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  • Author: Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia has perceived itself as a great power and has sought international acknowledgement of its status for years. The fact that Moscow regards the post-Soviet space as its sphere of ‘privileged interests’ and the sovereignty of the other post-Soviet states as subordinate to Russia’s national interests is nothing new. Likewise, Russia has persistently objected to the dominant role played by the US in world politics, and the enlargement of NATO. It has attempted to influence the security policy orientation and political choices made by post-Soviet states, and other states neighbouring Russia, such as Finland. These goals are well-established and are likely to remain fundamentally un- changed for years to come.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process, the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Commission – and particularly their leaders – has strengthened. This inter- institutional connection also has a party-political dimension, being intrinsically linked to the emergence of a ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest groups of the EP. However, in an EU beset by crises, the political agenda is firmly under the control of the member states and the European Council, which makes it difficult for the EP to take advantage of its closer relationship with the Commission, as the latter acts very cautiously.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kirill Rogov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent 2016 Duma elections were planned by the Kremlin to attest to the fact that the period of troubled political development – which began during the previous 2011 Duma elections – is over. Further, the elections served to test Putin’s consolidated authoritarianism on the eve of the forthcoming presidential elections in 2018. While successful in terms of preserving full control over the new Duma, the election results nevertheless demonstrated that the patriotic enthusiasm evoked by the annexation of Crimea has largely been exhausted. The pressure on the opposition, new electoral rules and reliance on regions with so-called “administrative voting” secured a victory for the party of power, but in urban regions the turnout was very low and voting for the Kremlin’s party did not differ much from 2011 patterns. Although the direct effect of the economic crisis on people’s political attitudes is still moderate, the continued long-term stagnation in the Russian economy that started even before the fall in energy prices remains the major challenge for regime stability. Ambiguous election results force the Kremlin to seek new instruments of political consolidation. The Kremlin’s most probable strategy may be to combine toughening authoritarian institutions with maintaining high tension in the international arena in order to prolong the ‘rally around the flag’ effect domestically, by attempting or promising “authoritarian modernization” to gain support in urban regions. As the presidential election date approaches, both Putin’s foreign and economic policies could become even riskier than they have been to date.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Political Economy, International Affairs, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Mika Aaltola, Mariita Mattiisen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Finnish Institute for International Affairs
  • Abstract: The US, as a highly digitalized state, depends on different cyber platforms for election campaigning, political discussions, forming popular opinions, and – in some cases – the voting process itself. Geopolitically motivated election hacking can aim to influence the direction of foreign policy debates, to promote/demote candidate(s), and to instigate disruptions, suspicions, and distrust towards the election process or the democratic system. The strategic aim to lower democratic appeal and increase the attraction of autocratic "stability”. A state sponsor of hacking can demonstrate that it has sophisticated cyber capabilities, thereby promoting its own major power standing. Even if its efforts raise suspicions, it gains visibility, as its efforts are discussed in the media and it manages to insert itself into the election discussions. The state sponsor can subtly promote the images of its own type of political system as being comparatively more resilient and stable than the US democratic system. The relative success of the election hacking targeting the US might motivate scaling up the intensity and scope of similar operations in future democratic elections. At a minimum, the election hacking incidents point to a scenario that has to be taken seriously.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, International Affairs, Elections, Democracy
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Finnish Institute for International Affairs
  • Abstract: The direct implications of Brexit for the EU’s political system will be less significant than the indirect consequences, opening up possibilities for reform. The treaty rules on a qualified majority in the Council might need to be reconsidered due to Brexit, which will also lead to a major reshuffle of the EU’s critical political groups in the European parliament after the 2019 EP elections. The political pressure to consolidate the EMU in terms of strengthening its governance and its own fiscal capacity may grow as a part of the general reform process following on from Brexit. If the treaties are reopened, principled amendments to the institutions and decision-making of the common foreign and security policy as well as further steps within the common security and defence policy are very likely to occur. Any internal reform project shouldn’t compromise the unity and coherence of the EU any further, however, as it is currently highly exposed to both internal and external pressures.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari , Sebastian Tetzlaff
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: While the refugee crisis has exposed the severe limitations of EU decision-making, German choices have had a knock-on effect on the rest of Europe. The politicization of German migration policy will likely force Angela Merkel to take a step towards more conservative positions ahead of the 2017 federal election. This will again require the EU to adjust to Berlin’s policy turns.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Migration, Immigration, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Tobias Gemmerli
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the confrontation with radicalism and political violence, democratic freedoms are often viewed as a problem. Freedom of expression is viewed to encourage the spread of radical ideas and freedom of congregation, the formation of radical groups and communities. However, these democratic freedoms can also be part of the solution. The success criteria for an effective prevention policy, is the absence of political violence and crime, as well as increased democratic participation. A new policy brief by Tobias Gemmerli, argues for a more democratic approach to those who challenge democracy. Democratic freedoms can generate public debate, about the allegations and utopian ideas put forward by radical and anti-democratic movements. Democratic freedoms can beckon these movements out into public space and uncover the counter-cultural modus operandi. The brief therefore recommends that we include real political disagreement and support initiatives, which make space for critical societal debate. We should take radical opinions, frustrations, and criticisms seriously, make more space for legal radical expression, and focus on combatting unlawful actions. Finally, we should address the dilemmas and compromises that are part of modern foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Radicalization, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maybritt Jill Alpes, Ninna Nyberg Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The current European Agenda on Migration aims at reducing the arrival of asylum seekers and irregular migrants. For this purpose, various mechanisms of ‘effective and humane return’ are introduced. But can deportation ever be humane and what would be required? VU postdoc researcher Maibritt Jill Alpes and DIIS senior researcher Ninna Nyberg Sørensen take a closer look at international cooperation on migration and the risks migrants and rejected asylum seekers may face upon a forced return. They argue that international cooperation on migration has criminalized departure and consequently contributed to put forcible retuned people at risk not only of economic and psychosocial harm, but also of monetary extraction, arbitrary detention and criminal persecution in the hands of state agents. They argue that more emphasis must be put on different post-deportation risks and measures to avoid them in order to guarantee the safety of border apprehended and returned persons.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, Immigration, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dick Zandee
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The newly launched European Defence Action Plan (EDAP) opens the door to EU spending on defence. This Policy Brief analyses why the EDAP has been launched, what it is and how it will work in practice. It argues that the plan is a step change in the European Commission’s growing involvement in defence and a potential game changer in solving the problem of European military shortfalls. European capitals should therefore embrace the new kid on the block and make full use of the potential offered by the EDAP.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Political Economy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Sico Van Der meer
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Some medium-sized states play varying, yet important roles in international cyber-security policies. In this policy brief author Sico van der Meer offers a concise overview of five medium-sized states with such a prominent position: Australia, Estonia, Israel, the Netherlands and South Korea. How did these states attain these positions, and what are the benefits and challenges? The analysis shows that these positions are not easy to acquire or to maintain. Whilst the will to continuously invest and to develop an integrated (whole-of-government) approach seems to be an obvious key requirement for success, cyber security as a policy area is very broad. Remaining in a lead position may require looking for ‘a niche within the niche’.
  • Topic: Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus