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Spotlight on Poland: Negative Views of Russia Surge, but Ratings for U.S., NATO, EU Improve

June 22, 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a dramatic shift in attitudes in Poland, a key European partner and one which only three decades ago was part of the former Soviet Union's Eastern Bloc. Negative attitudes among Poles towards Russia are at all-time highs since Pew Research Center began tracking opinion on this question in 2007, with virtually unanimous negative opinions of the Russian state. Currently, 94% see Russia as a major threat, up from 65% who said this in 2018, and 94% have no confidence at all in Russian President Vladimir Putin -- also an all-time high. The sharp decline in positive attitudes toward Russia has benefited Poland's western allies, specifically the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (Poland is a member of both NATO and the EU). Around nine-in-ten Poles have a favorable view of the U.S., NATO and the EU, all of which represent the highest shares since 2007. In terms of Poland's relationship with the U.S., the increase in favorable attitudes toward America coincides with a strong 82% confidence rating for U.S. President Joe Biden, a marked increase from the 51% who had confidence in former President Donald Trump in 2019. In addition, roughly two-thirds in Poland see having a close relationship with the U.S. as more important than having one with Russia. Only 1% want a closer relationship with Russia, while 28% volunteer that both are equally important. Just three years ago, more than half of Poles (53%) offered that both relationships are equally important.

Morocco, Algeria, Egypt: Assessing EU plans to import hydrogen from North Africa

May 15, 2022

A new study commission by CEO and the Transnational Institute shows the EU's plan to drastically increase imports of renewable hydrogen from North Africa is not realistic from a cost or energy perspective, and instead diverts renewable electricity away from local needs and local climate targets.The study was written by energy expert Michael Barnard and sees production costs making renewable hydrogen potentially up to 11 times more expensive than using natural gas, and that's before storage and transport costs are factored in.The EU's unrealistic import targets are allowing Big Oil and Gas to sneak hydrogen from natural gas through the back door, using green hydrogen as a trojan horse to keep drilling and selling their main product.

International System Change Compass: The Global Implications of Achieving the European Green Deal

May 12, 2022

The interconnected crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution cannot wait for humans to spend years discussing solutions, policies, and institutions. National and international systems have to change faster, which means redefining the goals that governments set themselves and the ways that everyone works to reach those goals.The International System Change Compass sets out the scope of the change needed. On their own, emissions reductions through incremental efficiency gains will lead to disaster. Minor changes within the current economic system won't solve the resource crisis; they won't solve the biodiversity crisis; and they won't address fundamental injustices across the world and within societies. Only a holistic approach toward system change that addresses the impact of Europe's resource usage and overall consumption footprint can achieve the inclusive transition needed to save our planet and provide a fair future for us all.

Owning the Conversation: Assessing Responses to Russian and Chinese Information Operations Around COVID-19

March 31, 2022

The crisis around COVID-19 and the resulting "infodemic" has been exploited by authoritarian regimes to spread propaganda and disinformation among populations around the world. The Russian Federation and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have used the pandemic to engage in information warfare, spread divisive content, advance conspiracy theories, and promote public health propaganda that undermines US and European efforts to fight the pandemic.In 2021, the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) published two reports, Information Bedlam: Russian and Chinese Information Operations During COVID-19 and Jabbed in the Back: Mapping Russian and Chinese Information Operations During COVID-19, comparing how the Kremlin and CCP have deployed information operations around the COVID-19 pandemic, virus origins, and efficacy of the vaccines to influence targeted populations globally, using the infodemic as a diplomatic and geopolitical weapon. The CCP mainly spread COVID-19 narratives to shape perceptions about the origins of the coronavirus and often push narratives to shun responsibility. Meanwhile, the Kremlin recycled existing narratives, pushing and amplifying them via validators and unsuspecting people in order to sow internal divisions and further exploit polarized views in the West about the efficacy of vaccines, treatments, origins of new variants, and impact to the population. While the world has learned about new COVID-19 variants, such as Omicron, China and Russia have evolved their tactics to spread COVID-19 disinformation and propaganda and further sow doubt and confuse the population about the pandemic.As Russia and China's tactics evolve, this policy brief examines whether Western institutions, including governments, digital platforms, and nongovernmental organizations, have been able to counter information warfare around this unprecedented crisis. This paper examines a broad range of initiatives and responses to counter COVID-19 disinformation coming from Russia and China, and to strengthen societal resilience more broadly. Because addressing this challenge requires a whole-of-society approach, this report highlights government, technology, and civil society interventions, both in Europe and in the US, identifying what works and where there are existing gaps.Of note, the interventions and related assessments presented here are based on currently available data. It is important to highlight that governments regularly pass new regulations and measures, and digital platforms continue to evolve their policy, product, and enforcement actions in response to COVID-19 disinformation.

