European Parliament studies: civic space, external migration policy, technological disruption


Three recent studies commissioned by the European Parliament.

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Protecting civil society space: Strengthening freedom of association, assembly and expression and the right to defend rights in the EU (pdf):

"This study, commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, covers the challenges facing the civil society space. Watchdog NGOs and other human rights defenders have been under pressure during the humanitarian and rule of law ‘crises’. Several EU Member States have passed laws that fall short of international, regional and EU freedom of association standards. Some governments have used the COVID-19 pandemic to further restrict the civic space. The study explores how the EU could protect civil society from unjust state interference by strengthening freedom of association, assembly and expression, as well as the right to defend human rights. The study elaborates on four policy options: introducing a European association statute; establishing internal guidelines to respect and protect human rights defenders; developing a civil society stability index; and creating a network of focal contact points for civil society at EU institutions. It recommends strengthening the independence of critical civil society actors and increasing funding for activities such as strategic litigation to uphold EU laws and values."

EU External Migration Policy and the Protection of Human Rights (pdf):

"This in-depth analysis focuses on the human rights implications of EU external migration policy interventions: (1) identifying human rights obligations owed to third-country nationals when engaging in cooperation with third countries and non-EU actors; (2) assessing the means and level of compliance with these obligations when designing and implementing the main policy instruments; and (3) determining the existence and adequacy of operational, reporting, monitoring and accountability mechanisms available in each case to track and respond to potential violations. Particular attention is paid to soft-law tools, on account of their enhanced potential to erode the enforceability of obligations, to downgrade democratic accountability and generally undermine the rule of law. Paving the way for the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, special emphasis is placed on cooperation under the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, the EU Agenda on Migration and the Migration Partnership Framework, including informal arrangements concluded by Frontex or by the Member States themselves. Four case studies guide the analysis and illustrate findings: (1) the EU-Turkey Statement; (2) the multi-modal cooperation with Libya; (3) the Joint Way Forward with Afghanistan; and (4) collaboration with Niger under the EUCAP Sahel mission. The in-depth analysis reveals that the full effect of the EU fundamental rights acquis in extra-territorial situations has not been duly accounted for and proposes a system to ensure compliance with the relevant standards covering the pre-conclusion, design, adoption, implementation, evaluation and review phases, highlighting the role of the European Parliament and civil society organisations."

Disruption by technologies: Impacts on politics, economics and society: in-depth analysis (pdf)

"Technological development has long been considered as a disruptive force, provoking change at many levels, from the routine daily activities of individuals to dramatic competition between global superpowers. This analysis examines disruption caused by technologies in a series of key areas of politics, economics and society. It focuses on seven fields: the economic system, the military and defence, democratic debates and the 'infosphere', social norms, values and identities, international relations, and the legal and regulatory system. It also presents surveillance as an example of how technological disruption across these domains can converge to propel other phenomena. The key disruptive force of 2020 is non-technological, namely coronavirus. The pandemic is used here as an opportunity to examine how technological disruption interacts with other forms of disruption."

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