy companies, and the international financial institutions – to jointly manage the trans-Ukrainian trunk pipeline. The consortium agreement would be underwritten politic ally and legally by a tripartite treaty to be ratified by the EU, Russia and Ukraine. The consortium should be bound by European standards of transparency, corporate governance and accounting in order to tackle the major problem – the lack of trust – in the EU- Ukraine-Russia energy triangle.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Mats Braun
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is somewhat ironic that Czech eurosceptics managed to delay the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty at a time when they seem to be in decline as a political force. President Klaus and his allies are becoming increasingly isolated within Czech political circles and lack the support of any established political party other than the Communists. The twin pressures of domestic vote utilisation and socialisation at the EU level are making Czech eurorealists within the Civic Democratic Party less eurosceptic. It is still too early to speak of any complete change within the party, however, and any evidence of a reorientation of the party's EU policy remains ambiguous.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Ivo Slosarcik
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In October 2009, the lion's share of media and political attention given to the ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty in the Czech Republic has been devoted to the antics of the President, Václav Klaus. However, it is important to point out that the process is being delayed not only by the President's reservations and requests for a Czech (quasi)opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, but also by the pending review of the Treaty by the Czech Constitutional Court (CCC), which is set to give a second ruling on the Lisbon Treaty on November 3 rd, having delivered its first decision in autumn 2008.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Sébastien Peyrouse
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the start of the 2000s, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has become an increasingly important player on the Central Asian scene, which until then had been essentially divided between Russia and the US. Today, Central Asia's future lies in its ability to avoid the destabilisations of the Afghan–Pakistan zone, and through Chinese influence, to partake of the Asia–Pacific's economic prosperity. In less than two decades, Beijing has managed to make a massive and multiform entry onto the Central Asian scene: it has proven itself a loyal partner on the level of bilateral diplomacy and has succeeded in turning the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) into a regional structure appreciated by its members. China has also become a leading actor in trade as well as in the hydrocarbon sector and infrastructure. In examining the shift that China has generated in Central Asian realities, this paper focuses on the political and geopolitical impact of Beijing's growing influence, along with the economic implications of the Chinese presence in Central Asia. To what extent will this affect the objectives of the European Union? China is one of the EU's economic competitors in domains such as energy; it obstructs cooperation between Central Asian states and Western countries, and it encourages the authoritarian tendencies of political regimes. Yet, partnership and economic competition go hand in hand, as EU texts recognise. In addition, the EU's rationale for setting up in Central Asia is not to compete with neighbouring states, but instead to seek cooperation in accordance with the idea that a multiplicity of actors will guarantee the zone's stability and its geopolitical balance. So what joint interest might China and the EU have in Central Asia? On a certain number of questions such as security and long-term development, the EU and China share the same concerns and Beijing is seeking greater collaboration with Europe.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Central Asia
  • Author: Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Union needs a new five-year strategy for the development of the next phase of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). The existing plan, designed in The Hague Programme of 2004, expires at the end of this year. The Justice and Home Affairs research unit of CEPS has already set out, in several contributions, the big issues and provided policy recommendations for the next five-year plan – The Stockholm Programme – which will be adopted under the Swedish Presidency in December. In June 2009, the European Commission published its perspective towards the Stockholm process in its Communication: “An area of Freedom, Security and Justice serving the citizen: Wider freedom in a safer environment”.3 In this Policy Brief, we take a closer look at the Commission's Communication and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches adopted for each of the different policy domains falling under the AFSJ rubric. The Communication assesses the AFSJ under three main headings: 1. successes, 2. ambivalent areas and 3. challenges. We will also follow these headings and comment accordingly. Our commentary on the three areas also provides answers to some of the thorny questions raised in the priorities for the Stockholm Programme. We spell these out in the conclusions and put forth a set of policy recommendations.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Willem F. van Eekelen, Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Treaty of Lisbon contains several options for creating some degree of flexibility in the defence domain under the assumption that it will be difficult, and not always necessary, to do everything at 27: constructive abstention, the possibility of mandating a smaller group or for the most demanding missions 'permanent structured cooperation in defence' (PSCD). It is not yet clear, however, how the possession of larger military capabilities and how the will to enter into more binding commitments will be elaborated. This paper traces the debate on flexibility in the area of security and defence and addresses, in particular, PSCD and its potential application.
  • Topic: Security, Treaties and Agreements
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the wake of the Irish no-vote on the Treaty of Lisbon, numerous scenarios are currently being debated. This paper critically assesses the legality and political feasibility of the principal proposals and then puts forward an alternative 'Plan B', which we believe would amply satisfy both criteria.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: John O'Brennan
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the electorate on 12 June 2008 has presented the Irish government with the most serious crisis in external relations since the Second World War. This was the third such referendum on Europe held in Ireland since the millennium and the second plebiscite in three to result in a rejection of an EU Treaty following the failed Nice poll in 2001. There is no obvious solution to the dilemma the government faces and no obvious pathway to achieve ratification. There is however a clear consensus amongst the political parties that ratification constitutes both a clear political priority and a fundamental national interest. At the October European Council summit in Brussels, Taoiseach Brian Cowen promised to come back to the December meeting “with a view to our defining together the elements of a solution and a common path to follow”. But the external context is now clear – EU leaders indicated an unwillingness to re-negotiate any part of the Treaty: it will be up to Ireland to find an Irish solution to this European problem. Thus the opportunity cost of the No vote has become somewhat clearer: Ireland faces marginalisation and isolation in Europe if a solution to the Lisbon dilemma is not found. The domestic context is also somewhat clearer now that we have access to extensive data that sheds light on the reasons for the No vote in the 12 June poll. In assessing the options for ratification this paper draws upon that data, presented in among other sources, the post-referendum Eurobarometer survey and the government-commissioned Millward Brown IMS research findings.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon, Ireland