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  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The large emigration of youths is the clearest sign of extreme domestic discontent with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki's government. Social malaise is pervasive. An ever-growing number of young people have fled over the last decade, frustrated by open-ended national service – initiated in 1995 and expanded during the war with Ethiopia (1998-2000). Yet, this flight has resulted in neither reforms nor a viable movement to create an alternative to the current government. Once outside, the ties that bind émigrés to their birthplace are strong and lead them to give financial support to the very system they escaped, through the 2 per cent tax many pay the state as well as remittances sent home to family members.
  • Topic: Economics, Labor Issues, Immigration, Youth Culture, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The task of ensuring the democratic legitimacy of the euro has been placed high on the agenda. A eurozone subcommittee in the European Parliament is one of the rare concrete proposals to secure this, creating high hopes. Due to legal and political hurdles the idea might nonetheless have minimal results, which might result in suboptimal parliamentary scrutiny of the eurozone. This Policy Brief argues that if a eurozone subcommittee is to be both meaningful and politically feasible, it should combine substantial competences with innovative decision-making.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Patrick Nopens
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: ISAF's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 will directly impact the wider region. Not only is there a risk of instability spilling over to Central Asia, but the drawdown will also accelerate the ongoing shift in the balance of power in Central Asia towards China. Should a spillover occur, the burden will mainly fall on Russia and China. Russia will, however, only continue playing the dominant role in the security of the former Soviet Central Asia (FSCA) until China takes on responsibility for the security of its direct sphere of influence or "dingwei". Russia's Near Abroad, however, overlaps both with the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood in Europe and China's dingwei in Central Asia and the Far East. It is, therefore, necessary to approach Russian reactions to these encroachments on its historical spheres of influence in a single context, taking into account the interrelationship between these three.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, Europe, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: When they meet at NATO's Wales Summit in Newport on 4-5 September, the European Heads of State and Government should not see this as the first chapter of a new book, but as the next chapter of an existing one. The previous chapter was their meeting in Brussels last December for the European Council. The title of the book is European defence.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sven Biscop, Jo Coelmont
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: If a set of investors plan a grand apartment building in which they can each afford just one apartment, they need an architect to design a building that is both affordable and that meets all their needs, to negotiate with the constructor, and to ensure follow - up. When building capabilities for European defence, the sole possible architect is the European Defence Agency (EDA). Those who have to reach consensus and invest are the EU Member States. And there is even a European Investment Bank (EIB) to assist them.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Jo Coelmont
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Cardiff has the potential to turn into a "great meeting", if the focus is on forging a new and attractive narrative to underpin a solid transatlantic security relationship, in which NATO finds its place. But Europeans must become serious on defence-and not only because the US asks for it. Otherwise, the EU and for sure the European States will become strategic bystanders and even objects of great power competition. That would be a real game-changer. That is why, in Cardiff, "we" ought to be ambitious enough to deal with the real issues, including the relationship between NATO and the CSDP.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Sanna Salo
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the May 2014 European Parliament elections, Eurosceptic parties mobilized on a new cleavage between the winners and losers of globalization, which mainstream parties have neglected. The Eurosceptic surge should not be regarded merely as populism or protest, but a legitimate articulation of concerns about the new economic underclass - the globalization losers. The articulation of the new cleavage varies according to domestic political contexts and traditions: in France, the Front National mobilized on themes of ethnic unity and national sovereignty; in Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland raised concerns over monetary independence in the eurozone, while in the UK, UKIP campaigned with anti-immigration and economic welfare themes. Since the EP elections, the Eurosceptics have seemed intent on polishing their images and on being perceived as respectable office-seeking parties, both in the EP and at domestic levels. Respectability requires a non-xenophobic agenda: in the EP, other Eurosceptics refused to cooperate with the FN due to the party's anti-semitic past; yet the AfD, mobilizing on a more economic agenda, managed to join the ECR group dominated by British Conservatives, while UKIP managed to reform its EFD group.
  • Topic: Globalization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Domhnall O'Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The first concerns the fundamental methodological logic of the policy instruments underpinning EU action in its neighbourhood. Historically, a certain duality has existed between the multilateral regionalism of grand approaches towards the south and the bilateral realism which often comes to the fore. According to institutional dynamics and preferences – as well as vacillating local conditions – the EU has moved back and forth along this continuum.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Sam Perlo-Freeman, Carina Solmirano
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
  • Abstract: Global military expenditure fell in 2013, by 1.9 per cent in real terms, to reach $1747 billion. This was the second consecutive year in which spending fell, and the rate of decrease was higher than the 0.4 per cent fall in 2012.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sophie Bloemen, Tessel Mellema, Leïla Bodeux
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The failure of the current pharmaceutical research and development (R) system is revealed by the World Health Organization (WHO) alert about the lack of effective medicines to address antimicrobial resistance, and the absence of a treatment for the deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging communities in West Africa at the time of writing.
  • Topic: Health, International Trade and Finance, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hannah Stoddart, Lydia Prieg, Joseph Zacune
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The world produces enough food to feed everyone. But every day more than 800 million people go to bed hungry. This is a scandal and climate change is set to make things even worse.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristi Raik, Juha Jokela, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has responded to the Ukraine crisis with a set of political and economic sanctions against Russia which constitute a qualitatively new step in the EU sanctions policy. The EU sanctions against Russia are exceptional and have strategic importance due to a combination of three factors: big power rivalry, the context of a major European crisis with global ramifications, and the costs of the sanctions for the EU itself. The EU has managed to maintain its fragile unity and has applied its collective diplomatic and economic weight in very difficult circumstances. The sanctions have not provided an alternative to diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis - on the contrary, hardening sanctions have been used as a way to put pressure on Russia to seriously engage in diplomacy. The impact of the sanctions on daily developments in Ukraine has been limited and uncertain, but the sanctions have imposed a long-term cost on Russia for violating key international norms. The policy process of Russia sanctions has exposed problems of leadership and coordination. The latest reform of the EU foreign policy machinery has streamlined the preparation of sanctions, but the current system still lacks the necessary resources to match the growing importance of the EU sanctions policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Willem Pieter De Groen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Comprehensive Assessment conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) representsa considerable step forward in enhancing transparency ineuro-area banks' balance sheets. The most notable progress since the previous European stress test has been the hamonisation of the definition of non-performing loans and other concepts as well as uncovering hidden losses, which resulted in a €34 billion aggregate capital-chargenet of tax. Despite this tightening,most banks were able to meet the 5.5% common equity tier 1 (CET1) threshold applied in the test, whichsuggests that the large majority of the euro-area banks have improvedtheir financial position sufficiently to no longer constrainthem in financing the economy.Our own estimation based on the detailed results, however,provide a more nuanced picture, with a large numberof the banks still highly leveraged and in many cases unable to meet the regulatory capital requirementsthat will be introduced in the coming years underthe adverse stress test scenario.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Global Recession
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: It is a damning reflection of our times that one of the EU's most successful foreign policy achievements has never been under so much criticism. During the recent elections for the European Parliament, populist eurosceptic parties were in the forefront of those campaigning against the EU's enlargement agenda. Their attempts at equating further enlargement with the dangers of increased immigration from Turkey, the Western Balkans and even other EU member states were bolstered by the leaders of some long-standing member states, such as the UK, openly calling for restrictions on freedom of movement — one of the fundamental pillars of the EU.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Weinian Hu
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Policy Brief is based on a larger study for the EEAS and European Commission, written by the same authors in the run-up of the Milan ASEM summit of 16-17 October 2014. The main idea of the study is to assess whether ASEM works and how, by verifying the factual evidence in detail. After all, ASEM has no institutions, no budget and no treaty, whilst dialogues and a loose improvement over time in Asia-Europe relations refer to process much more than genuine 'results'. The stocktaking covers all ASEM activities since the 2006 Helsinki summit. Summit and foreign ministers' declarations and ASEM calendar of activities (and interviews) are used to trace ASEM activities in the three ASEM pillars (political, economic, and peoples-to-peoples/cultural). All the 'regular' ASEM meetings at ministerial and other levels (many of which are only known to relatively few) have been mapped. Also the ASEM working methods, based on the 2000AECF framework and many subsequent initiatives, have been scrutinised, including whether they are actually implemented or not or partially. Such methods refer to how to work together in areas of cooperation (beyond the typical ASEM dialogue), organisation, coordination and ASEM visibility.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Denis Cenusa, Tamara Kovziridse, Veronika Movchan
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While EU and US sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia's counter-sanctions, are much discussed due to their evident political significance, less attention has been given to Russia's punitive sanctions against the three Eastern European states – Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia – that have signed with the EU Association Agreements (AA), which include Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) provisions. This paper therefore documents these trade policy restrictions and embargoes imposed by Russia, and provides some first indications of their impact. The immediate impact on trade flows, especially for agri-food products, has been substantial, albeit with some leakage through Belarus. The main instrument for the Russian measures has been allegations of non-conformity with Russian technical standards, although the correlation of these allegations with movements in Russia's geopolitical postures makes it obvious that the Russian technical agencies are following political guidelines dressed up as scientific evidence. These measures also push the three states into diversifying their trade marketing efforts in favour of the EU and other world markets, with Georgia already having taken significant steps in this direction, since in its case the Russian sanctions date back to 2006. In the case of Ukraine, Russia's threat to cancel CIS free trade preferences infiltrated trilateral talks between the EU, Ukraine and Russia, leading on 12 September to their proposed postponement until the end of 2015 of the 'provisional' implementation of a large part of the AA/DCFTA. This was immediately followed on 16 September by ratification of the AA/DCFTA by both the Rada in Kyiv and the European Parliament, which will lead to its full and definitive entry into force when the 28 EU member states have also ratified it. However Putin followed the day after with a letter to Poroshenko making an abusive interpretation of the 12 September understanding.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: In April 2014, in a departure from its normal aversion to lending to countries in conflict, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a US$17 billion loan to Ukraine to be disbursed over two years. At the time, Ukraine was three weeks away from a presidential election; engaged in combat with an armed separatist movement backed by Russia, its largest trading partner and supplier of energy; and experiencing a significant drain in foreign exchange reserves and bank deposits along with soaring yields on sovereign debt. The country was also reaping the returns of decades of economic mismanagement. Dire from both political and economic perspectives, the situation had the markings of a case where the IMF has the expertise to be usefully engaged, but there were also red flags demarcating circumstances that can hobble the IMF's effectiveness.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Domenico Lombardi, Barry Carin, David Kempthorne
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The annual CIGI Survey of Progress in International Economic Governance assesses progress in four dimensions of international economic governance: macroeconomic and financial cooperation; cooperation on financial regulation; cooperation on trade; and cooperation on climate change. Governance related to these dimensions is scored on the following progress scale: 0%-19% represents "major regression"; 20%-39% represents "some regression"; 40%-59% indicates "minimal progress"; 60%-79% characterizes progress; and 80%-100% represents "major progress." Recognizing the difficulty of making objective judgments given the complexity of the issues, the results are offered as a range of subjective opinions from CIGI experts with diverse backgrounds.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Christopher Musselman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis demonstrates that European security can no longer be taken for granted and that NATO and the broader transatlantic community are struggling to address emerging security challenges. Whether Russia is classified revanchist, expanding its sphere of influence, or seeking to create regional hegemony, Putin's actions in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine are a stark reminder that the era of geopolitical competition in Europe is far from over. The transatlantic community must be ready to deal with similar challenges in the decades ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Ukraine has experienced a year of unprecedented political, economic, and military turmoil. The combination of Russian military aggression in the east and a legacy of destructive policies leading to pervasive corruption has plunged the country into an existential crisis. The West, meanwhile, has been largely paralyzed with uncertainty over how to assist Ukraine without reviving Cold War hostilities. Yet all is not lost for Ukraine. A tenuous ceasefire, along with the successful elections of President Petro Poroshenko in May and a new parliament in October offer an opportunity for economic reform. If the current ceasefire in the east holds, Ukraine has a great opportunity to break out of its vicious circle of economic underperformance. Yet, the window of opportunity is likely to be brief. The new government will have to act fast and hard on many fronts to succeed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine