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  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Although some Spaniards joke that the country has got along fine with a caretaker government for 315 days, this year has been a lost one. There are some pressing issues that need to be tackled now that there is finally a functioning government. But the new Popular Party (PP) government no longer has an absolute majority. As a minority administration it will have to negotiate its laws and reforms in a deeply fragmented parliament, the result of the upending of the PP and the Socialist Party (PSOE) by two new parties, the far left Unidos Podemos (UP) and the centrist Ciudadanos (C’s). The government has a lot on its plate, including the following: (a) belatedly approving the budget for 2017 and meeting the EU’s threshold for the deficit (3% of GDP) in 2018 (a target imposed by Brussels that the PP persistently missed); (b) deciding what to do about the push for independence in Catalonia (the region’s government says it will hold a referendum on the issue in September 2017 regardless of whether the central government approves it or not); (c) cleaning up corruption in the political class; (d) making the judiciary more independent; (e) possibly deepening the labour market reforms in a bid to reduce the still very high unemployment rate (18.9%); (f) reforming an education system whose early school-leaving rate of 20% is close to double the EU average; (g) bolstering the ailing pension system hit by a sharp fall in the number of social security contributors and a rapidly ageing population; and (h) making its voice heard more in the post-Brexit debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Spain, European Union
  • Author: Milos Popovic, Sonja Stojanovic Gajic
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The latest Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) working study summarizes the key findings of a survey on relations towards major powers and their influence on Serbia and Serbia’s foreign policy. The research was conducted from 26 December 2016 until 14 January 2017 on reprezentative sample of 1,403 adult citizens of Serbia (excluding Kosovo).
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Alexander Osipov, Hanna Vasilevich
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This text discusses the structure and content of diversity policy in the so-called Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (TMR), an unrecognized state that broke away from Moldova during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The case of Transnistria is particularly useful as an example for analyzing the origins, structure, contents and effects of the post-Soviet ethno-cultural policy in a comparative perspective. Moreover, the model of Transnistrian state- and nation-building, since it is not explicitly based on privileging a core ethnicity, differs from nearly all countries and de facto states of the post-communist space. The working paper describes the TMR normative framework pertinent to the management of ethnic and linguistic diversity and analyzes the patterns of its implementation. The authors analyze the reasons why ethnic diversity has never been a challenge to the Transnistrian statehood and its stability while different ethnicities and languages are treated differently. The Transnistrian phenomenon is also considered from the perspective of the effectiveness and efficiency of post-Soviet diversity policies.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Soviet Union
  • Author: Alexandros Mallias
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Ambassador (retired) Alexandros Mallias analyses the perspectives for improving the relations between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the day after the formation of a new Government in Skopje. Alexandros Mallias , who was first Head of Mission of Greece to Skopje ,1995-1999, suggests that the two governments should not raise high expectations .They should work to enhance and expand the Confidence Building Measures' Process and rather opti for a quiet diplomacy on the name issue He stresses that fYROM's 1991 Constitution is a bad one ,being the root cause of problems with its neighbors as well as of the endemic interethnic conflict.It was already amended 30(thirty) times within 15 years .He is of the opinion that there are still some extra miles to go.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Macedonia
  • Author: Malcolm D. Knight
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper is premised on the fact that the most important macroeconomic policy issue confronting global leaders at this time is the need to restore, modernize and expand the international network of basic infrastructure that underpins global economic activity. This would help foster stronger long-term productivity growth and per capita output. This paper first outlines key policy elements that are needed within each country to design and implement a successful National Infrastructure Investment Programme (NIIP). It then describes how these NIIPs could be integrated into an Internationally Coordinated Infrastructure Investment Programme (iCIIP), and the complementary roles that the G7 and G20 summit leaders could play in carrying out this vast programme of infrastructure renewal and expansion. The G7, as a tightly knit group of advanced countries, can be instrumental in giving a clear impetus to key elements of the iCIIP strategy. The G20 instead is the appropriate body to set the course of modernization and expansion of a renewed, internationally-integrated network of basic productive infrastructure, and to guide the iCIIP as it is implemented over the next decade.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Pickford, Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Most G7 countries are facing political and economic uncertainties, and long-standing structural problems.The short-term outlook is reasonably positive, but longer term prospects are more challenging. These challenges have underlying economic causes stretching back many years, fostered by low productivity growth, stagnating real incomes and living standards, rising inequality and technological change. G7 countries should address short-term weaknesses, reduce political and policy uncertainties, and tackle these longer-term problems as well. Acting together to address these challenges will be more effective: (1) short-term and medium-term measures to boost growth should focus on fiscal actions (including infrastructure spending), normalizing monetary policy, completing financial regulatory reforms, and structural policies; (2) tackling policy uncertainties requires international consensus on consistent policies, starting with greater certainty over the direction of trade policy and over the Brexit negotiations. Sending positive signals on trade cooperation will be difficult, but the G7 could make progress on some specific issues such as a code of practice against competitive exchange rate devaluations; (3) an agenda to emphasize fairness could include: fair trading arrangements, implications of financial regulation for fairness and agreement on international corporate taxation to ensure companies pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amanda Paul
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: On 28 June under the auspices of the UN, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Communities, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, will meet in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in a fresh effort to resolve the decades-old Cyprus problem following a recent five-month impasse in the talks. The three guarantor states, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom will also participate. A solution would be a win-win for both communities as well as the broader region. It would not only enhance the Cypriot economy, including possible new energy projects, but also bring a new climate of security and stability to the Eastern Mediterranean. However, while progress has been made on many areas, significant differences remain on the issue of security and guarantees. Overcoming these differences will on both sides require political courage, creative thinking and a readiness to compromise and let go of maximalist goals. Yet, even if the two leaders clinch an agreement, selling it to their respective communities will be a significant challenge as Cypriots are far from prepared for the comprises that an agreement requires.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Cyprus
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Ammar al-Hakim’s announcement on July 24, 2017 that he is stepping down as the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) came after generation- al con icts surfaced between a number of the Coun- cil’s senior gures, who had visited Tehran to demand that he should be pressured over his reliance on the youth. Moreover, al-Hakim himself rejected attempts by senior members of the council to assume govern- ment positions, and even sought to build unique rela- tions with Arab and Western countries by presenting himself as an acceptable moderate Shiite gure. The outgoing leader is preparing for the upcoming elec- tions to be held across Iraq.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The escalating crisis between the United States and North Korea is of special importance for Iran. Firstly, the US Administration of President Donald Trump has designated both Iran and North Korea as an imminent threat to the national security of the United States. The approach builds on the administration of former president George W. Bush’s repeated labelling of Iran and North Korea, as well as Iraq, as key rogue states of the so-called axis of evil, who sponsor terrorism and seek to ac- quire weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mathieu Pellerin
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Recently, the successful organization of La Francophonie summit in November 2016 and the success of the Donors’ and Investors’ conference in December of the same year have ensured Madagascar’s return to the international scene. However, careful observation of the state of the country leads us to question if the crisis has continued in other forms. The economic difficulties, despite some glimmers of hope, and an increasingly vindictive opposition (in the National Assembly and elsewhere) are the most visible signs of it. The very identity of this opposition, largely built around the former transitional president, Andry Rajoelina’s, party shows that the political sequence that opened in 2009 is still not closed, and that it promises to be subject to a new crisis in the next presidential election in 2018. However, the most difficult legacy of the transition to deal with, as we demonstrated in 2014, is undoubtedly the ever more advancing pervasiveness of multi-faceted crime.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Madagascar
  • Author: Danielle Cohen
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korean Economic Institute (KEI)
  • Abstract: China and ASEAN possess tremendous opportunities for economic cooperation, but also face significant security challenges, particularly regarding the South China Sea. In both domains, China’s national identity has greatly influenced the trajectory of the bilateral relationship. China’s ASEAN policy is characterized by a desire to recreate the Sinocentric structures of the tributary system, a belief in the historical legitimacy of China’s maritime and territorial claims, a vision of China as a global economic powerhouse, and a sense that China has already “peacefully risen” and can more actively assert itself to reap the rewards.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott, Paolo Maggiolini, Valeria Talbot
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Transformations Project, University of Aberdeen
  • Abstract: Survey data from the ArabTrans 2014 survey contains a unique battery of questions pertaining to the perception of the European Union. This report builds on those questions to analyse perceptions of the EU, its development cooperation programmes, its promotion of democracy, the appropriateness of its response to the Arab Uprisings, and the perception of the EU as an international actor. Overall, the data suggests low levels of awareness and relatively negative opinions of the EU’s actions both in general and in the specific context of its response to the Arab Uprisings. However, respondents’ preferences also suggest avenues for policy development for the Union such that it might simultaneously achieve its interests and meet the demands of MENA populations. Throughout, the paper also takes note of specific patterns and conditions found in individual countries which present particular challenges for the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Giovanna De Maio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reflects on the crisis over Ukraine from the Russian point of view bearing in mind the deterioration of the relationship between Moscow and Kiev and the international retaliation against Russia’s aggression. What does Ukraine represent for Russia? Did the events in Maidan affect how Russia perceives Ukraine? These questions are addressed by analysing the discourse on Ukraine by the main stakeholders of Russian society: the political and economic elites, civil society, the mass media and academia, the general public and the Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Jeffrey Bader
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Serious people understand that the manner in which the United States deals with China will be a critical, if not the critical, overseas chal- lenge for the United States in the 21st century. China will likely be the largest economy in the world within one or two decades; the second or third strongest military soon, if not already; and competitive with the United States and Europe in global economic, and perhaps political and cultural, influence in some regions. China is ruled by a Communist Par- ty resistant to political liberalization at home and wedded to nationalist rhetoric and behavior in dealing with its neighborhood, enhancing the chances for rivalry with the United States. For those students of history who see conflict as the likely outcome when ris- ing powers encounter dominant powers, these are precursors of a dark future. How should we deal with China? What policy framework best optimizes our interests, which are multiple and not always consistent with each oth- er? Americans are in the midst of an ongoing presidential campaign that, in a better world, would be asking and answering such questions, but this is not such a campaign.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, America
  • Author: Sören Scholvin
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Geopolitical research is frequently portrayed as a dead end. To some scholars it appears that in the 21st century geography is largely scenery, all but irrelevant to the most important issues of grand strategy. This working paper aims to revitalise geopolitics, reflecting both on the critique of the subject and the strengths that have characterised it for more than a century. It is argued that geographical conditions constitute a set of opportunities and constraints, a structure that is independent of agency. General patterns and long-term processes can be aptly explained by this structure but geopolitics is not a theory of state behaviour or foreign policy. Understanding specific phenomena that occur in international relations therefore requires taking into consideration non-geographical factors. Such a combination of geographical and non-geographical factors provides sound explanations, as several examples demonstrate: China’s projection of power into the Indian Ocean, South Africa’s approach to the political crisis in Zimbabwe in 2008, Iran’s maritime strategy and the poor integration of Colombia and South America. Given that geopolitics is about analysing international relations (or politics) for its geographical content, all those committed to geopolitics should concentrate on the three guiding questions: Do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome? If yes, do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome significantly? If yes, how, meaning in combination with which other factors do geographical conditions influence the observed outcome?
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, Geopolitics, Political structure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After the re-run of the parliamentary election on 1 November 2015, it is certain that Turkey will again be ruled by the Justice and Development Party’s (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) one-party government. Based on this premise, this study provides a future-oriented analysis in the form of three scenarios: 1) an authoritarian Islamist state; 2) a consolidated liberal democracy; and 3) the dissolution of the Turkish state. The study also identifies three major drivers: a) the AKP and the Islamic-conservative state project; b) regional instability; and c) the Kurdish question. Regarding scenario one, there are factors and processes present that decidedly increase the possibility of an authoritarian Islamist state in Turkey. On the other hand, the republican tradition of parliamentary democracy has at the same time proved to be remarkably resilient, suggesting that the course of events depicted in the positive scenario two still have a significant chance in the long run. Scenario three, the dissolution of the Turkish state, would create enormous instability in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood and exponentially increase unpredictable tendencies and conflicts. The internal and external forces that could produce such a dramatic outcome are still rather weak, but they do exist in an embryonic form. Thus, the republican modernization project attaching Turkey to the Western legacy of secular humanism should not be underestimated and may well prevail in the end. For the time being, however, it seems to be on the losing side as the political process is consolidating the Islamic-conservative version of Turkish nationalism. At the present moment this current is pointing to a concentration of power and a non-pluralist authoritarian regime whereby national identity is increasingly constructed in a form that conceptualizes political liberalism as an existential threat.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Vibeke Schou Tjalve
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite the general impression that the US president-elect Donald Trump has given us very little clue to predict his foreign policy doctrine, a guiding framework behind his scattered statements does exist. In this DIIS Policy Brief, Senior Researcher Vibeke Schou Tjalve takes a closer look at the surprisingly consistent philosophy of power and interest that Trump has aired during the past two decades. Trump is labelled a ‘nationalist’ and an ‘isolationist’. These are understandable labels, and yet: Trump is not your classical cultural-conservative nostalgic with deep veneration for old alliances or shared norms. His American nationalism does not linger on the memories of the New World European roots. Rather, it is founded on a deeply Darwinist conception of the world as a cutthroat competition, in which raw strength - not cultural characteristics – matters. As such, Trump will have no sentimentality for NATO or Europe, and he will view the world through largely value-neutral eyes. This leaves Europe with a defining set of questions, and to influence a Trump presidency, we should understand and appreciate this not-so-simple nationalism, Tjalve writes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Zora Popova, Inga Marken, Lavinia Bâdulescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The current paper, developed in connection to an ECMI project implemented in Azerbaijan in 2014, explores the transferability of successful reconciliation and intercultural cohesion mechanisms from one region or a country to another. Analysing the positive example of Schleswig-Holstein and the conflict region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the paper aims at overcoming the specific context related issues and to look at the structural factors that need to be considered if a model is to be adapted to a historically, geographically, and culturally different case.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Vadim Poleshchuk
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The Russian-speaking population of Estonia experienced serious problems on the labour market and in education in the years following the post-Soviet transition. The perception of inequality is typical among minority groups. Nowadays there are no significant disparities in terms of health conditions or access to the health care system for majority and minority groups; however, there are accumulated negative factors for the minority population, especially when we look closer at socially marginalised groups. In addition to their generally weaker socio-economic status, many Russophones face the problem of social exclusion, proven by higher rates of extreme poverty, incarceration, and homelessness, trafficking victimisation, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS. All these factors may have an adverse effect on the enjoyment by ethnic minorities of the right to health. Considering the demographic make-up of Estonia, a reduced use of the Russian language in the provision of health services has emerged as a new challenge to the national health care system.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Estonia
  • Author: Oh Yoon Ah
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of China's development finance to developing countries with a focus on Asia from 2000 to 2012. It uses a recent version of China Aid Data, one of the most reliable and publicly available data sources that systematically collect and differentiate different types of China's official development financial flows. This paper differs from previous studies in two aspects that (1) it analyzes a wider range of developing countries, moving beyond earlier research largely limited to Africa; and (2) it examines regional variation in China's motives for development financing. The findings show that China's allocations decision for concessional development flows, or ODA, has mixed motives of humanitarian, commercial and strategic interests. It is noteworthy that China's ODA appears not to be in competition against, but rather in a complementary form to, established donors in this period. Yet substantial regional variation is observed, suggesting different regional dynamics are at work. On the other hand, it is found that China's allocations decision for less-concessional development financing largely follows commercial considerations. This paper also provides detailed discussion of the trends in China's development finance to Southeast Asia, which is an Asian region critical for China's economic and foreign policy interests. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of possible shift in China's overseas development finance strategy since 2011.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia