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  • Author: Lucio Baccaro, Massimo D'Antoni
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Has the strategy of the “external constraint” (voluntarily limiting the country’s policy-mak- ing discretion by tying it to the European mast) contributed to Italy’s stagnation over the past twenty-five years? The existing literature is divided on this question. The dominant in- terpretation is that Italy’s stagnation is due to insufficient liberalization, and that the exter- nal constraint has had no negative and even a positive influence. An alternative interpreta- tion emphasizes the demand compression and supply-side effects of the external constraint. Based on three case studies of public debt management, privatization, and labor market policy, this paper reconstructs the process by which the external constraint has affected out- comes. It argues that it has had a negative impact, but more as a necessary condition than as a sufficient one. In other words, it would probably have been possible to manage the exter- nal constraint differently to produce better outcomes, but without the external constraint, the stagnation would likely have been less deep.
  • Topic: Political Economy, European Union, Economic growth, Liberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy, Southern Europe
  • Author: Lucio Baccaro, Bjorn Bremer, Erik Neimanns
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a resurgence of the euro crisis. In this context, Italy seems particularly vulnerable: support for the euro is lower than in most other eurozone countries, and a possible exit could have serious consequences for the common currency. Based on a novel survey experiment, this paper shows that the pro-euro coalition is fragile in Italy and preferences are malleable. They are heavily dependent on the perceived costs of continued membership, as a majority of Italians would opt for Italexit rather than accepting a bailout plan requiring the implementation of austerity policies. Individuals who feel they have not benefited from the euro are most likely to support exit when faced with the pros- pect of austerity. This suggests that, differently from Greece, where voters were determined to remain in the euro at all costs, the pro-euro coalition may crumble if Italy is exposed to harsh conditionality.
  • Topic: European Union, Eurozone, Voting, Currency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy, Southern Europe
  • Author: Mark Galeotti
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: In March 2019, the European Parliament formally voted on a resolution that “Russia can no longer be considered a strategic partner.” This was a non-binding political resolution, though, and it is still unclear what is behind the EU’s Russia policy. A particular problem in formulating EU-wide responses to Russian political war is the breadth of opinion between member states and organizational culture – and often institutional requirement – for consensus or unanimity.
  • Topic: European Union, Political Science, European Parliament
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Rudolf Furst
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The Euro-Japanese rapprochement stimulates the Japanese interest in the new EU member states, which are then matched with Japanese investments and Japan’s global trade strategy. The V4 countries benefit from their geographical position, existing infrastructure and political stability, industrial tradition, and low labour costs, emphasizes Rudolf Fürst.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues, European Union, Political stability, Industry
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Romy De Niet
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Public International Law Policy Group
  • Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic (COVID-19) has disrupted the status quo in member states of the European Union (EU). With a halt on public events, closed schools, and people working from home, the lives of many have changed in a short amount of time. Refugees and asylum seekers are among the world’s most vulnerable populations, and are likely to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. This blog post elaborates on the different ways EU member states deal with the COVID-19 crisis and the consequences for refugees and asylum seekers. Discussed are the effects of the pandemic on the processing of asylum applications, the right to health, and rescue at sea. The blog post further discusses how the practises of these states relate to international law.
  • Topic: European Union, Refugees, Asylum, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sybrand Brekelmans, Georgios Petropoulos
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: From 2002 up to 2009, the economies of European Union countries went through a skill upgrading, rather than a polarisation between low-skill and high-skill jobs. After 2009, this changed, with declining real wages and a significant increase in the share of workers in low-skill jobs. This assessment evaluates these changes in connection with labour market variables, population densities and the emergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, European Union, Economy, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence, Strategic Competition, Geography
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Global trade and finance data indicates that the pre-2008 pace of economic globalisation has stalled or even reversed. The European Union has defied this trend, with trade flows and financial claims continuing to grow after the recovery from the 2008 global economic and financial crisis. Immigration, including intra-EU mobility, has also continued to increase.
  • Topic: Globalization, Immigration, European Union, Finance, Economic growth, Global Financial Crisis, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Defne Günay
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: According to the International Panel on Climate Change, climate change will affect the rivers leading to the Mediterranean, desertification will increase, rise in sea level will affect coastal settlements, and crop productivity will decrease in the region. Therefore, climate change is an important issue for the Mediterranean region. The European Union (EU) is a frontrunner in climate change policy, committing itself to a decarbonized economy by 2050. The EU also promotes climate action in the world through its climate diplomacy. Such EU action in promoting the norm of climate action can be explained with reference to EU’s economic interests. In this paper, I analyse whether the EU serves its economic interests by promoting climate action in its neighbourhood policy towards Egypt. Based on documentary analysis, this paper argues that European companies benefitted from the market-based solutions adopted by the Kyoto Protocol in Egypt, exported renewable energy technologies to Egypt and face a level-playing field in terms of regulations promoted for them by the EU in Egypt.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, European Union, Regulation, Economy, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt, Mediterranean
  • Author: Douglas Barrie, Lucie béraud-Sudreau, Henry Boyd, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich, James Hackett, Meia Nouwens
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, European governments’ combined defence spending, when measured in constant 2015 US dollar terms, surpassed the level reached in 2009, before the financial and economic crisis led to a series of significant defence-spending cuts. However, a different strategic paradigm – one that Europe is struggling to adjust to and which is once more a concern for European governments – has re-appeared in this past decade: great-power competition. Russia attempted to change international borders in Europe through the use of force in 2014 by annexing Crimea and continues to support an armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Moscow’s challenge to Euro-Atlantic security exists in multiple dimensions: as both a conventional military and also a hybrid-warfare issue, with Russia working to dislocate existing societal alignments and disrupt political processes in Western states. The poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer (and of his daughter) in the United Kingdom, attributed by the British government to Russia, underlines further how much the character of conflict has changed. How to manage the challenge Russia poses without simply reverting to Cold War logic remains a worrying problem for governments in NATO and the European Union member states. Meanwhile, European security establishments are beginning to recognise the growing political, economic and military influence of a rising China. Although less of an immediate challenge, China’s growth in these areas has possible profound consequences in the long run. Indeed, in December 2019, NATO declared: ‘We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.’2 For the United States, China has already become the pacing military threat. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, released in June 2019, opens with the assertion that ‘the Indo-Pacific is the Department of Defense’s priority theater’. In other words, the European theatre is not. European analysts and officials have begun to wonder whether the US might begin to see Europe through an Asian lens, seeking to generate European commitments to the Indo-Pacific region, or at the very least getting Europeans to take on greater responsibility for their own security and thereby freeing up US resources. Although there will be some elements of the US military presence in Europe that are indispensable to US military action in other regions of the world, that might not be enough to sustain Washington’s firm commitment to European security in the future, regardless of who occupies the White House. Significantly, not even the US has the capability to fight two major wars simultaneously any more, meaning binary choices regarding focus are inevitable. As some observers have argued, Europeans need to urgently assess what Washington’s choices in this regard – and their implications for Europe – might look like. Considering both how to deter Russia and what a European contribution to containing China might entail represents a major challenge for Western European nations, which have relegated defence to a secondary position, as almost a discretionary activity. European states partially demobilised in the 1990s and early 2000s, intellectually and in terms of their force structures, in response to the end of the Cold War. For example, according to IISS data, in 1990 West Germany alone was thought to be able to field 215 combat battalions and the UK 94. Today it is a fraction of that. However, security challenges relating to regional instability, crisis management and transnational terrorism – which all dominated the previous two decades – have not disappeared. On the contrary, all these still demand attention and the investment of European resources. While there is a growing recognition among Europe’s analytical community, and some governments, that things cannot simply continue as before in terms of regional security and defence, coherence and resolve among core actors in the Euro-Atlantic sphere have weakened. The US administration has intensified its call for better transatlantic burden sharing, at the same time displaying a cavalier attitude to the collective-defence commitment enshrined in NATO. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also expressed severe doubts about the viability of NATO’s collective-defence mission. In addition, the British decision to leave the European Union in 2020 implies that the EU has lost one of its most militarily experienced and one of its most capable member states. There is a tendency among many observers and some politicians to argue that European NATO and EU member states need to clarify the political dimension of their defence ambition, via-à-vis greater strategic autonomy, before resolving the problem of how to meet this ambition militarily, at what cost and in what time frame. Indeed, at times, the debate about European strategic autonomy seems to focus more on the degree of independence from the US that its various proponents would like to achieve and less on the military requirement that autonomy is meant to respond to. It is now widely accepted across Europe that Europeans need ‘to do more’ for their own security and defence. Most of the intellectual energy allocated to this aspiration is spent on achieving better coordination – and even a level of integration – among European armed forces. This is useful, but only if it is directed at building capability to provide for the defence of Europe. The existing military capabilities of the European NATO member states fall short when compared to the force requirements generated by the political–military level of ambition as defined by NATO, or for that matter the EU.5 However, this should not be an excuse to lower the level of ambition, nor should the assumption that Europeans are unable to defend themselves be declared an inevitability. Defence output is the result of political, financial and military choices by governments. To think systematically about the challenge of providing capabilities that can meet Europe’s emerging military requirements, The International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Hanns Seidel Foundation convened a group of thinkers and practitioners from Germany and the UK. The group took seriously the US assertion that Europe needs to be able to provide for its own defence. If Europeans can achieve this, they will be valuable partners to the US in upholding and strengthening the liberal international order on which Euro-Atlantic prosperity and security depend. Meeting twice in 2019, the group discussed threat assessments, debated European capability gaps and scoped potential approaches to addressing them. The following pages draw on the group’s deliberations but do not represent a consensus position.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Amat Adarov, Robert Stehrer
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW)
  • Abstract: The paper studies the drivers of productivity at country and sectoral levels over the period 2000-2017 with the focus on the impact of capital accumulation and structure. The analysis confirms an especially important role of ICT and intangible digital capital for productivity growth, particularly in the manufacturing sectors. While backward global value chain participation and EU integration are also found to be instrumental for accelerating productivity growth, the impact of inward foreign direct investment is not robustly detected when the data is purged from the effects of special purpose entities and outlier countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment, European Union, Digital Economy, Capital Flows, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus