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  • 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: 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: Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia's actions towards Ukraine in 2013-14, which inaugurated a new Cold War in its relations with the West, presented a dilemma to Russia's allies: whether to align themselves with Russia's choices or pursue a more independent course of action. The leadership of Belarus, Russia's closest ally, chose the latter option both by establishing dialogue with the interim government and President of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchinov, considered illegitimate in Russia and, later, by being present at the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko on 7 June 2014 and downplaying Russia's position on the 'federalisation' of Ukraine as the only way out of the country's instability. The perspective of the intra-alliance security dilemma helps explain the divergence of views between Russia and Belarus, while pointing to the changing position of the parties towards the Eurasian integration project.
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Jennie C. Stephens
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the threats of climate change grow, the need to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning is increasingly acknowledged by governments around the world. The potential of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a set of technologies that offers a politically appealing vision of a 'cleaner' way to use fossil fuels, has provided powerful motivation for large public and private investments in CCS technology. But investing in CCS is controversial because, although some consider it a critical climate mitigation technology, others view it as an expensive fossil fuel subsidy that could inadvertently perpetuate, rather than reduce, fossil fuel reliance.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Government
  • 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: 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: Laura Guazzone
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: After winning the 2011 elections, the Ennahda Islamist Party was the majority partner in successive coalition governments, whose poor performance - namely in the economic and security fields - disappointed the people's high post-revolutionary expectations. Opponents accused Ennahda of incompetence, greed for power and double talk. Many of the Ennahda-led governments' failures were due to factors beyond their control, but some did indeed depend on Ennahda's own political weaknesses. Nevertheless, Ennahda contributed positively to the overall development of Tunisia's political transition thanks to its moderation and pragmatism and its contribution remains paramount for the democratic consolidation of Tunisia and other political Islamic actors.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Tunisia
  • Author: Clifford Bob
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In recent decades, there have been many international campaigns on numerous issues. In turn, scholars have analysed the activist networks promoting human rights, environmental quality and global justice, developing theories of transnational advocacy, strategies and outcomes. However, analysts have seldom noted that the 'progressive' networks on which these theories have been based seldom act unopposed. Instead, on numerous global issues leftwing groups face fierce opposition from networks of rightwing activists. This article provides examples of such clashes, focusing on these understudied conservative networks. In addition, it outlines a theory for understanding the conflict of networks over many policy issues. Keywords: activism, civil society, transnational advocacy, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), human rights
  • Topic: Environment, Government, Human Rights
  • Author: Raffaele Marchetti
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: There is a need for a reassessment of the Italian contribution to international affairs. If a more comprehensive and pluralist reading of Italian action at the international level is developed, an image of normative power Italy may emerge. Italian input has been crucial in a number of transnational campaigns that have had significant impact at the international level. The cases of the peace in Mozambique, the International Criminal Court, the Moratorium on the Death Penalty and, more recently, the Ban on Female Genital Mutilation all illustrate Italy's contribution to international affairs, especially the politics of norm change. These cases are all characterised by the presence of intense civil society-government synergy. In order to advance the understanding of the processes and impact of transnational mobilisations, this analysis examines the domestic conditions that facilitated such synergy, intended as key conditions for the empowerment of transnational activism itself.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Italy
  • Author: Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Austerity measures are painful. This is why they are unpopular. It is also the reason why governments tend to postpone them until they become unavoidable. They become unavoidable when financial markets raise doubts about the solvency of the country and interest rates on the public debt rise sharply, calling into question the government's ability to refinance its debt. At that point, citizens understand that unless tough austerity measures are adopted the situation might get much worse. They are ultimately willing to accept austerity as the least worse solution.
  • Topic: Government, Reform