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  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing negotiation of the EU's multi-annual budget is heavily constrained by how the decision process takes place. Governments focus on narrowly defined national interests, rather than on securing a better budget for Europe. While the budget is small in size, it could be used as a powerful political tool for much needed economic growth policies on a larger scale.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sean Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Russia is to follow an evolutionary path to democracy, then the regime must be ready to draw the so-called 'non-systemic' opposition into political processes. This gradualist formula for democratic change is also the formula for political stability. A number of liberalising reforms conducted by the regime in response to widespread protests following the December 2011 State Duma election gave grounds for optimism that this process is now underway. However, any hopes that these events would kick-start democratic reforms were short-lived. Rather than draw in opponents, the regime has sought to isolate them, using a combination of reform, non-reform, dividing tactics and repression. But the results have not been positive. The non-systemic opposition is under increasing pressure, having seen its options all but reduced to more protesting. It is also showing signs of radicalisation. At the same time, the Kremlin's uncompromising approach is undermining regime stability. The pressure is building in the Russian political system. The combination of repression and radicalisation could easily see political stagnation degenerate into instability and the EU should take this new dynamic into account in its future policy planning.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Jarno limnéll
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Cybersecurity concerns everyone, and is everyone's responsibility. It is a genuine example of a society-wide security issue. The United States is ahead of Europe in discussing and integrating (military) cybersecurity into its foreign and security policies. For the US, the biggest challenges at the moment are: updating legal frameworks, creating cyber rules of engagement for the military, building cyber deterrence and clarifying the cybersecurity roles and responsibilities of government and private sector actors. Cooperation at national and international levels is integral to improving cybersecurity. This includes updating international and domestic legal frameworks to ensure that state actions are accountable, and to protect citizens from wanton strikes at critical infrastructure. Governments must hold private sector partners accountable, and through partnerships ensure that societal cybersecurity is not overshadowed by private interests – public-private partnerships have a crucial role to play in this.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Terrorism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Julia Muir
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On May 31, 2010 a majority of the Lower House of the National Diet of Japan approved legislation that would reverse a decade's worth of effort to fully privatize key subsidiaries of Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. Besides postal services, the state-run postal system offers banking and insurance services, through Japan Post Bank (JPB) and Japan Post Insurance (JPI), respectively. These are the financial engines of Japan Post and were the units slated for privatization. Both subsidiaries have long received favorable government treatment, tilting the playing field against private banks and insurance firms, whether foreign or domestic. The government of Japan is in clear violation of its commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and if the Upper House approves the legislation, Japan will reverse the efforts made by the United States and the European Union, as well as domestic private banks and insurance firms, to establish a level playing field. What's more, Japan risks having a formal WTO dispute brought against it.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At first glance the EU's political system doesn't seem to correspond to any contemporary type of regime. There is a directly elected European Parliament (EP), but the way of constructing relations of power and accountability between the parliament and the three bodies with executive powers, the Commission, the European Council or the Council, complicates the picture. The Commission's accountability to the European Parliament has been confirmed in the founding treaties ever since their conclusion. But what is the value of such a rule when there seems to be a much more powerful executive emerging beyond the reach of any EU-level accountability, namely the European Council?
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rikke Broegaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The stated goal of land titling and administration projects supported worldwide by development agencies like the World Bank is to strengthen property rights for the poor. Formal property rights, it is argued, lead to increased tenure security, which in turn encourages property rights holders to invest. Hence, strengthening property rights for the poor contributes to facilitate pro-poor economic growth and a more equitable development. However, the link between formal land titles and tenure security is assumed rather than based on empirical evidence. This DIIS-brief reviews this and other key assumptions underlying land titling and administration interventions. Findings from research that explores rural landowners' own perceptions of the factors that constitute tenure security highlight the importance of formal titles for perceived tenure security, but only in combination with other resources. Therefore, to single out formal titles as being equal to or the most important element in tenure security does not correspond with people's perceptions. Thus, promoting land titling as the policy intervention to strengthen tenure security does not appear to be a feasible strategy for addressing the highly complex problem of insecure land tenure for the rural poor. On the contrary, emerging evidence suggests that land titling tends to make land more readily available to a larger and more resourceful circle of potential buyers. Thus, rather than facilitating pro-poor and equitable development, land titling projects may clear the road for large-scale concentrations of land that gradually exclude the rural poor.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: It is generally believed that the United States is a country of low taxes and small government, at least when compared with countries in Europe (and until the financial crisis so greatly expanded the role of the federal government in the United States in late 2008). Fully accounting for the role, size, and effect of the government in an economy is a complex endeavor, however, and it is hardly accomplished by repeatedly restating differences in top marginal tax rates, overall tax burdens, or gross sizes of governments in GDP terms.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Martin Eling, Robert W. Klein, Joan T. Schmit
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: In this paper we compare insurance regulatory frameworks in the United States (US) and European Union (EU), focusing primarily on solvency, but also considering product and price regulation, as well as other elements of consumer protection. This comparison highlights the use of more fluid and principles-based approaches in the EU as it is developing under Solvency II, while the US continues to focus essentially on static, rules-based regulation. The discussion further notes evidence suggesting that the EU approach is more successful in promoting a financially solid insurance sector.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: For many years successive governments in Turkey have ignored an even denied the existence of Kurds in Turkey. What would have been possible in the past by recognizing cultural rights has now been a problem whereby an operation seems to be needed. Two common and important mistakes of governments: one is to say Kurds are primary citizens of this country as if there are secondary citizens! The second is “end the terror and we will recognize some rights”. Basic rights cannot be negotiated. This second mistake has led Öcalan to announce his own road map paralel to the Governments. Negotiating with hostile entities is very difficult and needs public consensus. Turkey, unlike Britain and Spain does not have public consensus. The best way was and is to follow EU's democratisation road map.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During recent years, transport and infrastructure development has acquired the status of a 'topic to be mentioned by the president' and other high-level state officials in their public appearances. The rise of transport from almost complete oblivion into the sphere of state strategic interests has been rapid, and it is a subject which is likely to maintain a high profile in the years to come. Success in implementing the current plans for infrastructure development is considered critical in order to generate further economic growth. From the longer-term perspective, it will also be critical in ensuring the diversification of the economy and securing Russia's place amongst the most advanced economies in the world. The modernization of the transport infrastructure is also seen as a lever with which Russia can reposition herself as a power-house in Eurasia. In actual fact, Russia is not a bridge but the dead-end of Eurasia. The country is faced with the enormous task of modernizing its transport infrastructures and implementing structural reforms that have been postponed for years. This would pose a tremendous challenge even in the best possible external circumstances, never mind against the backdrop of inflation and uncertainty in the world markets which exists at present. Something which has changed is that Russia now has the resources and the appropriate legislation in place to carry out these tasks. Yet, even if considerable effort has gone into defining strategic priorities, infrastructure investments are still implemented in an ad-hoc manner. The country is in dire need of massive construction projects. If the quality of the state apparatus in managing government spending does not improve – and there are few signs of that materializing – infrastructure development will become the Trojan horse of the Russian economy.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Max Watson
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Today's market turbulence and global imbalances prompt the question whether economic and regulatory policies are poorly designed or just badly implemented. The question is urgent for Europe, which has its own asset booms and imbalances to worry about as well as the backwash of US problems. The imbalances in Europe's economies in large part reflect favourable shocks, such as falling interest rates and growing financial integration. But the 'growth crisis' in Portugal underscores the fact that there can be hard landings, even without a financial crisis, if fiscal policy is unwise and if productivity fails to take off. The current global imbalances and turbulence also have a common backdrop in the long period of unusually easy liquidity and low risk premia during which today's problems built up. This suggests that central banks should be prepared more often to 'lean against the wind' in times of asset price exuberance, and that politicians should not cut taxes or boost spending permanently on the back of revenue gains that result from transient financial booms. Banks and supervisors have many lessons to draw. Some involve going 'back to basics' on issues such as liquidity, off-balance-sheet operations, and the ability to close and reopen banks. Others require a careful look at incentives – in executive pay, rating agency roles and loan production systems. Supervisors also need to take better account of boom-bust cycles when they assess risks, and address cross-border issues in EU banking. Moral hazard has been partly addressed by pain inflicted on bank managements and shareholders. But at the macro level it may be building up as policy-makers act to limit losses in a setting where they cannot trace the ultimate fallout from risks. In future, their discretionary interventions need to be truly exceptional and much more symmetrical, or the money supply and the public debt will ratchet up amid serious resource misallocation.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ihsan D. Dagi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Court ruled not to close down the AK Party, relieving Turkey from an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. Instead, the court chose to keep the ruling party under close scrutiny by declaring it “a focal point of anti-secular activities,” and imposing financial measures.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: John O'Brennan
