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  • Author: Simeon Djankov
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In the 15 years of President Vladimir Putin's rule, state control over economic activity in Russia has increased and is greater today than in the immediate postcommunist era. The concentration of political and economic power in Putin's hands has led to an increasingly assertive foreign policy, using energy as a diplomatic tool, while plentiful revenues from extractive industries have obfuscated the need for structural reforms at home. The West's 2014 sanctions on Russia have brought about economic stagnation, and with few visible means of growth, the economy is likely to continue to struggle. Watching Europe struggle with its own growth, in part because of deficiencies in its economic model, Russia will not be convinced to divert from state capitalism without evidence of a different, successful economic model. Changing course can only be pursued in the presence of political competition; the current political landscape does not allow for such competition to flourish
  • Topic: Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: After surviving its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and the near collapse of its common currency, Europe is now engulfed by hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa. It needs new and permanent migration institutions and resources not only to accommodate the influx of refugees but also to set up a new border control system throughout the region. These demands pose a challenge for European policymaking as serious as the euro crisis of the last five years. Kirkegaard proposes a migration and mobility union, to be implemented gradually, with the goal of comprehensively reforming European migration policy.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Angel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The rules and buffers created in the last few years to enable the euro area to withstand another sudden stop of credit and market-driven panic in one or more of its member states are welcome steps, but they are widely recognized as inadequate. Ubide proposes creating a system of stability bonds in the euro area, to be issued by a new European Debt Agency, to partially finance the debt of euro area countries—up to 25 percent of GDP. These stability bonds should be initially backed by tax revenues transferred from national treasuries, but ultimately by the creation of euro area–wide tax revenues, and used to fund the operations of national governments. They could also be used for euro area–wide fiscal stimulus, to complement the fiscal policies of member states. Such bonds would strengthen the euro area economic infrastructure, creating incentives for countries to reduce their deficits but not forcing them to do so when such actions would drive their economies further into a downturn. The bonds would permit the euro area to adopt a more flexible or expansionary fiscal policy during recessions.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy, GDP
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alan Riley
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Germany may be seeking to expedite the construction of Russia's Nordstream 2 pipeline by shielding the controversial project from tough the laws of the European Union (EU), according to a transcript of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Energy Minster Sigmar Gabriel, Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Alan Riley writes in "Nordstream 2: Too Many Obstacles, Legal, Economic, and Political to Be Delivered?".
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Law, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • 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: 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
  • Author: Patryk Kuglel
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU-India Strategic Partnership launched in 2004 has made only modest achievements and needs a thorough rethink. Both sides must reset cooperation and base it on a more realistic footing centred on common interests, such as economic cooperation, global governance, development cooperation, and defence. The resumption of free trade negotiations, the organisation of a long overdue bilateral summit, and more frank dialogue on contentious issues is necessary in order to utilise the partnership’s potential. Poland may use this strategic drift to revitalise bilateral cooperation and play a more active role in reviving EU-India dialogue.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, India
  • 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: Selena Florensa
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: This document is the result of the high level working group of the MED Confederation on financial reform held on the 16th and 17th of June 2014 in Promos – Milan Chamber of Commerce. On that occasion, more than 30 international experts debated how to reform the banking sector in the Mediterranean neighbourhood as a key need to better contribute to the socioeconomic and business development of these economies. They also analysed how to improve the performance and impact of private equity in these countries to consolidate their development and their international cooperation. Finally, mobile banking was the third financial segment studied as a way of improving financial inclusion in these societies.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Petr Kratochvil, Vit Beneš
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: his paper was prepared for the Prague European Summit. "The refugee crisis can become – in spite of the underlying tragedy – a moment of glory for the European Union. Suffering from crises of both identity and confidence, the EU can find itself again by drawing inspiration from its history and values and renew its purpose at home and abroad. If the EU manages to reform its outdated migration and asylum policies, offering the war refugees a friendly welcome, it will prove that the fears of its weakness are exaggerated and the rumours about its erosion are unfounded. If decisive action is taken by European leaders, the result will be of benefit for both the refugees and the societies as well as economies of the recipient countries. War refugees – and even economic migrants – are not a threat; they are an opportunity for the EU to prove that it still stands firm on the principles of peace, solidarity and openness, on which it had been originally built."
  • Topic: Refugees, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sophie Heine
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: For several decades, the European Union has been at the forefront of significant progress in the struggle towards equality between women and men, among others in the fight against sex-based discriminations. The contemporary EU approach to gender has however become much more interested in representations and social norms. This paper analyses this stance and highlights its deficiencies – more specifically, it looks at the flaws entailed in an excessive focus on “gender
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Plóciennik
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although the euro has survived the most severe phase of the current crisis, its future is still uncertain. The fate of the common currency will depend not only on the condition of the European economy, but also the priorities of its biggest player—Germany. So far that country has been strong enough to enforce its own vision of integration based on neoliberal reforms and austerity measures. Since the side effects of this prescription have been rising costs and risks, Berlin's new government will consider a range of different solutions, including in extremis a controlled and partial break-up of the Eurozone. For Poland, this volatility creates a challenging environment with risks, but also creates chances for Warsaw to increase its influence over the evolution of EU integration in this field.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Gerald Stang
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Russia is often seen as a land of extremes – and the narratives for this month's Winter Olympics in Sochi reflect that view. From the record-length 65,000 km Olympic torch run (which included trips to outer space, the north pole and the bottom of the world's deepest lake) to the incredible $51 billion price tag and the Ian Flemingesque threat of attacks from black widow terrorists, the Sochi games have a distinctly Russian flavour. The Kremlin appears to have envisioned the games as a national triumph, not unlike the 2008 Beijing Olympics, with organisational, architectural and sporting successes that could unite the country. However, with global headlines dominated by stories of corruption, human rights abuses, anti-gay laws and the very real threat of terrorist attacks, one might be forgiven for wondering whether the Russian government regrets its decision to bid for the games.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Political Violence, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: For the best part of the last two decades, EU-Russia summits have alternated between being upbeat events where new grand integration initiatives were launched – the creation of four common spaces in 2005, the partnership for modernisation in 2010 – and rather unfriendly encounters where success was seemingly measured on how impolite the partners could be to one another.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Dorothée Fouchaux
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The following National Security Outlook is the ninth in AEI's Hard Power series, a project of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies. In it, Dorothée Fouchaux examines the state of French forces and France's most recent effort to prioritize its strategic goals and square them with its military capabilities.1 Certainly since Charles de Gaulle's presidency, France has maintained a tradition of thinking strategically for itself-often, admittedly, to the aggravation of its allies. This tradition remains strong and, if anything, has been reinforced in recent years by the sense that the United States is pivoting away from Europe and would like to reduce its footprint in Europe's troubled periphery. With its latest defense white paper, Paris has laid out a program to maintain its "strategic autonomy" through a combination of nuclear deterrence, enhanced intelligence efforts, and discrete power-projection capabilities. But France faces flat defense budgets, the increased cost of its military interventions in Africa, and prospects that budget shortfalls will not be overcome by the sale of public shares of national defense companies or export sales of military hardware. Consequently, some doubt that an even smaller French force will have sufficient resources to address existing problems in readiness and needed capabilities while sustaining a defense research-anddevelopment base sufficient to keep future French forces armed with advanced equipment. In short, France really is living on the strategic edge.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Inflation in the euro area is too low, just 0.9 percent year-on-year in December 2013, and inflation expectations, measured from inflation derivative contracts, have shifted lower, indicating that markets expect some small probability of deflation in 2014 and average inflation over the next five years in the 1.25 to 1.5 percent range. The European Central Bank (ECB), however, seems to be content with this outlook. Its current projections show a very slow economic recovery and inflation at just 1.3 percent in two years' time. Yet the ECB describes the risks to inflation as balanced. This puzzling assessment might be due to the fact that the ECB's definition of price stability is less precise than that employed by other central banks, and some ECB members may interpret the definition as setting a ceiling, rather than a target, for inflation at close to but below 2 percent. But if one considers the ECB's self-assessment of success since its creation—achieving 2 percent inflation on average—its current inflation forecast of 1.3 percent would fall short of achieving its price stability mandate.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Mark Twain once wrote an essay about the difficulties of learning what he called "The Awful German Language." Similar barriers to comprehension seem to plague those trying to explain recent German economic performance. By most measures, Germany has the best functioning labor market among large economies in the West, with levels of employment reaching those in the United States at the end of the turbo-charged 1990s. A debate has stirred, however, about whether this success has come with a price—specifically, whether Germany's domestic structural reforms have lowered living standards for Germany's low income workers and worsened income inequality and whether Germany is fortuitously and perhaps selfishly riding a wave of strong foreign demand for German exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jeong Yeon Lee
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: Multi-factor productivity (MFP) compares the growth of gross domestic product with the growth of combined capital and labor inputs. The growth rate of MFP assumes theoretical significance because it represents the slope of the steady-state growth path, and hence is a major determinant of the long-term growth trend. This paper offers the balanced panel of the estimated growth rates of MFP for 24 OECD countries over 1986-2011. Based on the estimates of MFP growth, a number of notable trends in productivity growth are identified for the entire OECD area as well as three major economies – the United States, the Eurozone and Japan – within the OECD.
  • Topic: Economics, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, Europe
  • Author: Edmund Cairns
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The UK needs a safe world in which to trade and invest, and to be free from the security threats caused by conflicts or fragile states. Yet spiralling inequality and climate change, among many other factors, threaten to create a more dangerous, unequal world. As the continuing tragedy in Syria shows, the world's old and new powers have not yet found a way to unite to end conflicts. The age of interventions, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, is over. But a new rule-based world in which China, India, and others unite with Western powers to protect civilians and end conflicts has not yet come into being. Whoever wins the 2015 UK general election, the greatest test for UK foreign policy will be how much it can do to help build that world.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Poverty, Insurgency, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, India, Syria
  • Author: Susan Schadler
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Throughout the history of IMF lending, the institution has had PCS — that is, distressed countries borrowing from the IMF are expected to give priority to meeting their obligations to the IMF over those to other (private or official) creditors. This status is a defining characteristic of the IMF's role in financial crises: it provides a high degree of confidence that IMF resources are safe even when other creditors of the distressed country face substantial uncertainty about whether they will be repaid in full. In other words, the IMF, which lends to some of the riskiest countries in the world, faces minimal risk that its resources could be compromised by a debtor country's difficulties in servicing its debt. It does so, however, with the confidence that comes from its role in helping to formulate and monitor a program of policies that are strongly expected to return the country to stability.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Monetary Fund, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe