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  • 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: 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: Lysa John
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In July 2014, a new multilateral and Southern-led development bank is expected to be launched by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – better known as the BRICS. The BRICS Development Bank will provide a fresh source of finance for developing and emerging economies to meet their development needs. Little has been made public regarding the proposed Bank's core mandate or activities but while governments negotiate the technicalities of the Bank, it is critical that they also provide a solid vision of the principles, priorities and objectives on which the Bank's activities and operations will be premised. This policy brief recommends that these include commitments to: ending extreme poverty and inequality, with a special focus on gender equity and women's rights; aligning with environmental and social safeguards and establishing mechanisms for information sharing, accountability and redress; leadership on the sustainable development agenda; the creation of mechanisms for public consultation and debate; and the adoption a truly democratic governance structure.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues, International Cooperation, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Juha Käpylä, Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With exciting economic opportunities and serious environmental challenges, the Arctic is transforming and re-emerging as a geopolitically important region. Major global players within and without the Arctic are paying greater attention to the region. While Russia is a traditional Arctic state with significant economic and security interests in the region, China, the US and the EU have also expressed their Arctic interests more explicitly. They are keen to tap into the economic potential and have a say in the way the region becomes accessed, exploited and governed. As a result, the Arctic is no longer a spatially or administratively confined region, but is instead taking its new form in the midst of contemporary global politics. The globalization and economization of the Arctic will most likely downplay environmentalism and reduce the relative influence of the indigenous people and small Arctic states in Arctic affairs. Arctic governance is also likely to turn more complex and complicated as the economic and political stakes are raised.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Costanza Caputi
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: According to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), food security exists when 'all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life'. This is determined by the four key dimensions of availability, access, utilisation and stability of food supply.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Food
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Iana Dreyer
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Energy has played an important role in the geopolitics of the 20th century and continues to do so today. But the politics of renewable energy has remained largely confined to national boundaries and has had few international ramifications. Is this set to change? What is and could be the role of renewables in European energy diplomacy?
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Development, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gerald Stang
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Rapid economic development and increasing international trade are leading to a more crowded international stage and raising new challenges in the 'global commons' – those domains that are not under the control or jurisdiction of any state but are open for use by countries, companies and individuals from around the world. Their management involves increasingly complex processes to accommodate and integrate the interests and responsibilities of states, international organisations and a host of non-state actors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Globalization, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The era of the Millennium Development Goals and the Millennium Declaration expires in September 2015. As the largest donor of international development aid and trader with the developing countries, the EU has a key interest in the future outcome. It has also made binding commitments to support developing countries' own efforts to fulfil the present goals, as well as to act as a global partner. In the ongoing consultation process, the UN is pushing ahead with an enabling, universal development paradigm with an enhanced development partnership that goes well beyond traditional development assistance. Whereas the EU and the UN share common ground on human rights, governance and security issues, their preliminary proposals differ significantly on the question of a global partnership. The European Commission has tabled a proposal for the Union that is still based on a very conventional donor-recipient approach, which the UN seeks to reject. The European Commission proposal is problematic because it fails to present a comprehensive analysis of the current Millennium Development Goal on a global partnership, especially regarding trade and debt issues. Instead, it focuses on developing countries' domestic policies. The EU still has time to correct this as the process unfolds. Should it fail to do so, it is highly unlikely that other donors will take up the UN proposal and push it through in the inter-governmental negotiations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner, Natalia Ryabova
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Belarusian accession to the Common Economic Space (CES) was forced by two factors-the 2011 crisis and the necessity to gain cheap energy resources. Although Russia fulfilled its promises, decreasing gas and oil prices, Belarus is now feeling the negative results of the integration. According to CES rules, Belarusian authorities will have to tighten monetary policy, and reduce social spending and public financing of state-owned enterprises. The situation may be improved by foreign investments, but among the three CES countries, Belarus is the least attractive, especially since Russia joined the WTO and the because of the possible accession of Kazakhstan in the near future. Because of the need to carry out the major reforms in Belarus, the European Union has a greater chance to influence the situation in that country, for example by supporting modernisation projects.
  • Topic: Development, Oil, Natural Resources, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jane Nakano
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: The United States, Japan, and the European Union—the three key consumers of Chinese rare earth materials—formally complained to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in March about Chinese restrictions on its rare earth exports. Several weeks later, China announced the establishment of a 150-plus member association with the official aim of promoting sustainable development within this sector. Some analysts wonder if this is part of a Chinese plan to circumvent international complaints by instituting an oligopolistic arrangement to control its rare earth exports. Others ask if this could be another step in an escalating dispute with China over the global supply of rare earth materials.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe
  • Author: Paul Richardson
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: For the first time in its history, Russia this year assumed the leadership of a major Asia- Pacific forum—APEC. In September the organization's annual summit will be held in Vladivostok and through this congress Russia hopes to demonstrate to the world, and its own citizens, that the country is once again a power in both Europe and Asia. It is a bold vision, which is bound to Russia's national development strategy and Great Power aspirations. As one Russian diplomat told this author, if Russia really becomes involved in Asia it could change the country and also the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, International Affairs, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) marks a historic opportunity to address unsustainable trends in economic, social and environmental development multilaterally. Still, on the eve of Rio+20, the international community lacks consensus and leadership. The European Union has taken a very proactive and constructive role in the preparations for Rio+20. However, the EU's commitment to the sustainable development agenda is not shared equally across its policies or member states. This weakens the EU's strategic position in the negotiations. Disagreements between Rio+20 parties cut across all the main items on the agenda. In particular, the topic of the “Green Economy” brings old clashes between developing economies and post-industrialized countries back to the fore. The key question relates, on the one hand, to the right to determine development strategies, and on the other hand, to the division of responsibilities between countries. On a more optimistic note, the need for institutional reform and joint sustainable development objectives has been widely acknowledged. In addition, much progress can still be made in the 15 thematic areas of sustainable development. This may compensate for the lack of unanimity on grand paradigms. It is of utmost importance for a successful outcome that the Union works in unison, with clear negotiation mandates, and coordinates its views effectively throughout the process. Success at Rio+20 may also help to increase the EU's own coherence with regard to sustainable development in the future.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Magdalena Nasieniak
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU has consistently stressed the primacy of democracy assistance in its pronouncements on EU external policy, but its actions have noticeably lagged behind. At the heart of the problem are the absence of available appropriate instruments, incoherent external action and convoluted decision-making procedures that require the mobilisation of unanimity and the political backing of all 27 EU member states. The Arab Spring once again highlighted the EU's inability to react swiftly and decisively to the extraordinary events unfolding in its neighbourhood.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In 2009, EU governments committed to sourcing 10 per cent of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020: they are set to meet this target almost exclusively using biofuels made from food crops. By putting a mandate in place, European governments are propping up powerful industry and farming lobbies without spending a penny from national budgets: as direct subsidies and tax exemptions are phased out, the cost is increasingly borne by the consumer. For example, by 2020 biofuel mandates are likely to cost UK consumers between £1bn and £2bn more each year—that's about £35 from every adult—and to cost German consumers between €1.37bn and €2.15bn more—up to €30 per adult. EU governments have replaced subsidies paid out of the public purse with a subsidy that consumers, often without their knowledge, pay directly to big business.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Development, Energy Policy, Food
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Özdem Sanberk
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Strategic Research Organization (USAK)
  • Abstract: 2011 was undoubtedly a year that witnessed the beginning of grand transformations which will continue in the years ahead. The popular movements under the name of the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and spread quickly to the rest of the region, sparking the process of political transformation. In another part of the world, the economic crisis which began in Greece and then engulfed the whole eurozone took the European Union to a difficult test regarding its future. Both events, one lying to the south of Turkey and the other to its west, interact directly with our country and therefore its zone of interest. Ankara inevitably stands in the epicenter of these two transformations of which the effects will certainly continue for a long period. Consequently, rising as a stable focus of power with its growing economy and its expanding democracy, Turkey has tried to respond to historically important developments throughout the year. In light of these realities and developments, this study will focus on the performance of Turkish foreign policy with regard to global and regional transformations which took place during 2011.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Diplomacy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Jennifer Brant
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Access to medicines at affordable prices is critical to the enjoyment of the human right to health. Lower prices require the implementation of pro-access policies that include the promotion of generic competition. However, medicines cannot be selected on the basis of price alone. To ensure that only safe, effective, and quality products are on the market, effective regulation is necessary.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Poverty, Third World
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jenny Ottenhoff
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The regional development banks (RDBs) are multilateral financial institutions that provide financial and technical assistance for development in low- and middle-income countries within their regions. Finance is allocated through low-interest loans and grants for a range of development sectors such as health and education, infrastructure, public administration, financial and private-sector development, agriculture, and environmental and natural resource management. The term RDB usually refers to four institutions:
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Jenny Ottenhoff
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The International Financial Institutions (IFIs) are multilateral agencies. The term typically refers to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which provides financing and policy advice to member nations experiencing economic difficulties, and the multilateral development banks (MDBs), which provide financing and technical support for development projects and economic reform in low- and middle-income countries. The term MDB is usually understood to mean the World Bank and four smaller regional development banks: African Development Bank (AfDB). Asian Development Bank (ADB). European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Foreign Aid, World Bank
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty anchored the EU development policy at the forefront of the Union's external relations. For the development policy, this provides an opportunity to improve its own role and functions in relation to its own targets, as well as in relation to the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the trade policy. To take this opportunity, the EU development policy actors need to find a means and a vision in the context of the changing institutional landscape and the EU development policy overhaul. A stronger EU development policy as a part of the external relations equation depends on the EU development actors' capability to act jointly in the area of shared competency, and to define the policy's focus and content vis-à-vis the other branches of the EU's external relations. This is of utmost importance in the new institutional context that was formed to implement the Lisbon Treaty. Most notably, the European External Action Service (EEAS) risks inheriting the previous organizational challenges of the EU development policy and creating new ones. The EU Commission proposal 'Agenda for Change' (October 2011) still passes up the opportunity to present a strong vision for the development policy in the EU's external relations along the lines of the Lisbon Treaty. While enhancing the common agenda for the CFSP and the development policy is conducive to development policy objectives, it is alarming that the policy proposal turns a blind eye to the role of the EU trade policy.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Europe and the EU have played an influential role in the development and decision-making of the Group of Twenty (G-20). Europe's influence in shaping the developments in the group and, more broadly, in global governance is, however, declining. The G-20 Summit in Cannes provided Europe with an opportunity to re-assert its leadership. Its aspirations were, however, overshadowed by internal divisions heightened by the deepening European sovereign debt crisis. Even prior to the current crisis, the increasing global competition and decrease in standing turned EU members inward-looking. Instead of a further Europeanization of foreign policy and external relations, many have observed a tendency to re-nationalize European policy-making. This tendency will make it increasingly difficult for Europe to secure its standing and adapt to the on going transition of the world's economic and political power. Europe should reinvigorate its commitment to a joint external action as a matter of priority. The key question for Europe is whether it will manage to Europeanize the G-20 and gear it towards the multilateral principles which lie at the heart of European integration; or whether we will see the opposite process, namely a 'G-ization' of the EU in the sense of major(European)powers dominating increasingly informal European and global decision-making. It is in Europe's interests to further institutionalize the G-20 and tie it to the formal multilateral architecture of the world economy and politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kenneth P. Thomas
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
  • Abstract: Investment incentives (subsidies designed to affect the location of investment) are a pervasive feature of global competition for foreign direct investment (FDI). They are used by the vast majority of countries, at multiple levels of government, in a broad range of industries. They take a variety of forms, including tax holidays, grants and free land. Politicians, at least in the United States, may have good electoral incentives to use them.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Aid, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karolina Werner
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European Union is the world's biggest humanitarian and development aid donor. In 2010 alone, the EU committed more than €11 billion to external aid. Africa was the largest recipient with 38% of official development aid, 33% of which was specifically dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Topic: Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Caribbean
  • Author: Patryk Kugiel
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The current Polish Development Cooperation system has been under gradual construction since 2004. Fortunately, recent reforms have raised the probability it eventually will evolve as a strong and important tool for Poland's external relations. Moreover, these positive changes are taking place at a very crucial moment in history when unprecedented turmoil in the Arab world has exposed the weaknesses of the European development policy and while Poland is holding the presidency of the EU Council. The convergence of these factors further strengthens the need for a swift finalization of improvements in its development cooperation system if Poland wants to play a more critical role internationally and prove its usefulness in assisting other countries to meet their political and economic aspirations. A development policy that is better-resourced and more balanced (geographically and thematically) would provide Poland with a credible tool of soft power and would strengthen the brand of Polish solidarity.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Arne Strand
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Military and civilian actors are engaged in a debate over where to draw the lines in the provision of humanitarian and development assistance. This is illustrated in Afghanistan by the different national models applied to Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Norway has opted for a model that clearly separates the civilian and military components within the PRT.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe
  • Author: Ståle Ulriksen
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Norway may be a marginal actor in Afghanistan as a whole, but its troop contingent and development aid programmes mean that it does play an important role in the north-west of the country as part of a joint overall effort with its allies and friends. This role is now facing a twofold test.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Humanitarian Aid, War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Europe, Asia
  • 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: Michele Benini
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Efficient development of electricity transmission infrastructure is crucial to achieving EU targets for a secure, competitive and sustainable electricity supply. However, many uncertainties, such as future load demand, generation supply, electricity prices and increasing time requirements for the realisation of transmission infrastructures in member states, increase the risk that these targets will not be reached. Given the forecasted increase of distributed generation and the introduction of demand response techniques to control load, new decentralised network architectures must be defined to guarantee the system's efficient use and stability. Each link in the chain of electricity security of supply is crucial, from generation to transmission to distribution to demand.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Access to medicines poses a critical challenge in developing countries, largely because prices are high, and new or adapted medicines and vaccines to address diseases of the developing world are lacking. More than 5 million people in low and middle income countries still lack access to the anti-retroviral medicines needed to treat HIV and AIDS. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have unleashed a new epidemic of suffering across the developing world. Pandemics are a serious threat in rich and poor countries alike, but while rich countries can stockpile medicines, these are often unaffordable for poor countries. Most people in developing countries pay for medicines out-of-pocket, so even a slight price increase can mean that life-saving medicines are unaffordable.
  • Topic: Development, Health, Third World
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Bomb disposal experts with the Interior Ministry for the Southern Federal District's counterterrorist Center 'T' defused a large bomb in a wooded area three kilometers outside the village of Babugent in the Cherkesk district of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic (KBR), Kavkazky Uzel reported on February 28. "The explosive device was located in a hiding place," a source in the KBR Interior Ministry told the website. "It consisted of a gas-cylinder with a capacity of 27 liters, four bags with a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, a five-liter plastic canister of kerosene and a demolition cord." KBR Interior Minister Yury Tomchak told a meeting of the ministry's public council on February 26 that 53 members of "illegal armed formations" are wanted by the republican authorities, Interfax reported. "Until recently the law-enforcement bodies were searching for 42 NFV [illegal armed formation] members, 14 of whom are on the federal wanted list and 10 who are on the international wanted list," Tomchak said. He added that the republic's Interior Ministry, with the assistance of the republican branch of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General's Office, have put another 11 members of "illegal armed formations" on the republic's wanted list over the last two weeks.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Ingushetia's election commission reported on March 4 that 92.3 percent of the republic's eligible voters voted in the Russian presidential and republican legislative elections, both of which were held on March 2, Kavkazky Uzel reported. According to the commission, 91.6 percent of those in Ingushetia who voted in the presidential election cast their ballots for Dmitry Medvedev, while 6.1 percent voted for Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 1.5 percent voted for Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and 0.1 percent voted for Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov. In the election for Ingushetia's People's Assembly held the same day, the pro-Kremlin United Russia party received 74.09 percent of the vote, the LDPR won 11.06 percent, the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party received 7.39 percent of the vote and the Communist Party won 7.34 percent.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Ingushetian President Murat Zyazikov on March 12 dismissed his cabinet, which is chaired by Ibragim Malsagov, as well as the republic's local administration heads. Newsru.com reported that the dismissed cabinet will remain in place until a new one is formed and that First Vice-Premier Khov Yevloev will serve as the republican government's acting chairman, replacing Malsagov.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen rebel, pro-Moscow government and independent sources alike reported on March 19-20 that a large-scale battle had taken place in the village of Alkhazurovo in Chechnya's Urus-Martan district. Kavkazky Uzel reported on March 20 that the battle had taken place the previous evening and that rebels had burned down the village administration building and killed five law-enforcement officers along with two civilians. At least six other people, including two women and a teenager, were wounded in the fighting, the website reported. "To all appearances, up to 15 militants took part in yesterday's armed clash in the village of Alkhazurovo," a Chechen police officer told Kavkazky Uzel. "At the moment, actions to find and neutralize this gang are continuing. The militants burned the local administration building, and five employees of power structures (four policemen and an employee of the military prosecutor's office) and two local residents were killed."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Gadzhi Abashilov, the head of GTRK Dagestan, the Dagestani affiliate of Russia's state television and radio company, was killed in a drive-by shooting as he traveled home from work in Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala, on March 21. His driver was seriously injured in the attack. Just hours earlier, Ilyas Shurpaev, a Dagestan-born journalist who covered the North Caucasus for state television's Channel One, was found stabbed and strangled in his Moscow apartment after a neighbor reported a fire in the apartment. Russian news reports quoted investigators as saying that the perpetrators had set fire to the apartment in an attempt to conceal the crime.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, North Caucasus
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kavkazky Uzel, citing the press service of the Chechen president and government, reported on April 2 that President-elect Dmitry Medvedev and Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov met and discussed issues related to the socio-economic development of the Chechen Republic. Forum.msk.ru reported that the meeting took place in the Kremlin and that during a portion of the meeting that was open to the press, they discussed changes that have taken place in Chechnya over the past year. "Let's talk about the whole complex of issues: how work to develop the republic's socio-economic potential is going; what achievements [and] what problems there are," the website quoted Medvedev as saying in opening the meeting.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kavkazky Uzel reported on April 8 that Chechnya's rebels have stepped up their activities and even taken control of villages on at least two occasions during the last month. With the arrival of spring and the appearance of foliage, which works to the advantage of guerrilla fighters, rebel units have noticeably stepped up their actions in the republic's foothills and mountainous regions, the website reported. While last month's incident in the village of Alkhazurovo, in which a large contingent of rebel fighters took over the village and held it for several hours, killing five policemen and burning down the local administration building before leaving (Chechnya Weekly, March 20 and April 3), received significant press coverage, a similar rebel operation in the village of Yandi-Kotar in Chechnya's Achkhoi-Martan district received none.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechnya's parliament on April 17 adopted a resolution calling on Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov either to dissolve Vostok, the elite Chechen-manned battalion that answers to the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the Russian Armed Forces' General Staff, or to replace its leaders, including its formal commander, Sulim Yamadaev. A road collision between Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov's motorcade and a Vostok convoy that occurred near the Chechen town of Argun on April 14 was followed by an armed confrontation between Vostok fighters, including Sulim Yamadaev's younger brother, Badrudin, who commands one of the battalion's platoons, and fighters loyal to Kadyrov. According to Reuters, 18 or more people were killed in a shootout that followed the traffic accident (see Andrei Smirnov's article).
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Russian state television's Channel One on the evening of April 22 broadcast a putative documentary film made by Kremlin correspondent Anton Vernitsky called “Plan 'Kavkaz'” (The Caucasus Plan). The film purports to show how Turkey, the United States and Great Britain attempted at the start of the 1990s to divide Russia into small parts not controlled by the federal center. The film featured Berkan Merrikh Yashar, born Abubakar—a Turkish-born ethnic Chechen who claims to be a journalist who once worked for Radio Liberty in Munich and a politician with close connections to the Turkish leadership.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Chechnya
  • 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: Edward P. Joseph, R. Bruce Hitchner
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: More than twelve years after the Dayton Agreement ended the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the stagnant, divided country is about to enter a potentially transformative process. On June 16, Bosnia will sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, cementing the country's relationship and identifying it as a prospective EU member. The SAA not only launches a process of sweeping institutional reform, but also makes Bosnia eligible for new categories of financial assistance and imposes new responsibilities on Bosnia's leaders. Advocates believe that the "sink or swim" approach of the European Commission (EC, the EU entity that traditionally leads SAA implementation) will finally wean Bosnia from dependence on international authority toward genuine cross-ethnic cooperation over a shared goal.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Developing-country governments desperately need more long-term and predictable aid, given through their budgets, to finance the expansion of health care, education, and other vital social services. The European Commission (EC) is one of the biggest donors providing this kind of essential budget support, and has innovative plans to further improve and increase this aid. European Union (EU) member states must support these ambitious plans. The EC in turn must do more to improve on this good start, delinking this aid from harmful International Monetary Fund (IMF) prescriptions, putting an end to unnecessary bureaucratic delays, and doing more to make its aid accountable to citizens in poor countries.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Health
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kim Beng Phar
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: To fulfill Turkey's mission as a ʺcivilizational connectorʺ between Europe and Asia, Turkey must be a full member of the East Asian Summit. The path towards this goal, among others, requires Turkey to be a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN. Once ASEAN sponsors Turkey's membership in East Asian Summit, Turkey would then be strategically positioned to be a key member with some of the world's most monumental economic and political powers in its midst. Indeed, if Turkey is a member of East Asian Summit, ideally by 2010, Turkey would be in a better position to realize its strategic, civilizational, and historical depth.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Israel, East Asia
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Gergana Noutcheva, Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Conceived in 2003 and 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has now had two years of operational experience. This initial experience has seen a sorting out of the partner states, with Action Plans drawn up for five Eastern and seven Southern partner states. We would distinguish among these 12 states between the 'willing' and the 'passive'; and among the other partner states without Action Plans between the 'reluctant' and the 'excluded'. These groupings should be the basis for stronger differentiation in the policy packages offered by the EU. In general the political context now calls for a strong reinforcement of the ENP, since the benign situation of 2004 has given way now to a more menacing one, given threats to European values bearing down on the EU from all sides. The EU institutions recognise these needs in principle, and last December the Commission advanced many valuable proposals. 'ENP plus' is a term being used by the current German Presidency, without this yet being defined in a public document in operational detail. In our view, 'ENP plus' could mean: Plus an advanced association model for the able and willing partner states, Plus a strengthening of regional-multilateral schemes, Plus an upgrading of the standard instruments being deployed, and Plus the offer of an 'ENP light' model for difficult states or non-recognised entities.
  • Topic: Development, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Elspeth Guild
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On 5 January 2007, Elspeth Guild was invited by the European Commission Select Committee of the UK House of Lords to submit written evidence to assist that body in its scrutiny of the European Commission's annual legislative and work programme. This Policy Brief reproduces her submission in full.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia De Clerck-Sachsse, Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In its Communication on Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007, released 8 November 2006, the European Commission concluded: “Overall, the fifth enlargement has been a considerable success” and “(t)he EU's institutions have continued to function effectively” (p. 4). In his speaking points to the press, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn (2006) stressed two important criteria for evaluating the integration process: With respect to institutional matters, the EU's decision-making processes must remain effective and accountable, for the sake of current member states as well as in view of further enlargement. With respect to policy-making, the EU needs to be in a position, as it enlarges, to continue developing and implementing common policies in all areas. Accordingly, assessment of the impact of enlargement on EU policies is planned to take place at all key stages of the enlargement process.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On 10 January 2007, the European Commission outlined the European Union's 'energy and climate change vision' based on two principal documents: Communication on “An energy policy for Europe”, and Communication on future climate change policy for the period post-2012 when the Kyoto Protocol expires, entitled “Limiting global climate change to 2°C: The way ahead for 2020 and beyond”.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Magrath
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Climatic disasters are on the increase as the Earth warms up – in line with scientific observations and computer simulations that model future climate. 2007 has been a year of climatic crises, especially floods, often of an unprecedented nature. They included Africa's worst floods in three decades, unprecedented flooding in Mexico, massive floods in South Asia and heat waves and forest fires in Europe, Australia, and California. By mid November the United Nations had launched 15 'flash appeals', the greatest ever number in one year. All but one were in response to climatic disasters.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, California, Australia
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: In 2005–2006 the EastWest Institute (EWI) and the Association of Municipalities of the Kaliningrad Oblast (AMOKO) realized a joint project, «Reforming Municipal Finance of the Kaliningrad Oblast through Performance Budgeting». Carried out with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the project was a contribution to the Russian national program of modernization of budget management systems at the regional and municipal level in accordance with the best world and European practices.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia
  • Author: Greg Austin, Danila Bochkarev
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Energy security has re-surfaced as a headline issue in the policy councils of Europe and the Americas in a way not seen since the 1970s. On the one hand, some leaders believe that there is a new energy rivalry with ominous geopolitical overtones, and they look at Russia and China with suspicion in this regard. On the other hand, at a more commercial level, there has been rising uncertainty about oil supply and demand, because of political instability in the Persian Gulf and rampant consumption in the major industrial countries and emerging economies. Price volatility, long a feature of the oil market, reached levels not seen for some years, leading to fresh concerns about 'peak oil'.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Globalization, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, America, Europe
  • Author: Catharina Sørensen, Ian Manners
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The recent and widespread sense of crisis in the European Union (EU), with competing demands for a more social Europe, limiting further enlargement, greater protection of the environment, and less immigration, for example, suggest that new lines of political contestation are challenging conventional ways of thinking about EU politics. The EU Internal Dynamics (EU ID) unit at the Danish Institute for International Studies is launching a project, subject to external research funding, to analyse the extent and ways in which new political issues such as climate change, immigration, security and enlargement, are leading to new lines of political contestation in the EU. The objective is to understand if and why the two conventional lines of contestation over more or less integration and left or right politics in the EU need to accommodate emerging lines of political contestation over a more cosmopolitan versus a more communitarian EU. The project is intended to assess in a systematic manner the relevance of three existing models of the relationship between 'integrationist' (more/less EU), 'horizontal' (left/right politics), and 'new politics' (cosmopolitan/communitarian) in the 21st century European Union.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gry Thomasen
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The biggest surprise in the current Danish debate is that there is still very broad coverage of EU issues involving the media and public conferences, particularly regarding the Constitutional Treaty; energy and the environment; enlargement to South Eastern Europe and beyond; and more recently the difficult relations between Russia and the EU. The public debate over the Constitutional Treaty is active, while the government looks forwards to what the German Presidency, as well as the 'No' countries, put forward as suggestions after the French Presidential elections. Following Denmark's four-point suggestion at Lahti for an EU energy policy, the Danish concerns over renewable supply, increased efficiency, a liberalised market, and more research in order to improve energy security have heightened. After the Commission's report of enlargement and integration capacity, the Danish debate has focused on support for the Croatian bid for EU membership, whilst emphasising the need for considerable reforms in Turkey. Finally, following the rebuke by Denmark, Sweden, Estonia and Poland in Lahti on the question of human rights in Russia after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, the failure to overcome the Polish-Russia impasse at the EU-Russia summit is also important in the Danish debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • 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
  • 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: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Growth performance over the last decade has been among the best in the OECD, though a precise calibration is not yet possible following the recent revisions to GDP data. High growth has been driven by a range of factors, some of which are transitory. It is particularly encouraging that growth has been sustained over the last two years, despite substantial fiscal consolidation, mainly being driven by investment and exports. However, significant further reforms are needed to ensure that good performance is sustained in the years to come. It is imperative to use this period of strong performance to tackle remaining weaknesses in product and labour markets and move fiscal policy further towards a sustainable position by vigorous continued consolidation and pension reform. The key challenge, in terms of political economy, is to manage the required reforms in a context where society may be unduly complacent because the “good times” appear to be continuing.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A welcome economic recovery is under way in Italy. In part, this reflects the cyclical upswing in the rest of Europe, but there are also early signs of a more fundamental improvement, notably in terms of export and labour market performance. Even so, medium-term prospects remain challenging: Total factor productivity shows little signs of resurgence, high public indebtedness threatens fiscal sustainability and population ageing looms large. Without further reforms to restore economic dynamism, living standards will be dragged down relative to other countries. This Survey discusses policies undertaken by the government to address these challenges, notably to boost competition on product markets, achieve fiscal sustainability and make fiscal federalism work – all in support of growth and adjustment.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Following major economic reforms, the Slovak economy has grown strongly in recent years, driven by rapid productivity growth, but still has far to go to catch up to the per capita income levels in the advanced European countries. The incoming government has made achieving a more equal distribution of income a priority insofar as this can be done without damaging long-term growth prospects. There is considerable scope both to strengthen growth prospects and to reduce income inequality by raising employment rates, improving education outcomes (including by reducing the impact of socio-economic background), and by removing barriers to product-market competition. The new government has also reiterated its commitment to Slovakia's entry into the euro area in January 2009 and has taken steps to make it probable that Slovakia will satisfy the Maastricht criteria for entry on a sustainable basis. Policies may need to be adapted to support macroeconomic stability in the currency union.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Slovakia
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Regulatory reform contributes to promoting sustained economic growth, complementing sound macro-economic policies. While Sweden has made significant progress on regulatory reform since the early 1990s and enjoyed major productivity gains as a result, it should instil more competition in the public sector, cut red tape and liberalise labour markets if it is to meet the challenge of an ageing population and maintain its high standards of social welfare.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Belgian economy is in a strong recovery phase. The balancing of the budget since the start of the decade has allowed public debt to fall fast relative to GDP, providing a favourable macroeconomic background for the recovery. Moreover, structural reforms, particularly in the labour market, are showing signs of success. Output has accelerated and was by mid-2006 growing at 3% – the fastest pace since 2000. With growth well above potential, some production factors are already under strain. The challenge will be to persist with stability and reform-oriented policies to bolster the economy's trend growth, a challenge made more acute by the impending ageing of the population.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Randstad is the poly-centric urban area in western Netherlands, comprising Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and several smaller cities. It is one of the most densely populated areas in the OECD, which has developed into an advanced urban economy with many leading sectors, such as logistics, horticulture and financial services. The Randstad has one of the lowest unemployment rates in all OECD countries and is one of the most attractive metropolitan areas for foreign direct investment.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands, Rotterdam, Amsterdam
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sweden enjoys excellent macroeconomic performance with high rates of growth, low unemployment and stable inflation expectations. Early steps in regulatory reform, taken in the 1990s, are paying off in terms of productivity and GDP growth. However, tensions are visible at the margin. Employment rates have not recovered to traditionally high levels since the crisis of the early 1990s. Joblessness is widespread among immigrants and youngsters, and disability and sickness rates are comparatively high. As well, renewed regulatory reform is needed, inter alia to address the low rate of enterprise formation and enterprise growth that may weaken the economy's ability to venture into new business fields.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The economy is experiencing a favourable period of robust growth, low unemployment and moderate underlying inflation. This largely reflects the effects of globalisation, of which Norway has been a prime beneficiary, supplying energy and other commodities at high prices and increasingly importing products from low-cost countries. Sizeable labour migration inflows, together with sustained productivity growth, have kept cost inflation at a moderate pace. A tradition of foreign trade openness, domestic competition, a good policy framework and sound macroeconomic management have meant that Norway was well prepared to take advantage of these international trends.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Spain's economy has managed a remarkable performance in terms of growth, employment and public finances over more than a decade. A combination of expansionary monetary conditions, fiscal prudence, beneficial structural reforms and the positive supply-side effects of the strong rise in immigration has contributed to these outcomes. But these favourable developments are tempered by deterioration in several areas: the still high inflation differential has harmed competitiveness, and the resulting low real interest rates entail excessive domestic demand, which has been supported, jointly with employment growth and immigration, by ongoing rapid increases in household indebtedness and house prices. Despite some improvement, growth has therefore remained unbalanced as manifest in the large external deficit. Looking ahead, productivity gains are still modest, risking a substantial weakening in output and per capita income growth in the coming years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: After several false starts, the economic recovery has taken hold. Activity was strong in 2006, firms and households are more confident about the future, business investment has picked up and unemployment has fallen below 8% for the first time since 2001. There are encouraging signs that the recovery is broadening to embrace household consumption as well. If in addition structural reforms continue, the expansion will become durable and self-sustaining, a prospect also supported by sound corporate and household balance sheets and favourable financing conditions. All this is good news, though it should be kept in perspective. Growth of around 2¼ per cent per annum projected for 2007 and 2008 is still modest by OECD standards, although the growth gap is smaller when measured on a per capita basis. Still, it could take until 2008 for cyclical slack to be fully absorbed.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has in a very short time span embraced multilateral mechanisms to address a broad range of issues and avoided confrontation with the United States. Both stances have shaped Asian and European views of a rising China. At present, Asian and European leaders take China's word regarding its peaceful intentions as a rising power. However, Asian and European policy-makers tend to refrain from confronting China too strongly on issues sensitive to Beijing (poor implementation of intellectual property rights, disregard for human rights, etc). The more prosperous China grows, the less influence any other country will have over Beijing's policies. A rising China is a challenge to others because of its sheer size, its great need for imported energy, and the environmental degradation it causes due to its ongoing industrialization. The troubled relationship between China and Japan is one of increasing concern and could lead to aggravated tensions in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • 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: Eneko Landaburu
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The answer to the question posed in the subtitle is yes, indeed, there are concrete alternatives to enlargement. As there must be. Enlargement has been a key tool in projecting stability across our continent. But it is a reality that the EU cannot expand ad infinitum – everything has its limits. We must honour our present basic commitments, while strictly insisting on the criteria. One of these criteria is our own absorption capacity – it is clear that in some member states the pace and scale of enlargement is approaching the limits of what public opinion will accept. To overstretch, rather than consolidate, the Union would be detrimental not only for us but also our partners. These are all issues with which our leaders will struggle in Vienna in a few months time.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Vienna
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: More than half way into the decade, it is clear that the ambitious goal to make the EU the 'most competitive economy' by 2010 will be missed. This contribution shows that investing more in education would be the key in terms of employment, a central element in the Lisbon goal. Improving the skills of the EU's population would have, inter alia, a direct impact on the employment rate. Reaching the Lisbon goal of an employment rate of 70% would be possible even without labour market reforms if the average level of qualification of the EU were to reach the benchmarks in this area (which in turn are very close to the values reached by the best performing member states).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Fiona Hill, Clifford G. Gaddy, Dmitry Ivanov, Igor Danchenko
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Energy is at the heart of Russia's remarkable change of fortune over the past seven years. Emerging from a state of virtual bankruptcy in August 1998, the country now enjoys large surpluses, has inverted its debt burden with the outside world, and has racked up successive years of economic growth and low inflation. This dramatic turnaround is directly related to Russia's status as the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas—the country has benefited tremendously from soaring prices on the world market.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • 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
  • Author: David C. Gompert, Jan M. Lodal, Leslie S. Lebl, Walter B. Slocombe, Frances G. Burwell
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since 1989, the security environment facing the United States and its European allies has changed beyond recognition. The Soviet Union has disintegrated, as has the division of Europe between East and West, and new threats have arisen. The disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s demonstrated that instability and war emerging from failing states could affect the peace and security of Europe. After 2001, global terrorism became the priority threat, especially when linked with the prospect of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia
  • Author: Peter Viggo Jakobsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This brief takes issue with the prevailing view that the ESDP capacity building process is easier and has been more successful in the civilian than in the military field. It argues that civilian capacity building is harder than military capacity building, demonstrates that the EU's civilian rapid reaction capacity is considerably smaller and less integrated than it is generally assumed, and that the capacity goals set for 2008 are unattainable. Yet another major EU expectations-capability gap has been created and there is now a real danger that this gap will seriously damage the EU's reputation as the global leader in civilian crisis management.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Adrian Favell
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Policy makers underestimate the importance of underlying demographics and labour market dynamics on future East-West migration in Europe. Flows have generally been demand driven, and have therefore been drawn by European nations with the most open and informal labour markets – such as Britain, Ireland, Italy and Spain –rather than more highly regulated welfare states such as Denmark. They are also more likely to be circular and temporary than one way immigration. I discuss the desirability of the apparently inevitable trend in Europe towards a more US style international labour market that strongly parallels the migration system between the US and Mexico. The underlying trend in Europe is towards the emergence of a more regionalised system, in which West European societies come to rely on East European movers to fill secondary labour market needs in the service economy, rather than more racially or ethnically distinct non-European immigrants.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Grant Boyle, Lynn Mytelka
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent technological advances in the application of hydrogen fuel cells in the transport sector have drawn considerable attention and increased funding from both public and private sources over the past ten years. The International Energy Agency estimates that about US$1billion per year is currently being invested in public hydrogen and fuel cell research, development, test vehicles, prototype refuelling stations and demonstration projects, as compared to the total annual public budget for energy research, development and demonstration of around US$8billion. While still in the early stages of development and costly in comparison to conventional vehicle propulsion and fuel technologies, fuel cells and hydrogen offer a promising solution to address growing concerns over the transport sector's dependence on oil and its impact on climate change.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Third World
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The West at War focuses on both U.S. and European counterterrorism efforts from the September 11 attacks until June 2005, specifically the role of law enforcement and prosecutors in the United States and Europe. The 9-11 Commission's examination of the counterterrorism policies of Britain and especially Germany made clear that Europe did not posses the adequate tools to counter the terrorist threat prior to the September 11 attacks. Al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell produced the leaders of the September 11 hijacking teams. Prior to the September 11 attacks, German authorities were constrained by domestic factors that inhibited their ability to investigate terrorist organizations. While Europe's approach to terrorism suffered from many problems, there are also were some potential lessons for the United States. In particular, the experience of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI-5 may have possible implications for strengthening the counterterrorism capabilities of U.S. authorities.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeremy Shapiro, Telmo Baltazar
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In the past ten years, the European Union's (EU) counterterrorism capabilities have changed dramatically. Two of the most evident changes have been the emergence of an increasingly unified European approach to terrorism and the virtual elimination of internal border controls on the Continent. As the EU begins to act decisively in the fight against terror, trans-Atlantic cooperation has become vital for mutual security.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Shelley Rigger
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: A peaceful, amicable relationship between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) is essential to prosperity and security in and beyond the Taiwan Strait. Anticipating the future direction of cross­strait relations is thus very important. But it is also very difficult, not least because key trends in the Strait seem to be headed in opposite directions. On the one hand, the scope and intensity of cross­strait interactions are expanding rapidly, creating shared interests on the two sides and eroding resistance to closer cross­strait ties. On the other hand, popular support for political unification within Taiwan is declining, and the percentage of Taiwan residents who think of themselves as Taiwanese, not Chinese, is rising.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Taiwan
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Russian economy has been enjoying a period of robust growth, thanks largely to steadily rising terms of trade. The challenge confronting policy-makers is to facilitate Russia's transition into a period of self-sustaining, investment- and innovation-led growth. This will require a sound macroeconomic policy framework to manage the economy's adjustment to sustained high oil prices and a range of structural reforms aimed at creating better framework conditions for business.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Ireland has continued its exemplary economic performance, attaining some of the highest growth rates in the OECD. After a remarkable decade, per-capita income has caught up with and overtaken the EU average. Further progress will require strong productivity growth and continued increases in labour supply. These challenges are familiar to most OECD economies. But it also faces some issues that are less common: it is going through a transition phase in upgrading its social services; infrastructure levels need to catch up with the boom in activity and population that has occurred over this period; and it has to manage some sizeable macroeconomic risks.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Richard E. Baldwin
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Thanks to the British Freedom of Information Act, the list of all CAP payments to English farms is public. It shows that the CAP is a dooH niboR scheme (that's Robin Hood spelled backwards). Table 1 records the CAP receipts for some of Britain's richest royalty. Why do royalty get paid? The CAP makes payments to farm owners, not to farmers, and about 40% of EU farmland is not farmed by its owner.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The EU and the US have found themselves supporting two polar views on which strategy is the most effective in achieving stabilisation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: 'market pull' vs 'technology push'. As an advocate of the latter, the US asserts that the principal emphasis should be on technology development, financed through typical public R programmes. It argues that it would be preferable to invest in the short term in R and to adopt emissions limitations later, when new technologies will have lowered the cost of limiting GHG emissions. In supporting the 'market-pull' approach, the EU argues that technological change is an incremental process emanating primarily from business and industry, induced by government incentives. According to this logic, profit-seeking firms will respond with technological innovation.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Karel Lannoo, Jean-Pierre Casey
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The debate on banking supervision over the last decade has largely focused on capital requirements and solvency of financial institutions. The interaction between solvency and liquidity has been much less debated. Traditionally, it was assumed that once solvency was under control, liquidity should pose no problem. Banks with sufficient capital should be able to obtain extra liquidity from the central bank against adequate collateral if needed. Furthermore, the aim of the New Basel Accord to create a better alignment of regulatory capital with the risk to which banks are exposed, and the stronger focus on diversification, should eventually reduce mismatches between solvency and effective liquidity.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Liz Stuart
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: Green Box subsidies, by definition of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), are not allowed to distort trade. This is why, under the terms of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), countries may provide as many Green Box subsidies as they like. ActionAid, CIDSE, and Oxfam believe, as this briefing note will show, that the EU and the USA are using this provision to continue to give support that is manifestly trade-distorting, thereby causing serious damage to farmers in developing countries. At least $40bn of Green Box payments annually are likely to be trade-distorting and therefore break WTO rules.
  • Topic: Development, Globalization, International Trade and Finance, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jan Neutze, Philipa Tucker
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: A senior delegation from the Atlantic Council of the United States, led by W. Bowman Cutter and Paula Stern, visited key government, parliamentary, and private sector stakeholders in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Brussels in spring 2005. The delegation presented the findings of the Atlantic Council report, "The Transatlantic Economy in 2020: A Partnership for the Future?" to numerous business, government, and think tank audiences. This report summarizes the delegation's discussions.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Jason S. Purcell (ed), Joshua D. Weintraub (ed)
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Brussels Conference on “Topics in Terrorism: Toward a Transatlantic Consensus on the Nature of the Threat” was the first of three conferences whose principal purpose was to explore specific themes associated with the world-wide effort to cope with and counter the threat of terrorists. Held in three different European capitals (Brussels, Vienna, and Budapest), the conferences drew on divergent presenters and audiences. Each conference convened subject-matter experts from the United States and Europe with the express intent of considering various perspectives on some of the most difficult challenges facing the transatlantic community. While reaching a consensus on each of the major topics would certainly have been a desirable outcome, where a consensus proved elusive, a major objective was to gain a better understanding of the divergent views and the rationale that underpins those views.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Vienna
  • Author: Frances G. Burwell
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: By the beginning of 2005, the improvement in relations between Russia and the West had lost momentum and come to a standstill, as serious concerns emerged in the United States and Europe about developments in Russia. European and U.S. commentators who disagree over economic policies and Iraq find themselves in broad critical consensus about Russian political and economic evolution. Will the term that has been moribund since the death of the Cold War — “containment” — emerge as an option for those in the United States and Europe making policy toward Russia? Already some argue for isolating Russia from Ukraine, Georgia, and other former Soviet republics; will they encourage the building of a new fence around Russia? Or will there be a new effort at engagement, albeit one that is more cautious about Russia's future in the West?
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Described as the last remaining dictatorship in Europe, Belarus is scheduled to have a presidential election in 2006 that could prove crucial to the future of the country. After nonviolent democratic revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, questions arise about similar changes in Belarus: Is a peaceful transition to democracy in Belarus possible? And if so, what would be needed to make that happen?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Georgia
  • 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: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The stability and resilience of the economy has been impressive and labour and product markets are among the most flexible in the OECD, but structural economic performance judged against a range of indicators can be further improved.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sound macroeconomic policy, assertive product, capital and labour market liberalisation, and fundamental tax and welfare reform have transformed the Slovak business environment in recent years. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has responded particularly well, becoming the prime engine of capacity and productivity growth, and helping to put the economy on a strong and well-balanced growth path.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Norwegian economy continues to recover strongly from its 2002-2003 slowdown. Low interest rates, competition induced productivity gains, high investments by the booming oil sector, terms-of-trade gains and supportive macroeconomic policies are the main drivers. Inflation is low and labour inputs in terms of hours worked are rising briskly. Strong growth is likely for the remainder of this year and possibly during 2006.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway
  • 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: France has high productivity per hour worked and a sophisticated social welfare system, but it also suffers from low labour force participation and high structural un employment. This poor labour market performance contributes to a persistent budget deficit which is exacerbating, rather than alleviating, the fiscal pressures arising from ageing. Rising public debt threatens fiscal sustainability. It is partly a result of insufficient public expenditure control an d insufficient public understanding of the need to meet long-run challenges as well as short-term targets. Aspects of the labour code designed to protect employees, and some aspects of the system of social transfers have had some unintended but perverse consequences leading to structurally high levels of unemployment and low participation rates. Dynamism and growth of activity and employment are held back by a lack of competition in a large number of service sectors.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • 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: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: A modest recovery is under way. A recovery has been under way since early 2004 and is expected to proceed at a moderate pace in 2005 and 2006, with domestic demand continuing to rise faster than GDP. Real growth is projected to remain somewhat slower than the EU average. The gap in consumer price inflation is expected to widen again in 2006. The current-account deficit has increased and export market share losses were substantial until recently. Employment growth has been impressive throughout the slowdown, but the growth of productivity, including that of total factor productivity, has been very weak.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Denmark has been near the top of the OECD's income rankings for many years. It has the most equal income distribution among member countries, partly because of its comprehensive welfare state. Given an ageing population, the key economic challenge is to maintain growth in living standards while preserving the welfare system. To achieve this, Denmark will need to raise labour supply and productivity growth. If they do not improve from here, the growth rate of per capita GDP will be dragged down to just ½ per cent per annum within a couple of decades.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Iceland's impressive economic performance has continued to show the benefits of the refocusing of policies on financial stabilisation and market liberalisation in the 1990s. The most recent recovery, which began in 2003, has been much more vigorous than expected, as buoyant household demand has reinforced the stimulatory effect of the large-scale aluminium-related investment projects underway. Imbalances in the economy – specifically, the large current account deficit and inflation pressures – have mounted and – with GDP growth averaging over 5% in 2004-06 – they may well be similar in size to those seen in the last overheating episode in 2000-01, which resulted in a mild recession. Limiting instability over the next few years is a demanding task for macroeconomic policymakers, and efforts underway in this regard need to be strengthened. There are also challenges for structural policies, notably with respect to the proper assessment of future investment projects and in the environ-mental area. In a longer-term perspective, sustaining the faster productivity growth that structural reforms in the 1990s have brought about will require further action, especially in the education and competition policy fields.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Danmark har i mange år ligget nær toppen på OECD's rangliste over BNP pr. indbygger. Danmark har den mest lige indkomstfordeling blandt medlemslandene, delvist so m følge af dets vidtfavnende velfærdsstat. I lyset af befolkningsaldringen er den primære økonomiske udfordring at fastholde væksten i levestandarden og samtidig bevare velfærdssystemet. For at opnå dette er det nødvendigt at øge arbejdsudbuddet og væksten i produktiviteten. Uden forbedringer på disse to områder vil væksten i BNP pr. indbygger fa lde til blot ½ procent om året i løbet af et par årtier.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark