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  • Author: Benjamin Tallis, Elena Zhirukhina, Mark Galeotti, Jan Mazač
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The policy brief is a result of conclusions from roundtable discussions with policy makers and researchers that took place in Prague and Oslo in late 2019 and early 2020. The researchers studied how to better respond to fear factors and move beyond them in foreign policy. A key observation made in the new brief is that while changes in American, Chinese and Russian foreign policies may trigger anxiety and uncertainty among smaller European states, fears like this can also have productive effects on foreign policy thinking and practice. For states like Czechia and Norway, it can create opportunities for re-thinking support networks and reaching out to new partners. While Norway and Czechia have different historical, geographical and (sometimes) political points of departure, the two states’ assessment of recent international developments is similar. This creates room for conversation and mutual learning - including how to best respond to increased levels of rivalry between great powers, and changing dynamics in the EU and NATO. There are also similarities in how Norway and Czechia perceive their regional collaboration with their respective Nordic and Visegrad states – and how there is considerable scope for them to branch out from their regional formats.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway, Czech Republic
  • Author: Gustav Gressel, Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union and its member states have yet to start upgrading EU policies to their declared ambitions of a more geopolitical and strategically sovereign EU. The EU spends more on support for Eastern Partnership countries than the United States does, but Washington has long taken care of security sector reform and capacity building there. If the EU is to be more geopolitically influential in its own neighbourhood, it needs to start developing strategic security partnerships with key neighbours to the east and the south. The bloc should do so by creating a security compact for the Eastern Partnership, comprising targeted support for intelligence services, cyber security institutions, and armed forces. In exchange, Eastern Partnership countries should conduct anticorruption and rule of law reforms in the security sector. The EU should treat this compact as a pilot project that it will implement with important partners in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Pawel Zerka
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: ECFR research into how EU member states and institutions worked together – or failed to – at the height of covid-19 confirms Germany was the bloc’s undisputed crisis leader. Germany made a shaky start in showing solidarity on the pandemic, but regained other member states’ trust on the health and economy fronts. The Netherlands, however, paid a reputational price as the leading ‘frugal’ state opposing greater financial burden-sharing. EU institutions won few plaudits but policymakers still look to it for post-crisis economic leadership. France emerged at the head of a strengthened ‘southern’ grouping of member states, while the Visegrad platform was invisible during this crisis. It will fall to Germany and France to close the north-south divide, building coalitions on major policies. But they should not forget that closing the east-west divide remains an important goal.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Health Care Policy, European Union, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Cinzia Bianco
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since 2011, members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have become increasingly assertive players across the Middle East and north Africa, particularly given the shifting US role in the region. European countries, long used to working under a US umbrella in the Gulf, have struggled to recalibrate their relationships with Gulf states and have been increasingly marginalised as relevant actors. Europeans urgently need to strengthen their geopolitical role in the Gulf, overcoming competition between one another to shape a more autonomous, strategic, and forceful role in defence of their key interests. Europeans can shift the balance of power in the Gulf in their favour and help address key crises by approaching the Gulf through flexible new frameworks based on core coalitions that address specific issues.
  • Topic: International Relations, Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Cristina Gherasimov
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: While the magnitude of the current pandemic is still unknown, Eastern Europe might be facing a major regional catastrophe. The six countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) have dysfunctional health-care systems and lack resources and protective equipment for their doctors and hospitals. The European Commission’s offer of immediate assistance is good news. However, much more will be needed to help the EU’s eastern partners fight the coronavirus and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of this crisis.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Partnerships, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: While the ECB has already taken bold steps, the EU member states need to support its efforts by committing to underwrite together some of the fiscal costs of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The best option would be to launch a Corona Fund with the power to mobilize 1 trillion EUR—support for such a fund need not be unanimous.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economy, Recovery, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristi Raik, Josef Janning
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: This policy paper examines Estonia’s partners in the European Union with the aim of identifying ways to enhance its influence on policy-making. Effective coalition-building is also important for the EU as a whole, since it can improve the Union’s capacity to take decisions and act. The paper highlights that: Estonia has a relatively strong position in the EU, considering its small size and limited resources. It is particularly well-connected with the Nordic-Baltic partners and should seek ways to use this grouping more effectively as a means to reach out to larger member states and shape decisions in the Union. The main challenge is to build stronger links with France and Germany, something that has become all the more important due to Brexit. Teaming up with other countries that are better connected to Berlin and Paris, such as Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium, is one way to pursue this goal. It is too early to draw conclusions about the impact of the latest change of government in Estonia on the country’s influence and image among partners in the EU. However, the research interviews show some indications of a weakened position. Estonia should avoid losing its reputation as a results-oriented member state that takes into consideration the priorities of others while pursuing its own interests in a constructive manner.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Estonia
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The sub-regional multilateral format of China and 16 post-communist states (16+1) proved that it could last seven years and that it has the potential to absorb new members. Consequently, the European Union is increasingly concerned about its potentially divisive effects on the EU’s unity. The expected economic benefits of 16+1 for the European partners have been scarcely relevant; still, the European states exploit the 16+1 format for strengthening their bilateral agendas with China. Amidst the trade war with China, the US regards China’s rising influence in Central Europe as a political issue. Beijing’s priority in Europe is to calm down the tension with the EU, Germany, and France over the 16+1 platform. However, the accession of Greece to the enlarged format of 17+1 in the recent 16+1 summit in Dubrovnik and the gaining of support for the Belt and Road Initiative in Italy enable China to establish its foothold on the European South’s doorstep in connection with the 17+1 regional platform.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, France, Germany
  • Author: Jana Juzová
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The discussion on the future of EU enlargement was opened again this year. After yet another disappointment for Albania and North Macedonia at the European Council’s session in October, the discussion turned towards a revision of the enlargement methodology. The argument that the enlargement process needs to undergo a reform, put forward by France as a justification of its October veto for Albania and North Macedonia, is based on the fact that the current process is not delivering adequately. That is true especially for the current frontrunners, Montenegro and Serbia, setting a bad example for other candidate countries in the region and giving more reasons to oppose enlargement to some already sceptical EU Member States. Both countries’ progress on the accession path has recently slowed down significantly, with some suggesting that the current low number of chapters that are being opened and closed, and progress only on “technical” rather than substantial matters, is due to the serious problems both countries have in the area of rule of law and democratic standards.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Serbia
  • Author: Carina Böttcher
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The EU needs more and better capabilities in civilian crisis management to fulfill its level of ambition and to more effectively contribute to security and peace in its wider neighborhood. In this, the Civilian CSDP Compact plays an important role. It has introduced an annual review process to take stock of implementation and identify ­capability shortfalls. This review process has great potential to improve the way the EU and its member states plan and develop capabilities for missions.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Milan Nič, András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: A few weeks after the European People’s Party (EPP) suspended the membership of Hungary’s ruling populist party, Fidesz, it looks unlikely that their relationship could be repaired. Seeing his leverage decreasing, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been paving the way for divorce. The EPP leaders seem to have made up their minds as well. A re-arrangement of the European party system is already taking shape ahead of the upcoming European elections (23–26 May 2019), not only afterwards.
  • Topic: Government, Regional Cooperation, Elections, European Union, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary
  • Author: Clare Castillejo, Eva Dick, Benjamin Schraven
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The European Union (EU) approach to migration in Africa has significantly shifted in the last few years. Notably since 2015, it has focused on preventing irregular migration and privileges engagement with the main countries of origin and transit of migrants. In the context of the 2015 Joint Valletta Action Plan (JVAP), a funding instrument – the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) –was created to channel development aid in support of EU interests in curbing migration. As reflected in historical and more recent policy agendas, economic integration and free movement within the continent and its regions constitute key elements of African development ambitions and narratives. But an increasing body of research suggests that EU activities (in particular the EUTF) sideline or even undermine African stakeholders and interests in decision-making and programming on migration. This paper analyses the effects of EU political dialogue and programming on regional free movement (RFM) in two African regions: the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the Horn of Africa and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in West Africa. These regions receive the greatest amount of EUTF funding. While both IGAD and ECOWAS have frameworks on RFM, these are at very different stages of development. The analysis, based on literature review and field research, shows that EU approaches to and impact on RFM differ significantly in the two regions. In the IGAD region, the EU is not undermining but rather supporting free movement – albeit not as significantly as it could. In contrast, in the ECOWAS region the EU’s focus on preventing irregular migration is undermining progress on RFM. At least three factors drive this difference: 1) institutional coherence and decision-making powers vary considerably in the two regions; 2) whereas some powerful member states in the IGAD region consider free movement to be a barrier to their hegemonic role, member states in the ECOWAS region largely see it as positive; and 3) EU migration programming in these regions is driven by different levels of urgency – with the largest number of irregular migrants coming from West Africa, the EU’s objective of curbing migration is more accentuated in the ECOWAS region.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, European Union
  • Author: Eileen Keller
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: This study analyses the joint efforts by France and Germany to bring about a comprehensive reform of the European currency union. These efforts culminated in the joint Meseberg Declaration adopted in June 2018. The article contextualises these efforts with respect to the reforms realised so far and the different reform options at hand. Besides questions of economic viability and institutional deficits, the article tackles issues of political feasibility. “From Meseberg to nowhere” was the prognosis given by Werner Mussler, economic correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Brussels. Commenting on the outlook for the joint declaration by the French President and German Chancellor on 19 June, following protracted negotiations at the German Government's official guest house at Schloss Meseberg, near Berlin, the journalist was critical of both the compromises it contained on strengthening the euro area and the chances of these ever being implemented. There is no question that the negotiations on the development of the euro area come at a difficult time. However, there are still good grounds for reaching a different conclusion. Both valid economic and political reasons can be found for the reforms proposed in the declaration, the details of which have yet to be developed. Anyone broaching the subject realistically knows that negotiations on economic and monetary union have always been challenging, due to differing concepts of economic policy and divergent economic needs and interests. At the same time, the two figures responsible for the Meseberg Declaration are both exceptional political personalities whom have shown in the past that they can cope with difficult negotiations, and can achieve remarkable results – on condition that Angela Merkel remains in office.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Economy, Negotiation, Currency
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During his first visit to Warsaw after re-election as prime minister of the UK, David Cameron found an ally in support of one of his ideas to reform the EU. Rafał Trzaskowski, the Polish minister for Europe, speaking on behalf of the Polish government, officially endorsed the British position to strengthen national parliaments in EU policymaking. Yet, the proposals to date either require treaty changes or are merely technical adjustments. In fact, much more could be achieved by enhancing the mechanisms of inter-parliamentary cooperation within the existing scope of the treaties. Although this would play very well with the current institutional climate of better regulation and more transparency, it also requires a genuine political will on the side of EU institutions and Member States, which seem to be the missing link.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The European council's decisions on the common Security and Defence policy (CSDP) in December 2013 and the process that now follows should be used by EU member states as a means to progressively empower the CSDP within a short-term future.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Viral V. Acharya, Sascha Steffen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is mired in a recession. In 2013, the GDP of all 17 eurozone countries fell by 0.5% and the outlook for 2014 shows considerable risks across the region. To stabilise the common currency area and its (partly insolvent) financial system, a eurozone banking union is being established. An important part of the banking union is the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will transfer the oversight of Europe's largest banks to the European Central Bank (ECB). Before the ECB takes over this responsibility, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2014, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Jacques Pelkmans, Weinian Hu
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Policy Brief is based on a larger study for the EEAS and European Commission, written by the same authors in the run-up of the Milan ASEM summit of 16-17 October 2014. The main idea of the study is to assess whether ASEM works and how, by verifying the factual evidence in detail. After all, ASEM has no institutions, no budget and no treaty, whilst dialogues and a loose improvement over time in Asia-Europe relations refer to process much more than genuine 'results'. The stocktaking covers all ASEM activities since the 2006 Helsinki summit. Summit and foreign ministers' declarations and ASEM calendar of activities (and interviews) are used to trace ASEM activities in the three ASEM pillars (political, economic, and peoples-to-peoples/cultural). All the 'regular' ASEM meetings at ministerial and other levels (many of which are only known to relatively few) have been mapped. Also the ASEM working methods, based on the 2000AECF framework and many subsequent initiatives, have been scrutinised, including whether they are actually implemented or not or partially. Such methods refer to how to work together in areas of cooperation (beyond the typical ASEM dialogue), organisation, coordination and ASEM visibility.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Patryk Pawlak, Catherine Sheahan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The benefits of an open and accessible internet for growth and development have been acknowledged on numerous occasions. But as the potential of the digital economy for fostering innovation and creating new business opportunities grows, so too do the difficulties with protecting it. In February 2014, the European External Action Service presented the Friends of the Presidency on Cyber Issues with a Food for Thought Paper ('Further Strengthening European Cyber Diplomacy'). According to the document, 'the EU and its Member States should be in a position to present a coherent and comprehensive suite of policies which keep pace with the ever shifting international landscape, taking into account the strategic policy goals of other actors in the field'.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Neil Robinson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The EU's cyber defence agenda provides an opportunity to ask questions about what the EU could do in terms of setting security priorities. Furthermore, as a possible area for cooperation, cyber defence shares with military air logistics the peculiarity of being a common capability which does not require explicit war-like conditions to demonstrate its utility. Indeed, the diversity and complexity of the threat environment – coupled with challenges of attribution – suggests the opposite: military cyber defence capabilities might offer better value for money in peacetime rather than in times of war.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe