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  • Author: Kinga Raś
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the end of January 2020, the Latvian government approved the country’s climate neutrality strategy until 2050, and in March it supported even more ambitious EU targets for reducing emissions. These declarations are connected with the need for a thorough transformation of the economy. The Latvian authorities combine these changes with the outlook for economic growth, including the development of the newest technologies in the energy sector. Latvia’s approach, subordinated to climate action, coincides with the policy of other countries in the region, but differs from the Polish vision of energy transformation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Government, Europe Union, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Latvia
  • Author: Heather Grabbe
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: This report is a rallying cry for Europeans to pull together and mobilize the EU’s assets to manage the three biggest changes of our times. Each section briefly diagnoses the consequences of climate change, aging populations, and digital revolutions and then explores the role the EU could play in supporting the inevitable transitions. The purpose is not to provide a detailed blueprint for each transition, but rather to launch a new kind of debate about the EU—a debate that does not revolve around how to tweak the current institutions but instead how to address a reordered set of priorities
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Robert Fay, Angelo Arcelli
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Following the 2008 financial crisis, the Group of Twenty embarked on an ambitious financial regulatory reform plan that has seen many banks worldwide make substantial progress in terms of both capitalization and governance. Over this period, banks have also become increasingly exposed to business risks from digitization, artificial intelligence and cybercrime, and major investments are necessary to manage these risks. New regulations have been introduced in the European Union to reduce these risks, but their associated costs have potentially created a lasting competitive disadvantage for European banks. This situation has raised some key questions that deserve to be discussed and investigated: How does regulation — including that outside the sector — affect banks’ ability to compete globally? What will be the impact of fintech players as well as globally active banks from China and other emerging markets? Can the Basel regulatory framework and Financial Stability Board (FSB) ensure a level playing field globally going forward, or has the regulatory pendulum swung too far? How will the supervisory approach need to be adapted to the changing structure of the global financial system? Moreover, how will the implementation of Basel reforms affect the industry? These and other questions remain about the effectiveness of the already-achieved reforms as well as their future direction. These issues were at the core of CIGI and Oliver Wyman’s fifth annual Financial Regulatory Outlook Conference, held in Rome on November 28, 2018. This conference report summarizes the key points of discussions at the conference, with a special focus on the 10 years of regulatory reform that was conducted under the auspices of the FSB and the new forces that are currently affecting banks and could have an impact on the future.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, Regulation, Europe Union, digital culture
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: We argue that energy relations between the EU and Russia and between China and Russia influence each other. We analyse their interactions in terms of four areas: oil and gas trading, electricity exchanges, energy technology exports and energy investments. We discuss five key hypotheses that describe the likely developments in these four areas in the next decade and their potential impact on Europe: 1. There is no direct competition between the EU and China for Russian oil and gas 2. China and the EU both have an interest in curbing excessive Russian energy rents 3. The EU, Russia and China compete on the global energy technology market, but specialise in different technologies 4. Intercontinental electricity exchange is unlikely 5. Russia seems more worried about Chinese energy investments with strategic/political goals, than about EU investments We find no evidence of a negative spillover for the EU from the developing Russia-China energy relationship. But, eventually, if these risks – and in particular the risk of structural financial disintermediation – do materialise, central banks would have various instruments to counter them.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Oil, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe
  • Author: Julia Hamann
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: More fragmented than ever, Europe is at a crossroads, making the 2019 European Parliament election an immensely political event. Stakes are high for Emmanuel Macron, Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán, all of whom could shake up the balance of power in the EP. Macron has lost much of his initial vigor, and the disruptive potential of Salvini and Orbán is significant. If played well, their combined power could send shock waves across all European institutions
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Our starting point was the observation that the international order, but also the political, social and economic order on a domestic level in the West are undergoing profound changes, some of which stem from the new social, political and economic situation in the United States. The world’s major power has become the epicentre of numerous transformations that have accelerated with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House. The consolidation of a populist political narrative and the implementation of a series of highly disruptive policies in the international system are unequivocal signs of profound transformations rooted in changes that have been under way for years. At the Fundación Alternativas’s Observatory of Foreign Policy (OPEX) we set out to coordinate a Working Group commissioned with the task of analysing those transformations and trends in the United States, primarily from a European standpoint. Our goal was to explore the new social, political, technological, economic and cultural trends that are going to shape thought and debate in Europe and the rest of the world on numerous and very diverse topics – from the new geopolitics to social breakdown; from globalisation and the technological shift to transatlantic relations; the crisis of the traditional political parties; robotization and digitalisation; migration flows, climate change and renewable energies; fake news and new media. Lastly, we tried to begin reflection with regard to Spanish and European political and social agents, drawing a prospective map of important changes that all of these trends are causing on both sides of the Atlantic. The project included several work sessions at the Fundación Alternativas offices over the course of 2018. They were built around a short presentation, followed by a lively exchange of ideas. Numerous experts linked to the Fundación Alternativas, practitioners and guests from other prestigious Spanish and international institutions took part in the Working Group. To have them with us and Vicente Palacio US Trends That Matter For Europe January 2019 5 be able to broadcast the sessions live to a wide audience, we also made use of Skype and social media. The result, then, is a starting point rather than an end point: an initial cognitive map that will have to be continued and extended in the future. We have chosen to put into print and disseminate this material electronically thanks to the collaboration of the School of International Relations at the Instituto de Empresa (IE) and its Transatlantic Relations Initiative (TRI) led by Manuel Muñiz, Dean of IE School of Global and Public Affairs, to be more precise. Special thanks go to him and to Waya Quiviger, Executive Director of the TRI, for their collaboration in the completion of this project that we present jointly at the IE headquarters in Madrid.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Europe Union, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: Marko Attila Hoare
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The popular vote of the UK on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU has been politically an earthquake for the first and a shock to the second. Retrospectively, the outcome was likely, given the structural factors both within Britain and between Britain and the EU. Yet these same factors have obstructed a clear British post- referendum strategy for secession: Britain Britain’s relationship to Europe is traditionally ambiguous. Britain’s identity - of a Protestant island-state formed in 1707 from the Anglo- Scottish union - was cemented during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in wars against the Catholic powers of continental Europe. It was successively reinforced by Napoleon’s anti-British Continental System; does not know what kind of Brexit it wants, or whether it wants one at all. This briefing will examine the causes of the Brexit revolution and the reasons for its uncertain execution, before considering the likely outcome.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales
  • Author: Derya BÜYÜKTANIR Karacan
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis, which incurred a variety of negative social and economic impacts upon many countries in the Middle East, as well as in Europe. The aim of this study is to analyze the divergent attitudes of Germany and Hungary in the face of Syrian refugee crisis and the diversity of measures that these countries have adopted to tackle the refugee problem. The cases are analyzed through social constructivism, which focuses mainly on how the agents and structures mutually construct each other and on identities, norms, and interests without wandering away completely from the rational standpoint. The main conclusions of this study show that the refugees are perceived differently in Germany and Hungary. Conclusions also demonstrate that the Europeans and the refugees resulted in a new and an unexpected learning experience, and enabled changes for both sides. The findings also reveal that the gap between the attitudes of the leaders of different European countries for the refugees remained significant. The change due to incorporation of the refugees into European societies and the differing attitudes of their leaders affected both domestic and international politics in Europe among countries that accepted different numbers of Syrian refugees.
  • Topic: Migration, Immigration, Refugee Crisis, Europe Union, Political outlook
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Hungary, Berlin, Central Europe, Budapest
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The August 14 attack in London is the latest reminder that terrorism persists in the West more than a decade and a half after September 11, 2001. The United States continues to face a threat from right-wing, left-wing, and Islamic extremists, despite comments from some U.S. policymakers that terrorist groups have been defeated. Perhaps the most significant lesson from the London attack, however, is the resilience of the British public. They kept calm and carried on. The attacker was Salih Khater, a UK citizen from Birmingham who was in his late twenties. He drove a silver Ford Fiesta into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists in London and then crashed it into a security barrier outside the Houses of Parliament. Eyewitness accounts were chilling. “I heard lots of screams and turned round,” remarked Barry Williams. “The car went on to the wrong side of the road to where cyclists were waiting at lights and ploughed into them.”1 The tactic—a vehicle used as a weapon—is all too familiar. Terrorists in the West have increasingly resorted to simple tactics, such as vehicles and knives, to kill civilians. Compared to previous incidents in the United Kingdom, Salih Khater’s August 14 attack was second-rate. He had been meandering around London for several hours, which suggests that the incident was not carefully planned. His tiny Ford Fiesta was no match for the barriers around the Houses of Parliament that are designed to stop attacks from 18-wheelers. And Khater failed to kill anyone, though he did injure several people. UK security agencies have conditioned their public to be prepared for plots and attacks. The United Kingdom’s recently-published counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, argues that the country faces a significant, multidimensional threat from terrorists. According to data from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, there were more failed, foiled, and completed attacks in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the European Union in 2017.2 There were also more terrorist-related arrests in the UK in 2017 than in any previous year since 2001.3 Between December 2013 and May 2018, British intelligence and law enforcement agencies thwarted 25 plots from extreme Islamic groups.4 Most of these plots were inspired by the Islamic State and its ideology, rather than directed by Islamic State operatives.5 On March 22, 2017, for example, British-born Khalid Masood drove a sports utility vehicle into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge in London, killing three people. Masood then took two carving knives out of his vehicle and stabbed police officer Keith Palmer, killing him outside of Parliament. On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of Manchester Arena, killing 22 people; 10 of them were under 20 years old. On June 3, 2017, three men—Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba—drove a van into London Bridge, killing two people. They then jumped out of the van and killed six more people using large knives. On September 15, 2017, an 18-year old Iraqi asylum seeker named Ahmed Hassan detonated a bomb using triacetone triperoxide (TATP) on a District line train at Parsons Green Underground station in London. Thirty people were treated for burn and other injuries.6 Right-wing terrorism has also been on the rise in the United Kingdom. On June 19, 2017, Darren Osborne, a 47-year old British man, drove a van into Muslim worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque, London, killing one person.7 On June 23, 2017, Marek Zakrocki, a known supporter of the far-right party Britain First, drove a vehicle into an Indian restaurant in London, injuring several people. He was armed with a kitchen knife and a baton-torch, and he told police: “I’m going to kill a Muslim. I’m doing this for Britain. This is the way I am going to help the country. You people can’t do anything. I am going to do it my way because that is what I think is right.”8 While there have been relatively few terrorist attacks in the United States recently, the United Kingdom—and Europe more broadly—have faced a more severe threat. The number of jihadist-related terrorist attacks in the European Union peaked in 2017 with 33 failed, foiled, and completed attacks. This number was up from 13 in 2016, 17 in 2015, and 2 in 2014. The geographic distribution of attacks also expanded. European Union countries experiencing jihadist-related terrorism now includes such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
  • Topic: National Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, England
  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Every year is special and challenging when it comes to European integration. The highlights of 2017 were a number of high-level strategy papers and speeches such as the European Commission White Paper on the Future of Europe, the State of the Union Address by Commission President Juncker, French President Macron’s Initiative for Europe, and the Future of Europe report by President of the European Parliament Tajani. These papers and speeches all pave the way for the discussions on improving and deepening the European Union in the months towards the European elections in spring 2019. The upcoming EP elections will be different from earlier elections as the current discussions aim to offer political choices to ensure the elections are content-based.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: As long as military means prevailed in deciding the fate of Syria, the European Union could not alone induce any decisive change in the dynamics of the conflict, and Assad was vindictively seeking to prove that the European Union’s ability to influence the conflict was nil. Assad’s luck was that Putin was determined to prevent his fall and threw his full weight behind him to maintain his rule. When the guns finally fall silent, should the key countries of Europe and the EU itself simply accept as “a sad reality” the fact that the Syrian regime is back in full control of the country? Will they channel funds for humanitarian, post-emergency and early recovery purposes through the State’s financial system knowing full well that European tax payers’ money might be massively diverted to end in the pockets of Assad’s family and the kleptocracy around him,1 and serve to pursue his sectarian scheme of changing the demographics of Syria along religious and ethnic lines? Framing the discussion in terms of accepting Assad and rehabilitating him or not is disempowering for the EU. It assumes that military force alone is what determines the outcome of the conflict and the political fate of the country. If it follows this rationale, Europe would be annihilating everything it stands for; it would serve as a helping hand in Assad’s strategy to bury the civil society groups it helped organize and silence the democratic forces and all those within the different sectors of society who want a Syria that resembles Europe in terms of its values and its political system on the other side of the Mediterranean. The EU’s declared position that there will be no reconstruction without political transition in Syria is an honorable one, but this position still needs to be operationalized if the EU is to turn it into a policy and use its full clout to shape the resolution of the conflict.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Humanitarian Intervention, Military Intervention, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Syria
  • Author: Lukáš Tichý
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: There are almost no oil or gas resources in the EU. To strengthen its energy security, the EU has taken a number of measures in its energy policy. Russia is currently the main energy supplier of oil and gas to the EU. In addition, the EU has been developing “energy relations” with existing and potential energy producers from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), sub-Saharan Africa, North America, and Latin America. The European Union should complete the creation of a fully liberalized and interconnected internal market to which energy sources, especially gas, can be delivered effectively from around the world. The EU also has to pursue more efficient relations with its current and, especially, future producers and suppliers of energy.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas, Dirk Schoenmaker
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Integrated capital markets facilitate risk sharing across countries. Lower home bias in financial investments is an indicator of risk sharing. We highlight that existing indicators of equity home bias in the literature suffer from incomplete coverage because they consider only listed equities. We also consider unlisted equites and show that equity home bias is much higher than previous studies perceived. We also analyse home bias in debt securities holdings, and euro-area bias. We conclude that European Union membership may foster financial integration and reduce information barriers, which sometimes limit cross-country diversification. We calculate home bias indicators for the aggregate of the euro area as if the euro area was a single country and report remarkable similarity between the euro area and the United States in terms of equity home bias, while there is a higher level of debt home bias in the United States than in the euro area as a whole. We develop a new pension fund foreign investment restrictions index to control for the impact of prudential regulations on the ability of institutional investors to diversify geographically across borders. Our panel regression estimates for 25 advanced and emerging countries in 2001-14 provide strong support for the hypothesis that the larger the assets managed by institutional investors (defined as pension funds, insurance companies and investment funds), the smaller the home bias and thereby the greater the scope for risk sharing.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Economic structure, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: As Serbia braces itself for the presidential election on 2nd April 2017, the international community �inds itself puzzled with the prospect of future political orientation of this Balkan country. The biggest republic of ex-Yugoslavia, Serbia still bears the burden of the wars in the nineties, unde�ined relations with Kosovo and NATO bombing of 1999, due to which the country is still somewhat cautious toward Euro-Atlantic integration and the United States. It seems that Serbia seeks to join the European Union (EU), and at the same time to foment its relation with its traditional ally, the Russian Federation. In that respect, the current trends of foreign policy in Serbia are also visible in other Balkan countries, namely Macedonia and Montenegro, which like Serbia have strong links to their big Orthodox patron in the East, while striving to make progress on the path to the EU. This dichotomy between pro-European and pro-Russian forces in Serbia was exacerbated to a new level with Brexit and stalemate in the EU enlargement process, growing Russian in�luence in the region and expectations in Serbia that the newly inaugurated US president Donald Trump will bring a thaw in relations with Russia and allow a regionally more dominant Serbia, while curbing ambitions of Kosovar Albanians. This dichotomy has created a division in the country torn between its Western and Eastern ambitions that is visible in many aspects of Serbian society, candidates bare hallmark, or in Obradović, the leader of the Serbian Movement Dveri (Srpski pokret Dveri) is a clear example of a pro-Russian politician in Serbia, while independent candidate SašaJanković represents the voice of a civil and pro-European Serbia. The rest of the presidential candidates are positioned on a wide spectrum dividing Obradović and Janković, thus contributing to the rather short but at the same time very electri�ied presidential campaign.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Elections, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Sebastian von Münchow
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Three days after Germany’s Parliamentary Elections in late September 2017, Dirk Kurbjuweit, Deputy Chief Editor of Hamburg-based leading weekly magazine Der Spiegel wrote: “The days of Germany as a global power are probably numbered. (Those days) started with the refugee crisis in 2015 [...] and had their best moments after the election of Donald Trump as US president.” He continues: “[...] the election results on Sunday ended this new high. For a liberal abroad, Germany was foremost a moral super power due to its refugee policies.”
  • Topic: Elections, Refugees, Political stability, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Fabian Zuleeg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The Brexit negotiations continued this week with the UK government still insisting that the endpoint be an exit from the EU, including its Customs Union and the Single Market. But back in Britain, the turmoil is obvious, with different members of government taking diverging views, suggesting, at times, that a soft Brexit or a transition arrangement might be possible, even if it means concessions on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the exit payment, the rights of EU citizens and even (temporarily) continued freedom of movement of EU citizens.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alison Hunter
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Introduced as an ex ante conditionality in the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy, Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) require regions to develop smart priorities and direct investment efforts towards growth-oriented innovation. In the space of only four years, S3 has become widely regarded as a success story across the Cohesion Policy community, as a place-based driver of EU competitiveness. For some regions, it has offered scope to deepen existing practices. For others, S3 has introduced new approaches to achieving innovation-oriented growth. There is, however, quite some distance to cover if S3 is to accelerate its support role in delivering EU growth and investment. This would require redefining the role of S3 and re-positioning this in the post-2020 Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF).
  • Topic: Europe Union, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giorgio Gomel
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: There is some degree of ambivalence, mistrust, and even hostility between Europe and Israel. Europeans see Israel on a path of permanent occupation of Palestinian territories. Israel sees the European posture as unbalanced and biased against Israel. Economic and institutional linkages are strong. A further strengthening of relations is however difficult unless a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reached. For the EU resolving the conflict is a matter of both interests and values. The engagement of the EU can take different forms, in the realm of sticks one may point to legislation concerning the labelling of products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and carrots such as the EU offer of a special privileged partnership with Israel. For the Israeli public a clearer perception of the costs of non-peace and the benefits from a resolution of the conflict could help unblock the stalemate and remove the deceptive illusion that the status quo is sustainable.
  • Topic: Politics, Geopolitics, Israel, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel
  • Author: David O’Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: This may sound like a gloomy time to ponder Europe’s future, particularly in print, but as a veteran of many ups and downs in the EU’s history, I believe it’s important to go beyond the headlines and take stock of what is being done to relaunch the European Union in a way that is both sustainable and better understood by everyday people. It is this gap between the perception and reality of what the European Union is and does that poses perhaps the biggest internal challenge to European integration.
  • Topic: Political stability, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process, the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Commission – and particularly their leaders – has strengthened. This inter- institutional connection also has a party-political dimension, being intrinsically linked to the emergence of a ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest groups of the EP. However, in an EU beset by crises, the political agenda is firmly under the control of the member states and the European Council, which makes it difficult for the EP to take advantage of its closer relationship with the Commission, as the latter acts very cautiously.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Berfin Nur Osso
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The discussion paper by Berfin Nur Osso, former intern at the Institute of International Relations Prague and a senior undergraduate student at the Koç University in Istanbul majoring in Law and minoring in International Relations, focuses on the assessment of the readmission agreement between the EU and Turkey.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Anthony Luzzatto Gardner
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Ambassadors Review
  • Abstract: Four years ago the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for the “over six decades [in which it has] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.” How quickly the mood has changed. While it has become fashionable to charge that the European Union is on the verge of collapse in the face of dire current challenges, rumors of the European Union’s demise would appear premature. The successes achieved in 2015, as well as the potential future areas of good news, are frequently underappreciated. The United States is firmly committed to investing in its relationship with the European Union. This is a partnership that delivers, as it will bring dividends to both the United States and the European Union for the long term.
  • Topic: Peacekeeping, Democracy, Europe , Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The Juncker Commission, which was inaugurated on 1 November 2014, has set up ten priorities for its term, with the Energy Union and climate being among them. The objective of the Energy Union of the EU is to ensure that Europe gets ‘secure, affordable and climate-friendly energy’.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Regional Cooperation, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Krševan Antun Dujmović
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: With the Presidential Elections coming closer, the global attention is shifting more and more to the United States. During the terms of George W. Bush, especially during his second tenure, the image of the US as an untouchable superpower was somewhat mitigated. In 2001 the US witnessed the largest attack on its territory since Pearl Harbor and military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq took a heavy toll in human lives and material and �inancial expanses. Upon this, the campaign in Iraq had no legal foundation, and that caused a rift with the European allies, especially with two big continental powers Germany and France, and the consequences are still largely felt to date. The legitimacy and the credibility of the US as the global strong leader was further watered down with the �inancial crunch originating on Wall Street, spilling over to the rest of the world, especially the European Union (EU). At the moment when American image and credibility hit the ground, the White House saw a new president Barack Obama, the �irst African American to sit in the Oval Of�ice. In the internal policy, Obama’s two terms saw the American economy gaining an undisputed strength. Unemployment rate and de�icit were cut in half, exports and the dollar were on the hike, just like the GDP growth and the real estate market. Obama’s foreign policy showed to be much more diplomatic and arguably more ef�icient than that of the Bush administration.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Elections, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North America, Washington, D.C.
  • Author: Janko Bekić
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: In the weeks following June 23rd, the day of the historic Brexit vote, it seemed as if the United Kingdom was on the brink of dissolution. Exasperated by the prospect of Scotland being dragged out of the European Union against the clearly expressed will of its population (62 percent voted “remain”), Scottish First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon announced the preparation of a second independence referendum, which – if successful – would sever Scotland’s ties with the UK, and keep it in the EU. Emboldened by SNP’s move, Sinn Fein’s deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness called for a border poll on the uni�ication of Ireland. His line of reasoning was the same as Sturgeon’s: the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted “remain” (56 percent) and would not be forced out of the EU by English and Welsh “leave” voters. Less than two years after the original Scottish independence referendum Downing Street was faced with a new wave of secessionism and separatism. It was generally accepted that the surprising result of the plebiscite on UK’s EU membership might persuade a portion of the “no” voters from the September 2014 Scottish independence referendum to change their minds and tip the scales in favour of secession. Namely, a considerable number of Scottish “no” voters in 2014 opted for the continuation of the union with England precisely out of fear that an independent Scotland would have to exit the EU and renegotiate its admission into the club. SNP’s rationale after June 23rd was that these people would now naturally join the pro-independence camp and help it pass the 50 percent hurdle. However, polling conducted by YouGov during the summer showed that 50 percent of Scots opposed a new referendum on independence, while only 37 percent supported it. If a new referendum was to be held nevertheless, 54 percent would vote against independence and 46 percent in favour – a shift of only one percent point compared to the original referendum which ended with the result 55 percent to 45 percent.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Brexit, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England, North Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Author: Juan Martin Navarro Ruiz, Juan Antonio Pavón Losada
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The Lima meeting is already over. Again, the script from every climate summit is being repeated: a framework for negotiation has been settled, the basis for future agreements has been laid down, however, decisions are still being postponed. In this case, until the Paris Summit in late 2015. Inter alia, the lack of sensitivity of the United States towards environmental protection, coupled with the failure of the European Union in solving their almost chronic financial, social and political instability crisis, have left the world’s environmental protection strategy orphan of leadership. Certainly, a strategic project in the near future of the international community and essential for humanity.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Michael Dauderstädt, Jose Enrique de Ayala, Domenec Ruiz Devesa, Vicente Palacio, Vicente Palacio
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The new European Parliament (EP) elected in May 2014 is facing a state of emergency in Europe. As 2014 draws to a close, austerity policies and the threat of populism are jeopardizing the present and the future of the European project. Unemployment rates in Europe are double the unemployment rate in the US and growth in the Eurozone is expected to fall below 1% in 2015. Although “the worst of the crisis” would appear to be behind us, Europe continues to be vulnerable to further economic shocks going forward. In fact, the EU could well be teetering on the brink of a third recession, the immediate threats on the horizon being current deflationary trends and a growing periphery crisis that is already manifest in Greece and could well spread to France and Italy. There is much uncertainty about the short- and medium-term future. It is not clear whether institutions such as the EP or the European Central Bank (ECB) will exercise their powers to the limit in order to counterbalance those of the governments of Member States and the Council, whether and when Germany will step up and assume a more active role in Eurozone stimulus, whether some kind of reform of the Lisbon treaty is in the cards or what kind of solutions will be provided to countries like Greece whose economies remain on the verge of collapse. ECB Governor Mario Draghi’s July 2014 speech in Jackson Hole, during which he strongly emphasized job creation rather dwelling on inflation and alluded to the possibility of implementing demand-side policies, structural reforms linked to a rise in 5 productivity, and enhancing competitiveness on a basis other than lower labour costs, was a very good sign. More recently, ECB authorities announced a new round of quantitative easing (QE) to take place in early 2015, and EC President Jean Claude Juncker made a commitment to devote €315 billion to infrastructure as part of his investment plan. Although we cannot expect a radical shift in economic policy any time soon, at least a minimal “Brussels consensus” if the EU is ever to put itself on the sure track towards a sustained recovery, structural reforms will need to be accompanied by fiscal stimulus. The time looks ripe for revising the economic policies that failed to achieve the objectives for which they were devised: pulling Europe out of the crisis and accelerating growth and employment. The time also looks ripe for a deep political and institutional shift: restoring the role of EU institutions – mainly the EP and the Commission – in forging the destinies of European citizens. If we accept the viewpoint that the EP is the institution that best embodies the concept of a European democracy built on the will of average citizens, the question we must subsequently ask ourselves whether the incoming EP elected in May 2014 will be able to bring about the change of tack that Europe needs. If viewed from a strictly quantitative perspective, the final outcome of the May elections was less damaging than originally feared. The European People’s Party once again won a majority (with 221 seats compared to 265 in 2009), and the breakdown for the rest of the parties and groups, in order of representation, was: the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (191/184); the Conservatives and Reformists (70/51); the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (67/84); the Greens (50/55); the European United Left (52/35), the Non-attached Members group (52/27) and the anti-Union Europe of Freedom and Democracy (48/32). Voter turnout across the EU fell very slightly from the 43% registered in 2009 to 42.5% in May, but did not break the crucial “psychological barrier” of 40%. 6 Table 1. Current distribution of seats and Parliamentary Groups in the EP (2014- 19 legislature) Source: Europarl http://www.europarl.europa.eu/elections2014-results/en/electionresults-2014.html If one takes a tally of only the seats now held by the traditional “big three” (the European People’s Party, the Socialists and the Liberal-Democrats), it is obvious that the pro-European forces still enjoy a solid majority in the EP – a very welcome majority in the sense that it signals that a majority of European voters continue to believe in a more united Europe, even in the context of the current economic, social and institutional crisis. The good news, therefore, is that there may be a sufficient “critical mass” in favour of going forward with the integration process rather than reversing it. Moreover, if the big three are successful in building ad hoc alliances with other parties such as the European Left and the Greens regarding a social and economic platform for a better Europe, it might even be possible to muster a majority willing to go even further in a federalist direction. However, these new distribution figures reveal only a small part of the entire story. Firstly, they should not keep us from recognizing the qualitative significance of the rise of a heterogeneous group of anti-integration and anti-European forces in the EP that represent a growing number of Europeans willing to cast their votes for Eurosceptic, nationalistic, populist, or xenophobic parties. The rising tide of Eurosceptics and Europhobia within the EP could well be perceived as a potential Trojan horse that could eventually undermine the stability of the EU and its very existence. Even if divided by 7 country, ideology, opportunity and other criteria and unable (or unwilling) to forge strong, sustained parliamentary coalitions, taken together, these forces hold 170 out of 751 seats in the current EP – an impressive 22%. The number of MEPs of the French National Front increased from 3 in 2009 to 24 in 2014, the new German right-wing antiEuro party Alternative for Germany (AFD) won 7 seats, and UKIP - which won the popular vote in Britain - moved up to 24 (from 13 in 2009). The situation is more worrying if we take into consideration that an overwhelming number of European citizens (almost 58%) did not go to the polls to vote. Had they chosen to make their voices heard, their vote would have supposed a turning point for Europe in one direction or another. Secondly, Euroscepticism and Europhobia are also having a considerable impact on the national politics of Member States (MS), and the most alarming examples of this phenomenon have surfaced in the major, “hard core” countries upon which European construction heavily depends such as France, Italy, Germany, or even for that matter, the UK. What these diverse parties ultimately have in common is their fierce defence of national sovereignty. They have reached the point of setting national policy agendas throughout the EU. As of the end of November 2014, the National Front was still ahead in voter intention polls in France, the AFD was gaining support according to polls conducted in Germany, and similar surveys in the UK showed that support for the anti-immigration UKIP was holding strong. The rise of UKIP is putting David Cameron’s government under intense pressure to hold a referendum on Britain’s exit from the EU. The victory of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party in the May EP elections does not obscure the fact that the fiercely populist and Eurosceptic Five-Star movement remains the largest party in the Italian Chamber of Deputies since February 2013. Sweden’s xenophobic Democratic Party could hold the key to governance in that country after the March 2015 elections. For the first time, a majority of citizens in both France and Germany regard the EU as a problem. Parallel to these developments, the anti-Muslim street demonstrations are becoming more and more frequent in Germany and the Netherlands. Should the economic situation in Europe worsen, the diverse range of tensions originating in northern and southern MSs, not to mention the tensions between them, could ratchet support for populist movements to dangerously high levels.
  • Topic: Economics, Europe Union, Election watch, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, Brussels
  • Author: Juan Antonio Pavón Losada
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The number of asylum seekers in 2014 was the highest since 1992, when the Bosnia-Herzegovina war began. Nowadays, the Syrian civil war, the migratory transit through the Mediterranean Sea (218.0001 economic migrants and refugees), the alarming figures of deaths, and the increasing social pressure, made the EU step forward to review the current migration and neighborhood policy framework, whilst fostering a communitarian dimension, inexistent so far. Amongst other measures, stands out the European lifesaving mission "Triton2", depending on Frontex, which has been given the same budget as the Italian government gave to "Mare Nostrum" in order to prevent new maritime disasters. The European Commission also proposed to improve legal channels to prevent asylum seekers (economic migrants are excluded) from putting their lives at risk by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, exposing themselves to mafias, or being victims of illegal border controls (like in the case of Ceuta and Melilla in 2014)3 . This is planned to be implemented by triggering an emergency mechanism, laid down in the treaties, to resettle 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Malta; and take 20,000 others out of conflict areas in the next 24 months. According to report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (ACNUR)4, the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) recorded 570 800 asylum applications in 2014, 44% more than in 2013 (396 700). -Germany and Sweden received 30% and 13% of EU applications respectively. Sweden, with a population of 10 million, received a total of 75,100 requests of which 77% were approved. -Followed by France and Italy (10%) and Hungary (7%). -Compared to the population of each country, the highest rate corresponds to Sweden (8.4 applications per thousand inhabitants), well ahead of Hungary (4.3), Austria (3.3), Malta (3.2 ), Denmark (2.6) and Germany (2.5). -In Spain, 5,941 people (1%) called for international protection in 2014, representing an increase of 31.7% compared to 2013 when 4,513 applications were registered. Of the nearly 6,000 applications, only about 1600 were approved. Even from alternative sources such as Eurostat5, Spain is, among the countries of the European Union, where fewer asylum applications were received, with only 0.1 applicants per thousand inhabitants. Only Portugal, Slovakia and Romania recorded lower rates. According to Eurostat, in 2014, the number of asylum seekers in Spain stood at 5,615. However, out of this figure, only 31% were accepted, which represents 0.9% of all requests for international protection in the EU. The main countries of origin of those seeking asylum in Spain are Syria (1,680 applicants) and Ukraine (942), followed by Mali (620), Algeria (309) and Palestine (209). To better understand whether those positions are suitable or not, a careful analysis needs to be done. In early 2015, the EU population was about 5076 million, 13, 4% of those came from third countries (about 20 million). In 2014, EU states received 1 http://www.acnur.org/t3/recursos/estadisticas/ 2 http://frontex.europa.eu/news/frontex-launches-joint-operation-triton-JSYpL7 3 https://twitter.com/malmstromeu/status/434307240796094464 4 http://www.acnur.org/t3/fileadmin/Documentos/Publicaciones/2015/10010.pdf 5 http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Asylum_statistics 6 http://europa.eu/about-eu/facts-figures/living/index_en.htm 1 Opex Memorandum Nº196*/2015_______________The EU facing asylum and migration: more ambition, more compromise about 600,0007 asylum applications, of those only 160.0008 were approved. Of these approved applications, 56% (89710) received the refugee status, 34% (54845) subsidiary protection and 10% (15510) were given asylum condition due to humanitarian reasons. At first instance only 35% were approved, which meant an increase of 0.03% over the total population and a less than minimal reduction in indicators of GDP per capita or rising of the unemployment rates. In contrast, the total number of asylum applications in 2014 raised to almost 200,000 more applications. In the past four years, these numbers have grown steadily. The highest number of applicants are coming from Syria, which is still suffering the ravages of a civil war, and has not changed (50 470, 12% of the total). On the one hand, given the figures of that period9, when there were less asylum claims, there were 12,425 unaccompanied minors who requested international protection; most of them were accepted in Sweden, Germany, the UK, Austria and Italy. On the other hand, 23,632 victims of human trafficking in the EU during the period 2008-2010 were identified, 80% of them women and girls, and 20% men and boys. In most cases they suffered sexual exploitation (62%), followed by forced labor (25%) and other forms of trafficking as organ harvesting, criminal activities or sale of children (14%).
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Migration, Immigration, Europe Union, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels