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  • Author: Clara Portela
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This study analyses the use by the European Union of the novel concept of 'targeted sanctions' in the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It examines two sets of sanctions regimes featuring different degrees of efficacy: in Myanmar and Zimbabwe, the EU wielded measures in support of human rights and democracy objectives in the absence of a United Nations mandate, while it supplemented UN sanctions to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. The study highlights a number of facilitators of, or hindrances to, the efficacy of sanctions, such as the degree of support by regional powers or the presence of UN legitimation. It concludes that the EU sanctions regimes could be optimised by using more robust measures, designing them on the basis of ex ante assessments, enabling faster upgrades, monitoring their impact and adjusting them regularly and improving outreach efforts.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, United Nations, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani, François-Loïc Henry
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Holding strategic oil stocks is at first sight an obvious tool to address potential disturbances in supplies. Rationally defining the desirable size of stocks and designing rules for their predictable use is an elusive task, however. A key conceptual difficulty arises in the distinction between commercial and strategic stocks, because a physical shortfall in the oil supply will inevitably lead to an increase in prices. But if strategic stocks are utilised when prices increase they become indistinguishable from commercial stocks. This paper reviews the legislation in force in the US and the EU on the use of strategic oil stocks as well as the emergency response systems of the International Energy Agency. It finds that such measures have been activated rarely and in dubious circumstances. Alternative approaches are proposed consisting of encouraging companies and major consumers to hold larger stocks and seeking a cooperative agreement with oil-producing countries for mutually beneficial stock management.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Markets, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Giacomo Luciani
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at resource nationalism and political instability as potential causes of disruption to global oil supplies. It points to depletion preferences and strategies as one form of resource nationalism. In most cases, resource nationalism appears to be motivated by rent maximisation. Hence, we see the adoption of more restrictive policies when prices rise. Conversely, when oil prices are low, increasing export volumes becomes more important. Restrictions on exports are common, especially for natural gas, which is sometimes reserved for national consumption. Export taxes are a tool used by some countries to extract revenue from oil producers. Domestic prices of gas and petroleum products are frequently much lower than international prices, also in some sense reducing availability for export. Political instability has a much more elusive impact on oil and gas exports, and historical experience points to contradictory potential outcomes. This paper concludes that political instability and resource nationalism are rarely associated with acute supply crises or shortfalls. Their effect is rather gradual and normally compensated by action in other parts of the system.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Nationalism, Oil, Politics, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Camille Grand, Ivan Safranchuk, David Calleo, Shen Dingli
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: For several months following the election of November, 2008, most Americans took great pleasure in their charismatic new president. A series of soaring speeches, frank interviews and pragmatic initiatives made real changes for the better seem possible. Of course other presidents have begun with high hopes, only to be ensnared in multiple dilemmas inherited from their predecessors. By the summer of 2009, Obama's own prospects begin to seem more problematic. Disagreements have surfaced between the Presidency and the Congress and rumours proliferate about splits within the ad ministration's own ranks. Fear grows that the president – attempting simultaneously to overcome a severe financial crisis, address long- neglected needs of the domestic economy and win two intractable wars – has overreached himself.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explores three areas in which the experience of the Great Depression might be relevant today: monetary policy, fiscal policy and the systemic stability of the banking system. We confirm the consensus on monetary policy: deflation must be avoided. With regard to fiscal policy, the picture is less clear. We cannot confirm a widespread opinion according to which fiscal policy did not work because it was not tried. We find that fiscal policy went to the limit of what was possible within the confines of sustainability, as they existed then. Our investigation of the US banking system shows a surprising resilience of the sector: commercial banking operations (deposit-taking and lending) remained profitable even during the worst years. This suggests one policy conclusion: At present the authorities in both the US and Europe have little choice but to make up for the losses on 'legacy' assets and wait for banks to earn back their capital. But to prevent future crises of this type, one should make sure that losses from the investment banking arms cannot impair commercial banking operations. At least a partial separation of commercial and investment banking thus seems justified by the greater stability of commercial banking operations.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Maria Gerhardt
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Working Document explains the consumer bankruptcy procedures in the US and the five largest European countries: the UK, Germany, France and Spain, plus Italy (which has no special legal provisions for consumer insolvency). All these countries have quite different approaches; the paper therefore presents a short overview of the insolvency procedures and trends in bankruptcy numbers for each country.
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: To what degree may the US be considered a normative power? The US foreign policy mainstream tends to reflect a varying blend of normative and hegemonic approaches. The US has been and continues to be simultaneously a guardian of international norms; a norm entrepreneur challenging prevailing norms as insufficient; a norm externaliser when it tries to advance norms for others that it is reluctant to apply to itself; and a norm blocker when it comes to issues that may threaten its position, or that exacerbate divisions among conflicting currents of American domestic thought. On balance (and despite exceptions), the US has sought to manage this normative-hegemonic interplay by accepting some limits on its power in exchange for greater legitimacy and acceptance of its leadership by others. The unresolved question today is whether the US and other key players are prepared to stick with this bargain. Closer examination of the US case also raises a considerable number of questions about the notion of the EU as a 'normative power'.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Law, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Pessimism has been rampant in many EU-countries over the past decade, largely fed by lagging productivity growth in the EU since the late 1990s and a perception that the US has a superior economic model. This perception has led to the view that the only way to restore higher levels of productivity growth is by introducing deep structural reforms in the EU, making goods and labour markets more flexible. This paper presents the argument that such pessimism is excessive: a significant part of the productivity growth differential between the US and the EU is cyclical, and is already turning around. In addition, there are areas in which the EU is structurally better prepared than the US to face the challenges of globalisation.
  • Topic: Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cecilia Frale
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of the ongoing housing bust and oil price boom on the US and European economies. It finds that large house price movements (changes in construction investment) are useful to predict exceptionally bad and good times for the US economy, but not for most large European countries. In Europe housing market developments have led to extreme values of GDP, mainly in the UK, Spain and some Nordic countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Oil
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Thomas L Brewer
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Climate change, international trade, investment and technology transfer are all issues that have intersected in diverse institutional contexts and at several levels of governmental activity to form a new joint agenda. The purpose of this paper is to advance understanding of this joint agenda by identifying the specific issues that have emerged, the policies that have been adopted, especially in the EU and US, and the options that are available for further policy-making.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States