Category Archives: Core values

The EU’s Media Freedom Act – Bolstering Core Union Values through the Narrow Prism of the Internal Market?

Credit: siam.pukkato (Shutterstock)

When the European Commission announced its upcoming Media Freedom Act (MFA) last year, many were taken aback by what seemed a bold step into the Fourth Pillar of Democracy. Yet within months of its announcement, the indispensable nature of a pluralistic media would be brought to bear beyond the former Eastern Bloc as Russian citizens fail to recognise the atrocities their armed forces are committing in Ukraine due to the non-existence of independent Russian media. As media freedom is also contracting in Europe, Ruairí Harrison assesses the Commission’s proposed approach to both reimagine and reinforce media freedom in the EU-27.

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Security-driven EU-Ukraine relationships within and beyond the Eastern Neighbourhood Policy

Ukraine is ‘one of us and we want them in’, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on 27 February 2022, in response to Ukraine’s bid for membership. In this post, Machiko Kanetake argues that the EU’s response regarding Ukraine’s accession should not reproduce a fundamental ambivalence underlying the EU’s relations with its eastern neighbourhood.

This post is the fifth and last in a series drawing on a RENFORCE expert seminar on the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, held online on 8th March 2022. It follows analysis of the EU’s response to the migratory flow, the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine, the EU’s economic sanctions, and the role of social media in times of war.

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The role of information and social media warfare in the Ukrainian conflict

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, European media and social networks have been flooded with information and videos from both sides. The info-media war between Russia and Ukraine plays a key role in this conflict. For guest contributor Noemi Mena Montes, Ukraine is winning the narrative – read her blogpost to understand how.

The post is the fourth in a series drawing on a RENFORCE expert seminar on the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, held online on 8th March 2022, and follows analysis of the EU’s response to the migratory flow from Ukraine, the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine, and the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia. Stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further commentary on the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine.

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Defending a Rules-Based International Order? The EU’s Adoption of Restrictive Measures in Response to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The EU has adopted unprecedented “massive and targeted sanctions” in response to Russia’s ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine. For Alexandra Hofer, the sanctioners are demonstrating “unmatched levels of coordination” but are struggling to garner additional international support. If the objective is to change Russia’s behaviour, she argues, the EU and its partners need to be clearer about the sanctions’ objectives. However, Russia (unsurprisingly no doubt) does not perceive the sanctions as legitimate and does not appear to believe the sanctioners are willing to lift the measures.

The post is the third in a series drawing on a RENFORCE expert seminar on the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, held online on 8th March 2022. Click here to read Salvatore Nicolosi on the EU’s response to the migratory flow from Ukraine, and here for Nathan Meershoek on the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine. Stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further analysis of the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine, and of coverage of the war in the media.

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The EU’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: a new direction in EU defence policy or a reinforcement of military interdependence?

The EU has responded relatively fiercely to Russia’s military aggression, with the Council’s decision to deliver weapons to Ukraine even coined a ‘watershed moment’ in European integration. The EU’s involvement in the military domain is expanding rapidly. In this blogpost, Nathan Meershoek argues that the EU’s engagement should not, however, be considered ‘new’ or fundamentally different from previous defence policies. EU defence policy and military procurement regulation should, he insists, be understood and further developed as a reinforcement of national sovereignty and an addition to NATO cooperation rather than their replacement.

The post is the second in a series drawing on a RENFORCE expert seminar on the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, held online on 8th March 2022. Click here to read Dr Salvatore Nicolosi’s take on the EU’s response to the migratory flow from Ukraine, and stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further analysis of the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine, the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia and the Ukraine war in the media.

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The Unexpected Resurrection of the Temporary Protection Directive following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The unprecedented activation of the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been welcomed as a ‘smart and pragmatic response of the EU institutions’. In this post, Salvatore Nicolosi (with the assistance of Francesca Bertin) suggests a more cautious approach, highlighting the risk of States using alternative protection labels based on emergency legislative measures to downgrade their obligations under international and EU refugee law, while generating a fictitious sense of solidarity. 

Dr Nicolosi’s post is the first in a series drawing on a RENFORCE expert seminar on the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, held online on 8th March 2022. Stay tuned to RENFORCE Blog for further analysis of the EU’s decision to provide weapons to Ukraine, the EU’s neighbourhood policies and Ukraine, the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia and the Ukraine war in the media.

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EU Digital COVID Certificate: A quid pro quo for travelling

Whilst the responses of the World Health Organization and the EU to the Covid-19 pandemic seem to be aligning, there is still uncertainty as to the facilitation of free movement not only within the EU but also internationally. In this blogpost, Raluca Nedelcu and Lucky Belder argue that governments worldwide have adopted measures without concern for their long-term impact on the global economy and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Public health measures such as the EU Digital COVID Certificate should take their impact on international relations into account and, in particular, measures adopted by governments should not create discrepancies and unfair advantages at an international level.

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The EU Commission’s report on new genome editing techniques: a treasure trove for sustainable CRISPR food – or a Pandora’s box?

Genome editing in plants can deliver beneficial crop properties such as drought and pest resistance, but the resulting products are also feared by some to lead to health and biodiversity risks in the long term. On 29th April 2021, the EU Commission published its long-awaited report on new genome editing techniques, hinting at deregulation of products resulting from genome editing amidst accusations of aggressive biotech industry lobbying. In this blogpost, Pauline Phoa discusses the legal background to the Commission’s report, as well as some concerns about the way forward.

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Origin-labelling legislation in the EU: striking the balance between free movement and consumer protection

Consumers increasingly want access to information regarding the origin of products. Buying local is en vogue, offering a sense of greater certainty as to the quality and safety of products, the hope of a lower carbon footprint and a way to support local communities. This trend, however legitimate, also provides an opportunity for States to promote their domestic production – a temptation which is only getting stronger with the current economic crisis and the need to rescue national economies. In this context, origin-labelling can be used as a tool to guide consumers towards local purchases. In this post, Vincent Delhomme shows how EU law currently prevents Member States from imposing wide ranging origin-labelling requirements on products and argues, should any reform take place, for preserving the overall spirit of this legal framework.

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Digital forensics standards: Enforcement under the radar of EU plans for electronic evidence

In the ninth post in RENFORCE Blog’s special series on enforcement, Gavin Robinson argues that the extreme volatility of electronic data calls for EU law to promote not only efficient and secure access thereto for criminal investigators, but also robust standards of digital forensics. Currently, it is national laws and criminal justice systems which achieve varying levels of forensic soundness for digital evidence. Drawing on a comparative, multidisciplinary research project and sharing insight from legal practice in Luxembourg, the post advocates a stronger emphasis on the development of common European rules on digital forensics – potentially within dedicated EU legislation on the admissibility of evidence.

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