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  • Author: Teodora Fuior, Magdalena Lembovska, Wouter de Ridder, Julian Richards
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: Parliamentary oversight refers to the ongoing1 monitoring, review, evaluation and investigation of the activity of government and public agencies, including the implementation of policy, legislation and the expenditure of the state budget. Parliamentary oversight is one of the most important manifestations of the separations of powers in a democracy. Parliamentary oversight must extend to all areas of government, including intelligence and security services. Intelligence services work in secrecy and have the authority to make use of special powers that potentially are highly invasive of human rights. Communications interception and secret surveillance are only two of such powers. For these reasons, intelligence services are regarded by the public with suspicion and lack of confidence. Therefore, the need for legality, legitimacy and accountability is even higher for intelligence services than for other government agencies. As the lawmaker, parliament is responsible for enacting clear, accessible and comprehensive legislation establishing intelligence services, their organisation, special powers and limits. Parliamentary oversight activities review, evaluate and investigate how laws are implemented and how intelligence operations are in line with the constitution, national security policy and legislation. Parliament also approves the budget of intelligence services and can play a strong role in scrutinizing expenditure. Effective parliamentary oversight ensures a bridge between intelligence and the public and brings benefits to all: intelligence community, parliament itself and most importantly, the citizens.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Intelligence, Governance, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, Macedonia, Albania
  • Author: Stepan Grigoryan, Hasmik Grigoryan
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Transatlantic Relations
  • Abstract: This paper is part of CTR's Working Paper Series: "Eastern Voices: Europe's East Faces an Unsettled West." With the growing tension between East and West, and with the rejection by Russia of common international rules, the question how the post-Soviet states should construct their foreign relations remains of utmost importance. Armenia, a landlocked country in the South Caucasus, has yet to accomplish its transition from socialism to democracy and market economy. Moreover, efforts along these lines have regressed, and the authorities do little to implement reforms or to establish a healthy system of checks and balances. In recent months the country has been overwhelmed by protests. The authorities neither address domestic problems nor satisfy protestor demands. Instead the Armenian government frequently resorts to disproportionate use of police forces against peaceful protestors. With political prisoners and hundreds of detained civil activists, journalists and politicians, it will be impossible to build an independent and prosperous country. Armenia has a rich history and culture, but at the same time it has experienced dark historical periods. The Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shape Armenian identity. However, such historical issues have been instrumentalized by the Armenian government. Instead of building the future, Armenian authorities emphasize the past. Policies based on past grievances lead the Armenian government to become more and more dependent on Russia. Armenia needs to tackle corruption, falsified elections, a corrupt judiciary and many other problems -- and Western partners whose efforts are based on democratic values, free and fair elections, and respect towards human rights have a crucial role to play. This chapter offers background on Armenia's relations with various actors, historical matters that shape Armenian identity, and the failure and lack of will to improve the country's current situation. It then discusses the role of the West and its importance for Armenia. We seek to answer why Armenia slowed down its reform efforts, what the West needs to do to improve the situation in Armenia.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Genocide, International Cooperation, Reform, Political Prisoners, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Armenia, European Union
  • Author: Mahmoud Alawna, Nora-Elise Beck, Vlatko Cvrtila, Fatima Itawi, Saša Janković, Arnold Luethold, Frederic Maio, Felix Tusa
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF)
  • Abstract: This working paper aims to support the ongoing efforts of the Palestinian executive authorities, security forces, independent institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media to strengthen the Palestinian complaints system. It identifies deficits in the complaints system of the Palestinian security sector and proposes recommendations to rectify them. It particularly stresses the need to improve coordination between the vast number of complaints units and calls for greater clarity on the role of civil society and the media. It hopes to raise awareness for these issues among Palestinian decision-makers and citizens and international actors. When fully functioning, the complaint handling system can be an effective source of information for the government to improve its performance and develop its services. The paper builds upon the discussions of the complaints working group, consisting of Palestinian government officials and representatives of the security forces, civil society and the media. DCAF presented the recommendations to senior Palestinian decision-makers in late September 2016, providing these with cases of international best practice.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Human Rights, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Geneva, Europe, Palestine, West Bank
  • Author: Guy Fiti Sinclair
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: European Journal of International Law
  • Abstract: Reflecting upon the ambiguous relationship between international civil servants and international law in both theory and practice, this review essay examines several recent books that address the life and legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. Drawing upon recent theoretical work regarding international organizations, the essay argues that the authority of international civil servants should be understood as operating through three distinct yet interconnected modalities of discourse and practice: legal, moral and expert. Moreover, a comprehensive account of the authority exercised by international civil servants must take account of how they respond to any tensions that arise between their bases of authority as well as of their shifting relations with other ‘global governors’. The essay considers the depiction of Hammarskjöld by each of the books under review, highlighting the sometimes overlooked interconnections between the different sources of authority upon which he drew and suggesting some starting points for an alternative, integrated account of his thought and practice.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Diplomacy, International Law, International Organization, Humanitarian Intervention
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Sabrina Zajak
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: This paper contributes to the debate on the role of democratic participation in complex systems of governance. It takes a process-oriented constructivist approach asking how transnational activism over time contributes to the construction of access and voice from below and uses the Asia-Europe Meetings (ASEM) to analyze how interactions between civil society and global governance institutions shape concrete forms of participation. The paper shows that transnational activism triggers both discursive and institutional changes within the official ASEM process leading to an informal, fragmented, and fragile institutionalization of civil society participation. However, the paper reveals a division between civil society organizations with some, such as business representatives, having preferential access and voice in comparison to more contentious organizations. The paper explains this fragmented form of democratization as the result of three interrelated processes: the particular history and economic origins of the ASEM; international developments particularly in the ongoing economic crisis; and domestic developments within individual countries (in particular China) which have begun to favor controlled access for civil society participation.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Economics, History, Governance, Developments
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Elise Massicard
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: The Justice and Development Party (JDP) has been in power in Turkey since 2002, consolidating its electoral support among an array of social groups ranging from broad appeal among the popular classes to business leaders and a growing middle class. The success of the JDP is a consequence of the manner in which the party inserted itself into certain economic and social sectors. While the party has internalized the principles of reducing the public sphere and outsourcing to the private sector, it has not restricted the reach of government intervention. On the contrary, it has become increasingly involved in certain sectors, including social policy and housing. It has managed this through an indirect approach that relies on intermediaries and private allies such as the businesses and associations that is has encouraged. In this way, the JDP has developed and systematized modes of redistribution that involve the participation of conservative businessmen who benefit from their proximity to the decision-makers, charitable organizations, and underprivileged social groups. These public policies have reconfigured different social sectors in a way that has strengthened the Party’s influence.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Sociology, Governance, Regulation, Political Science, Networks
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Balkans
  • Author: Dejan Guzina, Branka Marijan
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The recent protests in Bosnia-Herzegovina (henceforth, Bosnia) have once more shown the extent of the remaining challenges in the country. However, while many commentators have examined the political, economic and social roots of the protests, less attention has been paid to the role of the police in these events. Police confusion, their inability to respond to the street protests in a timely and professional manner, and allegations of the use of excessive force against protestors represent clear evidence that the stalled police reform in the country needs to be re-examined. After almost two decades of international assistance, first by the United Nations (UN) and later the European Union (EU), police reform in Bosnia remains incomplete. Since the 2012 closing of the EU police mission (EUPM) in Bosnia, the issue of police reform has been put on hold. Bosnia's multiple police services remain fragmented and lack transparency. More importantly, the lack of harmonization, coordination and civic oversight leads to political interference in policing.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Human Rights, Law Enforcement, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, United Nations
  • Author: Michel Theys
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In the City, the citizen is king. At least theoretically. In the European City currently being built around twenty eight national democracies, the citizen will soon be called upon, in May, to democratically elect his or her representative in the European Parliament for the next five years. Since the very first election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage in 1979, spectacular progress has been made by the "European Economic Community" that we now all know as the European Union. And the powers vested in citizen representatives are equally impressive. But there is a real possibility that European citizens will turn their backs on the upcoming European elections like never before. Why?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In the City, the citizen is king. At least theoretically. In the European City currently being built around twenty eight national democracies, the citizen will soon be called upon, in May, to democratically elect his or her representative in the European Parliament for the next five years. Since the very first election of Members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage in 1979, spectacular progress has been made by the "European Economic Community" that we now all know as the European Union. And the powers vested in citizen representatives are equally impressive. But there is a real possibility that European citizens will turn their backs on the upcoming European elections like never before. Why?
