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  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus crisis deeply challenges the assumption that we human beings can dominate nature. Contraposing the new European Commission Green Deal and geopolitical language with critical/green thought, this paper aims to provoke reflections on a re-imagination of the European Union as part of a larger regional and global community that lives together within a green and diverse planet.
  • Topic: International Relations, Climate Change, Environment, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ehud Eiran
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Israel is still holding to its traditional security maxim. Based on a perception of a hostile region, Israel’s response includes early warning, deterrence and swift – including pre-emptive – military action, coupled with an alliance with a global power, the US. Israel is adjusting these maxims to a changing reality. Overlapping interests – and perhaps the prospect of an even more open conflict with Iran – led to limited relationships between Israel and some Gulf states. These, however, will be constrained until Israel makes progress on the Palestine issue. Israel aligned with Greece and Cyprus around energy and security, which may lead to conflict with Turkey. Russia’s deployment in Syria placed new constraints on Israeli freedom of action there. The US’s retrenchment from the Middle East is not having a direct effect on Israel, while the Trump administration’s support for Israel’s territorial designs in the West Bank may make it easier for Israel to permanently expand there, thus sowing the seeds for future instability in Israel/Palestine. The EU could try and balance against such developments, but, as seen from Israel, is too divided to have a significant impact. Paper produced in the framework of the FEPS-IAI project “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”, April 2020.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Gas, Hezbollah
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Sandra Lavenex, Ivo Križić
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In light of rising internal cleavages and centrifugal tendencies, differentiated integration (DI) has (re)arisen as a major topic in debates on the future of the European Union. As new forms of participation below the threshold of full membership are needed, this paper provides a conceptualisation of effective and legitimate DI. Going beyond existing scholarship’s focus on the legal dimension of DI, the paper emphasises its organisational component, meaning the variegated participation of EU member states, sub-state entities and third-country actors in the panoply of EU policy-making institutions, such as regulatory agencies and transgovernmental networks. The paper subsequently discusses how to measure effectiveness of such differentiated arrangements in terms of their output, outcome and impact, before theorising under what conditions we are likely to see effective DI. Finally, the paper turns to the question of legitimacy of DI, discussing its meaning, measurement and determinants.
  • Topic: Governance, Democracy, Regional Integration, Accountability, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Sinan Ülgen
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The evolving external threat environment is impacting the internal political dynamics of NATO nations and is accentuating a series of already existing trends – differences in threat perceptions, burden-sharing difficulties, challenges to respond to sub-threshold threats and the rise of populism – which altogether affect the cohesiveness and potentially the effectiveness of NATO as a political and military alliance. NATO’s operational future over the next decades will be shaped by the ingenuity of the transatlantic leadership in developing new arrangements of institutional cooperation between the Alliance and the burgeoning forms of the “coalition of the willing”. The Alliance should nonetheless remain the main transatlantic political forum, given Brexit as well as the rising need for a common political response to the many challenges ranging from migration to failed states. NATO has been relatively successful in adapting to the changing security environment. Its military capabilities remain unparalleled and unrivalled. The more interesting question is however the political one. Namely how the politics of sustaining this Alliance are being shaped by the underlying dynamics that are transforming the global political, economic and military context. The paper is divided in three chapters.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Politics, Institutions, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Much is being said about European power these days. From the new European Commission President von der Leyen and new High Representative Borrell to French President Macron, the idea that Europe must exert power on the global scene is gaining traction. The political intuition behind these statements is absolutely correct. The 21st century rationale for the European project is a profoundly global one. However, to turn it into a practical reality, it’s worth delving into the detail of European power, what it meant, how it has transformed, and what should be done to exercise it in future.
  • Topic: International Relations, Power Politics, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Funda Tekin, Vittoria Meissner, Nils Fabian Müller
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Heterogeneity among countries in the European Union has continuously grown through enlargement processes or the outbreak of specific crises. After reaching important outcomes such as the European Monetary Union or the Schengen Agreement, in the face of the “big bang” enlargement of 2004 both national and European Union representatives subsequently committed to the motto “united in diversity”, confident that the European project would progress and deepen. Nevertheless, the crises in the euro area posed a number of new internal and external challenges to the overall European integration process as well as the EU’s political unity in terms of member states sharing the same rights and obligations, making permanent forms of differentiated integration more likely. Against this background, the paper presents a new collected dataset to outline how the EU narrative of political unity changes during times of increasing political differentiation and consequent differentiated integration. As such, it conducts a narrative analysis in two selected cases, the period between 2000 and 2004 preceding the big bang enlargement as well as the years of the crises in the euro area between 2010 and 2014. Although the existing narrative of political unity in the EU has changed in response to the crises under the more sceptical phrase “divided in unity”, our analysis shows that differentiation is not a threat to political unity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Regional Integration, Institutions, Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Poland, Germany, Italy, European Union
  • Author: Lisa Viscidi
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: 2019 has been marked by widespread uprisings throughout Latin America. In the last few months, protests have erupted in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia, while Argentina elected a new leader, Bolivia’s president resigned following growing tensions with his political opponents and the military, and Peru’s leader is facing a political crisis. Largely fuelled by anger over graft, economic disparity, and the rising cost of living, the resulting social unrest has led to uncertainty over the energy sector outlook. Continued political and social turbulence will likely contribute to stagnant oil and gas production growth in these countries. Conversely, Brazil and Guyana are on track to become the region’s largest oil producers. In Brazil, pre-salt reserves have been attracting foreign investment, although further market-friendly reforms will need to be made to sustain development. Guyana, for its part, is in line to become the region’s newest petrostate and will see explosive economic growth in the coming years. Despite its large reserves, Venezuela is excluded from this study because the country’s political and economic turmoil, coupled with US sanctions, make any increase in investment highly unlikely in the short term. Paper prepared in the framework of the IAI-Eni Strategic Partnership, December 2019.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil, Natural Resources, Gas, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Karim Makdisi
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper asserts that the Arab–Israeli conflict, and in particular the question of Palestine, has been the major issue of regional concern across the Middle East for over a century. It claims that the failure to resolve the question of Palestine will continue to impact on the region’s stability and its geopolitical dynamics and to shape popular opinion while limiting Arab leaders’ options. It first situates the Arab–Israeli conflict as a core regional issue in historical context – which is crucial for understanding where we are today – before critically reviewing the Oslo “peace process” and its failure to deliver a just and sustainable peace within the framework of a “two-state solution”. It suggests that this failure has resulted in the ramping up of lingering regional problems (e.g. southern Lebanon, the Golan Heights, refugees and in Palestine itself) and the rise of new challenges and frameworks (e.g. the Resistance Axis and the BDS movement). It concludes that the time has come for the international community – including the European Union, which has contributed to the failure of the two-state solution – to consider alternative paradigms and actions.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Refugees, Syrian War, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Nicola Bilotta, Lorenzo Colantoni
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The electrification of Sub-Saharan Africa has traditionally suffered from a lack of adequate investments, given the scarcity of domestic funds and the higher regional risk perceived by foreign investors. And yet, electrification of the continent has accelerated lately, driven by innovative financing instruments that fit the African framework. Such tools as aggregation, securitization and guarantee instruments reduce risk premiums, thus increasing the attractiveness of the sector and making it easier for international institutions to provide back-up funding for private, local and decentralized projects. Critical in this regard has been Africa’s FinTech system, which enables forms of mobile payment and micro-credit access, resulting in innovative business models. Such sets of tools will be then fundamental to maintaining the current trends and, eventually, reach the long-awaited universal access to energy for those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Paper prepared in the framework of the IAI-Eni Strategic Partnership, December 2018.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Foreign Direct Investment, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Robin Mills
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Despite its dominance as the world’s key exporting region of hydrocarbons, energy connectivity within the Middle East, in the form of cross-border oil and gas pipelines, electricity grids and related institutions, is lagging. There has been limited progress in the Eastern Mediterranean area and with Turkey. But so far unfavourable commercial conditions, persisting subsidies, and regional political suspicions and disputes, have hampered progress. Key changes in the world energy market – a period of lower oil prices, with the expansion of US shale production, the globalisation of natural gas trade, the rise of renewable energy, and growing action on climate change – should encourage more intra-regional links. To realise the prize of 25 billion to more than 100 billion US dollars of savings available from greater energy trade, regional states will have to liberalise energy markets, establish multilateral institutional frameworks, and make the most of support from international energy corporations and influential political players, notably the US, China, EU and Russia. Paper prepared in the framework of the IAI-Eni Strategic Partnership, December 2018.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Gulf Nations