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  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its creation. As the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), it has inherited a wide scope of trade issues to address. An ambitious agenda along with a lack of consensus, mainly between the developed and developing states, are the main reasons for a stalemate in negotiations within the flagship initiative, The Doha Round. The ineffectiveness of the talks has pushed numerous countries to seek regional cooperation, which further hampers multilateral negotiations. In this situation, it is high time to rethink the future shape of the WTO and its role in the world economy.
  • Author: Patrcyna Sasnal
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As so often in the past after political upheavals, the state in Egypt is trying to get a strong grip on Islam. But it is only able to control the institutionalised element of the religion (“official” Islam), whereas the uncontrollable and fragmented form, “popular” Islam, meaning the real source of religious inspiration for people, is metamorphosing. The result of this process will not only determine the future agents of mass mobilisation but may also signal a broader social transformation in the Arab world in the long term.
  • Author: Alex Lazarowicz
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the limited mobility of EU citizens across the European Economic Area, let alone that of migrants, this cherished right has found itself at the centre of political debates in Europe. As illustrated by the key cases debated, and against the backdrop of a rise of populist solutions, one cannot expect a complete overhaul of the free movement framework. All in all, intra-EU mobility for EU citizens and migrants has not been changed as such, only certain provisions have been specified. To this end, bilateral cooperation between sending and receiving countries gains in importance. Cooperation between Norway and Poland, especially on integration, could help depoliticise the debate, and ensure the continued success of Polish workers in Norway.
  • Author: Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One of the political ambitions of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, is to push for more openness in European Union policymaking. However, the improvements they propose are substantially undermined by opaque decision-making procedures and the lack of consistency in EU institutional culture. The open-governance drive is also stymied by fears among the Member States that too much disclosure might diminish effective policymaking there. Yet, if the EU does not understand that it needs to present a unified approach to transparency vis-à-vis its citizens, it will never evolve into a genuine political union.
  • Author: Sebastian Płóciennik
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Once again, Ukraine has a chance to transform its economic system and build a democratic capitalist one. It is tempting to say that Central European countries such as Poland in particular constitute a good pattern for Kyiv’s reforms. However, this time will be different in many respects, and simply re-running an older plan will not work.
  • Author: Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine continues to attract global attention. Moreover, foreigners are also involved in actual combat in the eastern part of the country. Russians, be they soldiers or volunteers, are the dominant foreign group in the war zone. Others, mostly Europeans, constitute neither “NATO’s foreign legion” nor the “Donbass international brigades,” as their numbers likely do not exceed 300 on either side of the conflict. Interestingly enough, many of these European foreign fighters share common ideological roots, i.e., anti-Americanism, anti-liberalism, extreme nationalism, fascination with authoritarianism, rejection of European integration, but these do not, however, stop them from taking opposing sides in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. They, as a group or as lone individuals, might constitute a threat to European security and must be closely monitored.
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During 2014, the Belarusian economy experienced serious problems, which were deepened by the crisis in Russia. Further deterioration of the economic situation in Russia and Belarus’ other trade partners such as Ukraine mean that 2015 could be much worse. That is why the Belarusian authorities need external financial support, although this need is still not forcing them to conduct structural reforms. Moreover, as presidential elections are planned for November, the president, Aliaksandr Lukashenka will traditionally try to postpone reforms and impose pro-social policies.
  • Author: Bojan Elek, Ljiljana Ubovic, Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Countries wishing to accede to the EU must involve civil society organisations (CSOs) actively in the process. In Serbia, in order to champion their effectiveness in cooperation with the government, the CSOs gathered in networks, and the three main, nationwide ones have proven to be of greatest relevance. The National Convention on the EU covers all 35 negotiation chapters, the Sectoral Civil Society Organisations group is involved in pre-accession funds distribution, while prEUgovor focuses exclusively on the hottest potato in the negotiations, which concerns chapters 23 and 24. Although in general terms the legal basis and good practices for such collaboration are established, more understanding of the government’s approach to the CSOs is needed in order to achieve visible benefits.
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik-Tatar
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Under the fifth generation of leaders, a conceptual shift in China’s foreign policy is becoming abundantly apparent. Xi Jinping is more clearly jettisoning long-standing Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy dictum of “hide and bide,” calling for big power diplomacy and a great revitalisation of the Chinese nation. This is not merely rhetoric. China is becoming more active in its closest neighbourhood and Asia, and is expanding its influence worldwide. Apart from coining new diplomatic catchphrases to win hearts and minds, China is establishing new institutions as an alternative to the Western-led global architecture, to reflect its ascendancy and normative power.
  • Author: Marta Stormowska
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Between 2004 and 2014, the number of Poles in Norway grew tenfold. Poles have become the biggest minority in Norway, bringing economic benefits for both countries but also social challenges. Whereas the effects of migration for sending and receiving countries differ, there are many areas in which cooperation could bring mutual benefits. Such cooperation based on the respect of the fundamental freedom of EU citizens’ free access to the labour market should lead to better integration of migrants. However, the biggest challenge in this respect lies in embracing the diversity of flows occurring within the free movement framework, ranging from short term stays to permanent settlements