  • Topic: Civil Society, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Ognian Shentov, Ruslan Stefanov, Maria Todorova
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV)
  • Abstract: Corruption in Southeast Europe has been in the news, in the focus of public debate, and on the policy agenda of national and international institutions so often and for so long that its scrutiny hardly needs to be justified. It is precisely because it has proven to be such an intractable issue that innovative approaches to its understanding – and hence its reduction – are warranted. The EU accession prospects for the countries in the region – though distant – provide an enabling framework for action but it is local stakeholders, and in particular civil society who can bring about sustained progress in anti-corruption. The Southeast Europe Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI) has made the in-depth diagnosing and understanding of corruption and governance gaps in the region one of its main priorities, as a requisite condition for its advocacy of knowledge-driven anticorruption policies. This SELDI report fits in the development and implementation framework of the emerging regional anticorruption policy and infrastructure as exemplified by the SEE2020 Strategy’s Governance Pillar run by the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Governance, Accountability, Transparency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Author: Kinga Brudzinska
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Similar to the situation before the Arab Awakening, state control of civil associations in Egypt remains intact. Correspondingly, foreign funding for NGOs is still a controversial, selective and sensitive topic. Despite the objections of civil society and the international community, a new draft law on NGOs presented in September 2013 will most likely maintain the idea of state oversight of civil society organisations. The European Union, and Poland itself, should constantly monitor the status of the new draft law and actively encourage the authorities to comply with international standards. Despite difficulties with delivering the aid, the EU should stick to its values while supporting Egypt's transition and continue to provide aid to local NGOs.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organization, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Franklin Dehousse
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: One innovative element of the Lisbon Treaty was the creation of a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI). At the time, this was sometimes hailed as a fundamental change in the European institutional system. A few years after the entry into force of the Treaty, however, much less is heard about this “first truly transnational instrument of modern direct democracy”, this “revolution in disguise”, this “very innovative and symbolic” provision5. This could seem surprising at first sight. Since the entry into force of the Treaty, the implementation of this provision has been remarkably rapid. Meanwhile, new arguments have risen concerning the lack of democratic legitimacy of the European Union, and the lack of connection between the European institutions and the citizens.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pol Morillas
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: This policy brief reflects upon the results of the workshop “Rethinking the Role of Think Tanks and Research Institutes and EU Policies towards the Mediterranean”, held in Madrid on 14th December 2012 and organised in collaboration with Real Instituto Elcano and FRIDE. It argues that Arab think tanks can shape political transformations in the region by informing, convening and advocating democratic reform. It also presents a set of recommendations for external powers such as the European Union in support of Arab think tanks.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Education, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Michele Comelli
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The eurozone's debt crisis has exposed structural economic and political rifts within the European Union. Specifically, it has created a new cleavage between creditor and debtor countries, the former being mainly located in Central-Northern Europe and the latter in Southern Europe, each with its own understanding of the causes of and remedies to the crisis. This paper explores how a debtor country - Italy - has changed its political discourse on the EU as a result of the crisis, focusing on political elites, civil society and public opinion. It argues that while the discourse of political elites and of civil society clearly mirrors this cleavage, public opinion does not necessarily follow this pattern, being mainly concerned with the country's domestic ills.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Debt, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Ekaterina Vladimirova
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Individual behaviour plays a key role in resolving the climate change problem. The main obstacle for such behavioural change is often poor public knowledge about the ethical dimension of climate change and about the practical solutions available to individuals in order to make informed choices. Promoting sustainable lifestyles should top the political agenda in Europe. In this light, this paper suggests how the EU could engage with civil society to promote sustainable lifestyles through joint media campaigns, by establishing local sustainability centres and by working together to change educational standards. This collaboration would benefit from knowledge and expertise exchange, lower transaction costs and, most importantly, it would increase public trust in the quest for sustainability.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Education, Environment, Mass Media
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nicoletta Pirozzi, Valérie Vicky Miranda, Kai Schäfer
  • Publication Date: 10-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Joint Africa-European Union Strategy, adopted at the Lisbon Summit in December 2007, was intended to overcome an unequal partnership between the African and European continents by establishing a framework of cooperation based on shared values and common objectives. However, in the first implementation phase it became clear that these conditions were far from being fully realized. In particular, the Partnership on Peace and Security has shown a tendency to institutionalize dialogue and crystallize practices of cooperation along the well-established Brussels-Addis Ababa axis, while efforts to engage with other crucial actors remain to some extent limited. This paper focuses on the sub-optimal involvement of two crucial stakeholders, namely African regional organizations and civil society actors. It presents the main findings and policy recommendations of a study concluded by IAI in September 2012, with the support of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and the European Parliament.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Anaïs Marin
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One should not expect the 23 September election to comply with democratic standards. The current legislation in Belarus does not guarantee a free and fair process. The institutional setting prevents a transparent vote count and the election of opposition candidates. Yet, in sending a full-fledged observation mission to Belarus, the OSCE again appears to be giving official Minsk the benefit of the doubt. Breaking the vicious circle of external regime legitimation would require consistency and restraint in giving this periodic electoral farce any credence whatsoever. Imitating procedural democracy brings regime consolidation for Lukashenka: enticing the opposition forces – and their Western supporters for that matter – into the electoral trap is a preemptive scheme to disqualify them. Decapitated, divided, distrusted, the opposition is incapable of carrying out regime change. The regime's repressive build-up also dissuades Belarusians from mobilising to contest the predictable fraud – for now. They are nonetheless expressing increasing demands for independent election monitoring. In view of the 2015 presidential elections, the EU should invest more in the capacity-building and training of civil society actors, notably domestic election observers. Turning voters into reliable rule of law watchdogs could raise awareness in, and demand for democracy in Belarus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Anne Wetzel, Jan Orbie
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While the EU has recently upgraded its external democracy promotion policies through a set of initiatives such as the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean”, the proposal for a “European Endowment of Democracy”, and the “Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy”, there is one challenge that it has not yet addressed: what exactly does it aim to support?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Democratization, Economics, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jens Chr.1 Andvig
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The paper provides a semi-popular exposition of the formulation of public procurement and privatization mechanisms and how they may be influenced by organized crime units. A number of possibilities are outlined using examples from Bulgaria, Italy and Norway.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Crime, Governance, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Europe, Norway, Bulgaria, Italy
  • Author: Tiago Fernandes
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: This paper explains variations in patterns of civil society among third-wave democracies by comparing the cases of Portugal and Spain. In the former a civil society developed that had a tendency to be more oriented toward national issues and politics, whereas in the latter civil society tended to be more local, social, and disconnected from politics. Portugal, although having both a less developed economy and historically a weaker democratic tradition than Spain's, was a democracy that between the early 1970s and the mid-1990s offered more opportunities for the organized civic expression of popular interests.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Human Rights, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Portugal