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  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: In January-February of 2019, activity in foreign exchange markets has further escalated. According to the information provided by the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), during the corresponding period 951 million US dollars were sold, including 634.9 million in January and 316.2 million in February. This is 47.2% higher than the same period of the previous year.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rashad Hasanov
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: Following the recession and stagnation of the economy of Azerbaijan in 2015-2017, a growth of 1.4% was recorded in 2018. Economic growth has been mainly driven by the following factors. Favorable foreign economic environment for Azerbaijan from the context of oil prices: the initial forecast of the oil prices by the Azerbaijani government at the beginning of 2018 was 45 US dollars per barrel. Then, during the second half of the year, the forecast was adjusted to 55 US dollars per barrel. However, the actual price of one barrel of oil for the reporting period was above 71 US dollars (29% higher than forecasted)…
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dan Breban
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The current external macroeconomic conditions observed throughout the year of 2018, such as increasing rates by FED/ECB, exerts certain pressure on the economies of developing nations. Despite hovering well-over its predicted value for most of the year, the recent decline in the price of oil once again puts question marks for the future of the commodity. Considering all of the above mentioned facts in mind, dependence of 2019 state budget of Azerbaijan on oil, where 50.4% of revenues directly come from the oil sector further makes the country more vulnerable to oil price fluctuations. The largest hike is observed in the amount of revenues collected through the excise taxes while the biggest decline is in income taxes, reflecting the new amendments to the tax code. Expenditures of the state budget are going to be 7.3% higher in 2019, with the most significant boost observed in construction sector. This fact undermines the efficiency of the public funds, as the expenditures towards construction are more likely to become subject of mismanagement. When looking at the SOFAZ’s budget, a clear trend of increasingly allocating more and more funds to the state budget can be seen. As expected, new amendments were made to the fiscal rule in order to make it more flexible, however, the effectiveness of these changes are still unclear.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victoria Bittner
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD)
  • Abstract: The establishment of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy as a part of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) sets new objectives for the deepening of cooperation between the EU and EaP countries, and the greater integration of the EaP based on shared norms, values and standards. Forming the eastern divide of the ENP, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia are considered official neighbors of the EU, although half of these countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) do not lie on the immediate borders of the EU. However, these South Caucasian countries play an important transit role by connecting the EU with Central Asia and China. Hence, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railroad, crossing Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, establishes a significant link in the further development and integration of regional and global transit corridors stretching from China to Europe through Central Asia and the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jana Juzová
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: The Visegrad countries have since their own accession to the EU been one of the most active European actors advocating for further EU enlargement towards South- Eastern Europe. On the joint Visegrad-level as well as in their own foreign policies, the Western Balkans have a special position; the V4 countries provided them support on their path of European integration with transfer of know-how based on the V4’s own successful experience with economic and political transformation, regional cooperation and Euro-Atlantic integration. However, the Visegrad approach towards the Western Balkans is now being undermined and is losing its legitimacy due to several factors outlined in this paper. In spite of the positive impact of the Visegrad policy towards Western Balkans1, recent trends, such as worsening state of democracy in Hungary, Hungarian PM Orbán’s connections to autocratic leaders in the region (recently granting the asylum to former Macedonian PM Gruevski who escaped to Hungary from a jail sentence at home) are weakening not only Visegrad’s legitimacy as advocate for transformation of the region and its integration into the Euro-Atlantic structures, but also the normative power of the EU. Other V4 countries’ indifference towards this trend coupled with Poland’s new involvement in the Berlin Process framework, another EU member states’ initiative focused on the Western Balkans, only contribute to raising doubts about the commitment and legitimacy of Visegrad’s Western Balkan policy.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ramzy Baroud
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: The Deal of the Century will allow Trump/Kushner, Netanyahu and bin Salman to merely buy time, each for his own domestic benefit. It is likely to split up an Arab camp that has served as the American vanguard.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yahia H. Zoubir
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Hirak has been the relegation of the Islamists because the protesters showed no interest in an Islamist ideology. They are opposed to foreign interference and have warned the West, particularly the former colonial power France, from interfering in their movement.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Ken Barker
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The Canadian government is now openly discussing the possibility of making cyberweapons part of its official national defence strategy. The new development was revealed in a recent government white paper, entitled “Strong, Secure, and Engaged” (SSE), which outlined defence policy across a wide range of activities. Specifically, the paper discusses working toward a “more assertive posture in the cyber domain by hardening our defences, and by conducting active cyber operations against potential adversaries in the context of government-authorized military missions” with an explicit commitment to developing cyberattack capabilities. This direction not only opens up new possibilities for Canadian defence, it could also represent significant new risks. Without good answers to the difficult questions this new direction could raise, the country could be headed down a very precarious path.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eugene Lang
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: The “America First” agenda will persist well beyond the life of the Trump administration. Washington no longer “has Canada’s back”. We are living in a new age of great power rivalry. Populism poses a major challenge to the rules-based international order. Adult supervision in global politics is in short supply. These are some of the themes that surfaced during a recent CGAI conference titled What Role for Canada on the Global Stage? Implied, if unstated, was that Canada is adrift internationally on these waters, in search of a role in a new world order of which most Canadians seem unaware. The question remained: How should Canada respond to these new global currents in a way befitting a middle power entering the third decade of the 21st century?
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Alan Stephenson
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Purchasing a fleet of fighter aircraft is a complex process with many variables and the Canadian government has a duty to ensure the billions of procurement dollars required are properly spent. The interplay between the four dimensions involved in military procurement (military, technological, economic, and political) defies simple analysis. The government has directed the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure Canadian sovereignty, defend North America, and engage in extraterritorial missions. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has responded to its responsibilities to support these commitments with a thorough, capability-based Statement of Requirements for the future fighter, taking critical functionalities of operating in the future battlespace and emerging technologies into consideration.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus