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  • Author: Raphaël Danino-Perraud
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Although it is still marginal, the market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing. According to the French Institute of Petroleum and Renewable Energies (IFPEN, Institut Français du Pétrole et des Énergies Renouvelables), EVs accounted for a little more than 2% of the light vehicle market in 2019. This was up by 54% compared to 2018, but EVs still only represent 0.8% of the global car fleet. That said, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates EVs could make up between 15% and 30% of vehicle sales in 2030. However, while European manufacturers have so far developed EVs such as the Renault Zoé or the BMW i3, they are highly dependent on Asian companies for the supply and manufacture of materials for cells and electric batteries, such as nickel, cobalt, lithium used to build precursors, or cathodes and their components. Asia provides more than 90% of world car battery output, half of which comes from China alone. European dependence is not only related to the manufacture of batteries, but occurs throughout much of their value chain, from extraction and processing of raw materials to the preparation of necessary treatment processes for recycling. The recycling market for batteries from small electronic objects (smartphones, computers, tablets, etc.) has also been led by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Business , Recycling
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Éric-André Martin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Restrictive measures are a major instrument of the European Union (EU)’s external action, which has emerged as one of the world’s leading sanctions emitters. The EU has thus leveraged the size of its market and its economic and financial clout (trade relations, aid policy and bilateral agreements). Through its significant activity in the field of sanctions, the EU has been able to reinforce its image as a normative power and a global player, contributing actively to international peace and stability. The EU’s restrictive measures were adopted in a favorable international context, marked by the legitimacy that was conferred, most of the time, by United Nations resolutions, and by close coordination with the United States (US). This privileged period culminated with the management of the Iranian crisis and the conclusion of the 2015 Vienna Agreement. More recently, however, sanctions have tended to lose their function as an instrument contributing to shape a shared vision of the world order, and to become what they are in essence, namely an instrument of statecraft dedicated to the protection of States’ national interests. This trend is illustrated on the one hand by the affirmation of a unilateral United States policy on sanctions, which tends to extend the scope of coercion to third parties, including European entities, and on the other hand, by the increasing use of sanctions by powers like China and Russia as a geo-economic tool.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Power Politics, Sanctions, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, European Union
  • Author: Michel Cruciani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Europe has become a frontrunner in fixed offshore wind. Can this success story be replicated with floating offshore wind, a technology that would lift the sea depth constraint and thus open up wider market opportunities? This research study looks at the main success factors for this emerging industry.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Electricity, Renewable Energy, Wind Power
  • Political Geography: France, European Union
  • Author: Élie Tenenbaum
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Although the first and foremost domain in the history of warfare, Land power has been dissociated from the concept of “strategic forces” for some time now, as these generally referred to long-range and/or high-yield strike capabilities, above all nuclear weapons. The growing importance of the command of the commons at the operational level of war has sometimes led to a conception of land forces as mere consumers of air-, sea- and information-borne effects. Yet, such a dynamic is now being challenged, as Western forces’ supremacy over “fluid spaces” is increasingly contested. The time has therefore come to reassess the contribution of land forces to the main strategic functions: intervention and stabilization, deterrence and prevention, protection and anticipation. For each of these key missions, land forces prove to be essential tools to which there is no readily available workaround. As the future operational environment is bound to become more contested and demanding, land forces will have to prove their renewed relevance in the face of challenges such as anti-access and area denial capabilities, hybrid actors and ambiguous warfare strategies. Given this outlook, they will play a key role as integrators and multi-domain effects providers, improving joint forces’ overall resilience and maneuver capability.
  • Topic: International Relations, Military Strategy, Weapons , Deterrence
  • Political Geography: France, European Union
  • Author: Matthieu Tardis
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Since 2015, refugee resettlement programmes have grown significantly in Europe becoming a key component of European asylum strategy. In 2017, Emmanuel Macron committed to resettle in France 10,000 refugees until the end of 2019. Refugees from Syria and Africa are increasingly welcome in small towns and rural areas. There are plenty of challenges to address when it comes to receiving refugees in smaller communities. Small towns are often less accustomed to refugees, and above all, they do not have the same human and financial resources as large cities to provide services adapted to this population’s needs. The lack of opportunities, in particular job opportunities, affects the attractiveness of these areas for newcomers. On the top of that, the continuous rise of the far right in France since the 1980s is often perceived as a political hurdle in sized cities and rural areas. However, this study shows another picture altogether. Following interviews and field visits with some 40 practitioners, the study offers an alternative picture to the stereotypes usually associated with areas. Indeed, small towns and rural areas prove to be places of hospitality. Refugees in small towns are not perceived as anonymous newcomers. Instead, they quickly become new members of the local community and receive strong support from many local residents. Likewise, in order to address specific needs of the refugees, local actors are drivers of innovation who often manage to design new solutions in an informal fashion. Of course, this positive image of the reception and integration of resettled refugees in small towns and rural areas should not obstruct the difficulties encountered such as lack of public transportation, access to healthcare, learning French. However, the strong mobilisation of local residents mitigates the handicaps of these areas. They have proved to be a powerful driver for integration. For example, access to labour market is facilitated by interpersonal networks in areas where there is a shortage of manpower. This study highlights that many obstacles to refugee integration are not specific to refugees. Lack of transportation, of doctors and of public services affect local populations all the same. But local actors proved to be innovative to address these issues for refugees and provide lessons to learn for big cities and for the future of migration policies in France. This study is published in partnership with ICMC Europe as part of the SHARE Integration project.
  • Topic: Refugees, Public Policy, Asylum, Integration
  • Political Geography: France, European Union
  • Author: Eugénie Joltreau
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The world plastic production has been multiplied by 23 since 1964 to reach 348 million tonnes (mt) in 2017. This production level is expected to double in the next 20 years, largely because of the significant growth in plastic consumption in developing countries. Today, China is the largest producer of plastics (representing nearly 30% of global production) and the European Union (EU) comes second (18.5%) with 64 mt. About 40% of plastics are single use, and thus quickly accumulate as waste. For example, in the EU, plastic packaging waste accounts for more than 60% of the total plastic waste generated each year (16.3 mt in 2016). Since the 2000s, the backbone of the EU’s waste management policy has been to define mandatory recycling objectives along with a reverse financing scheme requiring producers to take over a significant part of their products’ waste management costs. In line with these objectives, the European recycling rate for plastic packaging waste should reach 50% by 2025, against about 42% in 2016 (6.9 mt). In the EU, 30% of total plastics were collected for recycling (in 2016), and half of it was exported for recycling, mainly to China. Yet in 2017, China announced a ban on the importation of almost all plastic waste effective as of early 2018. Since then, over-dependence on China for recycling plastics has put the global recycling industry in crisis. Without the possibility to export their waste, the ability of the EU and other developed economies to reach ambitious recycling objectives is called into question. It also sheds light on the limits of plastic recycling and of low-cost recycling strategies.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Sanitation, Recycling
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, European Union
  • Author: Thomas Gomart, Marc Hecker
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: How can we define Emmanuel Macron’s foreign policy since he took office? After Nicolas Sarkozy’s brazen style of “gutsy diplomacy” and François Hollande’s “normal diplomacy”, the eighth president of the Fifth Republic seems to have opted for an agile classicism. In substance, he makes no claim to any radical break with the past, but sees his approach as being in line with historical tradition. In relation to his predecessors, he has adjusted the balance between alliances, values, and interests in favor of the latter, while giving his policies an unambiguous European orientation. Formally, his approach is characterized by recourse to symbolism, strict control of communications, and an agile personal style. A term used within the business world to encourage organizations and individuals to adapt and innovate, “agility” also connotes a will to utilize and master new technologies. [...] Comprising 14 brief analyses, this collective study contributes to the initiative launched by Ifri in 2016 to analyze French foreign policy, and follows on directly from the earlier study published on the eve of the presidential election. It aims to give an update on the action Emmanuel Macron has taken on the principal international issues since his arrival in office. It should therefore be read not as an overall assessment, which would be impossible at this early stage of the presidential term, but more as an impressionist tableau giving a sense of an overall movement containing many different hues. Emmanuel Macron has four years left to perfect it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Trade Policy, Emmanuel Macron
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Middle East, Asia, France, United States of America, European Union