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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: James Dobbins
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Contrary to popular belief, the number of conflicts and the number of casualties, refugees and displaced persons resulting from them has fallen dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Previously, with neither superpower wanting a dispute to be settled to its disadvantage, conflicts dragged on indefinitely or were permanently frozen. After 1989, dynamics changed and international interventions began to pursue more far-reaching objectives: to disarm combatants, promote civil society, restore the economy, etc. Nation-building thus replaced inter-positional peacekeeping as the dominant form of international intervention with such missions becoming larger, longer and more frequent. The UN's success rate, as measured in enhanced security, economic growth, return of refugees and installation of representative governments meets or exceeds that of NATO- and EU-led missions in almost every category. It is time, therefore, for Western governments, militaries and populations to get over their disappointment at the UN's early failures and begin once again to do their fair share in these efforts.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Osvaldo Croci
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In Italy, Atlanticism and Europeanism should not be seen as two alternative and therefore mutually exclusive policies. Strengthening Atlanticism, for instance, does not necessarily correspond to an equal weakening of Europeanism, as implicitly assumed by those who expect a tilt one way or the other each time a centre-right government replaces a centre-left one or vice versa. Rather, the two policies are hierarchical and constitute a "nested game", with Europeanism nested, as it were, in Atlanticism. Italy's foreign policy choices thus result from a double constraint, one of which, Atlanticism, is more important than the other, Europeanism. More precisely, Italian foreign policymakers have traditionally regarded Europeanism as a policy aimed at reinforcing Atlanticism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe