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  • Author: Mari Neuvonen
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Tensions and difficulties have emerged again in the Middle East together with the stalled peace process, which is a great concern for the EU. The EU has established two Civilian Crisis Management missions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as instruments of the Common Security and Defence Policy to promote the objectives of the Middle East Peace Process. Both missions, EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah, have been successful in training, advising and mentoring the Palestinian security sector to combat terror and prevent it, and to operate with the Israeli security forces to maintain order. However, the full potential of the two missions has not been utilized as instruments to promote the peace process principles in terms of emphasizing democracy and accountability as being fundamental to an independent state. It is time for the EU to link its state-building initiatives in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with a clear political position at the "high-politics” level and to translate them into reality. If the focus of these two CSDP missions is not shifted away from polishing the already smooth-functioning Palestinian security apparatus and more towards reflecting the political aims of the peace process, it begs the question of whether these missions can continue to serve as useful instruments for the EU to promote the peace process.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland and Sweden are increasing their bilateral defence cooperation. Officially, it is restricted to peacetime and international crisis management operation activities, but it nonetheless has national territorial defence impacts. The planned deepening of cooperation between Finland and Sweden builds on the already extensive daily cooperation between the two countries. Both Finland and Sweden see deeper cooperation as an important addition to cooperation within the EU, NATO, and NORDEFCO frameworks, as well as other significant bilateral cooperative relationships. Fruitful cooperation will require strengthening trust among military and political actors, as well as an acknowledgement of differing perspectives regarding the role of the defence industry in security and defence policy formation. Cooperation may continue to deepen as the momentum for it builds, or through a binding agreement developing into a defence alliance – Defence Alliance Finland-Sweden (DAFS).
  • Political Geography: Finland, Sweden
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The mantra in Brussels and all over Europe is that investment holds the key to recovery in the euro area. A central element of the new Commission's economic strategy is a proposed programme of investment of €300 billion.The emphasis on investment is not new, but has grown in strength as the euro area seems stuck in a never-ending recession.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Ibbitson
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: Of all the reforms launched by this most conservative of Conservative governments, none surpass the root-and-branch restructuring of Canada's immigration polices. And what has come before does not equal what is to come. On January 1, 2015, the federal government will replace the points system used to select immigrants for nigh on 50 years with the entirely new Express Entry program.
  • Political Geography: Canada
  • Author: Jenny Hayward-Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Lowy Institute for International Policy is an independent policy think tank. Its mandate ranges across all the dimensions of international policy debate in Australia – economic, political and strategic – and it is not limited to a particular geographic region. Its two core tasks are to: produce distinctive research and fresh policy options for Australia's international policy and to contribute to the wider international debate. promote discussion of Australia's role in the world by providing an accessible and high quality forum for discussion of Australian international relations through debates, seminars, lectures, dialogues and conferences.
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Karim Mezran, Mohsin Khan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: In contrast to popular uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, Morocco has emerged relatively unscathed, avoiding destabilizing political upheaval or economic impact. The case of Morocco has surprised many observers because its weak and problematic social, political, and economic indicators are much like those of the other transitioning countries.
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Lara Friedman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: With their own interests challenged and growing domestic constituencies pressing for action, European leaders are asking what Europe can do to reaccredit its policies in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, notwithstanding U.S. opposition. In this context the time has come for Europe to adopt a new Middle East policy paradigm in which European leverage is identified and employed as part of a coherent effort aimed not at altering the behavior of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but at altering the political environment in which Netanyahu and his challengers on the right operate.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Leila Hilal
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: The counterterrorism effort launched by the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition has sidetracked international attention away from a political resolution to the Syrian civil war. Officials, analysts and peace practitioners alike are latching on to quick fixes aimed at mitigating violence at the local level. Although stakeholders are mindful of the need to match bottom-up de-escalation efforts with top-down interventions, a comprehensive approach is as elusive as ever. The United Nations (UN) secretary-general's appointment of a new special envoy for Syria presents an opportunity for building an inclusive peacemaking strategy for the country. This policy brief provides a series of recommendations for the development of a strategy led by the UN with support from key countries.
  • Political Geography: Syria
  • Author: Silke Pfeiffer
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: While a peace agreement between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government seems to be within reach, a number of substantial and procedural issues might still cause controversies. One such topic is the question of how a potential peace agreement should be ratified. Both parties have made clear that ratification should involve direct citizen participation. The FARC's proposal for a broadly mandated Constituent Assembly is effectively not politically viable. Other constitutional options have practical, political and legal implications. A final formula will need to deal with the armed group's concern for the legal security of its members while rapidly generating a political mandate to proceed with implementation. The inevitable time lag between signature and ratification will most certainly become a political liability because the FARC is likely to refuse to lay down its weapons in this period. With low levels of trust between the parties and a society deeply sceptical of the guerrilla's intentions to abandon the armed struggle, all sides will feel the need to be protected against risks of non-compliance. The greatest risk related to citizen ratification remains non-approval, because large parts of the population continue to be sensitive – if not opposed – to the idea of granting wide-ranging concessions to the FARC. Mobilising a strong political and social majority behind the peace process and a potential deal is a priority if a final agreement is to survive popular scrutiny and become a foundation for lasting peace.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Kate Meagher
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre
  • Abstract: Addressing the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria requires policymakers to look beyond Western security templates of Islamic terrorism to grasp the underlying causes of what is primarily a Nigerian conflict. This policy brief examines the four explanatory factors behind the insurgency: economic marginalisation, governance failures, extremist operations and security failures. Economic causes are traced to poverty, unemployment and extreme inequality between northern and southern Nigeria, while governance failures relate to national religious polarisation, political brinksmanship among religious elites, and rampant corruption in the face of mass poverty. The focus on extremist operations considers the shifting objectives and recruitment strategies of Boko Haram, which tend to confound clear policy analysis, while an assessment of security failures notes their role in driving rather than reining in radicalisation. Recommendations for international policy interventions focus on four areas of constructive engagement. These include diplomatic pressure on the Nigerian government to demonstrate adequate political will to address the insurgency, supporting human rights training and providing appropriate equipment for the military, providing more socially differentiated support for the generation of dignified livelihoods appropriate to both the educated and uneducated unemployed, and more concerted support for the compensation of Boko Haram's victims.
  • Political Geography: Nigeria