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  • Author: Simeon Djankov
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the 15 years of President Vladimir Putin's rule, state control over economic activity in Russia has increased and is greater today than in the immediate postcommunist era. The concentration of political and economic power in Putin's hands has led to an increasingly assertive foreign policy, using energy as a diplomatic tool, while plentiful revenues from extractive industries have obfuscated the need for structural reforms at home. The West's 2014 sanctions on Russia have brought about economic stagnation, and with few visible means of growth, the economy is likely to continue to struggle. Watching Europe struggle with its own growth, in part because of deficiencies in its economic model, Russia will not be convinced to divert from state capitalism without evidence of a different, successful economic model. Changing course can only be pursued in the presence of political competition; the current political landscape does not allow for such competition to flourish
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: After surviving its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and the near collapse of its common currency, Europe is now engulfed by hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa. It needs new and permanent migration institutions and resources not only to accommodate the influx of refugees but also to set up a new border control system throughout the region. These demands pose a challenge for European policymaking as serious as the euro crisis of the last five years. Kirkegaard proposes a migration and mobility union, to be implemented gradually, with the goal of comprehensively reforming European migration policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Angel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The rules and buffers created in the last few years to enable the euro area to withstand another sudden stop of credit and market-driven panic in one or more of its member states are welcome steps, but they are widely recognized as inadequate. Ubide proposes creating a system of stability bonds in the euro area, to be issued by a new European Debt Agency, to partially finance the debt of euro area countries—up to 25 percent of GDP. These stability bonds should be initially backed by tax revenues transferred from national treasuries, but ultimately by the creation of euro area–wide tax revenues, and used to fund the operations of national governments. They could also be used for euro area–wide fiscal stimulus, to complement the fiscal policies of member states. Such bonds would strengthen the euro area economic infrastructure, creating incentives for countries to reduce their deficits but not forcing them to do so when such actions would drive their economies further into a downturn. The bonds would permit the euro area to adopt a more flexible or expansionary fiscal policy during recessions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, GDP
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alan Riley
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Germany may be seeking to expedite the construction of Russia's Nordstream 2 pipeline by shielding the controversial project from tough the laws of the European Union (EU), according to a transcript of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Energy Minster Sigmar Gabriel, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Alan Riley writes in "Nordstream 2: Too Many Obstacles, Legal, Economic, and Political to Be Delivered?".
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Marko Lovec
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: The recent food security crisis has shed light on the importance of agricultural development in the South Mediterranean countries. An ‘urban bias’ and ‘trade liberalisation’ policies have resulted in growing dependence on imports, narrow specialisations and unsustainable production practices. The Euro-Mediterranean integration process has put trade liberalisation in the centre of attention, while the progress in agriculture has been limited. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the challenges faced by agro-food systems in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Countries, with specific attention to the role of the Euro-Mediterranean integration and the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. The paper also reviews relevant economic and environmental data in selected South and East Mediterranean countries.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Food
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During his first visit to Warsaw after re-election as prime minister of the UK, David Cameron found an ally in support of one of his ideas to reform the EU. Rafał Trzaskowski, the Polish minister for Europe, speaking on behalf of the Polish government, officially endorsed the British position to strengthen national parliaments in EU policymaking. Yet, the proposals to date either require treaty changes or are merely technical adjustments. In fact, much more could be achieved by enhancing the mechanisms of inter-parliamentary cooperation within the existing scope of the treaties. Although this would play very well with the current institutional climate of better regulation and more transparency, it also requires a genuine political will on the side of EU institutions and Member States, which seem to be the missing link.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Patryk Kuglel
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU-India Strategic Partnership launched in 2004 has made only modest achievements and needs a thorough rethink. Both sides must reset cooperation and base it on a more realistic footing centred on common interests, such as economic cooperation, global governance, development cooperation, and defence. The resumption of free trade negotiations, the organisation of a long overdue bilateral summit, and more frank dialogue on contentious issues is necessary in order to utilise the partnership’s potential. Poland may use this strategic drift to revitalise bilateral cooperation and play a more active role in reviving EU-India dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, India
  • Author: Filippos Proedrou
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Mainstream discourse on energy security is premised upon the assumption of infinite growth. It hence focuses upon the economic, political, and security aspects of energy security. Consequently, it fails to provide satisfactory answers to the global environmental, energy, economic, geopolitical, and developmental challenges. An alternative paradigm is for this reason in demand. Ecological economics makes a strong case for disentangling prosperity from growth and studies how a substantial retreat of energy consumption is not only feasible, but will also efficiently address the sustainability challenge and enhance overall energy security. It also suggests how it can alleviate geopolitical and developmental tensions. Ultimately, the paper poses the fundamental question of how valid our assumptions are to lead us into a better, and sustainable, future.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Selena Florensa
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: This document is the result of the high level working group of the MED Confederation on financial reform held on the 16th and 17th of June 2014 in Promos – Milan Chamber of Commerce. On that occasion, more than 30 international experts debated how to reform the banking sector in the Mediterranean neighbourhood as a key need to better contribute to the socioeconomic and business development of these economies. They also analysed how to improve the performance and impact of private equity in these countries to consolidate their development and their international cooperation. Finally, mobile banking was the third financial segment studied as a way of improving financial inclusion in these societies.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Petr Kratochvil, Vit Beneš
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: his paper was prepared for the Prague European Summit. "The refugee crisis can become – in spite of the underlying tragedy – a moment of glory for the European Union. Suffering from crises of both identity and confidence, the EU can find itself again by drawing inspiration from its history and values and renew its purpose at home and abroad. If the EU manages to reform its outdated migration and asylum policies, offering the war refugees a friendly welcome, it will prove that the fears of its weakness are exaggerated and the rumours about its erosion are unfounded. If decisive action is taken by European leaders, the result will be of benefit for both the refugees and the societies as well as economies of the recipient countries. War refugees – and even economic migrants – are not a threat; they are an opportunity for the EU to prove that it still stands firm on the principles of peace, solidarity and openness, on which it had been originally built."
  • Topic: Refugees, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe