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  • Author: Daniele Ciani, Paolo Finaldi Russo, Valerio Vacca
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper describes the main features of European SMEs’ financial behaviour and the policies recently put in place to support their funding. European SMEs are structurally more leveraged and charged with higher interest rates than large firms. Moreover, the crisis has deeply affected their fund-raising capacity, as banks reduced credit supply while non-bank funding was unavailable to most SMEs. Against this background, EU has focussed its policies on long-term investment and on a more favourable environment for SMEs financing, including through the launch of the Capital Markets Union. At the national level, most governments have provided guarantees and enhanced the role of national development banks. Nevertheless, key issues are still outstanding, such as the funding of innovative firms and the improvement of transparency and of the legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-71-2
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to campaign for the UK to stay in the EU in the incoming in-or-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership, but only if London succeeds in recalibrating its relationship with the Union. As the EU’s fourth largest country, Italy will play a crucial role in the negotiation. The challenge for Rome is to balance its long-standing commitment to strengthening European integration with the interest in keeping a country the size and influence of the UK in the EU. Matteo Renzi’s government should be supportive of British proposals about competitiveness, pragmatic as far as sovereignty issues are concerned, constructive but cautious regarding economic governance, and understanding of British concerns but also firm about immigration.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-70-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Sarah Wolff
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The death of Aylan, a 3-year-old boy on a Turkish beach, prompted European leaders and public opinions to acknowledge that Europe is the deadliest migration destination in the world. In spite of this disturbing truth, there is little agreement on an EU solution to the Syrian refugee crisis. In September 2015, the EU Interior Ministers struggled to agree over the relocation of 120,000 refugees through a common compulsory mechanism, as Eastern European countries oppose the idea of “sharing the burden.” Progress regarding other solutions such as a European rescue at-sea-mission, the delivery of humanitarian visas or the opening of legal means of migration have also met strong member state resistance. If Europe is not up to the task, can international organisations (IOs), often critical of European states for their inaction, impulse change? What influence do IOs have on EU and Mediterranean migration and refugee policies? This paper investigates how IOs have been trying to frame an alternative debate and the challenges they meet in promoting transregional governance.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Migration, War, Immigration, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-66-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With the One Belt One Road (OBOR), arguably Beijing’s major diplomatic outreach in decades, a process towards greater Sino-European connectivity has been put in place. The implementation of the OBOR in Europe has focused so far on financing infrastructure projects, in particular railways in Southeast Europe and ports in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been complemented by growing monetary linkages between the People’s Bank of China and European central banks through the establishment of currency swap agreements and yuan bank clearing – so-called “offshore renminbi hubs” – with the aim of lowering transaction costs of Chinese investment and bolstering the use of the Chinese currency. While there are undoubtedly great economic opportunities, China’s OBOR initiative also presents the EU with a major political challenge. There is the risk, in fact, that a scramble for Chinese money could further divide EU member states and make it difficult for Brussels to fashion a common position vis-à-vis Beijing. Furthermore, China’s economic penetration into Europe may lead – if not properly managed – to a populist backlash as well as a strain in relations with Washington. All these elements should be taken into consideration by EU policymakers, as China’s OBOR makes inroads into the Old Continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-64-4
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Zhao Minghao
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Council has mandated the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, to draft a Global Strategy by June 2016. Given Europe’s status as a global power, such a strategy must respond to Europe’s own challenges as well as to the new grand strategies of other major players in world politics, like China. To better understand the central tenets of the Chinese leadership’s strategic thinking, two keywords are most important – the “Four Comprehensives” and the “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR). As an initiative mainly focusing on promoting Eurasian integration and reshaping Chinese geo-economic advantages, the OBOR is highly consequential to China’s interactions with Europe and the rest of the world at large in the decades to come. How to take advantage of the OBOR, create new EU-China synergies, and tackle relevant challenges are questions the EU leaders should be attentive to.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-61-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Daniela Huber, Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the EU is reviewing its European Neighbourhood Policy, this paper calls for an entirely new approach that would give the EU a stake in the region by responding more effectively to key needs on both sides of the Mediterranean. It first outlines three strategic policy options for the EU – defensive, power-projecting and reflexive approaches – and analyses EU policies accordingly. After observing that EU policies in the Mediterranean since the Arab uprisings have oscillated between a defensive and a power-projecting approach, this paper discusses how EU policies could become more inclusive of key actors, more responsive to key challenges and more flexible on both the multilateral and the bilateral level.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Power Politics, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-59-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Never before was the lack of a single European government, or at least of a strong and effective European governance, as acutely felt as in these days. With wars and failed states in the neighbourhood, and an unstoppable exodus crossing Europe, the continent appears at once more interdependent and more fragmented than ever. A coherent model of governance, competent and cohesive, but above all empowered by a full democratic investiture, would be needed everyday, to cope with daily emergencies while painstakingly devising and developing a long-term strategy where such emergency responses would be framed. Instead, in spite of the remarkable efforts of creative leadership made by the Commission, we are “governed” (but the term sounds like a gross overstatement) by subsequent extraordinary summits, each summoned to remedy the failures of the previous one. What can thus be expected and what should be asked, in such dire circumstances, to the next of these ad hoc European Council meeting, scheduled on Wednesday 23 September?
  • Topic: Migration, War, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-58-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Lisanne Groen
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the 15th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, the European Union (EU) failed to achieve most of its objectives. In 2011, at the 17th COP meeting in Durban, the EU was crucial in bringing about a deal on a roadmap towards a new global climate change agreement, to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st COP meeting in Paris. This paper examines the lessons the EU has learned and can learn from its experience in Copenhagen in the run-up to Paris. It considers, first, the EU’s relative bargaining power; second, the relative position of its objectives/interests mapped against those of other negotiating parties; and third, how the EU can leverage its relative power through strategic action in pursuit of its objectives. The paper recommends that the EU focus on building a broad alliance with other progressive negotiating parties on mitigation in order to avoid a lowest common denominator outcome.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Industrial Policy, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-57-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Stefano Volpicelli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Human mobility has changed profoundly since the onset of globalisation, with old patterns of south-north movement of male economic migrants being replaced by mixed flows of people moving because of a variety of needs and motivations. In Europe these changes have gone largely unnoticed and the discourse on migration has been conducted in a confused and contradictory way. Policies have swung between two poles: on one end the view of migrants as a problem rather than as an opportunity; on the other, the view of migrants as vulnerable people escaping poverty or persecution. Through the analysis of policies, juridical terminology, concepts and stereotypes, this paper proposes a three-step approach for a different narrative of migration to curb the political manipulation that, labelling migrants as a threat, is dangerously fuelling racism and discrimination towards “aliens”.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Poverty, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-56-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If Morocco appears to be Africa's gateway to Europe, it is a gateway that until today has been used primarily by Moroccans – more than 3 million Moroccans currently live in EU countries such as France, Spain and Italy. The number of other nationalities entering Europe through Morocco has seldom exceeded 20,000 annually and was no more than 7,300 in 2014. Thus, while Morocco is a country of migrant departure, it is only a minor host/transit country for migrants in search of better living conditions outside of their region of origin. Such a configuration has been the basis of recent Moroccan migration policy.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-54-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI