Peter Becker explains how under exceptional circumstances an equally exceptional compromise was reached in the budget negotiations and what commonalities and deviations from known negotiation patterns exist. In their contribution, Niklas Helwig, Juha Jokela and Clara Portela analyse the EU sanctions policy against the background of internal and international challenges and identify potential for reform. Funda Tekin looks at the “EU-Turkey statement” five years on and the question whether an institutional shift from a rules-based accession process to an interest-driven transactional character of the bilateral relationship can be identified. Stefan Lorenzmeier discusses the effects of the opinion of the European Court of Justice on the Singapore Agreement on the design of the EU’s various trade and association agreements from a legal and political perspective. In forum article, Hartmut Kaelble puts the effects of the corona crisis and how it is being dealt with in relation to past crises and describes the historical novelty of the current situation.
The Negotiations on the Budget of the European Union – Between Continuity and Changes in Times of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The difficult negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the European Union have so far been characterised by continuity and path dependencies. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the framework, the conditions, the topics and also the established procedure of MFF negotiations. The coincidence in time between these negotiations and the Corona crisis opened up the possibility of fundamental changes and reforms. This article first presents the agreement of the European Council of 21 July 2020 on the new MFF 2021–2027 of around 1 trillion euros and on the “Next Generation EU” (NGEU) stimulus budget of additional 750 billion euros. It traces the negotiation process and finally analyses the consequences for integration policy. The amendments to the system of own resources for financing the MFF and the agreement on the additional stimulus budget NGEU could lead to fundamental changes in the European budgetary system.
EU Sanctions Policy in Geopolitical Times: Europe’s Toughest Foreign Policy Instrument and its Challenges
Niklas Helwig, Juha Jokela and Clara Portela
Sanctions are one of the toughest and most coercive tools available to the European Union (EU). They are increasingly used in order to respond to breaches of international norms and adverse security developments in the neighbourhood and beyond. However, the EU sanctions policy is facing a number of challenges related to the efficiency of decision-making, shortcomings in the coherent implementation of restrictive measures, as well as the adjustments to the post-Brexit relationship with the United Kingdom. This article analyses these key challenges for EU sanctions policy. Against the backdrop of an intensifying global competition, it points out the need to weatherproof this policy tool. The current debate on the future of the EU provides an opportunity to clarify the strategic rationale of EU sanctions and to fine-tune the sanctions machinery.
The EU-Turkey Statement Five Years On: An Institutional Change in the Bilateral Relationship?
Five years after the “EU-Turkey statement” it is time for a review. This statement of 29 November 2015 has defined a comprehensive roadmap for deepening EU-Turkey relations. It is perceived to represent an institutional shift from a rules-based accession process to an interest-driven transactional character of the relationship. This paper analyses whether such a change in perspective can indeed be identified. To this end, the question is addressed as to which different goals and thus also inherent path dependencies the declaration pursues. The conceptual classification of Turkey as a candidate country, a key partner and a strategic partner is helpful in this respect. In a further step, the extent to which circumstances in these three areas have changed after the statement and how this affects the implementation of the objectives and path dependencies is discussed. The paper concludes with a critical assessment and draws lessons for the future development of EU-Turkey relations.
The Future of Comprehensive and Mixed Agreements of the EU after the Singapore Opinion
The article explores some legal issues regarding comprehensive trade and mixed agreements of the European Union (EU). The concept of mixed agreements is special to the EU legal order and under strain after the opinion 2/15 of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 16 May 2017, in which the Court defined the exclusive competence of the EU for concluding “EU-only agreements” in the context of the common commercial policy. This led to a split-up of trade agreements of the Union into “EU-only agreements” and mixed agreements on investment issues whereas no change of policy had been established for association agreements to date. Besides creating greater legal certainty, some problems remain regarding the to-be-improved acceptance of EU free trade agreements in the Member States. The analysis focuses on the division of powers between the EU and the Member States and its impact on mixed agreements on a political and legal level. It concludes that “mixity” has not been ended by the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice and can still be seen as a useful tool in the process of negotiating and concluding future comprehensive international trade and association agreements.
More Than a New Clinical Picture: Why the Corona Crisis is a Historical Novelty for the European Union
The COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges for the European Union (EU). It is not a repetition of previous crises of European integration. The expectations, but also the confidence of the EU citizens are higher. Divergences between Member States tend to be greater, social inequalities are more complex and the pressure from outside more hostile. At the same time, the EU has gained more experience with crises over the past decade than before, reacts to the current crisis more quickly as well as more supranationally, and – unlike in earlier crises – so far appears globally not as a “sick man” but as a crisis solver.