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  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italy has traditionally looked to Germany as a natural partner in defining the EU’s approach to Russia. Shared views of Russia as a member of the European family of nations, converging assessments of Europe’s security needs, and parallel energy and trade interests have all contributed to this. However, since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis a perception has begun to emerge in Italy of a widening gap between the Italian national interest and Germany’s Ostpolitik. While German policy per se is not a major topic of discussion, the Italian debate about the most appropriate policy course towards Russia and Eastern Europe contains a number of implicit assumptions about German choices and interests. This debate runs along political cleavages, with Italy’s expanding Eurosceptic coalition increasingly advocating a normalization of relations with Russia. Germany’s Ostpolitik, or at least some of the fundamental assumptions on which it is predicated, seems thus destined to become the object of greater contestation in Italy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany, Italy
  • Author: Daniela Huber, Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the EU is reviewing its European Neighbourhood Policy, this paper calls for an entirely new approach that would give the EU a stake in the region by responding more effectively to key needs on both sides of the Mediterranean. It first outlines three strategic policy options for the EU – defensive, power-projecting and reflexive approaches – and analyses EU policies accordingly. After observing that EU policies in the Mediterranean since the Arab uprisings have oscillated between a defensive and a power-projecting approach, this paper discusses how EU policies could become more inclusive of key actors, more responsive to key challenges and more flexible on both the multilateral and the bilateral level.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Power Politics, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-59-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Under certain conditions, such as security crises, an integrated external EU counter-terrorism policy can emerge without leading to the supra-nationalisation of policy-making. This paper analyses the role of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy with the objective of assessing the influence that such figure can have on the governance of EU counter-terrorism policies. It does so by assessing the EU’s response to three security crises, namely: the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005); the Arab Spring and the following destabilisation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and the emergence and spread of Da’esh.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-53-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Niklas Helwig, Carolin Rüger
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: When Catherine Ashton took up office as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), she met with high expectations - and much disappointment. As the first incumbent of the remodelled position, she had the chance to leave a legacy for her successor, but faced an unclear job description. What was the HR's role in EU foreign policy? It is argued that the HR acted as a diplomat and manager of EU external action, while her role performance in co-leadership and brokering were less successful. Role expectations and performance entered a fragile equilibrium at the end of Ashton's tenure. However, the future role of the HR might shift more towards a co-leader of EU foreign policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab uprisings alongside the Ukrainian crisis have triggered the perfect storm. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), developed at the height of enlargement EUphoria, is in tatters. To be fair, its failure is only partly endogenous, and largely due to the dramatic transformation of the neighbourhood – east and south – which no one could have foreseen at the turn of the century. Be that as it may, the EU will have to fundamentally rethink its approach towards its turbulent backyard. To move forward, the EU needs to devise conceptually different approaches to the east and south. In both cases, instability and crises abound. In both, the magnitude of the challenges that the EU faces is so great that down-to-earth realism must be its guiding light. Formulating and pursuing down-to-earth objectives for the neighbourhood that reflect current realities is not cynical. It is responsible.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Arabia
  • Author: Nicolo Sartori
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The unconventional oil and gas revolution is certainly a game changer in the current international political setting, since it will bring the United States close to energy self-sufficiency. However, it seems unlikely that this new energy status will dramatically redefine US foreign policy and security priorities. In strategic regions such as the Middle East, US interests are expected to remain unchanged, while the new energy status will contribute only in part to modifying the US approach towards the EU's energy posture vis-à-vis Russia. What the new American energy condition is likely to change are the tools and policy options available to Washington to cope with the strategic challenges - China's power in primis - emerging in the multipolar international relations system.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Washington
  • Author: Burcu Gültekin Punsmann
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Turkey's actions in the South Caucasus face serious limitations as long as it has no direct influence over the dynamics of conflict settlement. Turkey has the potential to support transformation and reform within the societies of the South Caucasus through soft power. The current state of Turkey's relations with Armenia will keep on seriously curtailing Turkey's outreach in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan is a stakeholder in Turkish-Armenian relations and Turkey, because of its inability to proceed further with its bilateral agenda with Armenia, has become a stakeholder in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan's leverage on Turkey appears to be more and more influential. The importance of the notion of Turkishness in national politics is an important factor in assessing the strength of pro-Azeri feeling. The Kurdish problem is today a major political challenge. It is the most powerful dynamic underpinning the questioning and progressive redefinition of national identity.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Manuel Muniz
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: EU member states have proven incapable of clarity in their strategic planning, with their key strategic documents almost inevitably abstract and ambiguous. This is extremely unfortunate because without a clear catalogue of interests and an understanding of their location around the world it is impossible to determine a country's appropriate force structure, let alone conduct a coherent and effective foreign and defence policy. This lack of rigor in strategic planning is hurting European defence integration, as states are unable to have transparent and constructive debates about the interests they share. It would be wise to incorporate into the strategic planning process a model that allows for the capturing and quantifying of states' interests. Such a process might lead to the realization that EU member states share more strategic interests than is at first apparent.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo Behr
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The rise of political Islam in the EU's southern neighbourhood represents a political as well as conceptual challenge to the EU as a foreign policy actor. In the past, the EU reacted to this challenge based on its essentialist perception of political Islam and its overarching interest in regional stability and security. However, the growing salience of 'contingencist' interpretations of political Islam and the resolution of the EU's democratisation-stabilisation dilemma in the wake of the Arab Spring have recently provided an opportunity for greater engagement and cooperation. This has enabled a switch in EU policies from a strategy of containment to a strategy of engagement. Despite this, problems remain as the EU continues to expect Islamist actors to adjust to its own discursive framework and as intra-European divisions revive as a result of the renewal of secular-religious divisions in the neighbourhood. This will complicate EU attempts to build a new partnership with Islamist democracies and will fuel old stereotypes and animosities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Tom Farer
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The only means available to the US to assume a responsibility to protect the Syrian people from slaughter was by credibly threatening Bashar al-Assad and the security and military elite surrounding him with a decapitating air strike if they did not immediately cease murdering protestors and begin negotiations with opposition figures to the end of making the regime broadly representative of the Syrian population. Credibility probably demanded an initial decimation, a technically possible move. In part because the US lacks the ideology and institutional structure of a real imperial power, in part because it is post-Bush a careful calculator of national interests, Syria, unlike Libya but much like Sudan and the DRC, was a bridge too far.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Sudan, Libya, Syria