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  • Author: Olivier Marty, Damien Ientile
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Despite the European Union's ambitious response, the current crisis is a stark reminder of a nagging problem: the challenge, in practice, to the principles and concepts governing major European economic policies. This situation can be seen in monetary policy, budgetary rules, trade policy, competition, the European budget and the structure of the euro zone. It fuels resentment between Member States and populations and, paradoxically, it encourages economic divergence. It is also undermining the legibility and credibility of European action in the eyes of the public. It therefore would seem advisable to reform the European economic framework in a pragmatic rather than radical way.
  • Topic: Reform, Budget, Economic Policy, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric Maurice
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: For half a decade, the Polish government has been reshaping the country's judicial system in a process described by the European Union as a "threat to the rule of law". Despite numerous Council of Europe reports and resolutions, several infringement proceedings and decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), and the unprecedented activation of the so-called Article 7 procedure of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the transformation of the judiciary into relays of political power has continued and accelerated since the Law and Justice Party (PiS) won a new term in 2019 and the reelection of President Andrzej Duda in 2020, pushing Poland to the limits of the European legal order.
  • Topic: Government, European Union, Courts, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Sarah Brichet, Hugo Chouarbi, Marie Dénoue, Valérian Frossard, Armony Laurent, Nicolas Libert, Anne-Flore Magnuszewski, Pauline Maillard, Juliette Rolin
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The launch of the European Defence Fund is a true step forward. Its objective is to facilitate the emergence of a European defence industrial and technological base through cooperation between European industrialists and thus reduce European "capability bottlenecks" in the field of military equipment while attempting to increase the Union's "strategic autonomy". With a budget of €7 billion under the EU's new multi-annual budget, a new Directorate General, DG DEFIS, will be responsible for its management, under the supervision of the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton. At the heart of European institutional and conceptual transformations, its operation and management are of particular importance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Governance, Industry
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Crises reveal the state of a policy, reveal its ambiguities, strengths and shortcomings, and sometimes force a redefinition or clarification of its guiding principles to ensure its sustainability, if not its survival. Although at the height of the crisis, there is a reflex to completely overhaul what already exists, the constants and structuring considerations quickly tend to dampen the ardour for reform.
  • Topic: Reform, European Union, Trade, COVID-19, Adaptation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pierre Mirel
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR were supposed to usher in a golden age in which liberal democracy and a market economy would naturally spread throughout the European continent. On the strength of this optimism, the European Union concluded accession negotiations with ten countries between 2003 and 2005, opened them to Croatia and Turkey, promised the same to the Western Balkans and launched the Neighbourhood Policy in the East and the South. Initiated in 2004, this policy intended to ensure 'stability and prosperity' on the European Union’s new borders after the accession of the Central and Eastern European countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Partnerships, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Sachka Stefanova-Behlert, Martina Menghi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: We live at a time of deep and radical transformations. The pandemic has accelerated many of the changes that were already underway and has brought new challenges to the surface. Among the most affected realms of our societies, we undoubtedly find work and the freedom of movement of people. In Europe, it is precisely at the intersection of these two elements that the posting of workers lays. In this field, we are also at a crucial moment because the pandemic arrived just a few months before the deadline for the implementation of the changes related to the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive. Hence, it has become even more urgent to understand how all these changes have impacted the posting of workers as well as propose solutions to facilitate workers and companies in this adaptation path. That is key if we are to safeguard an important instrument of the European single market. This is exactly the merit of this article and its two co-authors: offering a first and clear account of the characteristics of posting of workers during the pandemic, identifying the main challenges faced by Member States, EU institutions and businesses, while also identifying some potential future developments, despite the climate of great uncertainty surrounding us.
  • Topic: European Union, Crisis Management, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexandre Kateb
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: According to official statistics, the African continent has been relatively spared by the Covid-19 pandemic compared to Europe, America and Asia. The factors behind the low incidence of coronavirus in Africa are not fully understood. According to the WHO, the African continent has benefited from certain structural factors such as the limited international connectivity of most African countries, with the exception of some regional "hubs" such as Johannesburg, Casablanca, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Incidentally, the most 'connected' African countries such as Morocco and South Africa have incurred the highest prevalence rates of Covid-19, which may lend credence to this explanation.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Louis Caudron
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: On 18 December 2020, the European Commission welcomed the political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Member States allocating €79.5 billion to a new Neighbourhood, Development Cooperation and International Cooperation Instrument (NDCI) for the period 2021- 2027. Since its creation, the European Union has been a major player in public aid granted by rich countries to developing countries. The European Development Fund (EDF) was launched by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and for decades provided aid to the former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The eleventh EDF, covering the period 2014- 2020 with a budget of €30.5 billion, will be replaced by the NDICI (Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument). The Union and its Member States are the world's largest donor of official development assistance. Their contribution of €74.4 billion in 2018 represents more than half of the OECD countries’ Official Development Assistance ($150 billion in 2018).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Education, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Emmanuel Sales
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Europe has an excess of savings and its companies lack equity capital. This diagnosis was made a long time ago and the crises the continent has been going through over the last 10 years have accentuated this gap. European growth companies are rapidly falling prey to large non-European firms that benefit from a deep and liquid stock market. Thus, despite the existing arrangements, Europe is unable to impose world champions that would allow it to build its sovereignty against the United States and China. The creation of a new category of UCITS funds open to all EU savers, the European Sovereign Funds, would help us respond to this challenge by providing medium-sized companies with the fresh capital they need to ensure their development and independence.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, European Union, Economic Growth, Capital
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The European Union is one of the main promoters of free trade agreements (FTAs). This position is not new: since the mid-2000s, and even more so in the decade now ending, the Commission, supported by the Council and the European Parliament, has constantly sought to negotiate and conclude new trade agreements. This strategy has paid off. In 2018, almost a third of trade between Europe and the rest of the world was covered by the preferential provisions of an FTA, a figure that is expected to increase significantly in 2020, following the entry into force of the agreement with Vietnam, and to rise in the coming years to more than 40% if the agreements currently being negotiated with Mercosur, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and possibly the United Kingdom come into force.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, European Union, Free Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Lequesne
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020 following the signing of the exit agreement. This departure went hand in hand with the opening of a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which the rules of the internal market continue to govern relations between the two sides. However, negotiations have not yet been completed, since the framework for the future relationship between the United Kingdom – which has now become a third country – and the 27 Member States of the European Union has yet to be established. The joint political declaration of 30 January 2020 accompanying the exit Agreement provides for : "an ambitious, broad, deep, flexible partnership in trade and economic cooperation – with a comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement at its centre –, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign, security and defence policy, as well as broader areas of cooperation"[1]. Initiated in February 2020 the negotiations on the future Agreement have been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 27 Member States decided that the defence of their positions would, as with the exit Agreement, be entrusted to the European Commission represented by a single negotiator, the Frenchman Michel Barnier. On the British side, former diplomat, David Frost, is in charge of defending the positions of the British government led by Boris Johnson, however the former will be called to another post as Government Adviser for National Security from September 2020. Although face-to-face negotiations resumed in Brussels at the end of June 2020, in substance they have made very modest progress. Hence a legitimate question: can an agreement on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union be reached by 31 December 2020, while Boris Johnson's government has refused to make use of the possibility offered of extending the transition period and thus the negotiations until 30 June 2020? Is there a risk of ending the year 2020 without a no deal and to have economic relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union governed by the common law of the World Trade Organisation?
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Trade
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Bernard Bourget
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will enter the next decade relieved by Brexit of its fiercest opponent but weakened by the external pressures to which it has been subjected, and disrupted by the enlargement of the European Union. In the 2020s, it will have to take full account, in conjunction with the European Commission's Green Deal, of the environmental and climate issues that are so important for agriculture. It will also have to improve the management of climate, health and market risks, which global warming could aggravate, and strengthen the negotiating capacity of producer organisations with their powerful buyers in the food industry and supermarkets. Budgetary pressure may lead the European Union to distribute direct payments, (which account for three quarters of CAP expenditure), more fairly by placing the burden rather more on large farms, in order to spare the medium-sized family farms, which are still numerous in the western part of the continent. Finally, the CAP should be coordinated with other European policies, particularly trade policy.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Budget, European Union, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yves Bertoncini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Now more than ever, the fight against coronavirus encourages an analysis of the foundations and limits of solidarity between the Member States of the European Union, just as the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, often cited for its call for "concrete achievements that first create a de facto solidarity".
  • Topic: Development, European Union, Solidarity, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gérard Pogorel, Augusto Preta
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is tragically affecting our societies worldwide. As we are forced under these extraordinary circumstances to spend more time indoors, severely limiting our movements and journeys, telecommunications networks, communications services and the media are standing in to play a major role in economic and social resilience. They are providing the required tools for a transformed virtual workplace; making entertainment at home possible, at a time when theatres, and sports venues are at a standstill. More than ever before, the transformative nature of digital innovation in the media and telecommunications industries is moving along with the way we are living and working today.
  • Topic: International Relations, Communications, Media, Transatlantic Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Pierre Mirel, Xavier Mirel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: “What we do at home will affect our place in the world and shape relationships with our strategic partners and competitors. That is why we must be a Geopolitical Commission”. To achieve this, "the internal and external dimensions of our work should be harmonised (...) to ensure that our external action becomes more strategic and coherent". This is the essence of the mission entrusted by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on 10 September 2019, to Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pierre Mirel
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Whilst the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 opened up European prospects for the Western Balkans, the agenda that was promoted then has hardly been completed to date. These countries have experienced worrying democratic regression in a serious demographic and economic situation which is playing into the hands of re-emerging powers. The re-engagement of the European Union with the Berlin Process and the six flagship initiatives on the part of the Commission, approved in 2018 is positive, but is now seen to be lacking. Divisions are still deep, and reconciliation is waning. Given the fragile stability of these countries, which are now being wooed by third parties, the time has come for a new approach. Economic and political re-engagement, including the launch of membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, but based on a new framework, is vital for the very security of Europe.
  • Topic: Security, European Union, Regional Integration, Negotiation, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans