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  • Author: Tanja Tamminen
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty and the European External Action Service provide the EU with an excellent framework for comprehensive and effective crisis prevention and crisis management work. They just need to be utilised to the full. The security and development nexus can only be enhanced through long-term perspectives. Rather than renewing its general security strategy, the EU's focus should be on preparing tailor made and institutionally endorsed regional approaches and strategies, where the broad objectives would be operationalized into more concrete goals. In conflict-prone regions, goal-setting should be carried out through full participation with the beneficiary countries and their civil societies. Dialogue and mediation are perfect tools for achieving reconciliation and stability, and need to be utilized at every stage of comprehensive crisis management and at different levels of society. Comprehensive EU activities in the field of crisis prevention and crisis management should be duly evaluated, as only by looking at the bigger picture can lessons truly be learned and endorsed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland's decision to acquire advanced semi-stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) from the United States is much more than an arms deal – it has significant political and regional military implications. Finland is only the second country to be approved for JASSM. No NATO country has ever received such approval. This suggests something about the closeness of the relationship between the United States and Finland, as well as something about how the United States sees European and regional defence arrangements. In the web of multilateral, multinational and bilateral relationships that Finland is weaving to enhance its security, the US relationship is a key cable The JASSM acquisition significantly changes Finland's ability to disrupt enemy activities, both within Finland and beyond its borders. Despite being a conventional weapon, it will serve as a deterrent. Finnish decision-makers have a responsibility to understand both the implications of the new capabilities, and to ensure that the continued development of the Finnish Defence Forces is not inhibited due to misunderstandings of what a modern defence requires and consists of.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Finland
  • Author: Anaïs Marin
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One should not expect the 23 September election to comply with democratic standards. The current legislation in Belarus does not guarantee a free and fair process. The institutional setting prevents a transparent vote count and the election of opposition candidates. Yet, in sending a full-fledged observation mission to Belarus, the OSCE again appears to be giving official Minsk the benefit of the doubt. Breaking the vicious circle of external regime legitimation would require consistency and restraint in giving this periodic electoral farce any credence whatsoever. Imitating procedural democracy brings regime consolidation for Lukashenka: enticing the opposition forces – and their Western supporters for that matter – into the electoral trap is a preemptive scheme to disqualify them. Decapitated, divided, distrusted, the opposition is incapable of carrying out regime change. The regime's repressive build-up also dissuades Belarusians from mobilising to contest the predictable fraud – for now. They are nonetheless expressing increasing demands for independent election monitoring. In view of the 2015 presidential elections, the EU should invest more in the capacity-building and training of civil society actors, notably domestic election observers. Turning voters into reliable rule of law watchdogs could raise awareness in, and demand for democracy in Belarus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belarus
  • 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: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European sovereign debt crisis is the result of capital flows across the single market. The danger that such capital flows could unleash market speculation was known from the start; indeed, the single currency was created to remove the threat of exchange rate instability. The problem is that the architects of the single currency did not consider the impact of capital market integration on the banking sector or on the relationship between banks and national governments. Once markets lost confidence in the security of their cross-border investments, investors began to pull back their capital and the internal market for financial services started to disintegrate. The creation of a banking union is part of the solution. However, the euro area also needs a common 'risk-free' asset to use as a safe haven in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: 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: Johanna Nykänen
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question in Turkey is one of the most pressing issues facing the EU in its near neighbourhood. It involves a rights-based dimension caused by the lack of cultural rights and freedoms for the Kurds, and a security dimension caused by the violent conflict between the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish military. It has the potential to destabilise Turkey as well as its Kurdish-inhabited neighbours of Iran, Iraq and Syria, with ramifications for Turkey's EU membership negotiations and the EU 's foreign-policy goals in the region. The EU is also directly intertwined with the issue, not least because of its large and active Kurdish diaspora. As such, the EU has a major stake in finding a solution to the question.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Antto Vihma
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Cancún climate meeting adopted a package of decisions to numerous standing ovations. However, it did so against loud and formal protests from Bolivia, stretching the concept of “consensus” more than ever before within the UN climate regime. The Cancún meeting also brought to everyone's attention the inconvenient truth that decision-making in the UNFCCC exists in a legal vacuum. The Conference of the Parties has never agreed its Rules of Procedure, and has during its 17-year history operated with draft Rules of Procedure without voting rules, under a general agreement that decisions are taken by “consensus”. In the light of the dramatic events in the recent Copenhagen and Cancún meetings, as well as the daunting prospects of achieving a ratifiable legal instrument for post-2012, it is clear that the relationship between consent and authority has become too flimsy to provide an unproblematic basis of legitimacy for the UNFCCC's decision-making. The 2000s led to the erosion of UNFCCC's legitimacy as a decision-making arena, especially in the subjective views of Northern governments as well as considerable parts of the expert community and the public in general. This trend led to an outburst of UN scepticism after the Copenhagen meeting, declaring the UN climate regime to be a “multilateral zombie”. While the Cancún meeting has been criticised with arguments based on process and legitimacy, from a broader perspective it seems likely that achieving decisions with some substance is actually the primary need in securing the legitimacy of the UN process. Had the Cancún agreement been negotiated outside the UN, it would very likely have been weaker on several fronts. Also, it is important to keep the longer term option for a legally binding treaty open; the only institutional possibility for this lies within the UNFCCC.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU needs to place a stronger emphasis on promoting democracy in its Eastern neighbourhood. A new approach should combine limited, focused conditionality with increased openness and multi-level linkages. Conditionality is often effective in promoting faster and better reforms where the home-grown will to democratise is present (as in Moldova, for example). It is not likely to work as a transformative policy, bringing about change from authoritarianism to democracy in the neighbourhood. The goal of tying neighbours to Europe should prevail over the principle of political conditionality. Economic integration and visa freedom have to be pursued with all neighbouring countries. This makes democratisation more likely to occur in the longer term. Engagement, providing it is not limited to political leaders, can be a successful strategy to push for democratic change. Cooperation with (semi-)authoritarian governments has to be accompanied by strong support for civil society and multiple links with the populations. Ukraine is a test case of the EU's ability to use association agreements as a tool for democracy promotion. The involvement of neighbours in the negotiation process offers a possibility to shape their domestic agendas. At the same time, there must be 'red lines': the EU should emphasize that it will not sign the agreements with countries having major problems with democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the stabilization of the Georgian-Russian conflict, no further progress has been achieved and the conflict is in danger of freezing again. Leaders on both sides are taking full advantage of the tension that exists between them, while the people living on the boundary line are paying a heavy price because of the conflict. The EU has assumed considerable responsibility for the resolution of the conflict, but due to insufficient coordination at the operational level and a lack of coherent political support, it has been increasingly ignored by both parties. The Georgian-Russian conflict offers a great window of opportunity for the EU to define its overall strategy for the conflict management it so desperately needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Georgia