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  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing negotiation of the EU's multi-annual budget is heavily constrained by how the decision process takes place. Governments focus on narrowly defined national interests, rather than on securing a better budget for Europe. While the budget is small in size, it could be used as a powerful political tool for much needed economic growth policies on a larger scale.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sean Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Russia is to follow an evolutionary path to democracy, then the regime must be ready to draw the so-called 'non-systemic' opposition into political processes. This gradualist formula for democratic change is also the formula for political stability. A number of liberalising reforms conducted by the regime in response to widespread protests following the December 2011 State Duma election gave grounds for optimism that this process is now underway. However, any hopes that these events would kick-start democratic reforms were short-lived. Rather than draw in opponents, the regime has sought to isolate them, using a combination of reform, non-reform, dividing tactics and repression. But the results have not been positive. The non-systemic opposition is under increasing pressure, having seen its options all but reduced to more protesting. It is also showing signs of radicalisation. At the same time, the Kremlin's uncompromising approach is undermining regime stability. The pressure is building in the Russian political system. The combination of repression and radicalisation could easily see political stagnation degenerate into instability and the EU should take this new dynamic into account in its future policy planning.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Jarno limnéll
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Cybersecurity concerns everyone, and is everyone's responsibility. It is a genuine example of a society-wide security issue. The United States is ahead of Europe in discussing and integrating (military) cybersecurity into its foreign and security policies. For the US, the biggest challenges at the moment are: updating legal frameworks, creating cyber rules of engagement for the military, building cyber deterrence and clarifying the cybersecurity roles and responsibilities of government and private sector actors. Cooperation at national and international levels is integral to improving cybersecurity. This includes updating international and domestic legal frameworks to ensure that state actions are accountable, and to protect citizens from wanton strikes at critical infrastructure. Governments must hold private sector partners accountable, and through partnerships ensure that societal cybersecurity is not overshadowed by private interests – public-private partnerships have a crucial role to play in this.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Terrorism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Julia Muir
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On May 31, 2010 a majority of the Lower House of the National Diet of Japan approved legislation that would reverse a decade's worth of effort to fully privatize key subsidiaries of Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. Besides postal services, the state-run postal system offers banking and insurance services, through Japan Post Bank (JPB) and Japan Post Insurance (JPI), respectively. These are the financial engines of Japan Post and were the units slated for privatization. Both subsidiaries have long received favorable government treatment, tilting the playing field against private banks and insurance firms, whether foreign or domestic. The government of Japan is in clear violation of its commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and if the Upper House approves the legislation, Japan will reverse the efforts made by the United States and the European Union, as well as domestic private banks and insurance firms, to establish a level playing field. What's more, Japan risks having a formal WTO dispute brought against it.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At first glance the EU's political system doesn't seem to correspond to any contemporary type of regime. There is a directly elected European Parliament (EP), but the way of constructing relations of power and accountability between the parliament and the three bodies with executive powers, the Commission, the European Council or the Council, complicates the picture. The Commission's accountability to the European Parliament has been confirmed in the founding treaties ever since their conclusion. But what is the value of such a rule when there seems to be a much more powerful executive emerging beyond the reach of any EU-level accountability, namely the European Council?
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rikke Broegaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The stated goal of land titling and administration projects supported worldwide by development agencies like the World Bank is to strengthen property rights for the poor. Formal property rights, it is argued, lead to increased tenure security, which in turn encourages property rights holders to invest. Hence, strengthening property rights for the poor contributes to facilitate pro-poor economic growth and a more equitable development. However, the link between formal land titles and tenure security is assumed rather than based on empirical evidence. This DIIS-brief reviews this and other key assumptions underlying land titling and administration interventions. Findings from research that explores rural landowners' own perceptions of the factors that constitute tenure security highlight the importance of formal titles for perceived tenure security, but only in combination with other resources. Therefore, to single out formal titles as being equal to or the most important element in tenure security does not correspond with people's perceptions. Thus, promoting land titling as the policy intervention to strengthen tenure security does not appear to be a feasible strategy for addressing the highly complex problem of insecure land tenure for the rural poor. On the contrary, emerging evidence suggests that land titling tends to make land more readily available to a larger and more resourceful circle of potential buyers. Thus, rather than facilitating pro-poor and equitable development, land titling projects may clear the road for large-scale concentrations of land that gradually exclude the rural poor.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: It is generally believed that the United States is a country of low taxes and small government, at least when compared with countries in Europe (and until the financial crisis so greatly expanded the role of the federal government in the United States in late 2008). Fully accounting for the role, size, and effect of the government in an economy is a complex endeavor, however, and it is hardly accomplished by repeatedly restating differences in top marginal tax rates, overall tax burdens, or gross sizes of governments in GDP terms.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Martin Eling, Robert W. Klein, Joan T. Schmit
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: In this paper we compare insurance regulatory frameworks in the United States (US) and European Union (EU), focusing primarily on solvency, but also considering product and price regulation, as well as other elements of consumer protection. This comparison highlights the use of more fluid and principles-based approaches in the EU as it is developing under Solvency II, while the US continues to focus essentially on static, rules-based regulation. The discussion further notes evidence suggesting that the EU approach is more successful in promoting a financially solid insurance sector.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: For many years successive governments in Turkey have ignored an even denied the existence of Kurds in Turkey. What would have been possible in the past by recognizing cultural rights has now been a problem whereby an operation seems to be needed. Two common and important mistakes of governments: one is to say Kurds are primary citizens of this country as if there are secondary citizens! The second is “end the terror and we will recognize some rights”. Basic rights cannot be negotiated. This second mistake has led Öcalan to announce his own road map paralel to the Governments. Negotiating with hostile entities is very difficult and needs public consensus. Turkey, unlike Britain and Spain does not have public consensus. The best way was and is to follow EU's democratisation road map.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Kurdistan