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  • Author: Nicola Bilotta, Alissa Siara
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: One of the key priorities of the new European Commission is to enhance the EU’s geopolitical credentials and “learn to use the language of power”, as stated by the incoming EU High Representative Josep Borrell. The EU’s ambition is two-fold: to increase the Union’s ability to project power and influence at the global level, including through increased integration and coordination among member states, and secondly to enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy from the US in the political, military and economic domains. Both objectives, ambitious in the best of circumstances, are today under severe strain by the COVID-19 crisis. Implications will be long-lasting and multidimensional, and for Europe, its impact will have a direct bearing on its ambition for strategic autonomy, touching each of the three pillars outlined above.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Economy, Autonomy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Raphaël Danino-Perraud
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Although it is still marginal, the market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing. According to the French Institute of Petroleum and Renewable Energies (IFPEN, Institut Français du Pétrole et des Énergies Renouvelables), EVs accounted for a little more than 2% of the light vehicle market in 2019. This was up by 54% compared to 2018, but EVs still only represent 0.8% of the global car fleet. That said, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates EVs could make up between 15% and 30% of vehicle sales in 2030. However, while European manufacturers have so far developed EVs such as the Renault Zoé or the BMW i3, they are highly dependent on Asian companies for the supply and manufacture of materials for cells and electric batteries, such as nickel, cobalt, lithium used to build precursors, or cathodes and their components. Asia provides more than 90% of world car battery output, half of which comes from China alone. European dependence is not only related to the manufacture of batteries, but occurs throughout much of their value chain, from extraction and processing of raw materials to the preparation of necessary treatment processes for recycling. The recycling market for batteries from small electronic objects (smartphones, computers, tablets, etc.) has also been led by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Business , Recycling
  • Political Geography: Europe, European Union
  • Author: Frederik Stender, Axel Berger, Clara Brandi, Jakob Schwab
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This study provides early ex-post empirical evidence on the effects of provisionally applied Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) on two-way trade flows between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Employing the gravity model of trade, we do not find a general EPA effect on total exports from ACP countries to the EU nor on total exports from the EU to ACP countries. We do, however, find heterogeneous effects when focusing on specific agreements and economic sectors. While the agreement between the EU and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), which concluded several years ahead of the other EPAs in 2008, if anything, reduced imports from the EU overall, the provisional application of the other EPAs seems to have at least partly led to increased imports from the EU to some partner countries. More specifically, the estimation results suggest an increase in the total imports from the EU only in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) EPA partner countries. On the sectoral level, by comparison, we find increases in the EU’s agricultural exports to SADC, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and the Pacific. Lastly, in the area of manufactures trade, we find decreases of exports of the ESA and SADC countries to the EU, but increases in imports from the EU into SADC countries. While this early assessment of the EPA effects merits attention given the importance of monitoring future implications of these agreements, it is still too early for a final verdict on the EPAs’ effects and future research is needed to investigate the mid- and long-term consequences of these agreements.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Manufacturing, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa, Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, European Union
  • Author: Douglas Barrie, Lucie béraud-Sudreau, Henry Boyd, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich, James Hackett, Meia Nouwens
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: In 2019, European governments’ combined defence spending, when measured in constant 2015 US dollar terms, surpassed the level reached in 2009, before the financial and economic crisis led to a series of significant defence-spending cuts. However, a different strategic paradigm – one that Europe is struggling to adjust to and which is once more a concern for European governments – has re-appeared in this past decade: great-power competition. Russia attempted to change international borders in Europe through the use of force in 2014 by annexing Crimea and continues to support an armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Moscow’s challenge to Euro-Atlantic security exists in multiple dimensions: as both a conventional military and also a hybrid-warfare issue, with Russia working to dislocate existing societal alignments and disrupt political processes in Western states. The poisoning of a former Russian intelligence officer (and of his daughter) in the United Kingdom, attributed by the British government to Russia, underlines further how much the character of conflict has changed. How to manage the challenge Russia poses without simply reverting to Cold War logic remains a worrying problem for governments in NATO and the European Union member states. Meanwhile, European security establishments are beginning to recognise the growing political, economic and military influence of a rising China. Although less of an immediate challenge, China’s growth in these areas has possible profound consequences in the long run. Indeed, in December 2019, NATO declared: ‘We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.’2 For the United States, China has already become the pacing military threat. The US Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, released in June 2019, opens with the assertion that ‘the Indo-Pacific is the Department of Defense’s priority theater’. In other words, the European theatre is not. European analysts and officials have begun to wonder whether the US might begin to see Europe through an Asian lens, seeking to generate European commitments to the Indo-Pacific region, or at the very least getting Europeans to take on greater responsibility for their own security and thereby freeing up US resources. Although there will be some elements of the US military presence in Europe that are indispensable to US military action in other regions of the world, that might not be enough to sustain Washington’s firm commitment to European security in the future, regardless of who occupies the White House. Significantly, not even the US has the capability to fight two major wars simultaneously any more, meaning binary choices regarding focus are inevitable. As some observers have argued, Europeans need to urgently assess what Washington’s choices in this regard – and their implications for Europe – might look like. Considering both how to deter Russia and what a European contribution to containing China might entail represents a major challenge for Western European nations, which have relegated defence to a secondary position, as almost a discretionary activity. European states partially demobilised in the 1990s and early 2000s, intellectually and in terms of their force structures, in response to the end of the Cold War. For example, according to IISS data, in 1990 West Germany alone was thought to be able to field 215 combat battalions and the UK 94. Today it is a fraction of that. However, security challenges relating to regional instability, crisis management and transnational terrorism – which all dominated the previous two decades – have not disappeared. On the contrary, all these still demand attention and the investment of European resources. While there is a growing recognition among Europe’s analytical community, and some governments, that things cannot simply continue as before in terms of regional security and defence, coherence and resolve among core actors in the Euro-Atlantic sphere have weakened. The US administration has intensified its call for better transatlantic burden sharing, at the same time displaying a cavalier attitude to the collective-defence commitment enshrined in NATO. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also expressed severe doubts about the viability of NATO’s collective-defence mission. In addition, the British decision to leave the European Union in 2020 implies that the EU has lost one of its most militarily experienced and one of its most capable member states. There is a tendency among many observers and some politicians to argue that European NATO and EU member states need to clarify the political dimension of their defence ambition, via-à-vis greater strategic autonomy, before resolving the problem of how to meet this ambition militarily, at what cost and in what time frame. Indeed, at times, the debate about European strategic autonomy seems to focus more on the degree of independence from the US that its various proponents would like to achieve and less on the military requirement that autonomy is meant to respond to. It is now widely accepted across Europe that Europeans need ‘to do more’ for their own security and defence. Most of the intellectual energy allocated to this aspiration is spent on achieving better coordination – and even a level of integration – among European armed forces. This is useful, but only if it is directed at building capability to provide for the defence of Europe. The existing military capabilities of the European NATO member states fall short when compared to the force requirements generated by the political–military level of ambition as defined by NATO, or for that matter the EU.5 However, this should not be an excuse to lower the level of ambition, nor should the assumption that Europeans are unable to defend themselves be declared an inevitability. Defence output is the result of political, financial and military choices by governments. To think systematically about the challenge of providing capabilities that can meet Europe’s emerging military requirements, The International Institute for Strategic Studies and the Hanns Seidel Foundation convened a group of thinkers and practitioners from Germany and the UK. The group took seriously the US assertion that Europe needs to be able to provide for its own defence. If Europeans can achieve this, they will be valuable partners to the US in upholding and strengthening the liberal international order on which Euro-Atlantic prosperity and security depend. Meeting twice in 2019, the group discussed threat assessments, debated European capability gaps and scoped potential approaches to addressing them. The following pages draw on the group’s deliberations but do not represent a consensus position.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Military Spending
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North Atlantic, Asia, North America
  • Author: Andriy Tyushka
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues: Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: The Eastern Partnership’s tenth-anniversary celebration in May 2019 by the European Union and its Eastern neighbors was anything but grandiose and festive. Internal EU developments, the overall political dynamics in the region and the indeterminacies of the Eastern Partnership project were the main cause. As the EU’s flagship policy initiative towards its Eastern European neighborhood is currently undergoing auditing and revision, this article seeks to cast a look back at how the Eastern Partnership has functioned over the past decade – and to think forward to its future(s) with regard to design and deliverables in face of the enduring and imminent policy dilemmas in this highly contested region.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus
  • Author: Myroslava Lendel
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues: Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: Since 2009, the main mechanism of Eurointegration in Ukraine, in addition to the bilateral diplomatic efforts and internally driven pro-European reforms, has been the Eastern Partnership (EaP), a multilateral project has that brought Kyiv both new opportunities and additional challenges and uncertainty. Although the positives outcomes have generally been welcomed, these have not detracted from the commonly held view among experts that despite good outcomes in stimulating economic reform, support for the new government and citizen institutions, and a tangible contribution to stability on the EU borders, the current strategy alone will not secure the stable development of the democracy and market economy in Eastern Europe generally, and Ukraine in particular. The commitment of these countries to general European principles has to be supported by the prospect of EU membership and that means revisiting the current format and especially the philosophy behind the Eastern Partnership. One possible scenario could be the formation of EaP+3 within the European Partnership, which would bring together Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova – the countries with Association Agreements with the EU – and a commitment to EU membership.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia
  • Author: Alexander Duleba
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues: Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: This article analyzes perceptions of the opportunities and problems in EU–Ukraine relations among officials from the European Commission and Ukraine’s government institutions involved in implementing the Association Agreement. It presents the findings of empirical research conducted through semi-structured interviews with ten representatives from the European Commission and ten representatives from Ukraine’s government institutions. The analysis shows that despite differences in their assessments of mutual relations and cooperation, which undoubtedly cause communication problems, there are no elements underpinning the mutual perceptions that would create major obstacles to EU–Ukraine cooperation over implementation of the Association Agreement. However, the research also shows that a sufficiently large number of obstacles do exist and these could slow the implementation of the Association Agreement.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Petra Kuchyňková
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues: Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: According to Petra Kuchyňková, assistant professor at Masaryk University in Brno, the Eastern Partnership has been relatively successful, despite the frequent political instability in EaP countries. However, the EU has not always been consistent in its neighborhood policy. This is easily understood if we look at the heterogeneity of the EaP countries and the differences in the extent of Russian influence in the region. According to Kuchyňková, the EU should not abolish the sanctions on Russia unless there is visible progress in the Minsk process, so as to avoid damaging its reputation as normative actor. Cooperation between the EU and the EEU seems unlikely due the atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion. EU neighborhood policy could receive new impetus as a result of it being given more attention in the new multiannual financial framework.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Public Policy, Trade Liberalization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus
  • Author: Slawomir Matuszak
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Issues: Slovak Foreign Policy Affairs
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: The paper analyzes the first years of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, focusing on the economic part: the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement (DCFTA). It describes the causes and results of changes in the flow of goods, and the implications of these for Ukraine’s policy. The DCFTA was one of the key tools that allowed Ukraine to survive the difficult period of economic crisis. The aim of this article is to show to what extent, starting from 2015, Ukraine has begun to integrate with the EU market and at the same time become increasingly independent of the Russian market and more broadly the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. It can be assumed that this process will only accelerate. It is just the first stage on the pathway followed by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s. To achieve full integration requires an increase in investment cooperation, currently at a fairly low level.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Free Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus
  • Author: Ioannis Salavrakos
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Military and Strategic Studies
  • Institution: Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: he paper challenges the view that the fall of France in June 1940 is attributed to military errors of the French High Command and with the brilliant German offense in the Ardennes. The paper highlights that the French security strategy after the end of World War I failed because the country lacked the economic basis to implement its strategy. Thus the paper argues that the French endorsed an internal and external balancing strategy against Germany. The internal balancing strategy was associated with the ability of France to sustain powerful armed forces and obviously this was associated with high defense spending and a strong economy. The second part was associated with external balancing which was associated with the creation of alliances in Eastern Europe in order to block any German expansion. Again this was associated with strong economic relations between France and these states. This strategy was implemented during the 1919-1929 period however after the global economic crisis erupted the deterioration of the French economy made the continuation of this strategy impossible. Thus France was forced to follow a defensive strategy at the military level and the privileged bilateral economic relations with Eastern European countries were abolished and Germany replaced France as the major economic and trading partner of these states.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, World War II
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, Germany