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ZEI Monitor: EU Progress 2019-2024



ZEI follows policy progress in the ten areas which have priority for EU institutions over the period 2019-2024: 

Commission Priority 4: A Stronger Europe in the World


Policy areas

  • Foreign policy

  • European neighbourhood policy

  • International cooperation and development

  • Humanitarian aid, civil protection

  • Trade policy

  • Security and defence

  • EU enlargement  

European Commission Work Program:

2020 (revised after outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic)

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International Cooperation: EU-OACPS Partnership

  • Post-Cotonou: On the 3rd of December 2020, the chief negotiators from the EU and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), formerly known as the ACP Group of States, reached a political deal on the text for a new Partnership Agreement that will succeed the Cotonou Agreement. The Agreement, which will have to be approved, signed and ratified by the parties, will cover a large number of areas, ranging from sustainable development and growth, to human rights and peace and security and will be geared to empower each region. Once in effect, the Agreement will serve as the new legal framework and guide political, economic and cooperation relations between the EU and 79 members of the OACPS for the next twenty years. The EU and the members of the OACPS constitute an international force. Together, they represent over 1.5 billion people and more than half of the seats at the United Nations. (Press release)

Ratification procedure: The signature of the agreement will occur at a later stage in 2021. To enter into force the Agreement must be concluded or ratified by a minimum selection and number of Parties. Signature, provisional application, and conclusion of the agreement will require the approval by the Council based on proposals from the Commission. These proposals will be transmitted to the Council in early 2021, together with the negotiated text translated into all EU languages. The Council will make its decision on the conclusion after having received the European Parliament's consent, as indicated in Article 218 (6) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Although a political agreement has been found, the application of Cotonou Agreement will be further extended until 30 November 2021, unless the new Agreement enters into force or is provisionally applied before that date. 

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Financial Sovereignty

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Africa Strategy

  • Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa: On the 9th of March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell jointly submitted a Communication to the European Parliament and the Council. In it, they propose to establish five partnerships that shall lead to a comprehensive EU partnership with Africa:

1. A partnership for green transition and energy access;

2. A partnership for digital transformation;

3. A partnership for sustainable growth and jobs;

4. A partnership for peace and governance;

and 5. A partnership on migration and mobility.

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  • Modified Methodology for the Accession Process - Endorsement: On the 25th of March 2020, the Council endorsed the European Commission's Communication "Strengthening the Accession Process-A Credible EU Perspective for the Western Balkans" from the 5th of February 2020 in its Conclusions.

  • Modified Methodology for the Accession Process - Proposal: On the 5th of February 2020, the European Commission presented a Communication on a revised Enlargement Strategy for the Western Balkans. By means of this strategy, it aims to strengthen the credibility of the accession process by placing a clearer focus on essential reforms. These include the rule of law, the functioning of democratic institutions and public administration, and economic development in the candidate countries. If partner countries meet the objective criteria, member states must be ready to move to the next stage of the process, in line with the performance-based approach. The Commission also proposes a more systematic involvement of member states in monitoring and reviewing the accession process. All bodies established under the Stabilization and Association Agreements will focus much more on key policy issues and reforms, while intergovernmental conferences will provide greater political guidance in the negotiations.

Cluster method: to add dynamism to the negotiation process, the Commission proposes to group the negotiation chapters into six thematic clusters:

1. essential elements; 2. internal market; 3. competitiveness and inclusive growth; 4. green agenda and sustainable connectivity; 5. resources, agriculture and cohesion; 6. external relations. Negotiations will be launched - after meeting the relevant criteria - on a cluster rather than on individual chapters. Negotiations on the essential elements will be the first to open and the last to conclude, and progress on these negotiations will determine the pace of the negotiations overall.

Period of Negotiations: The period between the opening of negotiations on a cluster and the closing of individual chapters should be limited, preferably not exceeding one year, depending on progress on reforms.

(Press release)

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Eastern Partnership

  • Eastern Partnership Policy beyond 2020: On the 18th of March 2020, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell submitted a Joint Communication proposing a revised Eastern Partnership policy beyond 2020 to reinforce mutual resilience. According to the document, the established incentive-based approach and bilateral cooperation should remain the prime ways of interaction. The Commission intends to speed up the implementation of bilateral agreements and to complement them with a deeper sectoral cooperation and exchange between interested partner countries, ultimately accomplishing a higher degree of regional integration. This chiefly concerns two areas:

1. Economic Policy: This will entail increased trade and further regional and bilateral integration of the economies of partner countries and the EU, together with cooperation for progressive decarbonization towards climate neutrality, embracing the opportunities from the twin ecological and digital transformation.
2. Rule of law: The EU’s support for resilient institutions, the rule of law and security will include: (i) proposing ways to better measure the impact of judicial reforms; (ii) consider progress in rule of law reforms when deciding on assistance; (iii) reinvigorating EU support for fighting corruption and economic crime; (iv) improving cross-border cooperation to better protect people against organized crime; and (v) stepping up support for security dialogues and cooperation.

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Human Rights, Democracy and Gender Equality  

  • EU Magnitsky Act: On the 7th of December 2020, the Council Regulation concerning restrictive measures against serious human rights violations and abuses came into force. It originates in a Joint Proposal for a Council Regulation from the 19th of October 2020 put forward by the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The Joint Proposal is one of the legal acts required by the Council to proceed with the establishment of the new horizontal sanctions regime. It complements the Council Decision that is being proposed by the High Representative and that – once adopted by the Council – will establish the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. The new regime will not replace existing geographic sanctions regimes, some of which already address human rights violations and abuses, for example in Syria, Belarus or Venezuela. 

Field of application: 1.This Regulation applies to: (a) genocide; (b) crimes against humanity; (c) the following serious human rights violations or abuses: (i) torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (ii) slavery; (iii) extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings; (iv) enforced disappearance of persons; (v) arbitrary arrests or detentions; (d) other human rights violations or abuses, including but not limited to the following, in so far as those violations or abuses are widespread, systematic or are otherwise of serious concern as regards the objectives of the common foreign and security policy set out in Article 21 TEU: (i) trafficking in human beings, as well as abuses of human rights by migrant smugglers as referred to in this Article; (ii) sexual and gender-based violence; (iii) violations or abuses of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; (iv) violations or abuses of freedom of opinion and expression; (v) violations or abuses of freedom of religion or belief.

How it works: 1. All funds and economic resources belonging to, owned, held or controlled by any natural or legal person, entity or body as listed in Annex I shall be frozen. 2. No funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of natural or legal persons, entities or bodies listed in Annex I. 1. Member states shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties provided for must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. 2. Member states shall notify the Commission of the rules referred to in paragraph 1 without delay after the entry into force of this Regulation and shall notify it of any subsequent amendment.

Scope: This Regulation shall apply: (a) within the territory of the Union, including its airspace; (b) on board any aircraft or vessel under the jurisdiction of a member state; (c) to any natural person inside or outside the territory of the Union who is a national of a member state; (d) to any legal person, entity or body, inside or outside the territory of the Union, which is incorporated or constituted under the law of a member state; (e) to any legal person, entity or body in respect of any business done in whole or in part within the Union.

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WTO Reform


ZEI Publications on EU Foreign Policy 

Ludger Kühnhardt: The post-Coronavirus world. A future research agenda in a dynamic multi-level mode, in: Stephen C. Calleya (ed.): Med Agenda – Special Issue. Towards a Post Pandemic Euro-Mediterranean Strategy, Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC), University of Malta, p. 133-152.

Robert Stüwe: Rechtsstaatlichkeit in der EU als Schlüsselfaktor für eine resiliente Außenpolitik gegenüber Autokraten, in: Zeitschrift für Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik, Vol. 13, Iss. 3 (2020), p. 271-285. DOI: 10.1007/s12399-020-00817-6.

Andreas Marchetti: A Stronger Global Actor - Strengthening the Global Role of Europe, in: Stüwe, Robert / Panayotopoulos, Thomas (eds.): The Juncker Commission. Politicizing EU Policies (Schriftenreihe des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 79), Nomos: Baden-Baden 2020, p. 181-191. 

Robert Stüwe: Das Machtproblem der EU-Energieaußenpolitik. Von der Integration zur Projektion beim Erdgasimport? (Schriftenreihe des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 81), Nomos: Baden-Baden 2020. (Abstract)

Christos Stylianides: European Emergency Coordination, ZEI Discussion Paper C 259/2020. (Abstract) (Download)

Stephen C. Calleya: A Stronger Europe in the World, in: Robert Stüwe / Liska Wittenberg (eds.): ZEI Future of Europe Observer. Von der Leyen: Europe's New Deal Despite Corona?, Vol. 8 No. 1 April 2020, p. 10-11. (Download)

Ermir I. Hajdini, Nikola Jokić, Teodora Lađić, Ksenija Milenković, Denis Preshova, Flandra Syla (eds.): Western Balkans and the European Union, ZEI Discussion Paper C 258/2020. (Abstract) (Download)

Ludger Kühnhardt: The European Archipelago. Rebranding the Strategic Significance of EU Overseas Countries and Territories, ZEI Discussion Paper C 255/2019. (Abstract) (Download)

Liska Wittenberg / Robert Stüwe (eds.): Soft Power Policies in the Mediterranean Region, ZEI-MEDAC Future of Europe Observer, Vol. 7 No. 3 November 2019. (Download)

Susanne Baier-Allen: Europe and America, ZEI Discussion Paper C 254/2019. (Abstract) (Download)

Javier Gonzaléz López: Bosnia and Herzegovina: a Case Study for the Unfinished EU Agenda in the Western Balkans, ZEI Discussion Paper C 250/2018. (Abstract) (Download)

Ludger Kühnhardt: The New Silk Road: The European Union, China and Lessons Learned , ZEI Discussion Paper C 245/2018. (Abstract) (Download)

Stephen C. Calleya: Mapping out a Euro-Mediterranean Strategy, in: Koenig, Christian / Kühnhardt, Ludger (eds.): Governance and Regulation in the European Union. A Reader (Schriftenreihe des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 77), Nomos: Baden-Baden 2017, p. 153-177. (Abstract)

Stefan Fröhlich: Transatlantic Leadership in a Multipolar World: The EU Perspective, in: Koenig, Christian / Kühnhardt, Ludger (eds.): Governance and Regulation in the European Union. A Reader (Schriftenreihe des Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung, Vol. 77), Nomos: Baden-Baden 2017, p. 177-195. (Abstract)

Ludger Kühnhardt: Maturing beyond Cotonou: An EU-ACP Association Treaty for Development. A proposal for reinventing EU relations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. (ZEI Discussion Paper C 235/2016)  (Abstract)  (Download)

Ludger Kühnhardt: Neighbors and other realities: The Atlantic civilization and its enemies   (ZEI Discussion Paper C228, 2015) (Abstract) (Download)

Lothar Rühl: European Foreign and Security Policy since the Lisbon Treaty – From Common to single? (ZEI Discussion Paper C226, 2014) (Abstract)  (Download)

Stephen Calleya / Ludger Kühnhardt, How to ride the revolutionary Arab lion, in: World Security Network, 7.Januar 2013 (online)

Wiebke Drescher, The Eastern Partnership and Ukraine. New Label – Old Products? (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 194), Bonn 2009. (Download)

Andreas Marchetti, La politique européenne de voisinage: l’impact de la présidence allemande sur l’élaboration d’une politique stratégique (Note du Cerfa, 45), Paris 2007.

Andreas Marchetti, Consolidation in Times of Crisis: The European Neighbourhood Policy as Chance for Neighbours?, in: European Political Economy Review, No. 7 (2007), S. 9-23.

Thomas Demmelhuber, The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and its Implementation in the Southern Mediterranean. The Case of Egypt (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 170), Bonn 2007. (Download)

Andreas Marchetti, The European Neighbourhood Policy. Foreign Policy at the EU’s Periphery (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 158), Bonn 2006. (Download)

Thomas Demmelhuber, The Euro-Mediterranean Space as an Imagined (Geo-) Political, Economic and Cultural Entity (ZEI Discussion Paper, C 159), Bonn 2006. (Download)

ZEI Insights Policy Brief Series (2014-2019)


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