EU Can Stop Russian Gas Imports by 2025: Accelerating Clean Energy Avoids Fossil Lock-in

March 23, 2022

The Russian government's decision to invade Ukraine puts into sharp contrast the deep entanglement between energy, security and geopolitics. Now more than ever, the European Union needs unity and resolve in its response and a focus on resilience in the face of interlinking crises.

UKRAINE AND RUSSIA: Amnesty International’s Key Recommendations for EU leaders

March 22, 2022

This document outlines Amnesty International's main concerns and recommendations in view of the 24-25 March European Council discussion on the crisis in Ukraine.Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a manifest violation of the United Nations Charter and an act of aggression that is a crime under international law. One month since the invasion, Amnesty International has documented an escalating pattern of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, with catastrophic consequences for the Ukrainian people and the entire civilian population.

8 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AN ACCELERATED, SECURE AND PARIS COMPATIBLE ENERGY TRANSITION IN THE EU IN THE CONTEXT OF THE INVASION OF UKRAINE

March 22, 2022

Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine is causing a major humanitarian crisis. On top of that, unfortunately the situation is proving, once more, how politically, socially and economically vulnerable Europe is due to its dependency on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, their imports and subsidies come with an extreme cost not only for energy security, but for human rights, climate and social justice - a part of which is currently being paid by people's lives.

Fanning the flames: How the European Union is fuelling a new arms race - Executive Summary

March 15, 2022

At the time of writing in March 2022, a war has broken out in eastern Europe following the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. Towards the end of 2021 unrest in the Balkans came close to boiling point. Tensions in the South China Sea continue to simmer and threaten regional and global stability. Wars and violence continue in Afghanistan, in Central Africa, Iraq, several countries across the Sahel, Syria, and Yemen among other countries and regions experiencing constant violence and consequent displacement. Some of the world's most powerful nations are sabre-rattling, drafting and deploying troops, stockpiling military materiel, and actively preparing for war – including the European Union (EU) and some of its member states. Contrary to the EU's founding principle of promoting peace, it too has been charting a course to establish itself as a global military power. History has shown, however, that far from contributing to stability and peace, militarism fuels tension, instability, destruction and devastation.In a 'watershed moment', in response to the war in Ukraine, the EU announced that it would, for the first time, fund and supply lethal weapons to a country under attack through the European Peace Facility (EPF). While this move is unprecedented, it is not unexpected. The EU has been pursuing a military path since the entry in to force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, which provides the legal underpinning to create a common security and defence policy. Less than a decade later, in a new point of departure, the EU created specific budget lines to allocate funding to military-related projects. This decision firmly set the EU on a new and deeply worrying trajectory, where international political and social problems were to be addressed not only through dialogue and diplomacy, but also through the threat of military solutions.

Pushing Back Protection: How Offshoring And Externalization Imperil The Right To Asylum

August 3, 2021

The 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Refugee Protocol created the framework for asylum law at a global level. Key to this framework is the principle of non-refoulement, which prevents countries from returning asylum seekers to places where they may face persecution or torture. Most nations, including affluent countries such as the United States, Australia, and European Union Member States, ratified these treaties, incorporating the core principle of non-refoulement into their domestic laws. However, in recent decades, with the goal of preventing asylum seekers and migrants from reaching their borders, these nations have chipped away at the principle, claiming compliance with legal obligations while in practice rendering safety elusive for refugees fleeing harm.These nations turned to two mechanisms to achieve their goals: offshoring or transferring asylum seekers to other nations for processing or detention under tenuous bilateral agreements; and/or externalization or interfering with the journey of asylum seekers and seeking to halt their arrival through pushbacks by public or private proxy entities.This report traces restrictions on the ability of vulnerable people to seek asylum across three continents in recent history and describes the deadly impact these policies have had on people seeking protection around the world. The U.S.-based authors of the report conclude with recommendations for the United States government to draw from these global lessons.

Lessons From Implementation of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy

March 22, 2021

Under the European Union's current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), 2020 had been targeted as the year toachieve a major change in fisheries management: sustainable exploitation rates in place for all stocks. Despiteprogress, the EU did not meet this goal.The story of the policy's implementation begins in 2013, when, after decades of overfishing and ineffectivefisheries management, the European Parliament and the EU's then-28 member state governments agreed onfar-reaching reforms to the previous CFP.1 These included setting sustainable catch limits with the objective torestore stocks, maintain healthy ecosystems and safeguard stable, profitable fisheries for the EU fleet. In 2014,the reformed CFP entered into force, with a focus on bringing fishing pressure in line with scientific advice. Thepolicy required fisheries ministers to ensure sustainable exploitation rates "by 2015 where possible and on aprogressive, incremental basis at the latest by 2020 for all stocks."Now, after the 2020 deadline has passed, it's clear that the reforms have brought progress. But the data alsoshows that policymakers are still setting too many catch limits above the levels recommended by scientists, withdecision-making suffering from a short-term approach and lower ambition than the policy requires.In 2008, The Pew Charitable Trusts began working with 192 organisations in the OCEAN2012 coalition to ensurethat a reformed CFP set ambitious, science-based and achievable objectives. In the years since the reforms cameinto force, Pew and several other groups have pushed to hold decision-makers accountable in the efforts to endoverfishing in North-Western European waters and allow stocks to recover to healthy, productive levels.This report presents eight key lessons learned from this work to help implement the EU's fisheries policy, eachlesson augmented by a deeper look at a specific issue. The experiences in implementing the EU policy show that:1. Good management works.As the experience of fisheries managers around the world has shown, when steps are taken to safeguardthe sustainability of stocks and fisheries for the long term, the results include environmental, economicand social benefits.2. Decreased ambition since 2013 led to under-implementation.Decision-makers approached implementation of most major pillars of the CFP pragmatically, toooften showing less political will than needed to deliver the reforms as intended. This led to diminishedexpectations from stakeholders and EU institutions on what could be delivered, almost from the beginning.3. Decisions often favoured maintaining the status quo rather than changing behaviour.Despite ambitious CFP goals intended to change outcomes in the water, decision-makers often adjustedmanagement measures to fit existing patterns of fishing – to the detriment of achieving the objectives.4. EU decision-making remains siloed.Fisheries policy processes often follow their own internal logic, so a focus on fisheries yields and economicoutcomes may overlook other priorities, such as the urgent need to deliver on wider EU environmentalrequirements and commitments.5. Short-term thinking persists in EU management.A long-term perspective – one of the key aims of the 2014 CFP – often took a back seat to immediatepolitical expediency. For example, fisheries ministers continued to set excessive catch limits on the basisthat they were a "compromise" between short- and long-term aims or were necessary for unexplainedeconomic reasons. 6. Clarity on progress is too often undermined by unclear and inconsistent reporting.Rather than measuring progress against the aims of the CFP, official reporting often uses irrelevant orchanging benchmarks, such as trend comparisons, which frequently do not correspond to the CFP's legalobjectives. This confuses the public about the policy's progress and leads stakeholders to draw differentconclusions on priorities.7. Opaque decision-making hampers progress.A lack of public communication on the scientific basis for European Commission proposals onmanagement measures such as catch limits, and the rationale for legislators' subsequent decisions, toooften prevented scrutiny of decision-making by stakeholders and EU institutions, and undermined trust inthe process.8. Stocks shared with non-EU countries present challenges in achieving CFP aims.Jointly managed stocks require more complex decision-making than stocks that are managed by oneentity. That increases the need for collaborative improvements, especially in the wake of the UK'sdeparture from the EU.To realise the ambitions set by legislators in 2013, EU policymakers need to take the final steps to implementthe CFP in full. The health of marine ecosystems, European fisheries, and the communities that depend on themrequire the sustainable, ecosystem-based management approaches set out in the policy, without exceptions andloopholes. The findings in this review of progress can help guide decision-makers and stakeholders on the workthat remains to fully implement the CFP, and in shaping future priorities for European fisheries. 

The impact of European Union Common Agricultural Policy on the intensification of animal farming in Bulgaria, Romania, and the countries that have signed association agreements with the EU

January 31, 2021

*Animal farming has intensified in Bulgaria and Romania (both are middle-income countries) in recent years. Many more animals are now reared in large farms that use intensive production practices, while the number of small farms have dwindled.*This report/Guidance Memo charts the significant shift toward intensification, and explains why its key driver is the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). CAP payments and subsidies and their unequal distribution to recipients have triggered deep structural changes in the animal agriculture sector in the EU, chief of which is the livestock industry taking advantage of the favorable climate and generous handouts to intensify production.*At the same time EU animal welfare regulations are not robustly enforced and not comprehensive enough to protect all farm animals. Consumers in the EU, however, are strongly in favor of better treatment of farm animals.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: What Can It Do?

February 20, 2020

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is a legally binding document that contains a list of human rights recognised by the European Union (EU). It could become a powerful tool available to influence policy makers or serve as a basis for litigation. Individuals can use judicial and political mechanisms to hold EU institutions, and in certain circumstances member countries, to account when they fail to comply with the Charter. The Charter can also be used to pressure decision makers to bring policies and legislation under development in line with human rights standards. This background paper explains when and how the Charter can be used by advocates at national and EU level.