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  • 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: Francesco N. Moro, Fabrizio Coticchia
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italian armed forces have undergone important transformations since the end of the Cold War. Exogenous changes in the strategic and operational environment have driven a reshaping of armed forces in all NATO countries, but the differences between the national responses that have emerged has not always been thoroughly analysed. Deep restructuring in military doctrine, field experience linked to intense force deployment and budgetary constraints interact in shaping the direction of transformation, sometimes in ways that deviate from classic hypotheses on what drives change in the military. The picture that emerges is a complex one, where relevant innovations co-exist with the persistence of problems that call into question the sustainability of the Italian defence model.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War
  • Political Geography: Italy
  • Author: Michael Leigh
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Energy trade cannot overcome longstanding political conflicts. There are no 'peace pipelines' anywhere in the world. Rather peace is a condition for investment in pipelines and other forms of energy infrastructure. Where political breakthroughs have been achieved, however, energy trade can reinforce cooperation between states and contribute to regional stability. These considerations are particularly pertinent to the Cyprus settlement talks and Middle East Peace Process, against the background of energy discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ayla Gurel, Laura Le Cornu
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic rationale for energy collaboration between Turkey, Cyprus and Israel is compelling. Cyprus and Israel need commercially viable export routes for their gas while Turkey is eager to diversify and increase its gas supplies. Hydrocarbon resources could potentially be a catalyst for both bringing about a Cyprus settlement and a Turkey-Israel rapprochement. A trilateral cooperation scheme involving a Turkey-Israel pipeline and an LNG plant in Cyprus could offer strong commercial incentives to all parties. But it would require bold political vision on the part of the region's leaders, coupled with backing from influential external actors with an interest in reconciliation and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Israel, Cyprus
  • 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