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the electorate on 12 June 2008 has presented the Irish government with the most serious crisis in external relations since the Second World War. This was the third such referendum on Europe held in Ireland since the millennium and the second plebiscite in three to result in a rejection of an EU Treaty following the failed Nice poll in 2001. There is no obvious solution to the dilemma the government faces and no obvious pathway to achieve ratification. There is however a clear consensus amongst the political parties that ratification constitutes both a clear political priority and a fundamental national interest. At the October European Council summit in Brussels, Taoiseach Brian Cowen promised to come back to the December meeting “with a view to our defining together the elements of a solution and a common path to follow”. But the external context is now clear – EU leaders indicated an unwillingness to re-negotiate any part of the Treaty: it will be up to Ireland to find an Irish solution to this European problem. Thus the opportunity cost of the No vote has become somewhat clearer: Ireland faces marginalisation and isolation in Europe if a solution to the Lisbon dilemma is not found. The domestic context is also somewhat clearer now that we have access to extensive data that sheds light on the reasons for the No vote in the 12 June poll. In assessing the options for ratification this paper draws upon that data, presented in among other sources, the post-referendum Eurobarometer survey and the government-commissioned Millward Brown IMS research findings.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon, Ireland
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The October 20 announcement of Ali Larijani's resignation as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has intensified pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad. Faced with criticism over the resignation, Tehran ensured that Larijani attended the Iran-European Union (EU) nuclear talks in Rome on October 23. His continued presence in the negotiations raises serious questions about who is in charge of Iran's nuclear policy and other key issues, making the regime's intentions even more of an enigma to the Europeans. As EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stated after the Rome meeting, "I found the same Larijani I had met before, and he had the role of chief negotiator."
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Rome
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There are fast-moving developments in the British hunt for the terrorist cell that tried to set off two car bombs in central London on June 29. Two men were arrested after they tried to crash a vehicle loaded with flammable material into a Glasgow airport terminal on June 30. And a man and woman were arrested yesterday when their vehicle was stopped on the major highway between London and Scotland. Houses have been searched in several parts of Britain, and the number detained rose to eight today, including one in an undisclosed foreign country.
  • Topic: Government, Intelligence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In April 2006, key donors including the US A, EU, and Canada suspended international aid to the Palestinian Authority government (PA), following the overwhelming victory of Hamas in parliamentary elections. The Government of Israel had previously suspended the transfer of the tax and customs revenues it collects on behalf of the PA.
  • Topic: Government, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Daniel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Some policymakers in the United States and Europe argue that it is possible to enjoy economic growth and also have a large welfare state. These advocates for bigger government claim that the so- called Nordic Model offers the best of both worlds. This claim does not withstand scrutiny. Economic performance in Nordic nations is lagging, and excessive government is the most likely explanation. The public sector in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland consumes, on average, more than 48 percent of economic output. Total government outlays in the United States, by contrast, are less than 37 percent of gross domes- tic product. Revenue comparisons are even more striking. Tax receipts average more than 45 per- cent of GDP in Nordic nations, a full 20 percent- age points higher than the aggregate tax burden in the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Emanuele Ottolenghi
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Bush is in Europe this week, where his meetings -- several of which are directly linked to aspects of U.S. Middle East policy -- represent important opportunities to build diplomatic bridges. Today, he visits Prague to address a democracy promotion conference organized by former Czech president Vaclav Havel, former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky, and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar. The president's next stop is Heiligendamm, Germany, for the G8 meeting between the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. On June 8, he continues on to Poland, Italy, Albania, and Bulgaria in order to boost new democracies, cement alliances in the former Communist Bloc, and meet with the Pope.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a Hamas-Fatah national unity government by an 83–3 margin. This culminated a process that began in early February with the Mecca accord facilitated by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Many governments have withheld comment since that accord. One reason for their relative silence is reluctance to criticize a project associated with King Abdullah, who is emerging as a leading force in the Arab world and a linchpin of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran. Another is bated hope that the new government guidelines will be a marked improvement over those of the current Hamas government. Since Hamas's victory in January 2006 parliamentary elections, the focus has been on three principles proposed by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the UN): (1) recognition of Israel, (2) disavowal of violence, and (3) adherence to past written commitments.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 8, 2007, a French court ordered the Wiesenthal Center's director for international relations in Paris to pay a symbolic €1 fine in a defamation suit brought by a U.S.-designated Hamas front organization. The Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (Committee for Welfare and Aid to the Palestinians) (CBSP) charged that it had been defamed by allegations that it finances terrorism and raises funds to support the families of suicide bombers recruited by Hamas. Atlhough the French court acknowledged that the 150 exhibits submitted by the defense "indeed constituted an impressive body of evidence," it nonetheless issued a symbolic ruling in favor of the plaintiff.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Paris, France
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Budget consolidation is dominating the political agenda. The Hungarian government has embarked on an ambitious four-year consolidation programme following another election-year peak in the deficit in 2006 at 9.2% of GDP. The immediate revenue increases and spending cuts are temporarily damping growth. However, if all goes according to plan, the programme will bring dividends to the economy in the longer term. This payoff is crucially dependent on: Discipline in budgetary processes. Work needs to continue on strengthening budgetary mechanisms. A system of binding medium-term spending limits should be considered. Budgetary reform also needs to extend to the sub-national governments. Success in maintaining spending freezes. The re-scheduling that brought forward part of the 13th month payment to public-sector workers this year does not affect achievement of the 2007 fiscal target in accrual terms. Nevertheless, looking forward, strong resistance to spending pressures arising from revenue windfalls is of key importance. Implementation of the structural reform programme. The healthcare reforms that are expected to deliver a large share of fiscal savings are reasonably well advanced and a welcome cut in gas-price subsidies is already reducing government spending. The reforms in education are positive but the changes to the tuition–fee system in particular should go further. It is more uncertain, however, whether all the planned cuts in government administration will be realised. Successful reform of public spending requires the participation of the counties and municipal governments. There are potential savings in administrative overheads here too and sub-national governments are responsible for providing many government services. In-depth review of these issues in this Survey reveals a need to: Capture economies of scale. Political constraints preclude widespread mergers among the large number of small municipalities. However, the joint provision of services is widespread and should be encouraged further. Efforts to rationalise through replacement of county-level governments with regional assemblies should continue. Reform financing systems. The financing of sub-national government needs simplification and greater transparency and oversight in accounts. Also, the benchmarking of services via output and performance indicators needs to become more widespread. Reform of local taxation should include widening of property tax and removal of the local business tax. Hungary's low employment rate remains a key structural handicap to economic performance. There has been welcome reform of unemployment benefits and early-retirement pensions. Planned reforms to disability pensions look promising and a concrete proposal for old-age pension reform is in the pipeline. This Survey looks in depth at the issue of prolonged parental leave and other aspects of family policy: Current efforts to boost childcare services are welcome. Future reform needs to consider further strengthening of central-government provision requirements on municipalities regarding these services, matched by appropriate funding. A system of childcare vouchers for parents would be one way of increasing efficiency in the provision of services. Reform to the very long parental leaves should be considered, along with changes to the attendant system of additional cash benefits. Savings could be used to help fund increased childcare services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sweden's 1993 Competition Act (CA) remains the foundation of a broad policy approach that includes prohibitions against restrictive agreements and abuse of dominance, control of concentrations, advocacy and support for academic research. Enforcement of this legislation by the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) marked a shift towards a judicial, rules-based approach.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following a long period of stagnation, Japan is growing again. The key to this success story is Koizumi's relentless focus on structural reform, with two objectives: breaking the structural trap of political constituencies defending old and unproductive economic sectors; and adopting a two-pronged macromicro approach to make reform unavoidable. This paper argues that Europe should follow a similar strategy whereby financial market integration, and not the EU bureaucracy and grandiose political declarations, should become the main driving force of national economic reforms, pressuring liberalisation in goods and services markets and making labour market reforms unavoidable.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas, Justus Schönlau
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The assertion that the enlarged EU will become dysfunctional under the current treaty provisions has been one of the strongest arguments in favour of the Constitutional Treaty. Also after the two 'no' votes to the text, political leaders continue to see the necessity of institutional reform. Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair, neither of whom is keen to resume the ratification process as such, have stressed independently that the issue needs to be addressed in the near future. The British Prime Minister argues that the EU cannot function properly with 25 member states under today's rules of governance, adding "Having spent six months as EU president, I am a good witness of that." His French counterpart even predicted that the status quo would eventually "condemn the EU to inertia and paralysis."
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following seven years of painstaking and demanding negotiations, European bankers and regulators breathed a sigh of relief when the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) finally got through the European Parliament on 28 September 2005, and was formally approved by the Council of Ministers of the 25 EU member states on 11 October 2005. The new CRD will finally apply the complex, risk-sensitive Basel II capital adequacy rules to some 8,000 European banks and some 2,000 investments firms in two stages, the first in January 2007 and the second one year later.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Premier Vojislav Kostunica won a high stakes gamble with passage of Serbia's draft constitution in the 28-29 October referendum. However, numerous credible reports indicate the process was deeply flawed and the result falsified. The referendum cannot be characterised as either free or fair. The new constitution could prove a step away from European values. It opens the door to increased centralisation of the state, curtailment of human and minority rights, destruction of judicial independence and potentially even a parliamentary dictatorship. The process used to pass the constitution illustrates how Kostunica continues to transform Serbia into something closer to illiberal authoritarianism than liberal democracy; yet, the referendum was welcomed by the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After the indiscriminate killing of civilians by Uzbek security forces in the city of Andijon in 2005, the European Union imposed targeted sanctions on the government of President Islam Karimov. EU leaders called for Uzbekistan to allow an international investigation into the massacre, stop show trials and improve its human rights record. Now a number of EU member states, principally Germany, are pressing to lift or weaken the sanctions, as early as this month. The Karimov government has done nothing to justify such an approach. Normalisation of relations should come on EU terms, not those of Karimov. Moreover, his dictatorship is looking increasingly fragile, and serious thought should be given to facing the consequences of its ultimate collapse, including the impact on other fragile states in Central Asia such as Kyrgyzstan.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Germany
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With Romania's expected entry into the European Union in 2007, the EU will share a border with Moldova, a weak state divided by conflict and plagued by corruption and organised crime. Moldova's leadership has declared its desire to join the EU, but its commitment to European values is suspect, and efforts to resolve its dispute with the breakaway region of Transdniestria have failed to end a damaging stalemate that has persisted for fifteen years. Young people have little confidence in the country's future and are leaving at an alarming rate. If Moldova is to become a stable part of the EU's neighbourhood, there will need to be much greater international engagement, not only in conflict resolution but in spurring domestic reforms to help make the country more attractive to its citizens.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Eastern Europe, Romania
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, January 18, the yield on fifty-year inflation-protected U.K. government bonds (what the British call "indexed-linked gilts") dropped to 0.38 percent, about one-seventh the historical average of just over 2.6 percent for such debt instruments. Just a few months earlier, that yield had been over 1 percent, still extraordinarily low by historical standards, and especially low in an economy that has experienced fifty-three consecutive quarters of positive growth. A yield drop from 1 percent to 0.38 percent on a fifty-year bond corresponds to a 30 percent rise in its price over a period of just three months. That is an annual return of over 100 percent, much higher than the 13 percent annual increase in U.S. house prices at midyear and the 20 to 30 percent gains seen in the stock market before the March 2000 crash. The asset bubble has spread to long-term government bonds, especially those with inflation protection. What is going on here?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sami al-Arians plea agreement, unsealed last week in Tampa, Florida, has been almost universally billed as a domestic counterterrorism victory. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing financial and material support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. specially designated terrorist group, and agreed to be deported. He is one of a small but important number of U.S. deportees (out of approximately 200,000 annually) who have connections to international terrorism.Many in the United States will say good riddance to people like al-Arian, a sentiment shared by a substantial portion of Europeans whose governments are increasing their own efforts to send terrorist suspects back to their countries of origin. Since the July 7 London transit bombings, Britain has signed deportation agreements with Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon, and is negotiating a similar one with Algeria. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands have all recently introduced or passed legislation that will facilitate deportation on national security grounds, while the French for their part wonder why other Western democracies have been so slow to catch on. France has been deporting terrorist suspects and other extremists for more than a decade, including more than a dozen radical imams in 2005 alone. American and European deportation policies differ in key areas. U.S. policy is aimed at lawbreakers generally, whereas Europe, because of its more ingrained challenge of domestic radicalism, targets extremist imams and other purveyors of jihadist ideology who can have a pervasive radicalizing effect on a community. Nevertheless, the same rationale underpins deportation on both sides of the Atlantic, and enthusiasm for the policy seems almost universal. Sending problem immigrants back to their native countries allows Western governments to deal with extremists outside the framework of domestic legal codes that remain woefully ill-equipped to address the threat of terrorism. Deportation minimizes the need to adopt draconian measures such as indefinite detention. It is counterterrorism on the cheap, and has become the policy of first choice for domestic law enforcement agencies that lack the personnel and resources to conduct adequate surveillance on all potential terrorists. But although deportation of terrorist suspects may be the most appealing of several bad policy options, it is by no means a perfect solution. Deportation is designed to displace the threat, but it may ultimately create a host of other challenges for the West in Muslim countries and ultimately on its own territory.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, France, Libya, London, Palestine, Germany, Algeria, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 25, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Chechnya. According to PACE's website (assembly.coe.int), the resolution, which passed by a vote of 117 to 24, stated that the Strasbourg-based assembly "is deeply concerned that a fair number of governments, member states and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have failed to address the ongoing serious human rights violations in a regular, serious and intensive manner, despite the fact that such violations still occur on a massive scale in the Chechen Republic and, in some cases, neighboring regions in a climate of impunity." The assembly also reiterated its "unambiguous condemnation of all acts of terrorism" and expressed "its understanding of the difficulties the Russian Federation faces in combating terrorism."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Nancy Snow
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Anti-Americanism has emerged as a term that, like “fascism” and “communism” in George Orwell's lexicon, has little meaning beyond “something not desirable.” However it is defined, anti-Americanism has clearly mushroomed over the last six years, as charted in a number of polls. This phenomenon is, everyone agrees, intimately tied to the exercise of U.S. power and perceptions around the world of U.S. actions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2009, against all expectations, Moldova managed to shake off its inertia in an effort to leave behind zigzagging reforms and set itself on course for European integration. Although the European option enjoys overwhelming support in Moldova, the experiences of the eu's latest newcomers have shown that aspirations only materialize if you are prepared to do the necessary homework. Is there enough political will and ability to implement reforms in Moldova? What has the new government done so far, domestically and externally, to bring Moldova closer to the eu? What are the obstacles that could hinder reforms in Moldova? How could the eu help to bring about change, accelerating Moldova's Europeanization?
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova
  • Author: Chet Richards
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: There is a principle of engineering that says that when what you're doing isn't working, and trying harder makes the situation worse, you may be solving the wrong problem. With the attacks on London proving that occupying Iraq is not making the world safer, it is time for a radically new approach.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, London
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: Many of you are aware of CDI's 30-year history of research and commentary on U.S. defense topics. You may also have noticed the expanding breadth of our international projects and activities, such as our ground-breaking China Security Bulletin featuring contributions from a retired Chinese general, and a forthcoming report on Russia's defense spending by a Russian scholar who heads our Moscow office. To better reflect our global scope and project diversity, we have created the World Security Institute — which can be thought of as our “holding company.” We felt that this title better describes all of our activities that now encompass a wider definition of “security.”
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Disaster Relief, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Rym Ayadi
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: After almost seven years of hard work to produce a new substantive piece of legislation updating the current banking regulation for European credit institutions and investment firms – the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) – it looks like its timely adoption is still uncertain. The main problem is the dissatisfaction of Parliament with its limited role in comitology and in the Lamfalussy process, which has led it to suspend 'temporarily' the comitology provisions of the CRD, casting doubt over the future ability to amend the legislation. The European Constitution addresses Parliament's concern about ensuring democratic accountability in the comitology process in Art. 36. The pause for reflection on the Constitution prompted by the no-votes in the French and Dutch referenda has re-ignited the issue and is forcing EU institutions to seek a new inter-institutional agreement on this issue.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: After the resounding Dutch no-vote of 62%, ratification of the Constitutional Treaty has become even less likely than it already was after the political earthquake caused by the French referendum three days before. While the German Chancellor and the French President encourage other countries to continue with the ratification process, the British message is clear: Any attempt to proceed at this point would be pointless. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw found rather subtle words in the House of Commons to describe the situation, but other sources suggest that instead of wasting their time on a lengthy and useless exercise that would cost the EU even more support, European leaders should bury the Constitution at the upcoming European Summit on 16-17 June (or soon afterwards) and then settle for something 'more modest'.
  • Topic: Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Mark C. Christie
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While integration in Europe is, in several important aspects, already more advanced than it was in America during the decades prior to the American Civil War, there are important differences that make deeper political integration comprising all members of the European Union unlikely in the near term. A smaller group of EU members, however, is likely to continue towards deeper integration, although questions of constitutional legitimacy must be confronted and resolved. European integrationists may find the federalist principles of James Madison, regarded as the father of the American Constitution, valuable both for deeper integration and wider expansion. A Madisonian federal model for Europe could prove acceptable both to many euro-federalists and euro-sceptics and thus advance the cause of European integration. Ironically, a European federal union based on Madisonian principles would be much closer to the vision of many of America's founders than the federal structure of present-day America.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The pressure is on for the defenders of the European Constitution. Although initially it seemed as if referenda would only be problematic in countries that have a reputation for a certain degree of Euroscepticism, now even France and the Netherlands look like unsafe candidates for public approval. While there is still a fair chance that a majority of the French will vote 'yes' when actually at the ballot box, there is an understandable nervousness among prointegrationists. A French 'no' would be the most serious obstacle that any one member state among those holding a referendum could create. In the likely case that other member states besides France then reject the text – possibly for entirely different or even opposing reasons – it would become extremely difficult to 'save' the Constitution in its entirety.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After the fall of Communism, Russia reverted to czarism. But more importantly, Russia embraced capitalism. Although not democratic, Russia is largely free. Property rights are more deeply anchored than they were five years ago, and the once-collectivist society is going private. Indeed, private consumption is the main driver of economic growth. Russia's future now depends heavily on how fast a middle class—a self-identified group with personal stakes in having a law-based government accountable to tax payers—can be created. The West needs to take the long view, stay engaged, and maximize contacts, especially with younger Russians.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's regime has gone through a major aggravation during the first year of President Vladimir Putin's second term. The regime suffers from serious overcentralization of power, which has led to a paralysis of policy making. Putin's power base has been shrunk to secret policemen from St. Petersburg. Although his popularity remains high, it is falling. Neither unbiased information nor negative feedback is accepted. As a result, the Putin regime is much more fragile than generally understood. Russia's current abandonment of democracy is an anomaly for such a developed and relatively wealthy country, and it has made Russia's interests part from those of the United States. The United States should not hesitate to promote democracy in Russia, while pragmatically pursuing common interests in nonproliferation and energy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Clear signs of political and economic stress have emerged from Europe in recent weeks. Rumors have circulated about discussions of a possible breakup of Europe's currency union, and one renegade Italian official, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni, expressed a wish that Italy could return to the lira in order to get some help from a weaker currency to relieve Italy's current recession. Perhaps more telling, 54 percent of Germans polled would like to abandon the euro and return to the deutschemark. Similarly, the inflationary impact of the move from the gilder to the euro was cited by many of the Dutch citizens who voted decisively against ratifying the European Constitution.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Michael S. Greve
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Berlin is far from Baghdad, and the Germans at least want to keep it that way. But for all the obvious differences, Germany's inconclusive election results and the impending constitutional referendum in Iraq point to some identical obstacles to effective and constitutional government. These obstacles are proportional representation and “cooperative federalism.” As it happens, well-meaning UN officials, NGOs, and U.S. advisers have been urging these constitutional arrangements upon numerous fledgling democracies, including Iraq. That may not be good advice.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Baghdad, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2004, Russia's minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov, announced plans to eliminate draft deferments for college students. Predictably, the popular reaction was so uniformly negative and furious that the abolition of deferments has been postponed—but not eliminated from the Kremlin's agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John Edwin Mroz
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Europe's policy makers currently face two key challenges: finding new methods for governments to work better together, and identifying new ways for businesses and civil society to protect the continent's citizens, infrastructure and economies from the threat of terrorism. The terrorist attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004 and London on 7 July 2005 were vivid reminders that not enough has been done.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, London
  • Author: Kristina Hadzi-Vasileva
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The areas constituting the GPKT micro-region (fYR Macedonia,1 Serbia and Kosovo) belong to some of the least developed countries in Europe. Transition to market economies has been delayed because of armed conflicts, exclusion from the international community during periods of conflict, as well as the slow process of privatization (in the case of fYR Macedonia and Serbia). Despite the fact they once used to be a part of a single country, the current connection between these areas is unfortunately their characterization of political instability and weak institutions, problems compounded by the common struggle to transform their respective economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia
  • Author: Catharina Sørensen, Anne Mette Vestergard
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Danish vote on the EU\'s Constitutional Treaty will take place on September 27. The Danes have been there before, but the referendum is a difficult discipline to master. Various aspects play a role and make predictions volatile. The present brief, updated regularly, takes a closer look at the Danish debate and its context.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Khairi Abaza
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 27, Hosni Mubarak will be sworn in for a fifth consecutive term as president of Egypt. Mubarak was reelected according to new electoral procedures introduced earlier this year that allowed for a competitive election between multiple candidates. The opposition, united in its calls for more democracy, criticized the reforms, claiming that they only aimed at strengthening the regime's grip on power. For his part, Mubarak pledged to introduce further political reforms during his fifth mandate. What would a reform program look like and what would its prospects be?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov on March 28 praised a roundtable on Chechnya held in Strasbourg on March 21 under the auspices of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Alkhanov called the meeting “constructive and productive” and said that the European community now understands that the political situation in Chechnya has entered a new stage, Itar-Tass reported. “We did not stand on totally different positions, as it used to be before; indeed, we had a dialogue,” said Alkhanov, who was attending a meeting of the council of the heads of the Southern Federal District's constituent republics in Kislovodsk. The people of Chechnya, Alkhanov said, have unambiguously declared their wish to build a peaceful future as part of the Russian Federation, adding that the “doors are open for those who want to take part in this peaceful, constructive process.” He also said that former members of the pro-separatist parliament of the mid-1990s will participate in the Chechen parliamentary elections scheduled for this autumn. “The fact that so many of the former members of [the late separatist leader Aslan] Maskhadov's government are working in the Chechen government shows that we are adherents of peaceful policies, which have been decided by the people,” Alkhanov said. “If we agree that the people's wish is the determining factor, one has to take this into account. We are ready to accept anybody who adheres to this policy.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Economic policy in the euro area pursues the objectives of achieving solid economic growth, a better performance of labour markets and restoring sound public finances in the context of a single monetary policy which aims at maintaining price stability. Although inflation has remained just above the ECB's definition of price stability, longer-term inflation expectations remain firmly anchored to price stability. However, progress towards the other goals has been disappointing thus far partly owing to adverse shocks such as higher oil prices or exchange rate shifts. On unchanged policies and with population ageing the euro area's potential output growth is set to decelerate over the next decades and eventually stabilises at around 1% per annum by about 2020, as illustrated in the following scenario:
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Recent and prospective growth performance is good. The Greek economy has continued to grow vigorously, buoyed especially by low nominal and real interest rates and an expansionary fiscal policy stance, largely reflecting public works in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2004. The outlook is for some slowing activity in the near term, triggered by fiscal consolidation, but a subsequent pick-up in growth thereafter. However, inflation is likely to remain above the euro-area average, to a certain extent eroding Greece's international competitiveness. Fiscal consolidation is the main priority. The fiscal audit, performed by the new government in close collaboration with Eurostat has revealed a very loose fiscal policy since the late 1990s, culminating in a general government deficit of 6% of GDP in 2004. The government debt-to-GDP ratio has remained stubbornly above 100%, despite uninterrupted strong growth during the past eleven years. Reining in government deficits is of vital importance both to meet the fiscal objectives of EMU, and to prepare for demographically-related budget pressures that will start emerging in a decade's time. Moreover, sustained high public debt makes Greece relatively more vulnerable to changes in interest rates and market sentiment, while it's servicing threatens to crowd out public spending in areas important for Greece's ambitions to reach income levels elsewhere in the EU.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Swedish economy has undergone impressive changes and has delivered a remarkable surge in productivity since the mid-1990s. Consequently, per capita incomes are slowly making up the ground lost in earlier decades. Labour market performance, however, has been less inspiring. Employment rates have yet to recover to their 1990 peaks and hours of work need to increase to support the welfare state.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Spanish economy has enjoyed many years of brisk growth and has recovered swiftly from the recent international slowdown. Activity has been boosted by low interest rates and strong job creation, and underpinned by structural reforms and a sound fiscal policy. As a result, the income gap with the euro area steadily narrowed. However, tensions have arisen that could undermine the strong growth performance as inflation is relatively high, eroding competitiveness, while the surge in house prices does not yet show signs of abating. Also productivity gains have remained meagre and unemployment is still high.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The dominant challenge for Belgium in the years to come is to prepare for population ageing. This entails putting in place policies to attenuate its effects on economic growth and public finances. The few years left before large numbers of baby boomers retire provide a window of opportunity to push ahead with such policies and so preserve the essential elements of the system of social protection. First, further budget consolidation is required to put public finances on a sustainable path. Second, reforms are needed to increase employment rates, especially for the older working age-population, school leavers and ethnic minorities, and to slow the decline in working time. Finally, reforms are required to raise productivity growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Pro-Moscow security agencies in Chechnya won a major victory on March 7 with the surrender of Magomed Khambiev, minister of defense in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov. Many, though not all, reports of this event in the Russian media have failed to mention the key tactical method by which this victory was apparently achieved: The systematic targeting, kidnapping and torture of the Khambiev family's relatives.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Deregulating labour markets – for example making it easier for firms to hire and fire employees – is at the heart of the employment debate in many OECD countries. Laws on firing or layoffs and other employment protection regulations are thought by many to be a key factor in generating labour market "rigidity", as well as one reason for the large differences in labour market performance among OECD countries, notably between the United States and some of the larger European countries.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Convergence of the Portuguese economy toward the more advanced OECD economies seems to have halted in recent years, leaving a significant gap in per capita incomes. The proximate cause is low labour productivity, as employment rates across the board are substantially higher than the EU average. Nor is there a shortage of capital goods in aggregate. But capital equipment in the business sector is not always efficiently used or allocated, and new technologies are not readily adopted. Furthermore, the Portuguese labour force – even its younger members – have had less formal education than workers in other EU countries, including among the new entrants from Central and Eastern Europe, and workers in Portugal also have less access to training than in many other countries. Traditional Portuguese low value-added highly labourintensive products now face increasing competition from developing countries and from the new EU entrants.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Willy Lam, Richard A. Bitzinger, Alexandr Nemets, Enzio Von Pfeil
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In April, the European Union (EU) dodged a bullet by refusing to take up the issue of overturning its 15-year-old ban on selling arms to China. Supporters of lifting the embargo, led by France and Germany, are unlikely to abandon their quest, however, and the issue will likely come up again for review, perhaps as early as this summer. If it lifts the ban, the EU risks further damaging a transatlantic alliance already strained over Iraq and other issues, with very little likelihood that its defense industry would see much, if any, benefit.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Israel
  • Author: You Ji, Igor Rotar, Willy Lam, Eric Teo
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leadership has been at pains not to appear to be gloating over the American quagmire in Iraq. Yet in terms of geopolitical calculus, there is little doubt Beijing sees America's worsening problems in Iraq as beneficial to China's global standing, diplomatically and militarily. Capitalizing on fissures in the international community over Iraq and America's war on terror, China has strengthened ties with key members of the European Union and the United Nations in an effort to counterbalance U.S. hegemony. Meanwhile, Chinese experts' scrutiny of the exploits as well as challenges of American and Allied Forces in Iraq will have a big impact on the People's Liberation Army's (PLA) ambitious modernization drive.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Iraq, America, Europe, Israel, Beijing
  • Author: Richard Baldwin, Mika Widgren
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing Intergovernmental Conference (IGC 2003) must re-shape Giscard d'Estaing's draft into a Constitutional Treaty that can be signed and subsequently ratified by all 25 members of the enlarged European Union.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo, Arman Khachaturyan
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief criticis es the European Commission's proposal to mandate compliance with a local corporate governance code and to set minimum criteria for these codes. It argues that the European Commission missed an opportunity to set a European corporate governance code in the mid -1990s, and that much of the proposals are simply reactive to events and new legislation in the US. Europe should have highlighted the strength of its diversity, and emphasised that the basic elements of corporate governance are better controlled in the EU than t hey are in the US, rather than embarking on a complex harmonisation exercise.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Richard Baldwin, Mika Widgren
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU's draft Constitutional Treaty proposes the most radical reform of EU institutions ever put forward - more radical than those in the Single European Act, the Maastricht and Nice Treaties combined. Many of the changes have been debated, but little notice has been paid to what is perhaps the most critical reform: the change in the EU's decision-making procedures.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas L. Brewer
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper is based on an analysis of the results of more than 40 public opinion surveys taken during the period from 1989 through 2002; special attention is given to surveys taken during 2000-02. The analysis concludes that approximately two-fifths of the public are seriously concerned about global warming. Another two-fifths are moderately concerned; shifts in the opinions of this moderately concerned group would likely alter the future course of government policies. The other one-fifth of the public does not consider global warming much of a problem, does not worry about it very much or not at all, and does not believe that carbon dioxide emissions are a cause of it. A substantial majority of the US public wants the government to do something about the problem of global warming, and they would like the US to participate in the Kyoto Protocol. Most respondents prefer mandatory rather than voluntary emission reductions by industry. A majority of the public supports US economic assistance to fund mitigation projects in developing countries. Gaps between the US public and US leaders are evident, with the public exhibiting more concern and more support for new policies. The level of US public concern is nearly as high as it is among European publics, where there is also opposition to current US policy.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marc Houben, Dirk Peters
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Multinational military formations exist in many forms, shapes and colours. Their size varies; their raison d'être varies; the type of military units involved varies; and the countries involved vary. In most cases governments take into consideration the economic, militarytechnical and operational arguments for participation in a multinational formation. They participate because it will save them money for example, or it enables them to maintain a critical capability, such as F-16 fighter planes. States thus usually take care to shape the units in a way that contributions complement each in technical terms and that the whole unit pays off in economic terms. Not often, however, is the compatibility of the political systems of the participating countries taken into account when a multinational unit is formed. Our contention is that more attention should be paid to the political/institutional compatibility of participating states when creating multinational units. Some political systems are more compatible than others and this fact has consequences for the effectiveness of jointly owned multinational units.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Three years ago, after the Kosovo war and the launch of the Stability Pact for South East Europe, there was a spasm of interest in the idea of a stability pact for the Caucasus. However nothing came of this, since neither the region's leaders nor the international community were willing or able to do anything of substance, although a comprehensive proposal had been published by CEPS as a 'track 2' initiative. As a result, the de facto secessions of Abkhazia and Nagorno Karabakh have become more deeply entrenched, but only with the protection of Russia and Armenia, respectively, with which these entities have become increasingly integrated de facto. Since conventional diplomacy in the Caucasus under UN or OSCE auspices has failed to deliver solutions over a whole decade, we take a wider look here at the kind of solutions that may emerge for these so-called frozen conflicts of the European periphery. New developments external to the region are coming from the EU and the US: the widening of the Europeanisation process on the one hand, and the 'democratic imperialism' or Pax Americana coming out of Washington since 11 September 2001 and now the Iraq war. We explore below how these developments may affect the prospects for the Caucasus.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric Philippart
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Policy development in the EU is often impeded by member states being either unwilling or unable to participate. One way to overcome that problem is to resort to flexible approaches accommodating diversity. Convinced that an enlarged Union would require more flexibility, the current member states agreed in 1997 to introduce a new safety valve in the treaties, named 'enhanced cooperation'. Thanks to that mechanism, a group of member states may be authorised to use the EU framework to further their cooperation or integration in policy areas under EU competence whenever it appears impossible to do so with all of the member states.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is widely accepted that enlargement requires reform of the highest decision-making bodies of the European Central Bank (ECB). In particular, there are concerns that the Governing Council, which is composed of the six-member Executive Board of the ECB plus the governors of the participating national central banks (NCBs), will grow too large to work efficiently. In the absence of reform, it could end up having over 30 members - resembling more a mini-parliament than a decision-making body that has to manage a global currency in fast-moving financial markets. Moreover, the accession of a number of small countries is often perceived as a threat to the "power balance" in the Governing Council.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gráinne De Búrca, Jonathan Zeitlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Within the Convention process, the final reports of no less than four separate working groups - those on Simplification, Complementary Competences, Economic Governance and Social Europe - have come out in favour of including the 'Open Method of Coordination' (OMC) within the Constitutional Treaty. The relevant sections of these reports are attached in an annex.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: There is an urgent need to link the excessive deficit procedure with the issue of sustainability and hence the evolution of public debt. This note shows that there exists a simple way to introduce the evolution of public debt in the Stability Pact, which so far has focused exclusively on deficits. The link starts from the Maastricht criterion for participation in EMU concerning public debt and its reference value of 60% of GDP. The Maastricht criterion on public debt stipulates that if public debt exceeds 60% of GDP, it must be 'sufficiently diminishing and approaching the reference value at a satisfactory pace''.This note provides a numerical rule for evaluating whether public debt is indeed diminishing 'at a satisfactory pace'. This numerical rule is in accordance with the reference values in the Treaty and could be used as the basis for an 'excessive debt procedure'.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert Litan, Richard Herring
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: In 1999, after nearly twenty years of debate, the U.S. Congress finally passed legislation permitting bank affiliations with all sorts of other financial enterprises, and vice versa. In this step, the United States joined many other countries — especially in Europe and, more recently, Japan — in allowing the operation of financial conglomerates. But are financial conglomerates the wave of the future in finance? And if so, how are they to be regulated? These were the two central questions addressed in the fifth annual conference of the Brookings-Wharton Papers on Financial Services, an annual volume published by the Brookings Institution Press. The conference, held in October 2002 in Washington, D.C., convened financial services experts from around the world. The papers presented at the conference suggest, generally, that while the future may see more financial conglomerate activity than it has in the past, there still will be a role for specialist, or "monoline" financial companies. As for regulation, there is no settled model: some nations will pursue consolidated supervision, with authority over entire conglomerates vested in a single authority (often the central bank), while others will still regulate the pieces of diversified financial enterprises along structural lines.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Did the U.S. and Russian governments both know that, when Russian commandos stormed Moscow's Dubrovka theater in October of 2002, the Chechen terrorists inside it had already agreed to release several of their hostages, including U.S. citizen Sandy Booker? Booker's fiance, Svetlana Gubareva, says that the answer is Yes. Booker and Gubareva's 13-year-old daughter, Sasha, both died in the tragedy; Gubareva was also taken hostage but survived.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The purging from Chechnya's government structures of sup porters of the main opposition candidates in the recent election has apparently intensified since October 5. Marina Perevozkina of Moskovsky komsomolets reported in an October 21 article on her conversation with Salavat Gebertaev. He is the mayor of Urus-Martan, which lies southwest of Grozny, and was one of the leaders of the movement for the Urus-Martan district to secede from Dudaev's jurisdiction in 1994. Dudaev's army stormed his town four times. When Maskhadov came to power, Gebertaev was sentenced to death and for some time hid abroad; after returning he survived an assassination attempt that he believes was organized by Maskhadov's circle. “It would seem,” suggested Perevozkina, “that Moscow should be relying on precisely such people in Chechnya. But Gebertaev is a relative and friend of Malik Saidullaev [who tried to run for president against Kadyrov]. On top of that, he committed a terrible crime: He received from Saidullaev and distributed some 500 wheelchairs and 2,000 crutches. Because of this the head of the district administration told him on the day after the election: “From now on we will not work with you.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In a remarkably under reported statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently accused lower echelon U.S. government officials of meeting with known Chechen terrorists. On September 20, a few days before flying to the United States for his summit meeting with President George W. Bush, Putin met with several U.S. television journalists. Asked about Chechnya, the Russian president gave a long answer that mostly repeated points that he and his spokesmen have made before. But toward the end of his response he said the following (as translated by Chechnya Weekly from the text placed on the official website Kremlin.ru): “The United States has now voted in the Security Council in favor of recognizing several individuals as international terrorists. The State Department has announced that it has included several figures in its list of international terrorists. But unfortunately we know that on the executive level there are continuing attempts at contacts with some people under the pretense that what's happening is only work with the opposition. Even with people who are included on the United Nations list. These people come, say that they are 'political activists' and present them- selves in all sorts of guises. But I assure you, I know about this precisely—they are maintaining connections with their allies in Afghanistan, including those who have gone there from the Northern Caucasus of Russia and who are fighting with arms in their hands against American soldiers. Such absurdities on the working level must be stopped, the sooner the better.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, North Caucasus
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Have Chechen separatist guerrillas been fighting against the United States and its allies in places such as Iraq or Afghanistan—and if so, how many have been captured or killed? The U.S. government has been strikingly passive in seeking to learn (or, at least, in publicly disclosing) the answer to that question. Chechnya Weekly began pressing for a precise, concrete answer months ago, but we have yet to get one from the White House, Pentagon, or State Department.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Iraq, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Author: Seda Ciftci
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As Ankara struggled through its typically hot summer, the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) was hard at work. The Justice and Development Party (JDP) government, which has 366 seats in the 550-member TGNA, pushed through major legislative packages tied to European Union (EU) requirements for eventual Turkish membership just before its two-month legislative break on August 1. Parallel to its efforts related to its declared primary objective of EU membership, the government also managed to successfully conclude the fifth IMF review, leading to the release of a $500 million tranche and the easing of the debt repayment schedule by the IMF, while endeavoring to repair the crucial relationship with the US.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The following report discusses ways of enhancing the EU's effectiveness and impact as an international actor in the light of debates currently taking place within the Convention. Its central recommendations can be briefly summarised: Clarify and discard the more extreme variants of arguments pressing for a significant EU military capability. . Create a Commissioner for External Affairs to whom other Commissioners responsible for discreet aspects of this portfolio would report. . Recreate the Political Committee, composed of Political Directors. Create a Council of Defence Ministers. Reinforce the role of the High Representative in several ways: increase the financial resources at his/her disposal; allow him/her to chair the COPS. Create an EU Security Council comprising the HR, the Secretary General of t the Council, the Commissioner for External Relations, the Presidency (in order to ensure coherence with EU internal action), the chief of the EU military staff and senior representatives from the troika.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thomas L. Brewer
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Questions about the interface between the multilateral climate regime embodied in the Kyoto Protocol and the multilateral trade regime embodied in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have become especially timely since the fall of 2001. At that time, ministerial-level meetings in Marrakech and Doha agreed to advance the agendas, respectively, for the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and for negotiations on further agreements at the WTO. There have been concerns that each of these multilateral arrangements could constrain the effectiveness of the other, and these concerns will become more salient with the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. There are questions about whether and how the rights and obligations of the members of the WTO and the parties to the Protocol may conflict. Of particular concern is members of the WTO and the parties to the Protocol may conflict. Of particular concern is whether provisions in the Protocol, as well as government policies and business activities undertaken in keeping with those provisions, may conflict with the WTO non-discrimination principles of national treatment and most-favoured nation treatment.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The 'Wider Europe' may, and certainly should, become one of the big next issues on the policy agenda of the European Union following the enlargement decisions to be taken in Copenhagen in December. Indeed the practical concerns raised by the forthcoming enlargement for the EU's periphery to the North, East and South are already crowding in. A new vocabulary is sprouting up in Brussels, call it as you wish: 'Wider Europe', or 'Proximity Policy', or 'Neighbourhood Policy'. What is certain is that the Wider Europe will not go away.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joanna Apap, Malcolm Anderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: From the initiation of the debate about Europol in the late 1980s, some law enforcement agencies and political thinkers developed a concept of security that links together broad categories of activities: terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime, transborder crime, illegal immigration, asylum seekers, and minority ethnic groups. This conception represents a variety of very different problems as elements of one general security threat. In addition, there has been a blurring of the distinction between internal and external security, as the threat of a conventional military attack on Western Europe has declined. This idea has been sharply criticised, by those such as Didier Bigo, (who has labelled this concept a security continuum,)1 for linking very different activities, profiling of groups and criminalising illegal immigrants. It is also objectionable on grounds that it categorises difficult problems as security threats too quickly and too emphatically. A crucial element in the merging of internal and external security has been the re-classification of undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers as problems of security. But the linkage between security fields lies at the core of the redefinition of the West European security following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Integration of the tasks and functions of police services, immigration services, customs and intelligence services, is sustained by the gradual re-shaping of the security continuum under the pressure of events, such as, most dramatically, the terrorist attacks of September 2001.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Bruno Coppieters
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: At a meeting in Kiev on 1-3 July 2002, the mediators for the Moldovan- Transdniestria conflict proposed, at the initiative of the OSCE, a draft agreement on the constitutional system that would regulate the distribution of competencies between Chisinau and Tiraspol. This draft agreement defines the Republic of Moldova as a “federal state”. The implementation of the agreement would be monitored and ultimately guaranteed by the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the OSCE.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sylvia Ostry
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Over the decade of the 1990s, the deepening integration of the global economy accelerated as trade, financial flows, and foreign direct investment were liberalised. This deepening integration is, in part, a "natural" phenomenon, fed and now led by technological changes in information, communication and transport and is driving in the direction of a single global market. But, of course, governments have played an important role and international economic policy has facilitated - or perhaps even catalysed - the momentum. And the "natural" and "policy" forces are interrelated in a complex fashion that reflects the nature of the policy process . This process differs in different policy domains - for example trade versus financial or development policy. Yet it's important to underline that trade policy has indeed played a major catalytic role in fostering global integration.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jaba Devdariani, Blanka Hancilova
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Georgian government fails to exercise effective control over parts of its territory. In the last decade, Georgian statehood has been threatened by a civil war and secessionist conflicts. Its government has failed to reform its armed forces and has lost control over the Pankisi Gorge, a sparsely populated patch of the Caucasus Mountains on the border to Chechnya. Some hundreds Chechen fighters including several dozen Islamic extremists connected to the al-Qaeda network are believed to be hiding in that area. After the attacks on the United States on 11 September, the risks posed by failing states in the propagation of international terrorist networks are being taken more seriously into consideration. 2 The US decision to send up to 200 special operation forces to Georgia in March 2002, in order to train Georgian forces to regain control over the Pankisi Gorge, proceeds from this logic.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Johan F.M. Swinnen
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) accounts for 45% of the total EU budget. Will its extension to Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) break the EU budget? The 10 CEECs currently negotiating for membership would increase the number of farmers by 120% and would increase the area under cultivation by 42%. It is thus widely expected that enlargement will dramatically increase the cost of the CAP.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU's financial sector has been undergoing an almost continuous wave of de- or reregulation since the late 1980s. The Single Market programme with minimal harmonisation and home country control was implemented in successive periods for banking, insurance and the securities markets. By the end of the 1990s, however, under the impact of EMU, it was clear that this was not sufficient, and a Financial Services Action Programme set a schedule for the adoption of 42 directives to create a truly integrated financial market by 2005. Moreover, a Committee of Wise Men under the chairmanship of Alexandre Lamfalussy made proposals to ease the adaptation of EU financial regulations to market developments.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The three years since the start of EMU have been characterised by an extraordinary degree of volatility in global financial and other markets (oil, etc.). Most official comments have so far focused on the fact that Europe has remained an 'island of stability'. But this self congratulatory tone cannot mask the fact that EU institutions have generally not been in the forefront of the efforts to stabilise the global economy. This is partly understandable as most of the volatility originated outside the EU. But just 'putting one's own house in order' does not seem to be sufficient when global economic (or political) stability is at stake, as recent events amply demonstrate.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gabriela Martin Thornton
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, quickly followed by German reunification, scholars of the European Union have emphasised that one of the most salient consequences of these events would be the enlargement of the European Union. Many have claimed that enlargement would mean galvanising the German power within the European Union, by placing Germany at the geographical heart of Europe. Enlargement was perceived either as undermining the Franco-German relationship, or even more, as replacing it by increased German connections with Eastern European countries (Braun, 1996, p. 158). The IGC in Nice struggled to reform the EU institutions in order to accommodate future members. The Treaty of Nice has generated fear within certain Western circles. Some political analysts already announced the end of Jean Monnet's “Europe”, the triumph of Germany, and with the future inclusion of Central and East European countries (CEECs), the birth of a “Europe” less “European”. Since Nice, a sea of metaphors has sparkled over the Western European newspapers with regard to “the return to Europe” of the CEECs. Nonetheless, many scholars seem to agree with Stanley Hoffman who points out that the expansion toward the east is seen as necessary in order “to provide stability in the more troublesome part of the continent and in order to protect fledgling democracy there.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Judit Tóth
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: When one considers the substance of European Union (EU) official documents in a simplified way, national and ethnical minorities may appear in three contexts. The first belongs to external relations (common foreign and security policy), which cover minorities as a matter of human rights in third countries. These documents call upon the (third) countries concerned to respect human rights and international and European standards on minorities' rights that are also endorsed by the EU. In this regard, the legislation being developed in view of a common European migration policy contains provisions about the respect of minority rights in order to prevent further migration waves.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary
  • Author: Péter Kovács
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The subject of this paper is undoubtedly of paramount importance for a number of Central and East European countries. The image of a “Schengen Fortress” in statu nascendi is disappointing even for those who are enthusiastic about the accession of their countries to a unified Europe. There is a widespread fear – rational or not – that cross-border human contacts and travel possibilities from East to West will become more difficult than they were in the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The same feeling can be detected even in the Balkans, where certain countries also show symptoms of the “Schengen Fortress”.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Olga Potemkina
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Does Russia need international cooperation? This question may seem rhetorical, to which one would give a positive response, but the findings of a public opinion survey conducted by the independent Russian research organisation ROMIR clearly suggest otherwise. In April 2001, a total of 1,500 Russians were polled in 160 locations in 94 villages, towns and cities, in 40 regions, territories and republics of the Russian Federation. The questions asked concerned several key aspects of EU-Russian relations and the need for increased cooperation with international organisations.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Yuri Borko
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Strictly speaking, there are two groups of problems related to this topic. Firstly, there are some particular issues arising from the enlargement process; namely the movement of goods and people between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia, including visa regime, energy supply of the region, trans-border cooperation and fisheries. To solve these problems or not to solve them is like Hamlet's dilemma “to be or not to be”. These problems have to be solved by the Union and Russia, with the participation, at least jointly, of Poland and Lithuania.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Poland, Lithuania
  • Author: Ferruccio Pastore
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In order to understand the Italian perspective – or rather the Italian perspectives – on the shift eastward of EU external borders, it is useful, if not necessary, to anticipate briefly a few schematic concepts about the meaning of borders in Italian history. This will enable us to achieve a better understanding of current Italian attitudes in the European debate on border management issues in the framework of the enlargement process. But a rapid overview on the recent transformation of the nature and function of borders in the Italian case will also allow us to draw some tentative lessons for the ongoing enlargement process in the field of Justice and Home Affairs.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Moritz Meier-Ewert
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In January 2001, the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS) presented its latest proposals for a revised Capital Adequacy Accord. The aim of this revision is to address some of the perceived shortcomings of the 1988 Accord, which is currently being applied. These new proposals include a number of important improvements, but unfortunately there is a serious risk that in some areas they are overshooting their target. As a result they could have adverse consequences not only for the structure of the banking industry, but also for developing countries and for systemic stability. Indeed, if implemented in its current form, the Accord could lead to a serious round of consolidation in the banking sector resulting in the domination of the market by a handful of internationally active banks, widen the amplitudes of business cycles as well as increase the frequency of financial crisis through enhanced procyclicality, and effectively cut off a number of developing country borrowers from bank-finance.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric Philippart
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2000, the Heads of State or Government reckoned that once the institutional changes proposed in the Treaty of Nice were ratified, the Union would be ready for the accession of new member states. Acknowledging that the post-Nice design was certainly not optimal, they also agreed in a Declaration annexed to the Treaty to convene an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in 2004. It stipulated that Treaty changes would only be decided after two intermediary phases aimed at deepening and widening the debate on the future of the European Union: an 'open reflection' phase encouraging wide-ranging exchanges of views in multiple national and European fora, to be followed by a phase of 'structured reflection' scheduled for 2002-3. The format of the second phase was to be defined during the European Council bringing the Belgian Presidency to a close. On 15 December 2001, the Laeken 'Declaration on the Future of the European Union' was indeed adopted. No less than 56 substantive questions were proposed as a starting point for the debate to be conducted by an ad hoc structure made of a Convention flanked by a Forum. The Declaration not only defined the mandate and the institutional contours of the new structure, it also provided a number of indications on how it should proceed in terms of deliberation, drafting and decision-making.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joanna Apap
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The judgment in the case of Conka v. Belgium of 5 February 2002 by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg whereby Belgium was founded guilty of infringing the European Convention on Human Rights, has much wider implications than one might think on a first reading.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Guido Tabellini
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: How should tasks be divided between the EU and its member states? And what institutional reforms are needed to insure that these tasks (but only these tasks) are efficiently performed by the EU? This is the main problem to be addressed at the upcoming European Convention. This paper argues that EU tasks in the first pillar should not be expanded further, though some changes in the direction of both more and less intervention are desirable. The single market remains to be better enforced, and this might require further centralization of tasks. On the other hand, EU meddling with redistribution should be scaled back; this would imply reforming and reducing EU intervention in agricultural policy, structural funds and the social charter. In other words, EU intervention in the first pillar should mainly aim at making sure that the single market works as effectively as possible, and at fostering competition between EU member states. Redistribution should remain a national prerogative. EU tasks should instead be expanded outside of the first pillar, namely in foreign and defense policies, in internal security and immigration. The paper ends with a discussion of what institutional reforms might be needed to accompany this allocation of tasks and increase accountability of EU decisions. Appropriate reforms should keep in mind the distinction between "bureaucratic accountability" (i.e. the control of appointed bureaucrats with a narrowly defined mission) and "democratic accountability" (i.e., the control of elected politicians with an open mandate). The former type of accountability is the most relevant in Europe today, given the lack of a true and complete European polity, and this has relevant implications for task allocation and institutional reforms.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gary Burtless, Holger Schaefer
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: For more than a decade, Germany has suffered high rates of unemployment and very slow employment growth. Workers who have lost their jobs face unusually long spells of unemployment, in part because the adverse incentives of the German unemployment compensation system provide strong impetus for unemployed workers to remain jobless.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Latin America
  • Author: Veronique de Rugy, Charles V. Peña
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The threat of direct terrorist attack against the United States proved to be real. And the subsequent anthrax cases point to the possibility of a future bioterrorist attack, including use of the deadly smallpox virus. The nature of terrorism is such that it is impossible to accurately predict the probability of such an attack, but the potential consequences are catastrophic. Therefore, it is a serious threat that deserves serious attention.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Doug Bandow
  • Publication Date: 04-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The United States possesses the most powerful military on earth, one that has proved its potency in ousting the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Yet, even as the military was gearing up to perform so well, some people were calling for a return to conscription or, more dramatically, for institution of mandatory national service for all young people.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Europe, Taliban