Search

You searched for: Political Geography Europe Remove constraint Political Geography: Europe
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Gregory Claeys
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Memo to the president of the European Central Bank. Grégory Claeys, Maria Demertzis and Francesco Papadia present the challenges that the next ECB president will face during the upcoming mandate, reinventing monetary policy in a system riddled with uncertainties.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Memo to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament. 'A strategic agenda for the new EU leadership' by Maria Demertzis, André Sapir and Guntram Wolff is the first of our 2019 Bruegel memos to the new presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament. Focusing on the most important economic questions at EU level, these Bruegel memos are intended to be a strategic to-do list, outlining the state of affairs that will greet the new Commission
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Balternsperger
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This report, requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, analyses the EU’s potential to be a global centre of excellence for research as a driver of its future growth in a complex global S&T landscape, and how EU public resources can contribute to this
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: European Commission president-designate Ursula von der Leyen has made climate change a top priority, promising to propose a European Green Deal that would make Europe climate neutral by 2050. Th e European Green Deal should be conceived as a reallocation mechanism, fostering investment shifts and labour substitution in key economic sectors, while supporting the most vulnerable segments of society throughout the decarbonisation process. Th e deal’s four pillars would be carbon pricing, sustainable investment, industrial policy and a just transition.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Security, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Warming, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Dlawer Ala'Aldeen
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: Turkey is in every way ideally placed to bridge the EU with its southern neighbours and together tackle their common challenges and myriad business opportunities. The question is, can they align priorities and policies to make the most of the opportunities? The answer is: not easily. Given the complexity of and uncertainty in Turkey and Iraq, as well as Syria’s security dynamics, sustained EU-Turkey convergence in all areas of common interest is unlikely in the foreseeable future. Although both Turkey and the EU have adopted multifaceted foreign policies vis-a-vis the Middle Eastern countries, yet they have converged only on specific issues, such as dealing with the Iran nuclear deal. Both sides consider the US withdrawal from the deal as a “matter of concern”, believing that maintaining the deal and keeping Iran engaged through diplomatic and economic means instead of sanctions or military threats is crucial even after the US withdrawal. Otherwise, Turkey and the EU diverge on the overall approach to the most troubled neighbours, namely Iraq and Syria, which have been sources of grave concern to all. Iraq continues to be a fragile country, struggling to keep its integrity. The country was at the brink of failure between 2014-2017 after the emergence of the so called Islamic State (IS), and further threatened by the Kurdish referendum for independence in 2017. Iraq was pulled back to survival, mainly by international assistance. Interestingly, in 2018 Iraq saw two transformative general elections, one for the Federal and the other for the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament. The outcome of these elections brought about a degree of change in the political landscape, a sense of optimism for future recovery and a clear promise for creating new business opportunities for international partners. However, in keeping with the past, the formation of government in both Baghdad and Erbil became protracted and problematic. These features indicate that the Iraqi leaders remain ill focused on the country’s priorities in terms of state-building and provision of services or addressing the root causes of its fragility. Turkey and the EU share the objectives of accessing Iraq’s market and energy supply, and prevent onward migration of the displaced populations. Of course, the EU is to a large extent dependent on Turkey to achieve its goals. Therefore, it would make sense for the two sides to converge and cooperate on these issues. However, Turkey’s foreign policies in the southern neighbourhood are driven primarily by its own domestic and border security considerations and – importantly – Turkey sees the economic, political and security issues as inextricable. While Iraq has lost its state monopoly over legitimate violence and is incapable of securing its borders, Turkey often takes matters into its own hands by invading or intervening in Iraq, both directly and indirectly (through proxies). Of course, the Iraqi government considers Turkey’s interventions as acts of aggression and violations of its borders, but is unwilling to take measures against them. For Iraq, Turkey is a regional power and an indispensable neighbour. It has control over part of Iraq’s oil exports, water supply and trade routes. The EU, on the other hand, considers Turkey’s interventions as acts of self-defence but frowns upon them as destabilising factors, adding to the fragility of Iraq. In Syria, the political landscape and security dynamics are very different from Iraq, but the EU-Turkish policies follow similar patterns. Syria remains a failed state with its regime struggling to secure survival and regain control over its territories. Meanwhile, Turkey has become increasingly interventionist in Syria via direct military invasion and through proxies, culminating in the occupation of a significant area west of Euphrates, and threatening to occupy the Eastern side too. Turkey has put extreme pressure on the USA for permission to remove the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) and its lead organisation (Democratic Union Party, PYD) from governing North East Syria (also referred to as Rojava). However, the EU and USA consider the SDF and PYD indispensable in the fight against IS and fear the Turkish interventions may have grave consequences. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission recently emphasised that “Turkey is a key partner of the EU”, and that the EU expect the “Turkish authorities to refrain from any unilateral action likely to undermine the efforts of the Counter-IS Coalition”. Therefore, EU-Turkey divergence or even conflict with some EU Member States is possible over Syria.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Islamic State, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Middle East Research Institute (MERI)
  • Abstract: This timely session was dedicated to a debate with the President of Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) to discuss central geo-political and domestic developments, including the protests and the crisis of governance in Baghdad; the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria (particularly Rojava); and finally, the effects of internal political fissures within the KRI.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Baghdad, Syria, Kurdistan
  • 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
  • Author: Julia Hamann, Sara Jakob
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: For many young people in France, President Macron’s reforms failed to alleviate their social anxieties. Unemployment remains high, employment conditions precarious, and what started as a protest against new fuel taxes quickly spilled over to other reform areas including social policy. Macron will need to gain the youngsters’ trust ahead of the European Parliament election – not least because its outcome will decisively shape his domestic credibility, and consequently, his political fate
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anessa L. Kimball
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Despite providing European stability through collective defence and crisis management in an exclusive club, NATO faces persistent challenges from strategic insecurities complicated by recent institutional uncertainties. The club’s structure permits several goods-producing schemes, depending on how individual contributions combine, the qualities associated with a good’s publicness (i.e., its possible substitutes or how it excludes benefits from non-members) and partner differences in capacity and willingness. NATO faces challenges from Russia ranging from cybersecurity and media manipulation to overt and covert military pressures. Recent deployments sink costs and tie hands, reassuring commitment credibility, and are essential given the uncertainty generated from U.S. President Donald Trump’s ambiguous commitment to Article 5, compounded with the effects of Brexit on alliance politics and burden-sharing. Given the conjunction of strategic insecurities and institutional uncertainties, it is convenient to knock NATO, but rational institutionalist theory (RIT) is optimistic. RIT argues that the club’s design permits strategic adaptation to new contexts and insecurities, but partners must signal commitment credibly to prevent uncertainties about cohesion. RIT favoured enlargement to shift burdens, and data confirm that the Americans, British and Germans shifted burdens to others, including Canada. Moreover, any alternative to NATO is costly for less-endowed partners facing direct defence pressures. Canada’s role as a broker of compromise and its willingness to make its commitments credible places it in future missions, regardless. Canadian leadership in reassuring and socializing new partners in Operation Reassurance offers an opportunity to retain its objective and subjective position as a key partner.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Military Strategy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, North America
  • Author: Victor Esin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: The stabilizing role of the INF Treaty is still relevant. Its importance has even increased against the background of the sharp deterioration of relations between Russia and the West in recent years due to the well-known events in Ukraine, aggravated by mutual sanctions and NATO’s military build-up near Russian borders. Preserving the INF Treaty, which has now become the subject of controversy and mutual non-compliance accusations between Russia and the United States, is therefore doubly important.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Nonproliferation, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Inès Abdel Razek, Claudia Del Prado Sartorius
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: It is a busy diplomatic period among the Heads of State and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union and the Mediterranean countries. On the 24 and 25 February 2019, the EU and the League of Arab States (LAS) are set to hold their very first Euro-Arab Summit at the level of heads of state. The two regional blocks are meant to focus on “stability” and “migration”, going back to prioritising the security and stability agenda over the promotion of democracy and human rights. The aim is also to forge a new European-African Alliance, where Arab countries must play a necessary bridging role. This goal already questions whether the centre of gravity of EU-Arab cooperation is moving away from the Mediterranean to Africa. A few months back, the Conference of Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs – that includes all EU countries and 10 Arab countries – marking the tenth anniversary of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), was held on the 8th of October 2018. However, it passed almost unnoticed on mainstream media. The event could be considered as an achievement in itself given that it gathered the 43 UfM countries, with their divergent and sometimes antagonistic geopolitical agendas – including Israel, Turkey, alongside the European and Arab countries – and allowed to reaffirm a rhetorical commitment to this regional partnership that focuses more on the socioeconomic issues. The Conference did not manage to produce a formal conclusive document, but just a mere declaration signed by the co-presidents1 . The UfM Conference was followed more recently by the Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 5+5 dialogue (Western Mediterranean Forum2 ) on 18 and 19 January 2019, where parties adopted a declaration focused on reinforcing western Mediterranean ties focusing on “sustainable development, youth, migration and mobility”3 . The more “Mediterranean” format of this dialogue only composed of riparian states in the western part of the Mediterranean is attractive to its member countries as more manageable than the UfM, composed of 43 countries, including countries that are remote from the Mediterranean itself. 1 https://ufmsecretariat.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Conclusions-of-the-Co-Presidency.pdf 2 Malta, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, 3 http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-01-18/local-news/5-5-Western-MediterraneanDialogue-Foreign-Ministers-meeting-held-in-Malta-6736202278 Memorandum Opex Nº 239/2019. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) ten years after its foundation - How to overcome the frustrated ambitions 2 In that regard, France is pushing for its initiative of the “Summit of the two shores”, announced by President Macron, that will take place on the 24th of June 2019 in Marseille. It aims to revive the 5+5 Dialogue format, with 10 of the 43 countries of the UfM, while making it more inclusive and less government-driven, including civil society and all actors of the “voices of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue”. It proposes a new “Mediterranean policy”, hinting on the existing failures of the UfM formula4 . In this paper, the authors zoom in the UfM, today considered, within the Mediterranean countries political and diplomatic circles, as a positive forum for formal political dialogue among its 43 member-states. However, throughout the past ten years, none have passed without analysts or politicians asking for revitalisation and necessary changes in the partnership, which lacks depth and vision. If you address the 43 capitals of the UfM, you are likely to find at least 20 different interpretations of the value and meaning of this somehow forgotten partnership. The EU, on a discursive level, presents the UfM as a model for regional integration complementing its Neighbourhood policy. Southern Mediterranean countries, on their end, continue to maintain low profiles, showing their moderate interest in an organisation which has failed to become a partnership based on equal footing – one country, one vote- that would increase regional economic integration with the EU. Critical security and geopolitical issues are put on the discussion table outside the UfM’s realm, through the League of Arab States or 5+5 Dialogue. The partnership’s lack of coherence and articulation with the other forums and partnerships (Neighbourhood Policy, 5+5, EU-Arab League) contributes to its weakening. At a time when multilateralism is vilified all around the world, when the EU is internally divided and marked by the rise of nationalist populist forces and securitydriven agendas; at a time when the Arab world, all the more divided, stands far from the short-lived optimism brought by the Arab Springs, is the Mediterranean agenda going to be central to its member states’ international cooperation? Will the UfM hold a central place in the Mediterranean agenda and more broadly EU-Arab relations, or just be one of many actors? Despite all its shortfalls, the authors believe in the added value of the UfM forum to advance people-centred socioeconomic models. We argue for reinforcing its 4 Foreign Policy Speech at the « conférence des Ambassadeurs » http://www.elysee.fr/declarations/article/discoursdu-president-de-la-republique-a-la-conference-des-ambassadeurs/ Memorandum Opex Nº 239/2019. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) ten years after its foundation - How to overcome the frustrated ambitions 3 existing institutions in order for all Mediterranean countries to advance a progressive socio-economic agenda, whether in the North or the South.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Migration, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mediterranean, Southern 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: Lee Willett
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Russia’s Syrian campaign has demonstrated the returning challenge the West faces in the underwater domain. Combat operations in Syria have been an opportunity for Russia’s military forces to prove on operations a new generation of capabilities, just as Operation ‘Desert Storm’ in 1991 saw the United States demonstrate its own new generation of military technology. One of the first weapons fired in ‘Desert Storm’ was a Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missile (SLCM), launched on the first day from several surface combatants. Two days later, a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) became the first submarine to fire Tomahawk in combat.[1] The USN’s re-roling of its SSNs as primary power projection platforms in the 1990s/early 2000s underlined the shift in Western focus in the underwater battlespace away from the primary Cold War task of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to counter Soviet naval activity. Simply, the strategic collapse of the Soviet Union saw what was a significant submarine threat disappear almost overnight, and with it – for that moment, at least – the Western requirement for ASW capability. Today, the underwater threat is back. Since 2008 – which saw both Russian naval forces engaged in the Georgia campaign and the re-emergence of regular deployments by Russian submarines (and surface ships) south of the Greenland-Iceland-UK (GIUK) gap – naval power has been central to Russia’s strategic resurgence.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Weapons , Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria, Mediterranean
  • Author: Éric-André Martin
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Restrictive measures are a major instrument of the European Union (EU)’s external action, which has emerged as one of the world’s leading sanctions emitters. The EU has thus leveraged the size of its market and its economic and financial clout (trade relations, aid policy and bilateral agreements). Through its significant activity in the field of sanctions, the EU has been able to reinforce its image as a normative power and a global player, contributing actively to international peace and stability. The EU’s restrictive measures were adopted in a favorable international context, marked by the legitimacy that was conferred, most of the time, by United Nations resolutions, and by close coordination with the United States (US). This privileged period culminated with the management of the Iranian crisis and the conclusion of the 2015 Vienna Agreement. More recently, however, sanctions have tended to lose their function as an instrument contributing to shape a shared vision of the world order, and to become what they are in essence, namely an instrument of statecraft dedicated to the protection of States’ national interests. This trend is illustrated on the one hand by the affirmation of a unilateral United States policy on sanctions, which tends to extend the scope of coercion to third parties, including European entities, and on the other hand, by the increasing use of sanctions by powers like China and Russia as a geo-economic tool.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Power Politics, Sanctions, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, European Union
  • Author: Guilhem Penent
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: It is a classic exercise to imagine what today’s world would be like if all satellites were shut down. The exact consequences of such a scenario, which is not unlikely given the inherent vulnerability of space systems to natural, accidental and deliberate interferences, are however difficult to appreciate, even for specialists. In the smartphone age, much of what we take for granted is provided by space technologies. They are so effective at delivering essential, though unseen, services (e.g. positioning, navigation and timing signals, geographic information data, and broadcasting relay and amplification) that many aspects of our modern society have become reliant upon them. As emphasized by Florence Parly, the French minister for the armed forces, in last September: “From rural to urban areas, from the very small to the large companies, every day, more than 10 satellites on average accompany us and help us in our daily lives.”
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Space, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Sylvie Cornot-Gandolphe
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The major transformations that are occurring on the Chinese gas market have profound repercussions on the global gas and LNG markets, especially on trade, investment and prices. In just two years, China has become the world’s first gas importer and is on track to become the largest importer of Liquefied natural gas (LNG). China alone explained 63% of the net global LNG demand growth in 2018 and now accounts for 17% of global LNG imports. The pace and scale of China’s LNG imports have reshaped the global LNG market. Over the past two years, fears of an LNG supply glut have largely been replaced by warnings that the lack of investments in new LNG capacity would lead to a supply shortage in the mid-2020s unless more LNG production project commitments are made soon. There is now a bullish outlook for future global LNG demand which has encouraged companies to sanction additional LNG projects, based on the anticipated supply shortage. China’s gas imports can be expected to continue to grow strongly, from 120 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2018 to up to 300 bcm by 2030.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Trade and Finance, Gas
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Garima Mohan
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The new European Union (EU) strategy on India marks a major moment of departure in EU-India relations. It reflects three critical shifts: firstly, the EU no longer views India from a “trade lens” only, recognizing its important geopolitical role in maintaining a multipolar Asia. Second, the strategy frames EU-India relations in the context of broader geopolitical developments, primarily the rise of China. Recognition of the China challenge and its impact not only in Europe, but also on the balance of power in Asia, has pushed the EU to change the nature of its partnerships in the region, particularly with India. Finally, the strategy links European security and prosperity to developments in Asia, broadening the scope of EU foreign policy substantially. This paper analyses the new EU strategy on India and highlights areas, which represent a departure from previous strategies. The paper looks specifically at proposals for greater foreign and security cooperation, for securing a rules-based order, increasing regional connectivity, improving trade and investment, and building better coordination on and with India. These proposals are commendable and respond to a long laundry list suggested by experts from both sides over a long time. They also fit well with India’s priorities, namely responding to increasing Chinese political, economic and military presence in South Asia, security in the Indian Ocean, as well as more proactive engagement in regional and global institutions. Finally, the paper suggests ways of taking this forward and ensuring the strategy does not remain a paper tiger in the long arsenal of EU-India declarations. While more dialogues on global and strategic issues is a great idea and will help change perceptions in New Delhi that the EU is not a strategic actor, the EU will have to ensure this is not hindered by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ already overstretched capacities and the 30 existing EU-India dialogues. Focusing on ongoing debates in India and Europe in these dialogues, particularly connectivity projects, maritime security in the Indian Ocean, 5G networks and infrastructure might also open up new avenues of cooperation. Overall the EU-India relationship has witnessed remarkable momentum over the last four years – aided by political will from both sides, the China challenge, friction in transatlantic ties, and common challenges within Europe and India. The new strategy is a good first step to build on this momentum. However, it needs to be translated into action fast.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, South Asia, India, European Union
  • Author: Ric Smith
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Australian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ric Smith has masterfully woven archival material, memories of his own time as a foreign service officer, and conversations with other officers of the then Department of Foreign Affairs to recount the crisis in East Pakistan in 1971 and the difficult birth of Bangladesh. Smith highlights the Cold War incongruities of the crisis, including the Soviet Union’s support for democratic India’s position during the crisis, while the United States supported the military regime in Pakistan. The episode also stands as an example of Canberra diverging from Washington on an issue that was garnering political and media attention in Australia. Australia was able to pursue a policy toward the region that was independent from the United States, accepting early that East Pakistan was “finished” and that there was a need to address an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Smith’s book imparts important lessons about diplomacy for Australia: It is not only possible for Australia’s politicians and diplomats to take independent positions on major international problems, but they are sometimes respected by their allies when they do so.
  • Topic: Cold War, Human Rights, Democracy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, United States, Europe, India, Asia, Soviet Union, Australia
  • Author: Gordon S. Bardos
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Warsaw East European Review (WEER)
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: The decline in the number of Balkan jihad volunteers setting off for the Islamic State over the past couple of years should not lull observers into the belief that the threat posed by the militant Islamist movement in southeastern Europe has declined as well. In fact, the collapse of the Caliphate might increase the threat in the Balkans; as Bajro Ikanović, a Bosnian extremist warned, “your intelligence agencies made a mistake thinking that they would be rid of us, however, the problem for them will be the return of individuals trained for war.” Ikanović himself will not be carrying out this threat, however, because he was killed in Syria, but no doubt many of his comrades feel the same way.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Islamic State
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: 70 years ago Bulgaria and the Peope’s Republic of China (PRC) established diplomatic relations. As a small country we are proud to be among the first that recognized the new great state and to have a record of long and constructive relations throughout this period. Despite the differences in the socio-political systems the bilateral relations of our countries are at its peak. The PRC is a key partner of both Bulgaria and the European Union (EU), to which my country belongs. I am personally grateful to the organizers of the high-level symposium for this first visit of mine to understand the sagacity of a Chinese proverb, I paraphraze, it is better to see something once than read about it one hundred times. China proved – and this is a lesson for all, that direct copying of experience and models of development of other countries may lead to nowhere. A methodological lesson in statecraft given by China from the end of the 70s of the last century till nowdays is that thinking big and whole while recognizing the truth in the facts of life, opening to the rest of the world and persistently reforming in a strategically chosen direction is the right way to success. The ability to take the best from the experience and wisdom of the past, sincerely seeking to share the achievements of mankind is a Chinese accomplishment that deserves to be studied by present and future politicians, including in my part of the world.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Bulgaria
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: As one of Syria’s neighbors, Turkey has become a refuge for more than 3.5 million forced Syrian migrants. Though many of them are living in Turkey’s border cities, in or around the refugee camps, many others have already dispersed to other cities. Among these cities, Istanbul has the largest Syrian community. Drawing on a qualitative field work in Istanbul’s neighborhoods, this study explores the Syrian migration to Istanbul and reports the attitudes towards this movement of the local neighborhood and village headmen, known as muhtars in the Turkish local administrative system. As the study shows, their attitudes towards forced Syrian migrants are paradoxical, marked both by feelings of disturbance, worry and uneasiness, and at the same time welcome and support. The study concludes by discussing historical and cultural reasons for these paradoxical attitudes by relating them to the understanding of hospitality in Turkish society to show how socio-psychological explanations of attitude formation towards Syria’s forced migrants seem more appropriate.
  • Topic: Migration, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Diaspora, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Istanbul, Syria, Ankara
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: In 2015 the forced displacement of Syrians entered a new phase with the sharp rise in the numbers of refugees arriving at Europe’s shores mainly through the Eastern Mediterranean route. Grabbing widespread media and public attention, this unprecedent refugee influx and its surrounding events are commonly dubbed as ‘Europe’s refugee crisis’, which as some scholars highlight, is a ‘re-contextualised’ version of already existing processes of politicisation and mediatisation of immigration. This paper intends to contribute to the debate on ‘mediatisation of refugee crisis’ by giving an insight on the role of Turkish media in telling its readers what to think about the ‘refugee crisis’ during this period of particular significance. The paper relies on a content analysis of front-page articles from three Turkish newspapers (Birgün, Hürriyet and Yeni Akit) between July and November 2015. By limiting our analysis to ‘small data’, we look closely how these newspapers on different sides of the political spectrum react to the spread of the refugee crisis to Europe and its implications on Turkey. We highlight the type of coverage and the definition of issues in this particular media content. Overall, we find that the highly mediatised coverage of the Aylan Kurdi incident triggered a significant discursive shift as it has in other national contexts. While all the three newspapers –regardless of ideological stance– were responsive to the spread of the refugee crisis into Europe, news coverage about topics such as socio-economic vulnerabilities of refugees, issues of legal status and social integration in the domestic context was minimal within our period of analysis. We also assert that the way the three newspapers frame the ‘refugee crisis’ especially in relation to domestic or foreign politics shows significant variation. While we find that issues related to border security and border violations received the most intense coverage during the analysis period, we highlight that the coverage is embedded in a humanitarian narrative rather than a security narrative.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Mass Media, Diaspora, European Union, Media, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Lindsay Gorman
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS)
  • Abstract: pal story of 1989 in Europe is a story about technology – of radio and information crossing the East-West divide to bring down the Berlin Wall. Indeed, the post-communist narrative became that more connectivity and more connection meant more freedom and more democracy. It was on the wave of this narrative that the Internet became the world’s ultimate connector.1 It has brought globalization and international commerce in an unprecedented and unimaginable way, given activists a platform and a megaphone, and made information about democratic governance available to anyone with a router. Or almost anyone.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Science and Technology, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jan Techau
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS)
  • Abstract: As party systems across Europe adjust to changed popular demand at rapid speed, the European Union struggles to find its bearings in this whirlwind of political transformation. Euroscepticism has won a few big victories across Europe, and loose talk about the EU falling apart or being beyond repair is rife.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Laura Rosenberger
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS)
  • Abstract: Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, democracies again face a struggle against authoritarianism. This is not the ideological battle of the Cold War, but it is a confrontation between systems of government.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Affairs, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Europe has become a major target of China’s push to acquire advanced key technologies. These technologies support the development of dual-use products with civilian as well as military applications, a development that is in line with China’s efforts towards civil-military integration. The EU has been slow to wake up to this trend. Despite recent efforts, including those to set up a tighter investment screening mechanism, it still lacks strong coordinated regulations to protect its research and technologies. Even more importantly, the author of our newest China Global Security Tracker, MERICS researcher Helena Legarda, warns that Europe lacks a clear policy or strategy to keep up with China’s ambitions in this area. Joint European initiatives providing strategic guidance and adequate funding for innovation in dual-use technologies will be needed to not only preserve but to advance the EU’s scientific and engineering expertise. The China Global Security Tracker is a bi-annual publication as part of the China Security Project in cooperation between Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). This issue also features the Trump administration’s tightened export controls in response to China’s civil-military integration efforts, and it tracks other security developments in China in the second half of 2018, from the launch of a number of new defense systems to an increase in China’s military diplomacy activities around the world.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Ben Barry, Douglas Barrie, Lucie béraud-Sudreau, Henry Boyd, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The study applies scenario analysis – with scenarios set in the early 2020s – to generate force requirements, and assesses the ability of NATO’s European member states to meet these requirements based on data from the IISS Military Balance Plus online database. The cost of closing the identified capability shortfalls through equipment acquisition has been estimated. The objective of the study is to enable informed policy dialogue both in Europe and in a transatlantic setting. The study explicitly does not intend to predict future conflicts nor the intentions of any of the actors involved. Neither does it wish to prescribe a certain path of action to be pursued by European NATO governments. The first scenario examined deals with the protection of the global sea lines of communication (SLOCs). In this scenario, the United States has withdrawn from NATO and has also abandoned its role of providing global maritime presence and protection, not just for its own national interest but also as an international public good. It thus falls to European countries to achieve and sustain a stable maritime-security environment in European waters and beyond, to enable the free flow of international maritime trade, and to protect global maritime infrastructure. The IISS assesses that European NATO members would have to invest between US$94 billion and US$110bn to fill the capability gaps generated by this scenario. The second scenario deals with the defence of European NATO territory against a state-level military attack. In this scenario, tensions between Russia and NATO members Lithuania and Poland escalate into war after the US has left NATO. This war results in the Russian occupation of Lithuania and some Polish territory seized by Russia. Invoking Article V, the European members of NATO direct the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to plan Operation Eastern Shield to reassure Estonia, Latvia and Poland, and other front-line NATO member states, by deterring further Russian aggression. European NATO also prepares and assembles forces for Operation Eastern Storm, a military operation to restore Polish and Lithuanian government control over their territories.
  • Topic: NATO, Military Strategy, Maritime, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe
  • Author: Yvonni-Stefania Efstathiou, Connor Hannigan, Lucie béraud-Sudreau
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Between March and November 2018, the 25 participating member states launched 34 projects, with the core aim of addressing the EU’s capability shortfalls. In May 2019, a call for a third round of project proposals will be launched. The IISS undertook an early assessment of how PESCO projects are carried out, to assess whether the momentum on the ground has continued since the projects were announced at the political level. A strong pace of implementation would require detailed timelines, deadlines and financial plans, as well as clear links with EU capability requirements. Questionnaires were sent to the projects’ country leads, and were complemented by interviews and secondary-source research. We looked at various dimensions of implementation: timelines, financial commitments, stakeholder involvement and the projects’ relation to strategic autonomy. The results are mixed. While some projects are off to a strong start, there are common challenges for all
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Brussels, Central Europe, Western Europe
  • Author: Helena Legarda
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Presenting China as a 'responsible power' – Beijing releases first major defense white paper in four years
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Europe, Canada, Taiwan, France, North America
  • Author: Nick Childs
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom is on the cusp of regenerating what is a transformational capability. The first of the UK’s new-generation aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has been at sea on trials for two years, and is working up towards its first operational deployment in 2021. The second ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is scheduled to be accepted into service before the end of the year. The F-35B Lightning II has achieved initial land-based operating capability and the Lightning Force has carried out its first overseas deployment, Lightning Dawn. Maritime aviation in the round has undergone a significant transformation, and there has been a substantial increased focus on collaboration and partnering with industry as well as developing stronger links with critical allies. To underscore the significance of the undertaking, then secretary of state for defence Penny Mordaunt announced on 15 May 2019 that the UK planned to produce a National Aircraft Carrier Policy to lay down a blueprint for how the new carrier era would help deliver the UK’s global objectives. In addition, on 4 June, then prime minister Theresa May announced that the UK would earmark the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to form part of NATO’s significant new Readiness Initiative. These developments have prompted thought and discussion on the extent to which the carrier programme will enable and actually drive the transformation of UK joint-force capabilities, and are posing questions about the demands such a programme will place on UK defence and industry. This paper considers both the opportunities and challenges that the carrier era presents in a number of key areas
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, National Security, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Author: Lianna Fix, Bastain Giegerich, Theresa Kirch
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: Recent developments in transatlantic relations have reignited the debate about the need for Europeans to assume greater responsibility for their own security. Yet, efforts by European leaders to substantiate the general commitment to 'take their fate into their own hands' are so far lacking sufficient progress. Against this backdrop, the Körber Policy Game brought together a high-level group of senior experts and government officials from France, Germany, Poland, the UK and the US to address a fictional scenario that involves a US withdrawal from NATO, followed by multiple crises in Europe. How will Europeans organise their security and defence if the US withdraws from NATO? To what extent will future European security be based on mutual solidarity, ad-hoc coalitions or a bilateralisation of relations with the US? Which interests would the respective European governments regard as vital and non-negotiable? What role would the US play in European security after the withdrawal? The Körber Policy Game is based on the idea of projecting current foreign and security policy trends into a future scenario – seeking to develop a deeper understanding of the interests and priorities of different actors as well as possible policy options. The starting point is a short to medium-term scenario. Participants are part of country teams and assume the role of advisers to their respective governments.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Brussels
  • Author: Nicholas Crawford
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: China has become the largest lender to developing countries, and a major investor there too. As a result, it has a major stake in many countries facing political and economic instability. Western policymakers involved in responding to instability and crises overseas need to understand how China navigates these situations. China’s approach is similar in some respects to that of Western states, but there are also important differences. China’s policy towards countries facing political and economic instability is driven by four main concerns: It seeks to strengthen and maintain its partnerships with those countries to ensure they remain open to and supportive of the Chinese government and its businesses. China is determined to protect its financial interests, businesses and citizens from the harms that result from instability. It is concerned to see its loans repaid, its investments secure, its workers safe and its supply chains undisrupted. It wants to maintain its narrative of non-interference. Any intervention in the politics or policies of its partner states must be seen as being at the invitation of their governments (although China may pressure its partners for consent). China wants to increase its influence in the world, independently and distinctively. It is increasingly proactive in its response to instability in partner countries. Some responses seek to address the instability directly; other responses are intended to protect Chinese interests in spite of the instability. This paper analyses the political economy of China’s responses to instability, identifies the types of responses China undertakes, and assesses these responses.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Cooperation, Developing World, Political stability, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Europe, Beijing, Asia
  • Author: Adam Śmietanka, Alejandro Esteller Moré, Grzegorz Poniatowski, José María Durán-Cabré, Mikhail Bonch-Osmolovsky
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: This Report has been prepared for the European Commission, DG TAXUD under contract TAXUD/2017/DE/329, “Study and Reports on the VAT Gap in the EU-28 Member States” and serves as a follow-up to the six reports published between 2013 and 2018. This Study contains new estimates of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Gap for 2017, as well as updated estimates for 2013-2016. As a novelty in this series of reports, so called “fast VAT Gap estimates” are also presented the year immediately preceding the analysis, namely for 2018. In addition, the study reports the results of the econometric analysis of VAT Gap determinants initiated and initially reported in the 2018 Report (Poniatowski et al., 2018). It also scrutinises the Policy Gap in 2017 as well as the contribution that reduced rates and exemptions made to the theoretical VAT revenue losses. In 2017, growth in the European Union (EU) continued to accelerate with a combined real GDP growth of 2.5 percent, providing a sound environment for an increase in VAT collections. As a result, VAT revenue increased in all Member States (MS). An increase in the base was the main, but not the only, source for growth. Increase in compliance contributed to an approximate 1.1% increase in VAT revenue. In nominal terms, in 2017, the VAT Gap in EU-28 MS fell to EUR 137.5 billion, down from EUR 145.4 billion. In relative terms, the VAT Gap share of the VAT total tax liability (VTTL) dropped to 11.2 percent in 2017 and is the lowest value in the analysed period of 2013-2017. Fast estimates for 2018 indicate that the downward trend will continue and that VAT Gap will likely fall below EUR 130 billion in 2018. Of the EU-28, the VAT Gap as percentage of the VTTL decreased in 25 countries and increased in three. The biggest declines in the VAT Gap occurred in Malta, Poland, and Cyprus. The smallest Gaps were observed in Cyprus (0.6 percent), Luxembourg (0.7 percent), and Sweden (1.5 percent). The largest Gaps were registered in Romania (35.5 percent), Greece (33.6 percent), and Lithuania (25.3 percent). Overall, half of EU-28 MS recorded a Gap above 10.1 percent (see Figure 2.2 and Table 2.1). The Policy Gaps and its components remained stable. The average Policy Gap level was 44.5 percent, out of which 9.6 percentage points are due to the application of various reduced and super-reduced rates instead of standard rates (the Rate Gap). The countries with the most flat levels of rates in the EU, according to the Rate Gap, are Denmark (0.8 percent) and Estonia (3 percent). On the other side of spectrum are Cyprus (29.6 percent), Malta (16.5 percent), and Poland (14.6 percent). The Exemption Gap, or the average share of Ideal Revenue lost due to various exemptions, is, on average, 35 percent in the EU, whereas the Actionable Policy Gap – a combination of the Rate Gap and the Actionable Exemption Gap – is, on average, 13 percent of the Notional Ideal Revenue. The econometric analysis repeated after the 2017 Study confirmed the earlier results. We observe that the dispersion of tax rates and unemployment rate have a positive impact on the VAT Gap. Regarding the variables in hands of the administration, on the extended times series compared to the previous year, our results suggest that the nature of the expenditure of the administration, in particular IT expenditure, is more important that the amount of the overall resources.
  • Topic: Economy, Economic growth, Tax Systems, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Grzegorz Poniatowski, Izabela Styczynska, Karolina Beaumont, Karolina Zubel
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: EuroPACE is an innovative tool designed to make home renovation simple, affordable and reliable for all Europeans by combining affordable financing with people-centric technical assistance. EuroPACE offers 100% up-front financing that can be repaid over a long term of up to 25 years. The innovation lies in the collection and repayment mechanism – financing is attached to the property and is repaid regularly with charges linked to a property. Homeowners are offered logistical and technical support throughout the process and access to trained and qualified con-tractors. Thus, EuroPACE overcomes the main barriers to home renovation – lack of financing, technical knowledge and complexity of the works. The concept of EuroPACE is inspired by the success of a financing model called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), launched in California in 2008. In the United States (US), the PACE market reached over USD 6 billion in funded projects, including the retrofit of over 220,000 homes, which resulted in more than 50,000 new local jobs and the creation of hundreds new companies.EuroPACE combines the best practices from the US PACE market with project partners’ substantial experience in improving energy efficiency in European buildings. EuroPACE is a three-year project that intends to assess market readiness, deploy a pilot programme in Spain and scale across Europe to four leader cities. A two-phase research (firstly – legal & fiscal readiness, and secondly – market demand) has been carried to assess the overall readiness for adaptation of this model across the European Union (EU). This document is the second phase of the EuroPACE readiness assessment developed to identify European countries most suited for EuroPACE implementation. It complements the legal and fiscal assessment by focusing on the “demand dimension” by analysing local needs for energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy sources (RES) in residential building renovation of seven selected countries. Based on the results of legal and fiscal analysis of the EU28 MS, in October 2018 the Steering Committee Group of the EuroPACE Horizon2020 (H2020) project chose seven countries: Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Romania, for the second phase of evaluation. These countries were selected based on the scoring outlined in D2.1 and two additional considerations developed by the Steering Committee Group. First, a diverse geo-graphical distribution of the countries was an important element for the selection of these seven countries. Secondly, the knowledge and expertise of the Steering Committee Group about the national potential market opportunity was taken into consideration during the selection process. While in Austria a similar mechanism has already been tested but was unsuccessful, the country still has been chosen for further analysis. In Belgium, despite being a federal state, there is a strong local and regional interest in new financial mechanisms designed to upscale residential retrofits across the country. In the Netherlands, asset-based financial instruments are currently being discussed at the national level, which opens a window of opportunity for EuroPACE to be tested in the country. As for Italy, although the property-taxation system is far from stable, potential synergies with successful programmes like Ecobonus or Sismabonus should be explored. In Poland, nearly 70% of the 6-million residential buildings need significant energy efficiency overhaul; these buildings contribute to some of the worst air quality across the EU leading to approximately 47 thousand premature deaths annually. Portugal, given its Mediterranean climate, proves a great potential not only for EE, but also prosumer RES development, given that current incentives are far from sufficient. Romania has been chosen mainly because of its highest home-ownership rate across the EU and the most institutionalised property-related taxation, possibly setting a stable base for EuroPACE being collected alongside existing charges.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Fiscal Policy, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Belgium, Romania, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, European Union
  • Author: Izabela Styczynska, Karolina Zubel
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: EuroPACE is an innovative financial mechanism inspired by an American building improvement initiative called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE). The innovative character of the EuroPACE mechanism is that financing through EuroPACE is linked to the taxes paid on a property. In other words, the financing lent by a private investor is repaid through property taxes and other charges related to the buildings. EuroPACE is therefore in line with the EC’s objectives of (1) putting EE first, (2) contributing to the EU’s global leadership, and (3) empowering consumers to enable MS to reach their energy and climate targets for 2030. Last but not least, EuroPACE could contribute to the democratisation of the energy supply by offering cash-flow positive, decentralised EE solutions. The EuroPACE mechanism engages several stakeholders in the process: local government, investors, equipment installers, and homeowners. To establish the EuroPACE programme, several conditions must be satisfied, each of which are relevant for different stakeholder at different stages of the implementation. For the purpose of this report, we divided these criteria into two categories: key criteria, which make the implementation possible, and complementary criteria, which make the implementation easier. For the time being, it is a pure hypothesis to be tested with potential EuroPACE implementation. One ought to remember that residential on-tax financing is a concept in its infancy in the EU. Therefore, the methodology to evaluate the readiness of a country to implement on-tax financing is complex and consists of six stages:Identification of fiscal and regulatory conditions; Data collection; Weighting; Grading; Country SWOT analysis; Qualitative assessment.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Economy, Tax Systems, Innovation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Marek Dabrowski
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: Twenty years of euro history confirms the euro’s stability and position as the second global currency. It also enjoys the support of majority of the euro area population and is seen as a good thing for the European Union. The European Central Bank has been successful in keeping inflation at a low level. However, the European debt and financial crisis in the 2010s created a need for deep institutional reform and this task remains unfinished.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, European Union, Economy, Economic growth, Fiscal Policy, Currency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, European Union
  • Author: Maciej Bałtowski, Piotr Kozarzewski
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: The paper discusses the role of the state in shaping an economic system which is, in line with the welfare economics approach, capable of performing socially important functions and achieving socially desirable results. We describe this system through a set of indexes: the IHDI, the World Happiness Index, and the Satisfaction of Life index. The characteris-tics of the state are analyzed using a set of variables which describe both the quantitative (government size, various types of governmental expenditures, and regulatory burden) and qualitative (institutional setup and property rights protection) aspects of its functioning. The study examines the “old” and “new” member states of the European Union, the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and Asia, and the economies of Latin America. The main conclusion of the research is that the institutional quality of the state seems to be the most important for creation of a socially effective economic system, while the level of state interventionism plays, at most, a secondary and often negligible role. Geographical differentiation is also discovered, as well as the lack of a direct correlation between the characteristics of an economic system and the subjective feeling of well-being. These re-sults may corroborate the neo-institutionalist hypothesis that noneconomic factors, such as historical, institutional, cultural, and even genetic factors, may play an important role in making the economic system capable to perform its tasks; this remains an area for future research.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economy, Economic growth, State, Economic Policy, Institutions, Trade, Welfare
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, European Union
  • Author: Andrzej Halesiak, Ernest Pytlarczyk, Mariusz Wieckowski, Stefan Kawalec
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: In a properly functioning economy, finance has important role to play in making main sectors of the economy – production, trade, services – to thrive. One of the most important – and often unappreciated – channels by which finance affects the processes taking place in the real sector is the selection of investment projects. It is banks and financial intermediaries that to a great degree decide which projects are carried out in the economy at a given moment, and which are not. If financial institutions are excessively conservative (which today is often an effect of the tight regulatory environment), they will prefer low-risk projects with high levels of collateral (e.g. mortgage loans). A financial system oriented this way will rarely be a source of problems, but at the same time not inclined to finance innovative projects with high potential to benefit the economy. Thus for any economy, a very important question is whether its regulatory framework smartly balances both of these aspects: financial system safety and the need to take on risk. When analyzing the functioning of the financial system, it’s worth noting the gradual blurring of certain traditional boundaries. While decades ago households were the main source of savings in the economy, and the borrowers were enterprises and the public sector, today both households and companies are on both sides, as suppliers and receivers of capital. The boundary between the functioning of banks and capital markets is also increasingly blurred. Today banks operate broadly through the capital market, both as acquirers of securities and as issuers. One area that has been developing dynamically in recent years is the flow of financial resources bypassing traditional intermediaries: direct lending through the peer-to-peer (P2P - direct financing of a project by business partners) and crowdfunding platforms (fundraising by collecting money online).
  • Topic: Demographics, GDP, Financial Markets, Economy, Banks, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Adam Adamczyk, Leszek Morawski, Jarek Neneman
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: For many years, we have been hearing about the need for innovation and entrepreneurship. Successive Polish government declare their support for entrepreneurs and expand the catalog of privileges, mainly related to taxes and mandatory contributions. Not infrequently, in these discussions the self-employed are equated with entrepreneurs. In this work, we will seek an answer to the questions: Who, then, are the self-employed? Are they really entrepreneurs? Should we support their activities? And finally the fundamental question: What does the economy get from the self-employed? In this work we point out that the differences in rates of self-employment between countries may result from differences in taxation on the labor provided by self-employed and salaried workers. In the main part of the work, taking advantage of the potential of the EUROMOD tax-benefit microsimulation model, we show that in Europe there is no single model of taxation of work conducted as one’s own business. In the majority of the tax-contribution systems we examined, the profitability of employment or self-employment changes along with changes in income. In light of the regressivity of the burdens on the self-employed, as a rule it begins to be profitable only above a certain income level. In the first part of the work we define the self-employed as those who run a business, and later we distinguish within this group entrepreneurs, meaning those who take on risk and create innovations. Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment from the point of view of the self employed and the employer, we point out that the benefits – including systemic (tax and contribution) benefits, outweigh the disadvantages. We also discuss in more detail the imposition of income tax on the self-employed. In the second part we present changes in the value of self-employment over the last 25 years. Here we use data from the World Bank and certain data points from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). They allow us to observe how the relationship between the self-employed and the economy is changing: The significance of services provided for other businesses is growing. Additionally, we can see that the significance of self-employment is falling. In Poland the level of (non-agricultural) self-employment is low. The dynamics of the rate of self employment indicate that the influence of legal regulations on the scale of self-employment is secondary. It seems that in this case, technological and demographic factors are much more significant.
  • Topic: Demographics, Labor Issues, Employment, Business , Social Policy, Tax Systems, Fiscal Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: George Selgin
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Social and Economic Research - CASE
  • Abstract: "Depending on how one interprets the question that forms the topic of my talk, one can argue that the answer is obvious, or one can argue just the opposite. In one sense of course, it’s obvious that non-state money is possible. That’s the sense in which we ask only whether some kinds of non-state money are possible. And of course, the answer is yes. The vast majority of payments today, in Poland as elsewhere, are made with privately produced forms of money – that is, with bank deposits of various kinds – transferable by cheque or using debit cards. And there is nothing surprising about that. But of course, my assigned question can also be understood in a different and more interesting way. The interesting question is not whether some kinds of non-state- supplied money are possible. It is a different question, or rather two different questions. One of these is whether non-state circulating monies, or currencies, are possible. Can we rely on the private sector to supply hand-to-hand circulating means of payment? The other even more fundamental question is whether we can have a complete monetary system in which all forms of money supplied privately, and the state plays no substantial regulatory role. In fact, I intend to argue that non-state supplied currencies are also possible, and that completely private monetary systems, in which the state plays no important part, are possible as well. Indeed, I will argue, not only that these things are possible, but that history offers examples of them. That is, they are not just hypothetically possible. I plan to spend much of my time talking to you about these historical examples of privately produced currencies and private or mostly private monetary systems. I wish not merely to make it clear that private currencies and mostly private monetary systems really have existed in the past, but to point out to you that these private currencies and monetary systems have often been entirely or at least highly successful. We might even envy them today, given the performance of our own relatively heavily regulated monetary systems." - Prof. George Selgin writes in the introduction.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Economic growth, Banks, Trade, Cryptocurrencies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Oleksandr Okhrimenko, Stanislav Voloshchenko
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Hiperboreea
  • Institution: Balkan History Association
  • Abstract: The Gavril Uric’s Psalter, created in 1437, remains one of the important manuscripts from the Neamț Monastery and South Slavic Cyrillic heritage. Involving the late medieval religious source into research, especially then it is a common text as Psalter, inspires to see this codex as the material object that was used by several generations. The system how the scribe organized the page, how he solved the mistakes, how he decorated the text is the way of interacts with his readers; behind the sacred text he put eyes of God, shown by his calligraphy. The Psalter of 1437 became a memorial of the scribe Gavril Uric, Leon the monk, and other people, who signed the codex with their names at different times. Until the 19th century, this Psalter remained the physical mediator between the person and God. From the end of the 19th century, the book was an object for scientific research and closed to the public. Nowadays, the digital version gives a new breath for the Psalter and new opportunity to revise our perception and the way in which we study medieval manuscripts.
  • Topic: Religion, Science and Technology, Medieval History
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Saliha Metinsoy
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: Why does the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assign more stringent labor conditions in some cases and not others? This paper argues that the Fund’s bureaucratic organizational culture and neoliberal economic beliefs dictate its interpretation of international economics and predict the stringency of labor conditions in its programs. Particularly, the Fund staff envisage that lower unit labor costs would indirectly increase competitiveness, boost exports, and contribute to the balance of payments in fixed exchange rate regimes, where currency depreciation is not possible. To this end, the Fund assigns more stringent labor conditions in fixed regimes compared to floating ones. To test this theory, the paper uses a mixed method. It firstly demonstrates the association between exchange rate regimes and the stringency of labor conditions in Fund programs in a global sample. It then complements this analysis by showing particular organizational habits and beliefs at work in two cases, namely in Latvia and Hungary in 2008 under their respective IMF programs. Furthermore, the paper shows that distribution of income away from labor groups (i.e. lowered wages) is in fact by design in IMF programs in an attempt to increase competitiveness in fixed regimes.
  • Topic: Economics, International Monetary Fund, International Development, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Hungary, Latvia
  • Author: Michael Kende1, Nivedita Sen
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
  • Abstract: E-commerce has long been recognized as a driver of growth of the digital economy, with the potential to promote economic development. The benefits come from lower transaction costs online, increased efficiency, and access to new markets. The smallest of vendors can join online marketplaces to increase their sales, while larger companies can use the Internet to join global value chains (GVCs), and the largest e-commerce providers are now among the most valuable companies in the world.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology, World Trade Organization, Digital Economy, Economic growth, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Switzerland, Global Focus
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: To win the Cold War, President Ronald Reagan did something for which he is never credited: he dramatically increased the budget of the United States Information Agency, the public diplomacy arm of our struggle against communism. Senegal, in September of 1999, was about to hold a presidential election. Because of USIA's long history of promoting journalism in Senegal, the embassy decided to work in partnership with the local Print, Radio and Television Journalists Federation to hold a series of workshops on the role of journalists in covering elections. USIA was uniquely organized to promote democratic development through the long term support of human rights organizations, journalism, programs that helped build the rule of law, educational programs that encouraged the acceptance of diversity in society and, perhaps most importantly, through partnering with and supporting local opinion leaders to help them promote democratic values that stand in opposition to ideologies hostile to the West.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Elections, Democracy, Rule of Law, Ideology, Networks, Journalism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Europe, Iran, Soviet Union, West Africa, Syria, Senegal
  • Author: Keith C. Smith
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: President Boris Yeltsin’s imperial views on the “near abroad,” and President Vladimir Putin’s regarding Russia’s alleged “sphere of influence” has left Russia considerably weaker than it would have been otherwise, and the world much more endangered.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, Cold War, Diplomacy, Economics, Politics, Armed Forces, Reform, Gas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Soviet Union, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, United States of America, Baltic States
  • Author: Ofer Israeli
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: After a century of an American world order established by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson at the end of the First World War, we are facing a shift in Washington’s global attitude. President Trump’s approach to world affairs is different. Although Obama, and to some extent Bush before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, was starting to withdraw from the U.S. historical position of key global superpower, President Trump’s approach to world affairs is a much more drastic acceleration of this move. Continuing in this direction means we may soon face a collapse of America’s century-long preeminence, and the creation of a new world order in which the U.S. is no longer leading the global power, but only first among sovereigns, if at all.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Government, World War I, World War II, Institutionalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Soviet Union, United States of America
  • Author: Mikael Barfod
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Controversies have abounded, including Palestine and Israel within the UN's Human Rights Council, lack of US support for the International Law of the Sea (since 1994), and the International Criminal Court (since 2002). Collectively, the European Union and its Member States remain by far the largest financial contributor to the UN, providing 30% of all contributions to the budget and 31% of peace-keeping activities in addition to substantial contributions towards project-based funding. 4. Some may object that the European Union has been hampered by the lack of a common position among EU Member States on the future of the UN Security Council (UNSC), where two member-states, UK and France, currently have permanent seats and one, Germany, is desperate to get one.
  • Topic: International Relations, Cold War, Human Rights, European Union, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Israel, Asia, France, Germany, United States of America
  • Author: Louis Sell
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The overwhelming majority of politically active Kosovo Albanians remain committed to a democratic vision of their country’s future, anchored by eventual membership in the EU and NATO. But many are losing faith in the EU’s institutional structure, which they view as having reneged on a promised to provide them visa-free entry and failing to provide a clear path toward membership. Kosovars retain a strong faith in the US, which they correctly see as primarily responsible for their liberation from Serbian oppression and as their only reliable ally in an increasingly dangerous Balkan environment.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, United States of America, European Union
  • Author: Hans Tuch
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: When I was Public Affairs Counselor in Bonn, we received frequent visits from administration officials. Our routine preparations included preparing briefing materials for the officials and press packets for the accompanying traveling journalists. Although we were pretty skilled at these activities, there was always room for error, as we discovered in December 1982 during the first visit to Bonn of the newly appointed Secretary of State George Shultz.
  • Topic: Cold War, Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, United States of America