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  • Author: Raúl Zibechi
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Although every Latin American government pays lip service to integration, taking the concrete steps needed to attain it is much more difficult than simply issuing declarations. In the wake of the collapse of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), Latin America faces the dilemma of remaining divided and at the mercy of the interests of the great powers, or setting out on the road to continental unity. Even if the forces in favor of integration prevail, the type of integration to be constructed remains to be defined.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Robert Vickers
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: To most Americans, the prospect of a united Europe has long been viewed not only as a favorable development, but even as an increasingly inevitable one. Our common political, religious and cultural heritage, democratic governments, market economies, and Cold War experiences have all contributed to the perception of Europe as a friend and natural ally of the United States, occasional differences not withstanding. The formation of NATO in 1949 gave a military tone to the developing political alliance between the U.S. and Western Europe, and the beginnings of united Europe in the early 1950s was generally viewed in Washington as a favorable trend that would make Western Europe a stronger economic partner and a stronger ally in the struggle against Soviet Communism.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Washington, Soviet Union
  • Author: Chappell Lawson
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: MIT Center for International Studies
  • Abstract: Canada and Mexico rarely figure high on the list of American priorities. Policymakers focus on conflicts in the Middle East; specialists in international relations discuss China's growing influence; and newspapers cover the international crisis du jour. It is easy to forget about two countries that appear to pose no direct or immediate threat to U.S. interests.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, America, Middle East, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Toufiq A. Siddiqi
  • Publication Date: 08-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: India and Pakistan have had volatile relations ever since they became independent of Britain in 1947. Frequent hostility has stifled cooperation between the two countries and inhibited development in the region. Recently, however, tensions show signs of easing. In March 2004, India's then prime minister visited Pakistan to attend a South Asian regional summit. Flights, bus service, and cricket matches between the two countries have resumed; India's newly elected government continues to support the process. Peace could bring a wide range of benefits not only to India and Pakistan but to the wider region as well. For example, it could enable cooperation on importing energy via a natural-gas pipeline, which would support environmentally sound development. The improved road and rail system that would necessarily accompany a pipeline would also support the goal of building an Asian highway network and the resurgence of cross-border trade, another likely consequence of détente. These benefits could spread far beyond India and Pakistan into the wider west, central, and south Asian region.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, South Asia, India
  • Author: Michael Emerson
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Wider Europe has become a prominent feature in European foreign policy discourse. The EU's first policy documents on this subject, however, have been thin in substance, mainly seeking to develop more active bilateral relations with countries such as Ukraine and Moldova. At the same time, however, the EU is discussing bilaterally just with Russia a set of common European policy spaces that should be at the heart of a Wider Europe policy. This paper argues that the EU should adopt a systematic approach to defining a complete set of seven common European policy spaces, with multilateral institutional developments to match, thus bringing together the bilateral and multilateral approaches. The overarching institutional mechanism should be through transforming the present very weak 'European Conference' into a seriously structured 'Pan-European Conference', led by a Coordinating Group consisting of the EU, Russia and a few other rotating places for non-EU states, with institutionalised linkages to the Council of Europe and other European multilateral organisations for the specific common policy spaces.
  • Topic: International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Loretta Bondi
  • Publication Date: 07-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: CTR: Were there any big surprises at this meeting? Ambassador Kuniko Inoguchi: I was positively impressed by the strong participation of African states and other countries most affected by the presence of small arms and light weapons. It was very good to hear their voices directly and very encouraging to see a truly cooperative spirit both in the informal consultations and at the Biennial Meeting with states delivering very focused statements.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Loretta Bondi
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: CTR: What gave impulse to these agreements? Dr. Athanassios Papaioannou: The idea came up in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001.Belgium, which held the rotating EU Presidency at that time, made the proposal. Both the Ministers' Council of Justice and the United States warmly accepted it. Lengthy negotiations started during2002, and they were successfully concluded [this month] during the Greek Presidency.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Loretta Bondi
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: CTR: What is the comparative advantage of the OAS convention over the other dozen anti-terrorism treaties that have been developed in the past three decades? Ambassador Paul Durand: Beyond [the innovation of] human rights, I am not sure it did a lot more new. I think that the value added is that there is now a basis of understanding among 34 countries that you do not find in broader forums such as the UN. As for human rights, we were not going into the area of responsibilities of states [sponsors]. We tackled [this] issue in the context of states' obligations to respect human rights norms. Although this is new [in a terrorism convention], it did not cause an awful lot of consternation. Members were on board.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Öresund project which is intended to develop jointly Skåne (Malmö) in Sweden and Zealand (Copenhagen) in Denmark is a major endeavour for the Danish and Swedish governments, given the potential economic growth that can be derived from the integration of one of the most highly populated and productive regions on the Baltic Sea. The significance of the project is reflected not only in the regional policy focus given to Öresund in both countries but also in the EU's support, notably through INTERREG, which considers Öresund a flagship programme. While progress has been achieved to better link the two regional economies, much remains to be done to remove barriers to integration and to define the strategic positioning of the area for the future. Four key policy challenges need to be addressed. First, regarding physical accessibility, the pricing policy for the crossing of the new bridge can be made more efficient and secondary infrastructure optimised to fully exploit the opportunities brought about by the fixed link. A cross-border committee could be created to allow integrated spatial planning. Second, labour mobility should be increased by removing bureaucratic and legislation obstacles through a new package of active labour market policies. Third, networking and co-operation between firms and educational institutions should be enhanced. Fourth, asymmetries of the two fiscal systems will need to be tackled by a new tax agreement. Most important is the governance framework of the region. While there are numerous common Danish/Swedish regional institutions and rightfully the creation of a heavily bureaucratic governing body has been avoided, the potential for public/private partnerships is far from tapped. Furthermore, the system in place does not provide an appropriate framework for the private sector to fully involve all relevant actors. These conditions will need to be fulfilled and forms of “light institutionalisation” of cross-border relations developed in order to trigger a new dynamism in the integration process.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Denmark, Sweden
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The ECB has just published the opening balance sheet for the Eurosystem, which is the official name given to the ECB plus the 11 national central banks of the euro zone. All 15 national central banks are part of the ESCB, but the participation of the four outsiders is purely formal. The balance sheet, which is reproduced at the end of this Commentary, reveals two very interesting facts: During 1998, the national central banks of the euro zone increased their holdings of dollar foreign exchange reserves by the equivalent of about 38 bn euro. This means that they de facto intervened consistently to support the dollar during that year. The ECB starts with huge foreign exchange reserves: 237 bn euro plus gold worth 100 bn euro. This is much more than the amount held by the US Federal Reserve and constitutes a major share of the reserves held by all OECD countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe