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  • Author: Giorgio Gomel
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: There is some degree of ambivalence, mistrust, and even hostility between Europe and Israel. Europeans see Israel on a path of permanent occupation of Palestinian territories. Israel sees the European posture as unbalanced and biased against Israel. Economic and institutional linkages are strong. A further strengthening of relations is however difficult unless a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is reached. For the EU resolving the conflict is a matter of both interests and values. The engagement of the EU can take different forms, in the realm of sticks one may point to legislation concerning the labelling of products from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and carrots such as the EU offer of a special privileged partnership with Israel. For the Israeli public a clearer perception of the costs of non-peace and the benefits from a resolution of the conflict could help unblock the stalemate and remove the deceptive illusion that the status quo is sustainable.
  • Topic: Politics, Geopolitics, Israel, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel
  • Author: Marie-Claire Aoun
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: European energy security challenges have changed dramatically in the past 20 years. On the one hand, the current tensions between Russia and the EU are undermining their historical partnership on energy; on the other, deep transformations in the energy landscape at the global level, triggered by technological advances and major geo-political transformations, are leading the EU to rethink its energy security strategy. The aim of this paper is to discuss European energy security in a changing global context and to analyse the tools and policies implemented to strengthen it. The role of potential future vectors of energy cooperation between the EU and its Mediterranean neighbours is also examined.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Because of the intergovernmental nature of EU foreign policy, the role of the European Commission in EU external action is often considered minimal or residual. Providing a systematic review of the case of Kosovo, this paper demonstrates that it is possible to identify different degrees of integration in EU foreign policy. It does so by investigating under which conditions Member States delegate foreign policy competences to the Commission. In the case of Kosovo, integration in EU foreign policy has been conditioned by the level of control Member States have chosen exercise on or delegate to supranational institutions.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giuseppe Martinico
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Asymmetry has frequently been experimented within federalising processes, especially in those federal or quasi-federal contexts characterised by the coexistence of different legal and cultural backgrounds (Canada, for instance). By adopting a comparative approach, this paper offers a reflection on asymmetry as an instrument of differentiated integration in the current phase of the EU integration process. It aims to show the potential of the concept and some of the risks connected to its use.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, Culture, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-73-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Francesca Monaco, Alessandra Scalia
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reports the key elements of a closed-door seminar hosted by IAI on 13 October 2015 within the framework of the project Defence Matters 2015. The initiative is aimed at stimulating the Italian debate on defence issues by engaging policy-makers, stakeholders and the public opinion. The seminar, in particular, was devoted to discussing the current threats faced by NATO with regard to both the Alliance’s Eastern and Southern “flanks”. The debate addressed the complexity of the ongoing international dynamics not only in terms of threats, but also of potential opportunities for reforming and modernising NATO. The present report aims at outlining the key points that emerged from the discussion, as well as further stimulating the debate concerning the NATO agenda in view of the 2016 Warsaw Summit.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-6812-596-7
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Enrico Calossi
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Although much progress has been achieved in the last sixty years, the European Union still lacks a unique electoral system and a proper party system. Recently some changes have been proposed or introduced in order to homogenise the national electoral systems of the EP and to strengthen political parties at the EU level. Andrew Duff’s proposal for a transnational party list; the establishment of European political foundations in 2007; the updating of the Statute of the European political parties in 2014; the designation of the Spitzekandidaten by Europarties were all useful attempts. More could be done. National democracies can become sources of inspiration for new proposals. Some suggestions may require new formal regulations. Others are more informal or political, and would give political actors new opportunities on voluntary bases.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-72-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Daniele Ciani, Paolo Finaldi Russo, Valerio Vacca
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper describes the main features of European SMEs’ financial behaviour and the policies recently put in place to support their funding. European SMEs are structurally more leveraged and charged with higher interest rates than large firms. Moreover, the crisis has deeply affected their fund-raising capacity, as banks reduced credit supply while non-bank funding was unavailable to most SMEs. Against this background, EU has focussed its policies on long-term investment and on a more favourable environment for SMEs financing, including through the launch of the Capital Markets Union. At the national level, most governments have provided guarantees and enhanced the role of national development banks. Nevertheless, key issues are still outstanding, such as the funding of innovative firms and the improvement of transparency and of the legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-71-2
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to campaign for the UK to stay in the EU in the incoming in-or-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership, but only if London succeeds in recalibrating its relationship with the Union. As the EU’s fourth largest country, Italy will play a crucial role in the negotiation. The challenge for Rome is to balance its long-standing commitment to strengthening European integration with the interest in keeping a country the size and influence of the UK in the EU. Matteo Renzi’s government should be supportive of British proposals about competitiveness, pragmatic as far as sovereignty issues are concerned, constructive but cautious regarding economic governance, and understanding of British concerns but also firm about immigration.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-70-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Sarah Wolff
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The death of Aylan, a 3-year-old boy on a Turkish beach, prompted European leaders and public opinions to acknowledge that Europe is the deadliest migration destination in the world. In spite of this disturbing truth, there is little agreement on an EU solution to the Syrian refugee crisis. In September 2015, the EU Interior Ministers struggled to agree over the relocation of 120,000 refugees through a common compulsory mechanism, as Eastern European countries oppose the idea of “sharing the burden.” Progress regarding other solutions such as a European rescue at-sea-mission, the delivery of humanitarian visas or the opening of legal means of migration have also met strong member state resistance. If Europe is not up to the task, can international organisations (IOs), often critical of European states for their inaction, impulse change? What influence do IOs have on EU and Mediterranean migration and refugee policies? This paper investigates how IOs have been trying to frame an alternative debate and the challenges they meet in promoting transregional governance.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Migration, War, Immigration, Border Control
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-66-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With the One Belt One Road (OBOR), arguably Beijing’s major diplomatic outreach in decades, a process towards greater Sino-European connectivity has been put in place. The implementation of the OBOR in Europe has focused so far on financing infrastructure projects, in particular railways in Southeast Europe and ports in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been complemented by growing monetary linkages between the People’s Bank of China and European central banks through the establishment of currency swap agreements and yuan bank clearing – so-called “offshore renminbi hubs” – with the aim of lowering transaction costs of Chinese investment and bolstering the use of the Chinese currency. While there are undoubtedly great economic opportunities, China’s OBOR initiative also presents the EU with a major political challenge. There is the risk, in fact, that a scramble for Chinese money could further divide EU member states and make it difficult for Brussels to fashion a common position vis-à-vis Beijing. Furthermore, China’s economic penetration into Europe may lead – if not properly managed – to a populist backlash as well as a strain in relations with Washington. All these elements should be taken into consideration by EU policymakers, as China’s OBOR makes inroads into the Old Continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-64-4
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Zhao Minghao
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Council has mandated the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, to draft a Global Strategy by June 2016. Given Europe’s status as a global power, such a strategy must respond to Europe’s own challenges as well as to the new grand strategies of other major players in world politics, like China. To better understand the central tenets of the Chinese leadership’s strategic thinking, two keywords are most important – the “Four Comprehensives” and the “One Belt and One Road” (OBOR). As an initiative mainly focusing on promoting Eurasian integration and reshaping Chinese geo-economic advantages, the OBOR is highly consequential to China’s interactions with Europe and the rest of the world at large in the decades to come. How to take advantage of the OBOR, create new EU-China synergies, and tackle relevant challenges are questions the EU leaders should be attentive to.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-61-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Daniela Huber, Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the EU is reviewing its European Neighbourhood Policy, this paper calls for an entirely new approach that would give the EU a stake in the region by responding more effectively to key needs on both sides of the Mediterranean. It first outlines three strategic policy options for the EU – defensive, power-projecting and reflexive approaches – and analyses EU policies accordingly. After observing that EU policies in the Mediterranean since the Arab uprisings have oscillated between a defensive and a power-projecting approach, this paper discusses how EU policies could become more inclusive of key actors, more responsive to key challenges and more flexible on both the multilateral and the bilateral level.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Power Politics, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-59-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Never before was the lack of a single European government, or at least of a strong and effective European governance, as acutely felt as in these days. With wars and failed states in the neighbourhood, and an unstoppable exodus crossing Europe, the continent appears at once more interdependent and more fragmented than ever. A coherent model of governance, competent and cohesive, but above all empowered by a full democratic investiture, would be needed everyday, to cope with daily emergencies while painstakingly devising and developing a long-term strategy where such emergency responses would be framed. Instead, in spite of the remarkable efforts of creative leadership made by the Commission, we are “governed” (but the term sounds like a gross overstatement) by subsequent extraordinary summits, each summoned to remedy the failures of the previous one. What can thus be expected and what should be asked, in such dire circumstances, to the next of these ad hoc European Council meeting, scheduled on Wednesday 23 September?
  • Topic: Migration, War, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-58-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Lisanne Groen
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the 15th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, the European Union (EU) failed to achieve most of its objectives. In 2011, at the 17th COP meeting in Durban, the EU was crucial in bringing about a deal on a roadmap towards a new global climate change agreement, to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st COP meeting in Paris. This paper examines the lessons the EU has learned and can learn from its experience in Copenhagen in the run-up to Paris. It considers, first, the EU’s relative bargaining power; second, the relative position of its objectives/interests mapped against those of other negotiating parties; and third, how the EU can leverage its relative power through strategic action in pursuit of its objectives. The paper recommends that the EU focus on building a broad alliance with other progressive negotiating parties on mitigation in order to avoid a lowest common denominator outcome.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Industrial Policy, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-57-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Stefano Volpicelli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Human mobility has changed profoundly since the onset of globalisation, with old patterns of south-north movement of male economic migrants being replaced by mixed flows of people moving because of a variety of needs and motivations. In Europe these changes have gone largely unnoticed and the discourse on migration has been conducted in a confused and contradictory way. Policies have swung between two poles: on one end the view of migrants as a problem rather than as an opportunity; on the other, the view of migrants as vulnerable people escaping poverty or persecution. Through the analysis of policies, juridical terminology, concepts and stereotypes, this paper proposes a three-step approach for a different narrative of migration to curb the political manipulation that, labelling migrants as a threat, is dangerously fuelling racism and discrimination towards “aliens”.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Poverty, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-56-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: If Morocco appears to be Africa's gateway to Europe, it is a gateway that until today has been used primarily by Moroccans – more than 3 million Moroccans currently live in EU countries such as France, Spain and Italy. The number of other nationalities entering Europe through Morocco has seldom exceeded 20,000 annually and was no more than 7,300 in 2014. Thus, while Morocco is a country of migrant departure, it is only a minor host/transit country for migrants in search of better living conditions outside of their region of origin. Such a configuration has been the basis of recent Moroccan migration policy.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Bilateral Relations, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-54-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • 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: Uwe Puetter
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty fundamentally changed the presidency regime of the European Union at the expense of one of the oldest and most central institutions of European integration: the rotating presidency. The chair positions of the European Council, the Foreign Affairs Council and the Eurogroup have been decoupled from the rotating presidency. Understanding the reduced role of the rotating presidency requires attention for the changing dynamics of EU policymaking, especially for the new intergovernmentalism which implies decision-making outside the classic community method and for the rise of the European Council to the status of a lead institution.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Heather Grabbe, Nadja Groot
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 2014 elections brought a record number of xenophobic populist parties into the European Parliament (EP). They have a strong incentive to be more united and active than in previous terms, and they could use the Parliament to shape voter attitudes, pressure mainstream parties to adopt more xenophobic rhetoric, fragment the mainstream right, and obstruct parliamentary proceedings. The rise of xenophobic populism could affect the open society through the EU's policies and budget if it alters EP debates on issues that split left and right, particularly Roma exclusion, migration and asylum, and EU external policies and development aid.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ivan Krastev
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European elections failed to mobilise public support for the European project. Despite the strong showing of populist parties in the European Parliament, there are indications that the European Union would rather be transformed than destroyed by the current political crisis.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Geoffrey Pridham
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union has a unique opportunity to develop a positive strategy towards Ukraine. A pro-EU government is now in power in Kyiv, there is a revived civil society pressing for democratic reforms and the actions by Russia have both reinforced Ukraine's pro-West line and led to the priority given Moscow being questioned by some member states. It is therefore essential to grant Ukraine a membership perspective to strengthen this trend and encourage Kyiv to confront and overcome the basic problems that face the country.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Reform
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Moscow
  • Author: Ondrej Ditrych
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The crisis in Ukraine has turned the tables of the post-Cold War relationship between the United States and Russia. The ongoing transformation can result in a number of outcomes, which can be conceived in terms of scenarios of normalisation, escalation and 'cold peace' - the latter two scenarios being much more probable than the first. NATO ought to shore up its defences in Central and Eastern Europe while Washington and its allies engage in a comprehensive political strategy of 'new containment'. This means combining political and economic stabilisation of the transatlantic area with credible offers of benefits to partners in the East and pragmatic relations with Russia which are neither instrumentalised (as was the case with the 'reset') nor naïvely conceived as a 'partnership'.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Washington, Ukraine
  • Author: Serena Giusti, Enrico Fassi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is a recently established instrument of democracy promotion intended to complement existing EU tools. Fashioned after the US National Endowment for Democracy, the EED's privileged area of action is the European neighbourhood. Meant as a small rapid-response, actor-oriented 'niche' initiative, its main task is to select those actors, from both civil and political society able to produce a change in their country. The EED represents a step forward in the EU's capacity to foster democracy, but does not necessarily go in the direction of more rationality and effectiveness. Not all EU member states support the EED with the same enthusiasm and it is still not clear how it fits into the EU's overall democracy promotion architecture. Its actions may be successful in a very constrained timeframe. However, recent crises at the EU's borders would seem to call for a strategy that takes into consideration systemic hindrances, post-regime change complexities, regional dynamics and finally rival plans of autocracy promotion.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Readmission is not simply a means of removing undesirable foreigners through coercive methods. When viewed as a way of ensuring the temporary stay of foreign workers in the labour markets of European destination countries, readmission may also impact on the participatory rights of a growing number of native workers facing equally temporary (and precarious) labour conditions, in a context marked by employment deregulation and wage flexibility. These implications have clear democratic significance. A new analytical perspective applied to the expansion and development of the readmission system, is aimed at promoting a reflection on an unexplored research area bridging the gap between labour migration regulation and labour market deregulation.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna Triandafyllidou, Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: EU migration and asylum policy is facing tough challenges at the southern borders of the Union as migration and asylum pressures rise, fuelled by political instability and poverty in several regions of Asia and Africa. Current European border control practices create three spaces of control: externalised borders, through readmission and return agreements which enrol third countries in border control; the EU borders themselves through the work of Frontex and the development of a whole arsenal of technology tools for controlling mobility to and from the EU; and the Schengen area, whose regulations tend to reinforce deterrence at the borders through the Smart Border System. As a result, the EU's balancing act between irregular migration control and protection of refugees and human life clearly tips towards the former, even if it pays lip service to the latter. More options for mobility across the Mediterranean and more cooperation for growth are essential ingredients of a sustainable migration management policy on the EU's southern borders. In addition asylum management could benefit from EU level humanitarian visas issued at countries of origin.
  • Topic: Development, Migration
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Cameroon
  • Author: Elena Baracani
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Is the EU Doomed?, by Jan Zielonka, Polity Press, 2014.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Oliver Geden, Severin Fischer
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: For many years, the EU pursued the strategy of 'leading by example' in international climate negotiations. Climate policy has generally been seen as one of the few policy fields in which the EU is able to develop coherent positions and speak with a single voice. Since the Copenhagen climate summit, however, frictions inside the EU and a paradigm shift have become increasingly evident. With the October 2014 compromise in the European Council on a new framework for 2030, the international climate negotiations have become less important and a more incremental domestic approach has prevailed.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tomas Wyns
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be an important part of a post-2020 climate agreement under the UNFCCC. However, it is not certain yet what these INDCs will contain and how they will be assessed. The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) faced similar challenges in its first years (2005-12). Thus, the mechanisms and lessons learned under the EU ETS could be applied to the INDCs to create a governance and assessment system that increases transparency and builds trust among parties to the UNFCCC.
  • Topic: Climate Change
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Zhang Xiaotong
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Chinese policy and academic communities have mixed views about the US-led TPP, either viewing it as a strategic attempt at encircling China, or as a positive spur for domestic reform and opening-up. Although the Chinese government adopted an open and flexible attitude towards the TPP, it has moved strategically by accelerating the negotiations of the RCEP and China-Korea FTA, as well as updating its FTA with ASEAN. A more interesting development is China's new initiatives for building two grand silk roads, one to Central Asia, leading on to Europe, and the other to Southeast Asia, leading on to the Indian Ocean. Both represent China's renewed confidence in finding its role in Asia.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Elif Burcu Günaydin
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: South-Eastern Mediterranean gas findings have raised much interest in recent years. Even though the estimated quantity of reserves is not globally significant, it is enough to be a regional game changer, promising a considerable amount of gas surplus to be exported. The main export route and potential customers are still being debated. Turkey, with its growing gas consumption, geographical location and existing pipeline system, is considered to be the most feasible option both as a customer and a transport route. Nevertheless, the fact that Israel and Cyprus, with whom Turkey had difficult relations, are the first two explorers of significant resources complicates considerably the situation. Optimistically, the reserves may lead to a solution to the Cyprus conflict and restore diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey. However, energy resources are known to be a double-edged sword that can lead to collaboration but also to conflict. Either way, gas production will find its way to the markets. It will be up to regional actors to decide whether this way will be paved via interim agreements or via a permanent settlement that could initiate regional energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Oil, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Olgu Okumus
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the international media reported crude oil flowing from the KRG to Turkey, doubts about the act's legality, political acceptability and opacity have surfaced. This oil trade is commercially enticing for energy-hungry Turkey, but is also politically risky. The Turkish government's lack of transparency regarding the KRG energy deal's economic and technical aspects has triggered domestic criticism - an especially risky proposition given the proximity of next year's election - and the KRG deal may also hinder international reliance on Turkey as a reliable energy hub. Turkey would be better advised to position itself as a partner for the export of Iraqi oil and gas, without making any distinction between federal and regional authorities. An Ankara-Erbil-Baghdad partnership based on normalized energy relations would help Turkey build new energy bridges with the EU, reducing gas prices for European consumers and strengthening Turkey-EU relations.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Erkan Erdogdu
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) is a European Commission initiative aimed at facilitating the diversification of the routes and sources of gas imported into Europe. This paper is devoted to the analysis of Turkey's role in this initiative. Following a summary of the current economic and energy situation in Turkey, the paper presents recent developments in the SGC and an analysis of Turkey's role in the EU's SGC vision. It concludes that although the newly-built infrastructure within the SGC framework will probably serve Azerbaijani and Turkish interests first in their future relations with the EU, rather than the other way round, as had been initially hoped by the EU, it still addresses the EU's basic strategic interests, namely, the diversification of gas supply routes and suppliers.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Asia, Netherlands
  • Author: Ariel Cohen
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's occupation of the Crimea and possible incorporation of Eastern Ukrainian regions demonstrated Europe's vulnerability to Gazprom's energy power. Whatever the EU's reactions, diversification of energy supply to diminish Russia's market share is likely to be one of them. TAP is one step towards the strategic goal of diminishing Gazprom's huge presence in Europe. But in view of the proposed construction of the Russian South Stream, how could Central Europe, and especially Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and Lithuania, ensure energy diversification? What next for the Southern Corridor? Is Russia going to accept and tolerate infrastructure growth of the Caspian and other competitors south of its borders?
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Markets
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria
  • Author: David Koranyi
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis brought European energy security and with it the Southern Gas Corridor back into the spotlight. The crisis is far from over, but it is already clear that both the scope and nature of Russia's relations with the European Union (EU) and the United States cannot remain unchanged. As the strategic context changes and Europe becomes more and more concerned about Russia's behaviour and reliability as an energy supplier, particularly for natural gas, the relative importance of alternative sources will grow further. Europe is in the midst of rethinking its entire energy and gas supply security strategy. The Southern Gas Corridor can and should be a critical component in this context, while its prospects should be assessed realistically. It is by no means a short-term solution, yet in the medium-term, the Corridor has the potential to become a major source of gas for Europe. The EU should deploy robust energy diplomacy as well as resources to speed up its development.
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Kim Talus, Nicolò Sartori, Sirja-Leena Penttinen
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Over the last two decades, the European Union has put in place various policy and regulatory instruments to address climate change and ensure environmental protection. These European efforts, however, have been far from fully successful for a number of reasons, including the difficulty of achieving simultaneously the objectives set by the "2020 Climate and Energy Package" and the inefficient governance mechanisms to pursue them. For this reason, the 2030 policy framework for climate and energy agreed by the European Council in October 2014 proposes a new governance structure which introduces greater flexibility for governments in reaching the targets. While the new structure allows Member States to choose policies that are best-suited to their national energy mix and preferences, it will have to ensure that the commitments undersigned at EU level are respected and the overall targets set by the Commission are met.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Elif Burcu Günaydın
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: South-Eastern Mediterranean gas fields are still under exploration and development. Meanwhile, the question of which route or routes such gas would take into the global markets remains unanswered. The various possible routes appear to be problematic either politically or financially, leaving development stifled. However, with the crisis between Russia and Ukraine deepening Europe's interest in diversification of supplies, and with gas field owners and developers eager to monetise the resources, Eastern Mediterranean gas could become a potential source for the European Union. This paper tries to answer whether the South-Eastern Mediterranean resources can be regarded as a considerable supply for Europe and, if so, what are the alternative routes that would benefit all the parties involved.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus
  • 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: Silvia Colombo, Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy is a key factor shaping relations between Europe and North Africa. Due to the Maghreb's strategic role for European energy security, in the last two decades the EU has attempted to promote deeper energy cooperation both with and within the region. The success of the EU's bilateral and multilateral initiatives, however, has been hindered by diverging interests between European countries and their North African counterparts. The upheaval in the region unleashed by the Arab awakening, along with critical socio-economic challenges like population growth and urbanization, are altering this picture. In this context, the EU should urgently rethink its energy cooperation models with the southern partners, seizing the opportunities engendered by the current moment of change in the region.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Eleonora Poli
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Before the 1997 economic crisis in Asia, the institutional evolution of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was very different from the European model. The economic downturn in the late 1990s and the global shift toward a neo-liberal economic era urged ASEAN countries to rethink their regional integration strategy and to mimic some of the institutional models in Europe. In light of this, this paper analyses the rationale behind the evolution of ASEAN since the late 1990, evaluating how and why the organization on a surface replicated aspects of the EU model without engaging in meaningful supranational institutionalization.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sohbet Karbuz
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to analyze EU-Turkey relations from an energy perspective. Energy is of mutual strategic interest to Turkey and the EU, insofar as both face serious and multiple energy challenges. Both Turkey and the EU seek to bridge supply and demand, and to establish a more competitive, diverse, secure and sustainable energy system. Common challenges and complementary objectives offer an unparalleled opportunity for the EU and Turkey to intensify cooperation and deepen integration in this field. To that end, this paper discusses the growing relevance of energy in the EU-Turkey relationship, focusing on Turkey's increasing importance in enhancing EU energy security. It then examines how future energy challenges could be turned into opportunities. Turkey and the EU have a lot to gain from close cooperation and deeper integration in the field of energy. However, the full potential of such cooperation and integration can best met by opening the energy chapter in Turkey's accession negotiations.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Giulia Rosa Maria Cavallo
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After the adoption of a single monetary policy which commits the European Central Bank to maintaining the euro's purchasing power and price stability in the Eurozone, the European Union is facing a new, but equally fundamental challenge: the implementation in a relatively short time of the so-called "Banking Union". Its purpose is twofold: (1) breaking the link between banking and sovereign risk, with the ultimate goal of achieving full protection of EU savers in the event of a crisis; and (2) ensuring uniformity of credit conditions - which are still too fragmented - within the European banking market, to ensure greater EU integration of the financial system. Starting from the Communication in which the European Commission stressed the need for a banking union, this paper intends to explore the complex process towards its establishment by looking at the EU institutional mechanisms and the legal aspects. In particular, the analysis will be based on two building blocks: (1) the Single Supervisory Mechanism, with a single supervisor at the heart of the banking union; and (2) the Single Resolution Mechanism as a new integrated resolution framework and a resolution fund to address the failure of banking institutions. The paper then assesses the next steps for a fully fledged banking union, necessary in order for this new instrument to lay the foundations for a genuine Economic and Monetary Union, thereby fostering financial and economic stability in the euro area and in the EU as a whole.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ulrike Guerot
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As long as Angela Merkel remains chancellor, most Germans seem to be in no rush to find a coalition. This is why the coalition negotiations have been going on for weeks (and may only conclude when this journal goes to print). Nevertheless, the elections have shaken up the German political landscape: the Liberals (FDP) are out of the Bundestag for the first time since 1949 and the euro-sceptical Alternative for Germany (AfD) is in. With the Left Party still outside of the 'consensus spectrum', the Conservatives (CDU), Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens are the only parties eligible for government in either a grand coalition (CDU/SPD) or a Black-Green coalition (CDU/ Greens). But the SPD's reluctance to enter into a grand coalition a second time, after the disastrous results for the party in 2005-09, led many to hope for an innovative progressive-conservative U-turn in Germany, meaning a Black-Green coalition. Indeed, for a moment it seemed like the CDU and the Greens would dare the impossible after what had been called a "fruitful and harmonious exploration". But in the end, it is going to be a grand coalition again, with the likely effect for Europe that austerity will be softened a bit - but in essence, German European policy will remain as it is, slow and reluctant.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: David Calleo
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: America's diplomacy towards Europe has passed two broad historic phases. A first, isolationist phase, determined in part by America's need to maintain its domestic multinational consensus, was replaced, after World War II and under the Soviet threat, by a policy of hegemonic engagement. The Soviet collapse opened a new era forcing a reinterpretation of America's role in Europe and the world. Four different narratives have emerged: triumphalist, declinist, chaotic or pluralist. If a unipolar American role seems unlikely to persist, American decline is all too possible. A new hegemonic replacement seems unlikely, which makes the pluralist narrative plausible and desirable. This multipolar world will require an adaptation of the Western alliance and a new way of thinking about interstate relations. Confederal Europe, for its experience in bargaining and conciliation, might have much to offer to the new plural world order.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Susannah Verney
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Greek election of May 2012 failed to produce a government, resulting in repeat elections six weeks later. This shock outcome was a symptom of a broader delegitimation of the national political system. Over the past decade Eurobarometer data show a much more extensive loss of confidence in political institutions in Greece than in the European Union as a whole. In a first phase, rising political discontent was managed within the traditional political framework through alternation in power between the two major parties. In contrast, the second phase, following the outbreak of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, led to the dramatic fragmentation of the party system and changed the mode of government formation. This process is not reversible and entails serious democratic dangers.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Lorenzo Mosca
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The enduring economic crisis, austerity measures and corruption scandals have created a favourable environment for the advent of new political actors all over Europe. During the last general elections (February 2013), Italy was shocked by the inexorable rise of the Five Star Movement. Beppe Grillo's creature upset the political system, occupying portions of the public sphere that had been ignored (the web) or gradually abandoned by traditional political parties (the squares). Its unusual campaigning style, its internet-based organisational structure, its atypical political positioning (beyond left and right), and its oversimplification of complex problems all help to explain its electoral performance, and distinguish it from similar anti-establishment parties that have emerged in Europe over the past decade.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Piergiorgio Corbetta, Renaldo Vignati
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italy is one the most europhile countries in the European Union. Nevertheless, as surveys show, over the last few years anti-European sentiments have increasingly surfaced among Italian citizens. Furthermore, there is now an important novelty regarding the relation between Italy and Europe: the Five Star Movement, a new party that expresses a peculiar and contradictory position towards Europe. Its leader, Beppe Grillo, sometimes advocates more, not less, unification, but he also proposes a referendum on Italian membership of the euro. Moreover, Grillo's blog frequently lends its voice to the choir of openly anti-European sentiment. Indeed, Grillo's call for direct democracy is plebiscitarian and his positions contribute to the weakening of a European project that is already facing grave difficulties of its own.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Agustin Rossi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Data Protection Directive is often considered the Internet Privacy Global Standard, but this in only partially true. While the European Union sets a formal global standard, the 1995 Data Protection Directive has two loopholes that Internet companies exploit to set the effective global standard for internet privacy. The United States and Ireland have become safe harbours for Internet companies to collect and process Europeans' personal data without being subject to the stringent laws and regulations of some continental European countries. Companies, and not the European Union or governments, are the ones that set the effective global standard of internet privacy.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel S. Hamilton
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The United States is currently negotiating two massive regional economic agreements, one with 11 Asian and Pacific Rim countries and the other with the 28-member European Union. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) herald a substantial shift in US foreign economic policy as Washington turns its focus from the stalemated Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and scattered bilateral trade agreements to 'mega-regional' trade diplomacy. As the only party to both negotiations, Washington seeks to leverage issues in one to advance its interests in the other, while reinvigorating US global leadership.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Asia
  • Author: Filippa Chatzistavrou
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the post-Lisbon era and especially since the outburst of the financial and European sovereign debt crisis, the EU has been changing significantly, to the extent that the meaning and the process of integration are being affected. While constitutional asymmetry is a longstanding feature of the EU polity, the real challenge today is the expanding scope and fragmented character of newly established forms of flexibility, and how they are being used politically. The flexible configuration of integration reinforces a trend toward fragmented integration. Flexibility within the EU could become an end in itself, a device to serve a wide range of strategic visions and preferences in sectoral politics.
  • Topic: Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Isabelle Ioannides
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU has increasingly intensified the link between its internal and external security concerns and needs, particularly in relation to its neighbours (the Western Balkans and the southern Mediterranean). This adaptation at legal, institutional, strategic and operational levels has sought to improve the coherence and effectiveness of EU external action. Yet, for the Union to tackle ongoing and new challenges in the immediate neighbourhood with today's financial and political constraints, it must be resourceful. The EU should make 'smart' use of its tools and capitalise on existing assets (reinforce the comprehensive approach, strengthen broad-based dialogue on security in the EU members states, and build relations of trust with third countries) to ensure that reforms in the immediate neighbourhood are sustainable, also for the benefit of long-term EU interests.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Simone Tholens
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Commission has spelled out its policy ambition for EU energy cooperation with the southern neighbourhood with plans for the establishment of an 'Energy Community'. Its communications make clear that an Energy Community should be based on regulatory convergence with the EU acquis communautaire, much in the same vein as the existing institution carrying the same name; the Energy Community with Southeast Europe. It is puzzling that the Commission insists on repackaging this enlargement concept in a region with very different types of relationships vis-à-vis the EU, especially when considering the lukewarm position of key stakeholders in the field. According to them, any attempt to introduce a political integration model in this highly sensitive issue area in the politically fragmented MENA region might run the risk of hurting the incremental technical integration process that has slowly emerged over the past few years.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anthony Patt, Nadejda Komendantova, Stefan Pfenninger
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Solar power in the North African region has the potential to provide electricity for local energy needs and export to Europe. Nevertheless, despite the technical feasibility of solar energy projects, stakeholders still perceive projects in the region as risky because of existing governance issues. Certain areas of solar projects, such as construction, operation and management, are the most prone to governance risks, including lack of transparency and accountability, perceived as barriers for deployment of the projects. It is likely that large-scale foreign direct investment into solar energy will not eliminate existing risks, but might even increase them. Furthermore, the recent political changes in the region have addressed some governance risks but not all of them, especially bureaucratic corruption. Stakeholders recommend a broad set of measures to facilitate development of solar projects in the region, ranging from auditing of individual projects to simplification and unification of bureaucratic procedures.
  • Topic: Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Fifteen years ago, the European Union (EU) launched a Common European Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Since then, the CSDP has been the focus of a growing body of political and scholarly evaluations. While most commentators have acknowledged shortfalls in European military capabilities, many remain cautiously optimistic about the CSDP's future. This article uses economic alliance theory to explain why EU member states have failed, so far, to create a potent common defence policy and to evaluate the policy's future prospects. It demonstrates, through theoretical, case study-based and statistical analysis, that CSDP is more prone to collective action problems than relevant institutional alternatives, and concludes that the best option for Europeans is to refocus attention fully on cooperation within a NATO framework.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Economics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro, Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the time of writing, representatives from Iran and the E3/EU+3 are trying to work out an agreement that will guarantee that Iran's controversial nuclear programme, widely suspected of having a military purpose, serves only peaceful ends. As the negotiations enter their most crucial phase, the time is ripe to attempt an assessment of the role played by the only actor, besides Iran, that has been on stage since it all began over ten years ago: Europe. Throughout this long drama, Europe's performance has had some brilliant moments. Yet the quality of its acting has decreased as a new protagonist, the US, has come on stage. Overall, the Europeans' record is positive, albeit not entirely spotless.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran
  • Author: Lorenzo Trombetta
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Seen through the eyes of Syrian activists and other observers based in the Middle East, EU policy towards Syria could in some ways appear inconsistent and ambiguous. In Brussels, EU representatives remind us that the Syrian crisis is the most difficult one the European Union has had to face so far, for the unprecedented scope of the humanitarian catastrophe, its geographic proximity to the Union's borders, and the difficulties in deciphering a fluid and multi-dimensional conflict. After more than three years since the eruption of violence, the EU is trying hard to play a pivotal role in the Syrian issue, despite the complexity of balancing its institutions, the different political sensibilities of its 28 member states, and the pressures exerted by influent external actors.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria, Brussels
  • Author: Fabrizio Tassinari
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union's sovereign debt and banking crisis has made apparent a gnawing gap between the northern and southern parts of Europe. Over the course of this past half decade, this divide has been brought into the public debate through a myriad of perspectives, from social trust to competitiveness. Yet, the governance sources of the divide are underestimated in policy practices and misrepresented in the political discourse. A governance approach can help clarify why the pursuit of convergence underpinning EU crisis-resolution mechanisms has become a contributing factor, rather than a prospective solution to the North-South gap. In doing so, governance also forms the basis for recommendations to policymakers in both halves of the continent, especially when confronted with the challenge of populist Euroscepticism.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Federico Casolari
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Competition Damages Actions in the EU: Law and Practice, by David Ashton and David Henry, Edward Elgar, 2013
  • Topic: Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union launched the Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the twofold aim of strengthening the diversification of Europe's gas sources and transportation routes, and reducing the role of upstreamers in the European gas market. The clear preference expressed by the European Commission - the corridor's mastermind - for Nabucco was expected to weigh in heavily, allowing the EU-backed project to easily win the competition. However, other factors, beyond political support, ended up tilting the balance decisively in favour of Nabucco West's final rival, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). These do not include only the technical and commercial criteria set out by the Shah Deniz II consortium, but also more mundane considerations. Nabucco West' s complex organizational and decision-making procedures, the attractiveness of the exemption from Third Party Access (TPA) granted by the EU to TAP, and SOCAR's specific interest in the Greek market also influenced the consortium's final decision. An analysis of the Southern Gas Corridor competition suggests that when it comes to energy, political support and institutional involvement do not always represent the decisive element, and may be counterproductive at times.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fatih Özgür Yeni
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy security is one of the hot topics on the European energy agenda. The EU's Southern Energy Corridor initiative is an attempt to reduce dependence on Russian supplies by tapping into Caspian and Middle-Eastern natural gas resources. Turkey, who aspires to be a regional energy hub, has emerged as the key country in the Southern Corridor. Although the TAP project in its current state satisfies neither Turkey's energy hub ambitions nor the EU's resource diversification efforts, it may serve as the first building block of the Southern Corridor. There are promising developments in the region that can increase volumes and add new routes to the initiative. Private companies have already shown their interest in developing a pipeline infrastructure for possible South-East Mediterranean and Northern Iraq natural gas exports but complex geopolitical issues pose the greatest threat to the way ahead. Thanks to its unique location, Turkey is destined to be one of the key players in the Southern Corridor. The convergence of Turkey's energy hub ambitions and the EU's energy security objectives present mutual gains, but also demand sustained collaboration between the two in light of several technical, legal and political hurdles.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • 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: Vanessa Ushie
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the framework of the IAI-OCP Policy Center project this paper offers a conceptual framework to examine natural resource management in Turkey, Morocco and Italy and its implications for social and economic development. It recognizes the multiplicity of actors involved in natural resource management at the local, national and global level. It then proceeds by 1) advancing a definition of natural resources to be used in the context of this project; 2) highlighting relevant emerging issues in the empirical debates on natural resource management within economics and politics; 3) developing a series of indicators aimed at assessing the dimensions of the management and use of natural resources. In general, this conceptual framework adopts a flexible and plural approach that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of natural resource management, and recognizes the importance of country-specific factors in the relationship between natural resource management and socio-economic development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Natural Resources, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, North Africa, Italy, Morocco
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Thanos Dokos, Eleonora Poli, Chiara Rosselli, Eduard Soler i Lech
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Eurozone crisis and the ensuing public disaffection towards what many view as deficient EU institutions and policies have resulted in a surge of euroscepticism across member states. Although euroscepticism is not a new phenomenon, the rise of mass anti- establishment movements notably in southern Europe is. Despite their different political and structural features, Five Star Movement in Italy, Syriza in Greece and several social movements sprung from the Indignados in Spain have recently become key actors in their national political arena by opposing, inter alia, EU-imposed austerity. Yet these movements are not anti-EU in toto; while they criticize what they view as the EU's lack of democracy and rigid economic policies, they are not opposed to the EU integration project as such. While a fine line distinguishes Euro-scepticism from Euro-criticism, provided such distinction is made, the critique of these movements could be galvanized into a constructive force for a more integrated EU political space.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • 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: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Populists argue that Islamic immigrants are fundamentally different from Europeans. As evidence, they point to notions of religious and cultural identity. Such arguments have popular resonance. As more mainstream politicians pick up on these themes, they begin to take on an air of common sense. Nevertheless, they are mistaken. Europe has a long track record of reconciling competing identities. This has happened by focusing on patterns of interaction (solidarity) rather than obvious indicators of distinctiveness. Using the examples of the Netherlands and Turkey, this article illustrates the wide spectrum of European approaches to the challenge of getting different groups to share the same geographic space.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Netherlands
  • Author: Muriel Asseburg
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europeans enthusiastically embraced the Arab Spring. However, the EU and its member states have lacked significant influence in a neighbouring region in turmoil. The EU has not devised new and more appropriate approaches towards the region, but rather relied on its traditional tools and frameworks. The Eurozone's financial crisis and threat perceptions have quickly underminded the readiness of EU member states to contribute meaningfully to Arab transformations with money, market access and mobility. In addition, European support has not been equally welcomed across the region, and delays in terms of building empowered governments have prevented a quick impact. Moreover, the violent power struggles triggered by the Arab Spring have revealed the EU's weakness with regard to effective conflict prevention and timely crisis management - and thus created an environment averse to democratic transformation and regional stabilisation.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Karen E. Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Can the EU serve as a pole in a multipolar, interdependent international system? The EU will face three particular challenges operating in such a system: the challenge of re-establishing credibility after the euro crisis; the ever-present challenge of achieving unity among the member states; and the challenge of adapting foreign policy behaviour to match the new international environment. There is a risk that the EU could slide into irrelevance.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Philip Hanson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Russian economy, though so far in better shape than Europe, is facing the possibility of very slow growth in the near future. Its tendency to volatility was demonstrated in 2008-09, when Russian GDP fell more than that of any other large country. Looking at that experience and at current concerns, it seems that Russia has both demand-side (slow world growth, uncertain future oil prices) and supply-side (falling labour-force) problems. The continuing failure to provide secure property rights for business probably compounds these difficulties.
  • Topic: Oil, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The furore that greeted news that negotiations were to start on a transatlantic free trade agreement revealed not only the potential importance of any putative deal, but also the tendency of Europeans to view international politics almost uniquely in economic terms. This neglect of security and broader geostrategic issues is short-sighted and dangerous. It is precisely the liberal world order in place since the Second World War that has allowed Europeans to develop their economic potential. Leaving it to the United States to preserve that order is an increasingly problematic strategy, with the US ever more reluctant to police the world in the way it once did. The US has, for many years, asked its partners to contribute more to the preservation of common security interests. Given the failure of these attempts to date, it might be time for Washington to resort to tougher tactics in an attempt to entice Europeans out of their geostrategic retirement.
  • Topic: Security, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington
  • Author: Daniel Fiott
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union and the United States are on the verge of agreeing to a transatlantic free trade agreement. The proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is aimed at boosting EU and US economic growth, but the negotiating partners have not excluded the defence sector from negotiations. Europe is at a tipping point regarding the rationale for its defence-industrial integration efforts. Any TTIP extending to the defence sector will raise questions about the nature of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, and, crucially, how it impacts the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Common Security and Defence Policy.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Thomas G. Moore
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The global economic crisis revealed China to be an interdependent giant, one whose 'rise' was undeniable but also one whose deepening participation in transnational production sharing and network trade made it highly susceptible to an external shock. China weathered the storm relatively well - avoiding a recession, in particular - not because it had 'decoupled' from the G7 economies but because its stimulus measures were unusually swift and powerful. One cost, however, has been a worsening domestic imbalance between investment and consumption that carries a heightened risk of asset price inflation, non-performing loans and destabilising levels of local government debt. Meanwhile, China's ties to the world economy have not fundamentally changed since the crisis began. Despite stirring leader rhetoric and summit declarations, the BRICS have made only modest progress in meeting their goals. East Asia, North America and Europe remain China's principal trade partners, and cross-border production chains connecting these regions remain the dominant mode of China's incorporation into the world economy.
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, East Asia, North America
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The momentous changes in the Middle East and North Africa have brought the issue of human rights and democracy promotion back to the forefront of international politics. The new engagement in the region of both the US and the EU can be scrutinised along three dimensions: targets, instruments and content. In terms of target sectors, the US and EU are seeking to work more with civil society. As for instruments, they have mainly boosted democracy assistance and political conditionality, that is utilitarian, bilateral instruments of human rights and democracy promotion, rather than identitive, multilateral instruments. The content of human rights and democracy promotion has not been revised.
  • Topic: Human Rights
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Nicolò Sartori
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union launched the ambitious Southern Gas Corridor initiative with the goal of enhancing the security of its energy supply. The corridor - a virtual transit route running from the gas-rich Caspian basin to the EU while bypassing Russian soil - is meant to increase diversification of the EU's supplier and transit countries. While various projects have been proposed to give life to the corridor, the European Commission has given particular support to the realisation of Nabucco, a 3,893km pipeline running from Turkey to the European gas hub of Baumgarten in Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. The Commission's choice is, however, flawed in several respects, as it fails to take account of key factors, such as the diverging, and sometimes conflicting, interests of individual EU member states, the geopolitical challenges of the Caspian basin, and the commercial constraints on Nabucco. This short-sighted approach has hindered the efficient development of the Southern Gas Corridor and weakened the EU's energy policy.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria
  • Author: Ebru Oğurlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, the Eastern Mediterranean has been increasingly fraught with growing competition between regional players, most notably Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel, signalling an apparent return of power politics in regional relations. Of all actors involved, Turkey stands out for being both an ever more influential power and a source of serious concern to other countries in the region due to its greater assertiveness and perceived hegemonic ambitions. Against the backdrop of recent regional developments and their international implications, including the dispute over drilling rights off Cyprus' coasts, Turkey's image as a constructive and dialogue-oriented country, a critical achievement pursued by a generation of Turkish politicians, diplomats and officials, risks being replaced by one of an antagonistic/assertive power. Facing the first serious challenge to its claim to embody a benign model as a secular Muslim democracy and a responsible international actor, Turkey should not indulge in emotional reactions. It should opt instead for a more moderate and balanced approach based on the assumption that only cooperation and constructive dialogue, even with rival countries, can help it realize its ambition of being the regional pivot.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Asia, Colombia, Cyprus
  • Author: Fabienne Zwagemakers
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Through the inclusion of human rights and democracy clauses in the trade and association agreements of its common external trade policy, the European Union seeks to promote and transmit the values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law globally. However, trade partners from the developing world often feel that these clauses offend their national sovereignty, and sometimes resort to alternative agreements offered by countries notorious for cutting corners. This working paper offers an assessment of the motives for non-compliance and sketches out how the EU could engender compliance. The paper concludes that there is a pivotal role to be played by education, civil society, business, and political parties in the nexus between economic growth, democracy, and the respect for human rights. The EU must target these factors directly, as they largely determine the domestic enforcement of HR clauses. In addition, the EU should develop a human rights strategy coordinated with global, regional, and local actors.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, India, Sri Lanka
  • Author: Elnur Soltanov
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The South East Europe Pipeline (SEEP), proposed by BP in late September 2011, could eventually be the pipeline carrying Azeri gas to European markets. Compared to its competitors in the Southern Corridor concept - Nabucco, TAP and ITGI - it goes furthest in terms of optimality for all the parties involved. The combined advantages of its size, scalability, usage of existing gas infrastructure in Europe and direction, promises a more reasonable economic and political value for the Shah Deniz Consortium, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Europe, while posing a bearable challenge to Russia. The SEEP seems to offer a greater value to a greater number of actors.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Markets, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: For the last two decades, the EU has sent mixed signals concerning democracy and human rights to its Mediterranean neighbourhood. Has this changed since the outbreak of the Arab Spring? After observing the EU's response to the revolutions in two key countries, Tunisia and Egypt, this paper finds that signalling to Tunisia has become more coherent, while it remains ambiguous towards Egypt - a trend reinforced by US foreign policy in the region. In order to send a coherent message, the EU has to outline more concretely, what are the benchmarks and rewards for progress. For signalling to be effective, bilateral and multilateral dialogues are key. While bilateral dialogue platforms do exist, they should meet more frequently and at the highest levels. A multilateral dimension is conspicuously missing in the array of instruments set up by the EU in response to the Arab Spring, but would be crucial not only in order to understand the different democracy languages spoken, but notably also to anchor reform and set regional standards for it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Human Rights, Regime Change
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia
  • Author: Anar Valiyev
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As Azerbaijan celebrates its 20th anniversary of independence, democratic development remains a key challenge facing the country. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan successfully coped with immediate problems such as poverty reduction and economic and political stability, the need to reform the public administration and decentralize governance has become particularly urgent. The main problems, however, remain the same: low public trust in institutions, the absence of a democratic political culture and the lack of bridging social capital. In this regard, the assistance of the Transatlantic Community is necessary. The European Union and the United States should pursue a developmental approach to democracy promotion in Azerbaijan, which has higher chances to succeed than a more explicitly political approach, considering the weak institutional capacity in the country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Michele Comelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The eurozone's debt crisis has exposed structural economic and political rifts within the European Union. Specifically, it has created a new cleavage between creditor and debtor countries, the former being mainly located in Central-Northern Europe and the latter in Southern Europe, each with its own understanding of the causes of and remedies to the crisis. This paper explores how a debtor country - Italy - has changed its political discourse on the EU as a result of the crisis, focusing on political elites, civil society and public opinion. It argues that while the discourse of political elites and of civil society clearly mirrors this cleavage, public opinion does not necessarily follow this pattern, being mainly concerned with the country's domestic ills.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Debt, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Rossella Marangio
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The long-lasting Somali conflict is profoundly linked to the country's historical development and its socio-cultural specificities. The political milieu and the struggle for power in Somalia reflect the cleavage between tradition and modernity. This rift has led to a legitimacy vacuum, which has made it difficult for the warring parties to find enough common ground for a compromise. Furthermore, external influences, at both regional and international levels, have contributed to the fragmentation of the political arena, due notably to the emphasis on the use of force as the principal tool for acquiring or maintaining power. In this unfolding crisis, regional pressures and rivalries, international interventions, economic and strategic interests as well as piracy, corruption and Islamic extremism all play an interlocking role. In view of this, a new approach to the crisis is badly needed. The EU, in particular, should promote a new strategy based on three components: enhancement of social cohesion through local cooperation programmes, state-building and development.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Somalia
  • Author: Pasqualina Lepore
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the context of the ongoing EU-mediated dialogue, Serbia and Kosovo have reached several agreements, the most important of which being that on regional representation and cooperation. Also known as the “asterisk agreement”, the agreement reached in February 2012 allows Kosovo to represent itself at all regional meetings with the nameplate of “Kosovo*”. While widely appreciated by the international community, it has generated divergent interpretations in Belgrade and Pristina and has provoked turmoil in both countries. On the whole, the agreement has enhanced Kosovo's and Serbia's path towards the EU, with the mandate for a feasibility study for the former and EU candidacy for the latter being achieved. However, the agreement has not addressed the key bones of contention between the parties, namely North Kosovo and Pristina's status. As a result, the situation remains unsustainable and a more comprehensive solution needs to be found.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Darnis
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: François Hollande's election as president of the French republic seems to mark a political rupture, interrupting 17 years of right wing presidencies (under Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy) and a decade of conservative government. Hollande claims that he will be a “normal” president, in contrast with Sarkozy's flamboyant style. This paper assesses whether Hollande's presidency truly represents a turning point in France's trajectory by gauging its impact on French foreign policy. The argument elaborated below is that French foreign policy is and will continue to be driven by strong continuities, although differences in style are likely to impinge upon France's role in the world and in the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ekaterina Vladimirova
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Individual behaviour plays a key role in resolving the climate change problem. The main obstacle for such behavioural change is often poor public knowledge about the ethical dimension of climate change and about the practical solutions available to individuals in order to make informed choices. Promoting sustainable lifestyles should top the political agenda in Europe. In this light, this paper suggests how the EU could engage with civil society to promote sustainable lifestyles through joint media campaigns, by establishing local sustainability centres and by working together to change educational standards. This collaboration would benefit from knowledge and expertise exchange, lower transaction costs and, most importantly, it would increase public trust in the quest for sustainability.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Education, Environment, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Silvia Cavasola
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: For years the EU has been fostering a common policy to integrate immigrants. Yet, whether its efforts have progressively created something like a homogeneous European model of integration remains an open question. An analysis of the approach to immigrant integration in the EU member states that receive the largest immigration flows, as well as of EU initiatives to promote greater policy harmonization among its member states, shows that partial convergence in national integration strategies is linked more to interstate emulation and parallel path development than to proactive EU legislation on the matter. This trend can be referred to as a process of “informal Europeanization”.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Migration, Labor Issues, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alessandro Riccardo Ungaro
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The new US strategic guidance released in January 2012 represents a hallmark of US President Barack Obama's foreign policy and forms integral part of the so-called “Pivot to Asia”. However, rather than a radical departure from the past, the strategic guidance represents an evolution and extension of US foreign policy towards the region, envisaging the reallocation of American military assets from Europe to the Asia-Pacific. The implementation of the guidance strategy is a long-term and complex process: several challenges, tensions and frictions between the US and regional actors may hamper the implementation of the policy and will require a delicate balancing act in which China will play a key role. On the European side, the US shift should be seen as an opportunity to review the European Security Strategy and elaborate its own strategy towards Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Europe, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Antonio Bultrini
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: It is widely recognized that the European Convention on Human Rights has led to the most advanced human rights protection system to date - and represents an important benchmark for several other international bodies. The individual right of application to the European Court, which unlike other human rights treaties is compulsory for State parties, is a unique feature and pillar of the system. However, the European Court is presently overwhelmed by an abnormal caseload: about 150,000 applications are currently pending in Strasbourg. Recent reforms have increased the Court’s efficiency. Yet the British Government has just tried to promote a new reform of the system. This attempt was not entirely disinterested and has led to an unprecedented mobilization by international civil society. The British move has nonetheless triggered a debate on the real challenges facing the European system.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Human Welfare, International Law, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Nicoletta Pirozzi, Valérie Vicky Miranda, Kai Schäfer
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Joint Africa-European Union Strategy, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007, was intended to overcome an unequal partnership between the African and European continents by establishing a framework of cooperation based on shared values and common objectives. However, in the first implementation phase it became clear that these conditions were far from being fully realized. In particular, the Partnership on Peace and Security has shown a tendency to institutionalize dialogue and crystallize practices of cooperation along the well-established Brussels-Addis Ababa axis, while efforts to engage with other crucial actors remain to some extent limited. This paper focuses on the sub-optimal involvement of two crucial stakeholders, namely African regional organizations and civil society actors. It presents the main findings and policy recommendations of a study concluded by IAI in September 2012, with the support of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the European Parliament.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Alessandro Marrone
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic crisis has impacted deeply on defence spending in Europe. It has led to uncoordinated cuts to defence budgets at national level, but has also revived interest in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Both the EU and NATO have made an effort to involve European countries in cooperative projects, under the banner s of “Pooling and Sharing” and “Smart Defence” respectively, with limited results. At the same time, the European Commission has adopted two directives regarding defence spending, and the European Defence Agency has been strengthened. While defence spending remains predominantly a national prerogative, European countries will soon face the choice of pooling certain capabilities at international level or losing them because of insufficient spending. In this light, Italy is rationalizing its defence budget, while preserving its commitments to international cooperation.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Henk Overbeek
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This article considers the likely impact of the global crisis on the prospects for the European project. First, it considers the nature of the current crisis. It argues that it is comparable, in terms of its deep structural character, to the one in the 1930s. The crisis manifested itself first in the financial sector, but was caused by underlying problems of over accumulation, which explains the succession of speculative booms and busts from the 1980s onward. The article then analyses how the financial crisis transmuted into the current sovereign debt crisis in Europe. It identifies a number of interdependent factors responsible for this: the bailouts of banks following the credit crisis; the stimulus programmes necessitated by the danger of a deep economic recession; the structural problems of the European Monetary Union leading to the accumulation of debt in the peripheral members; and finally the catalytic action of speculation in the financial markets. Finally, the article discusses responses to the debt crisis, outlining the contours of two alternatives (muddling through and Europeanisation), their implications, and some of the conditions for success. The conclusion is rather pessimistic: chances that an effective, timely and sustainable solution will be realised do not seem high.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniela Piana
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the closing of the 20th century, Europe decided the time was ripe to take bold steps towards the creation of a truly integrated European judicial space. Of its overall goals for the new millennium, judicial integration ranked at the top as this reflected shifting global challenges in an increasingly diversified world. After more than a decade, the reality is still that of a policy area in which multiple practices of cooperation coexist. Indeed, political and cultural factors matter in explaining how judicial decisions and practices are harmonised and integrated by EU member states. The article focuses on a number of socialisation mechanisms adopted by the EU to build mutual trust among national authorities and also looks at the European Arrest Warrant as an important test bed of the strengths and weaknesses of European judicial cooperation.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Peter Draper
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Support for regional economic integration in Africa runs high amongst the continent's international development partners and African elites. However, its expression in European forms of economic integration is not appropriate to regional capacities and in some cases may do more harm than good. This lacuna is exacerbated by technical and theoretical analyses rooted either in economics or international relations literature. This article sets out to reconceptualise the foundations of African economic integration by reviewing key debates within each literature and comparing the results across disciplinary boundaries. Overall, it is concluded that a much more limited approach is required, one that prioritises trade facilitation and regulatory cooperation in areas related primarily to the conduct of business; underpinned by a security regime emphasizing the good governance agenda at the domestic level. Care should be taken to design the ensuing schemes in such a way as to avoid contributing to major implementation and capacity challenges in establishing viable and legitimate states. In doing so, the presence of regional leaders with relatively deep pockets - South Africa in the Southern African case - points to the imperative of building such limited regional economic arrangements around key states.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa
  • Author: Lorenzo Fioramonti
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In a changing world ridden with crises and characterized by a general redistribution of power, regional organizations need to reinvent themselves. Equally, the study of regionalism has to reject its traditional Eurocentrism to embrace new conceptual categories in order to describe more effectively the variety of regional processes across the world. Against this background, this article looks the European project and its current crisis before discussing other regional 'experiments' in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which rest on different principles but also manifest considerable shortcomings. The analysis points to need to look at regionalism with a critical eye, emphasizing the undeniably important achievements but also the hidden threats that a certain model of regional integration (for instance, the classical top-down elite-driven process adopted by the EU founding fathers) can pose to the sustainability of regional cohesion and the adaptability of this model to other areas of the world.
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Miguel Haubrich-Seco
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Review of: Rethinking EU studies : the contribution of comparative regionalism. A special issue of the Journal of European Integration, edited by Luk Van Langenhove and Alex Warleigh-Lack, Routledge, 2010
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kerry Brown
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Chinese overseas investment is a new, and growing phenomenon. In the last decade, there have been exponential increases in how much direct investment is flowing from China, particularly into the resource sector. As the eurozone crisis has deepened since 2008, there has been continuing talk by political and business leaders of investment in Europe being a key target for Chinese companies. And yet, the amounts invested so far come to less than 5 percent of China's global overseas foreign direct investment (FDI) total. In the crucial determinants of Chinese FDI, the EU ranks low. There is therefore a good structural reason why, despite the ambitious talk of the Chinese coming to invest more in vital sectors in the EU, this is not happening at the moment and is not likely to happen until China develops into a middle income, more developed economy.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cabestan
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Here are three very different books about China's rise and its relations with the world. The first two tend to give the shivers while the third, much more nuanced and balanced, is somewhat reassuring – up to a point. However, the three authors highlight the challenges that China's apparently irresistible re-emergence represent for the world. They also all share a focus on, if not an obsession with the United States which, in spite of its supposed decline, clearly remains in their eyes the ultimate benchmark of leadership and success, neglecting to various degrees other and less classical forces structuring and constraining China's rise, such as the European Union, globalisation, multipolarity and the social media.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Emiliano Alessandri
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The transatlantic tensions of the Bush years are behind us but the future of transatlantic relations remains uncertain at the closing of the Obama term. Policy alignment has been found on a host of issues but 'existential' questions have resurfaced, casting shadows on Western unity and relevance in the coming years. So far the crisis has failed to focus attention on the need for a common vision for the 21st century. Key strategic issues, from the future of the European order to transatlantic engagement in the Middle East, should figure prominently on the next transatlantic agenda, shifting the debate from the notion of a 'Pacific century' to how the West can address ongoing power transitions.
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: Matthias Matthijs
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the turn of the millennium, scholars and pundits have been musing over the decline of the West. The disappointing US military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, together with the subprime mortgage crisis, seem to be evidence of an abrupt end to America's 'unipolar' moment. In Europe, the sovereign debt crisis has amplified Europe's long-term structural economic problems and laid bare the fragile institutional foundation on which the Economic and Monetary Union was built. At the same time, the BRICs and other emerging economies have been growing at unprecedented rates. Those same analysts see a 'decoupling' in the world economy: the developing economies pulling the world out of recession, while the advanced industrial economies are unable to solve their domestic difficulties. So to them, the events of the past five years signify the beginning of the end of Western influence, eventually leading to a more complete rebalancing of the world economy's current 'Western' system of governance. This article argues instead that the West still has a significant edge when it comes to most critical factors that determine long-term economic growth potential, including technology, innovative capacity, research and development, investment climate and education. Furthermore, the transatlantic economy is less vulnerable than the rest of the world to outside economic shocks and might eventually prove more capable of reform than many expect. The current malaise in the transatlantic community might therefore prove once again to be more cyclical than structural. Relying on linear projections, many are 'crying wolf' again, too loud and too soon.
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iraq, America, Europe
  • Author: Ruth Hanau Santini, Oz Hassan
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Arab Awakening can be seen as a symptom of failure of US and EU democracy promotion policies in the region. By identifying democracy with 'liberal democracy' - a discursively powerful political move - the contingent character of democracy has been lost. The US and the EU, the main promoters of a neoliberal understanding of democracy, have sided with the wrong side of history. And because they have failed to deeply revise the philosophical underpinnings of their policies, even after 2011, they risk another, even bigger, policy failure.
  • Topic: History
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Yahia H. Zoubir
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the late 1980s, prospects for Maghreb integration were high; the process of integration reflected the aspirations of Maghreb states and societies. However, analysis shows that the process was merely a response to internal and external events of that period, namely, economic difficulties, 'fortress Europe', and the rise of radical Islamism. Following the Arab Spring, incessant calls for unity have re-emerged. Once again, these calls for unity, after a long period of tense relations, especially between Algeria and Morocco, have resulted from internal and external constraints. The threats to the incumbent regimes and/or the insecurity prevailing domestically and at the borders have compelled the Maghreb states to seek greater cooperation to overcome the hardships with which they are faced.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Algeria, Spain
  • Author: Luis Simón
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The EU's ineffectiveness vis-à-vis Libya and the southern Mediterranean crises more broadly is largely explained by the CSDP's narrow mandate centred on crisis management. The EU's emphasis on external crisis management was strategically sound given the geopolitical context of the 1990s. CSDP's quiet drift towards a 'softer' kind of crisis management from the middle of the first decade of the 2000s was also instrumental in highlighting the EU's differences from post-11 September US unilateralism. That said, (soft) crisis management has become progressively obsolete in the light of a rapidly changing geopolitical environment characterised by an overall retreat of Western power globally, a weakening of America's commitment to European security, an increasingly tumultuous European neighbourhood, and Europe's financial troubles. In order to meet the demands of a changing geopolitical environment, CSDP must break away from its distinctively reactive approach to security to include all the functions normally associated with the military including, chiefly, deterrence and prevention. This would allow the EU to actively shape its regional and global milieu.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Europe, Libya