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  • Author: Henk L.M. Kox
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In most EU member states, the business services industry has booked no productivity growth during the last two decades. The industry's performance in the other member states was weaker than that of its US counterparts. Exploring what may be causing this productivity stagnation, this policy brief reports that weak competition has contributed to the continuing malaise in European business services. The study analyzed the persistence (over time) of firm-level inefficiencies. The evidence further suggests that competition between small firms and large firms in business services is weak. Markets for business services work best in countries with flexible regulation on employment change and with low regulatory costs for firms that start up or close down a business. Countries that are more open to foreign competition perform better in terms of competitive selection and productivity.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Tanja Tamminen
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty and the European External Action Service provide the EU with an excellent framework for comprehensive and effective crisis prevention and crisis management work. They just need to be utilised to the full. The security and development nexus can only be enhanced through long-term perspectives. Rather than renewing its general security strategy, the EU's focus should be on preparing tailor made and institutionally endorsed regional approaches and strategies, where the broad objectives would be operationalized into more concrete goals. In conflict-prone regions, goal-setting should be carried out through full participation with the beneficiary countries and their civil societies. Dialogue and mediation are perfect tools for achieving reconciliation and stability, and need to be utilized at every stage of comprehensive crisis management and at different levels of society. Comprehensive EU activities in the field of crisis prevention and crisis management should be duly evaluated, as only by looking at the bigger picture can lessons truly be learned and endorsed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Lenka Peťková
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: European Union (EU) has been reluctant to start visa liberalization talks with Turkey until mid–2012 despite the fact that citizens of all other candidate countries have enjoyed visa-free travel to Schengen area since 2009. The Turkish diplomats had mastered to negotiate roadmap to visa-free travel in an exchange for the initial of the readmission agreement, implementation of which is considered key in securing EU's eastern borders. The issues of migration and visa policy are covered in the negotiating chapter Justice, Freedom and Security, which has been blocked by the Republic of Cyprus. Demonstrating that the said topics represent joint interest of Turkey and the EU, the chapter was added to the positive agenda launched this May with the aim to keep Turkey's accession process alive. Despite the fact that visa liberalization and readmission agreement will both be negotiated outside of Turkey's accession framework, reforms adopted in these areas are likely to ease Turkey's alignment with the provisions of the relevant chapter of the acquis communautaire. Visa liberalization and readmission agreement are thus important factors influencing Turkey's protracted journey to the EU.
  • Topic: Islam, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Famine
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Imke Pente
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: With a three-month postponement, the European Council agreed to grant Candidate Status to Serbia in early March. This right and groundbreaking decision may yet not release Serbia from settling its relationship with Kosovo and from advancing in settling Kosovo's status. Serbia implemented the agreements of the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue held under the auspices of the European External Action Service only sluggishly. The dialogue has been subject to recurrent adjournments due to growing tensions between the conflicting parties. The fatal escalation of the customs conflict between Serbia and Kosovo in July 2011 illustrated the limbo in northern Kosovo threatening to overturn. The clear results of the referendum about the recognition of the government in Pristina held in Northern Kosovo in February 2012 constitute yet another indicator for the deadlock between the Albanian and Northern Serb communities. For the sake of stability, the EU member states must not be lenient with the status settlement question before allowing Serbia membership in the European Union.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Anne Bercio, Katrin Böttger
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe"
  • Abstract: Given the current criticism of EU foreign policy after the Lisbon Treaty, the EU urgently needs success in the Western Balkan’s approximation to the EU in order to reassert its own foreign policy standing. After the 2004 enlargement, the EU has been widely advocating its accession policy as its most successful foreign policy instrument. With the Western Balkan countries’ ambitions for and great expectations in a future EU membership, the confirmation of the “European perspective” at Thessaloniki 2003, should have put them on a stable and progressive path towards European Union membership.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Hyperinflation is one of the most misused words in the English language. Two years ago, I heard a prominent American investor say that we were about to get hyperinflation, “not 15 percent a year as under Jimmy Carter but perhaps 5 percent a year.” Hyperinflation is usually 1,000 percent or more a year. The standard definition by Philip Cagan (1956) is that hyperinflation starts when inflation reaches 50 percent a month, and then the economy is in hyperinflation for one year until monthly inflation falls and stays below 50 percent.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mihaela Carstei
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Historically, energy security has played a central role in shaping the national security strategy and interests of the Baltic states. The diverse challenges that exist in the region make it necessary to focus on identifying areas of cooperation between the countries as they pursue diversified oil and gas supplies.This is crucial to achieve a regional approach to the European Union's common energy security goals.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Isabelle Francois
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Conventional arms control in Europe remains relevant more than two decades after the singing of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE). Today, it could serve as a useful vehicle for collaboration with Russia on a broad range of security issues, and productive movement forward would also do much to reassure and secure smaller NATO allies and regional partners. Ultimately, what is needed is a paradigm shift away from "mutual assured destruction" and towards a concept of "mutual assured stability."
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Transport is the only sector in the EU in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Unless this trend can be reversed, the EU will have little chance of reaching its objectives in the context of global obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions between 80% and 95% by 2050 compared to 1990. Many different solutions exist, including, for example, new technology such as electrification of road transport, modal shift, optimising existing technologies and policy measures and more radical measures such as binding GHG emissions targets. While there is some merit to all of these approaches, this Policy Brief argues that current EU policy thinking is not (yet) bold enough to credibly tackle the GHG emissions challenge from transport.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The European project seems to have run aground of late. Observers want to know how likely it is that the Europeans will recommit themselves to establishing a political and military union, and what the future holds for the single market and single currency.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe