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The Development of EU Policy on Immigration and Asylum: Rethinking Coordination and Leadership

March 20, 2015 Comments off

The Development of EU Policy on Immigration and Asylum: Rethinking Coordination and Leadership
Source: Migration Policy Institute

While policymakers in the European Union are working on a European Agenda on Migration to address the short- and long-term migration and asylum challenges facing the region, it has become clear that the modus operandi of the European institutions is ill equipped to respond in either a timely or comprehensive manner. The process for developing, implementing, and reviewing legislation has failed to ensure coherent, robust outcomes. Furthermore, immigration as a topic has outgrown the Home Affairs portfolio, and as such needs to be addressed in a more cross-cutting fashion, involving multiple spheres of government.

During the reorganization of the European Commission in late 2014, the Home Affairs portfolio was renamed and restructured as the new Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), reflecting the high priority of the topic for the new president and other leaders. However, the change has yet to be substantiated with deeper reconfiguration to the supporting framework on coordination, which must be strengthened for existing policy to be sustained and effective new policy created.

This policy brief addresses the underlying mechanisms of policymaking around migration and asylum at the European Union level and identifies areas in which the EU institutions must reform if they are to ensure that the policy solutions designed in Brussels have the desired effect on the ground. The brief highlights the need for stronger leadership and coordination on immigration policy—which still lacks a coherent, comprehensive approach beyond the Home Affairs domain—as well as for the allocation of resources, political and otherwise, to effect real change, both within the European Union and with third countries.

The Intellectual Basis of U.S. Trade Policy Trench Warfare

March 19, 2015 Comments off

The Intellectual Basis of U.S. Trade Policy Trench Warfare
Source: Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

At its core, trade policy is based in economics. And despite what many economists claim, economics is not a science. And, as with economics, intellectual approaches to the issue of trade differ substantially. These approaches reflect differences in economic doctrine among economists, policymakers and others. This paper postulates and describes three competing economic doctrines that shape the current U.S. trade debate: the predominant neoclassical doctrine (NC), the oppositional neo-Keynesian doctrine (NK), and the emerging innovation economics (IE) doctrine. The IE doctrine (IE) not only more accurately reflects the reality of the 21st century global innovation economy but offers the best opportunity for creating at least some actionable consensus on trade policy moving forward.

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2014 Annual Report of the Government of the United States of America for the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights Initiative
Source: U.S. Department of State

Each member of the VPs Initiative is required to report to VPs Initiative participants annually on their efforts to implement the VPs. The U.S. Government has prepared this public report in line with our commitment to make our participation in the VPs Initiative as transparent as possible.

The VPs Initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative made up of governments, companies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promotes the implementation of a set of principles that guide oil, gas, and mining companies in providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights. Specifically, the VPs guide companies in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment in their engagement with public and private security providers to ensure human rights are respected in the protection of company facilities and premises.

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report

March 19, 2015 Comments off

2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

The 2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) is an annual report by the Department of State to Congress prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act. It describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2014. Volume I covers drug and chemical control activities. Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

Not Adding Up: The Fading Promise of Europe’s Dublin System

March 18, 2015 Comments off

Not Adding Up: The Fading Promise of Europe’s Dublin System
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The chief purpose of the European Union’s Dublin Regulation—adopted as the first element of the new Common European Asylum System (CEAS) in 2003 and recast in 2013—is to act as a mechanism that swiftly assigns responsibility for processing an individual asylum application to a single Member State. It seeks to ensure quick access to protection for those in need while discouraging abuses of the system by those who would “shop” for the Member State with the most favorable asylum practices or reception conditions. As long as separate national asylum systems exist within a European area without internal border controls, Dublin—or a mechanism like it—will remain a necessary element of any European approach to asylum.

However, as implemented, the Dublin system is largely failing to achieve its two primary goals. Low effective transfer rates and a persistently high incidence of secondary movement among asylum seekers have undermined the efficiency of the Dublin system. In addition, asylum advocates have criticized Dublin for procedural delays in the evaluation of protection claims, which may disrupt family unity and put vulnerable individuals at risk. Crucially, the regulation does not recognize or address the main factor underlying the Dublin system’s problems: despite the harmonization efforts of the CEAS, essential differences remain in the asylum procedures, reception conditions, and integration capacity of EU Member States. These differences invalidate Dublin’s core assumption that asylum applicants will receive equal consideration and treatment regardless of where they submit their claims.

This report examines the key criticisms of the Dublin system as it stands now, with special attention to those that address the efficient operation of the European asylum system and the ability of applicants to quickly access asylum procedures and protection. The report then evaluates the potential of the recently adopted recast of the Regulation (Dublin III), and concludes by recommending several topics for consideration during the European Commission’s scheduled 2016 review of the Dublin system.

Building Skills in North and Central America: Barriers and Policy Options toward Harmonizing Qualifications in Nursing

March 16, 2015 Comments off

Building Skills in North and Central America: Barriers and Policy Options toward Harmonizing Qualifications in Nursing
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Amid aging populations and the growth of chronic diseases, the demand for skilled health-care professionals is on the rise in the three countries of North America. In the United States alone, an estimated 5.6 million vacancies for health-care professionals at all skill levels will open up between 2010 and 2020, and the numbers in Canada and Mexico tell a similar story. At the same time, the countries of Central America, particularly El Salvador and Guatemala, are facing a critical nurse shortage.

Thus far, regional approaches to increasing the supply of qualified nurses have been rare. One promising yet underexplored avenue is the harmonization of nurse qualifications across the region, a process by which countries that face similar health-care challenges work together to develop an understanding of one another’s training and education systems, identify gaps between these systems, and create strategies to bridge these gaps over time.

This report explores the policy implications, benefits, and challenges of harmonizing nursing qualifications in North America. The payoffs of such cooperation are substantial: it can decrease brain waste and deskilling among nurses, increase the quality of care in all countries involved, and expand opportunities for nurses to practice where their skills are needed and to take advantage of new job opportunities in medical tourism and tele-health. However, as the report discusses, policymakers and private-sector actors must first overcome a range of obstacles to harmonization. Challenges include differences among the countries involved in the educational requirements of entering into nursing programs, dispersal of decision-making power among a patchwork of institutions regulating the nursing profession, and administrative barriers to recognition of qualifications—the flurry of red tape that nurses must pass through to take up nursing again after moving across borders.

CFR Backgrounder: What Are Economic Sanctions

March 12, 2015 Comments off

Backgrounder: What Are Economic Sanctions
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

Governments and multinational bodies impose economic sanctions to try to alter the strategic decisions of state and non-state actors that threaten their interests or violate international norms of behavior. Critics say sanctions are often poorly conceived and rarely successful in changing a target’s conduct, while supporters contend they have become more effective in recent years and remain an essential foreign policy tool. Sanctions have become the defining feature of the Western response to several geopolitical challenges, including Iran’s nuclear program and Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

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