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  • 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: 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: 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: 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