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EU Council Library Think Tank Review — January 2015

January 27, 2015 Comments off

EU Council Library Think Tank Review — January 2015
Source: General Secretariat of the Council of the EU (Central Library)

Strong focus on Member States in the think tank papers selected for this TTR. A CEPS author wonders whether a new balance of power will emerge in the Council after the entry into force last November, of new QMV rules (other background on our library’s blog, and from our colleagues at EPRS). In a similar vein, the German DGAP publishes a report on patterns of coalition-building among Member States. The notion of ‘balance of powers’ is central to one of the papers chosen for this month’s regards croisés: a Czech view on the change in the relative weight of France and Germany in EU politics.

Still on Member States, a fundamental concern is, arguably, their territorial integrity. A new analysis by Real Instituto Elcano, departing from many others we have seen so far, takes the view that the EU should insert an anti-secession clause in the treaties. We also feature a review of the proposals for further tax devolution to Scotland. Just as we finalize this TTR, the UK Government has published a draft legislation on ‘an enduring settlement’ with Scotland.

As readers know, we are particularly interested in projects where think tanks join forces. In this issue we include a report by the 40-member OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions, with options for new forms of OSCE field operations.

New From the GAO

January 22, 2015 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. Job Corps: Assessment of Internal Guidance Could Improve Communications with Contractors. GAO-15-93, January 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-93
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668016.pdf

2. African Growth and Opportunity Act: USAID Could Enhance Utilization by Working with More Countries to Develop Export Strategies. GAO-15-218, January 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-218
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668035.pdf

Reissue

1. Higher Education: Education Should Strengthen Oversight of Schools and Accreditors. GAO-15-59, December 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-59
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667691.pdf

On January 22, 2015, GAO reissued this report to revise the first sentence of footnote 11, page 49.

Prosperity Undermined: Fast-Tracked Trade Agreements’ 20-Year Record of Massive U.S. Trade Deficits, American Job Loss and Wage Suppression

January 22, 2015 Comments off

Prosperity Undermined: Fast-Tracked Trade Agreements’ 20-Year Record of Massive U.S. Trade Deficits, American Job Loss and Wage Suppression (PDF)
Source: Public Citizen
From press release:

Fast Tracked trade deals have exacerbated the income inequality crisis, pushed good American jobs overseas, driven down U.S. wages, exploded the trade deficit and diminished small businesses’ share of U.S. exports, a new report from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch shows. The report, “Prosperity Undermined,”compiles and analyzes 20 years of trade and economic data to show that the arguments again being made in favor of providing the Obama administration with Fast Track trade authority have repeatedly proved false.

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – Key Studies

January 21, 2015 Comments off

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – Key Studies
Source: European Parliament

This leaflet provides a compilation of papers prepared by the European Parliament’s Policy Departments in relation to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The magnitude of the transatlantic economic exchange and the chance to boost growth and create jobs provided the initial impetus for launching talks on the TTIP. The EP has supported the negotiations while expressing caution about several sensitive issues. Papers produced by the Policy Departments have addressed these and other issues, including the potential implications on EU Member States, the US Congress’s view of the Partnership, and its impact on areas such as employment and agriculture.

UK — Resource nationalism

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Resource nationalism
Source: Cabinet Office

This paper explores resource nationalism, particularly for energy and metal and mineral supplies, and the potential implications for the UK.

Resource nationalism is defined as anti-competitive behaviour designed to restrict the international supply of a natural resource. Population growth, the uneven worldwide distribution of resources, and governance issues can lead to resource nationalism.

Resource nationalism is likely to have a greater effect on global terms of trade when a natural resource is only produced in few countries. In these markets, countries can affect global prices for raw materials and have most to gain from resource nationalism. In these cases, there is potential for the main producers (companies or countries) to act together to manipulate global prices.

The risk of resource nationalism may be higher for some lesser-known metals and minerals than resources such as oil, coal and gas.

U.S. Department of State — 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report

January 16, 2015 Comments off

2014 Fiscal Transparency Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

The Department of State hereby presents the findings from the FY 2014 fiscal transparency review process in its Fiscal Transparency Report. This report describes the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency developed by the Department of State in consultation with other relevant federal agencies, identifies governments that are potential beneficiaries of FY 2014 foreign assistance funds, assesses those that did not meet the minimum fiscal transparency requirements, and indicates whether those governments made significant progress towards meeting the requirements.

Big Deal? U.S. Changes Stance on Cruelty Prohibition, CRS Legal Sidebar (December 16, 2014)

January 16, 2015 Comments off

Big Deal? U.S. Changes Stance on Cruelty Prohibition, CRS Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In connection with the presentation of the U.S. periodic report to the U.N. Committee Against Torture November 12-13, the Obama Administration announced a change in the U.S. interpretation of certain aspects of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Most significantly, the Administration reported that it believes the ban on cruel treatment applies to certain areas overseas.

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