North Korea: January 2020 update

US-North Korea tensions in 2017 over the latter’s nuclear weapons ambitions were replaced by dialogue and detente between 2018 and mid-2019. However, after two face-to-face summits between President Donald Trump and his Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un, the mood has darkened once again. This briefing reviews developments over the past 18 months and assesses future prospects.…

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Brexit Glossary

This Commons Library research briefing contains a list of commonly-used terms and acronyms that have needed clarification since the United Kingdom voted in the June 2016 EU referendum.…

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Revisions to the Political Declaration on the framework for future EU-UK relations

The UK and EU agreed a revised Political Declaration on the framework for the future UK-EU relationship on 17 October. This Briefing provides an outline of the contents of the Declaration and the key changes in the revised text …

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No-deal Brexit: A guide to Commons Library research

The No-deal Brexit: A guide to Commons Library research is an annotated bibliography of sources published by the House of Commons Library on a potential no-deal Brexit. It will be updated regularly. Links to the papers included in the resource are available on this page, the downloadable version includes additional comment on some of the selected papers.…

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EU Defence: the realisation of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)

In November 2017, 23 EU Member States submitted a Joint Notification to the EU Council of Ministers setting out their intention to utilise the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism to further European defence (CSDP). Ireland and Portugal subsequently joined in early December and a Decision formally launching PESCO was adopted on 11 December 2017. The first 17 capability projects were formally launched in March 2018, with a second tranche of 17 projects agreed in November 2018. The UK did not sign the Joint Notification and will, therefore, remain outside of PESCO. In doing so, the UK has no decision making rights over its governance, its projects, or a veto over its future strategic direction. …

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The European Intervention Initiative (EII/EI2)

The European Intervention Initiative (EII/EI2) is a French-led initiative set out by President Macron in September 2017 as part of his vision for a “sovereign, united and democratic Europe”. In order to achieve that ambition he put forward proposals for a common European intervention force and a common doctrine for action, independent of the European Union. Ten European countries, including the UK, are involved in the initiative. Italy indicated its willingness to join in September 2019. …

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Demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

On 2 August 2019 the United States formally withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In place for over 30 years, it was considered a cornerstone of the international arms control architecture as it was the first treaty to eliminate an entire category of weapons from the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia and ended a nuclear stand-off in Europe. What are the implications of its demise for European security and the arms control agenda more broadly? …

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European defence: where is it heading?

In light of Brexit, an increasingly assertive Russia and the unpredictable attitude of the current US administration toward European security, there is, at present. a political appetite for progress in the development of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. Much has been achieved in the last few years and without the UK, which has historically opposed deeper defence integration, Brexit undoubtedly offers opportunities. The question is: how far will the EU at 27 be willing to go? This is an update to earlier versions of this paper published in May 2018 and May 2019.…

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Nationality and immigration requirements for the UK’s armed forces

This briefing paper outlines the nationality requirements for Commonwealth citizens to join the UK’s armed forces. It explores the immigration requirements for Commonwealth armed forces personnel on discharge, and the immigration requirements for non-EU family members of both Commonwealth and British armed forces personnel. …

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The UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement

This briefing looks in detail at the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the EU and UK and finalised on 14 November 2018. It was endorsed by EU Member State leaders at a special European Council summit on 25 November and the UK Prime Minister promoted it in the UK Parliament and around the country. The Agreement was debated at length in Parliament on several occasions and has been voted on three times. But the House of Commons has not endorsed it. A second extension of Article 50 took exit day to 31 October 2019, but once again the UK is faced with the possibility of leaving the EU without an agreement if this agreement or another one is not ratified by the UK and the EU. …

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The continued importance of International Humanitarian Law in protecting civilians in conflict

A Westminster Hall debate on ‘The continued importance of International Humanitarian Law in protecting civilians in conflict’ has been scheduled for Tuesday 18 June 2019, from 9:30-11:00am. The debate will be led by Ann Clwyd MP, Andrew Mitchell MP, Tom Brake MP and Stephen Twigg MP.…

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