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  • Author: Wolfgang Mühlberger
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The municipal elections in May were the first major step towards an ambitious decentralisation project in Tunisia. Yet although the administrative structure is continuing to evolve alongside a democratising system, the aim of improving the state-society relationship has been jeopardised by record-level abstentions.
  • Topic: Reform, Elections, Democracy, Decentralization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Arkady Moshes
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While speculation about whether Russia may repeat the Crimean scenario in Belarus should not be totally dismissed, exaggerated alarmism would not be appropriate either. Rather, Moscow’s policy is aimed at making sure that Belarus and its leadership remain critically dependent on Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Empire, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea
  • Author: Bruno Tertrais
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While the idea of a “European nuclear deterrent” has a long history, it has recently made a comeback in the light of Russian aggression on the continent, growing tensions in the transatlantic relationship since the election of Donald Trump, as well as the British decision to leave the European Union. Voices are being heard in Germany in particular, arguing for stronger European nuclear autonomy. This paper analyses how the French and British deterrents could play a broader and stronger role in ensuring the security of the continent. Discarding the idea of a single “European deterrent”, it suggests possible credible pathways to enhance European nuclear cooperation based on French and possibly British forces, preferably outside the EU context. Furthermore, it suggests that future US decisions and policies towards Europe will be a critical factor in defining the range of realistic scenarios and outcomes.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, European Union, Deterrence, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, France, North America
  • Author: Bart Gaens
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU’s new strategy for connecting Europe and Asia, implicitly a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is an important first step in promoting European priorities in terms of connectivity. However, uncertainties, including those surrounding the financial implications, remain.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Pernille Reiker
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While the overall ambition (grandeur and status-seeking) in French foreign policy has been surprisingly stable, different strategies and approaches have been adopted. The French approach over the past 15 to 20 years has been to focus on status-seeking through legitimacy, and we have seen a gradual shift towards a French foreign policy that is increasingly guided by international law and multilateralism. There are also elements of both continuity and change in French ambitions for European defence. While the long-term ambition is the same, the French approach towards European defence has changed from being concerned with developing the defence structures within the EU (“Europe de la defence”) to becoming more concerned with the need to strengthen the European capacity to act. Different types of French initiatives over the past decades – within or outside the European Union – must all be seen as ways of strengthening the European defence capacity: The French return to NATO’s International Military Staff in 2009, the French-British defence cooperation from 2010, the French-German initiative to set up the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), and the recent French initiative to launch a European Intervention Initiative (EI2).
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski, Mark Katz, Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The great-power system has been in constant change since the end of the Cold War. The US became the hegemonic power, and under its shelter, the European Union was able to transform into a European-wide political body. Soon, a group of leading regional powers started to question the universalist aspirations of the Western-led international order. Two members of this club in particular were not satisfied with the role of a regional hegemon and had more global ambitions. China has already become the largest trading nation globally, and Chinese foreign policy has assumed an assertive tone. China has both the potential to challenge US hegemony, as well as the political will to use it. Russia’s project to achieve a global great-power status, on the other hand, is inspired by its historical identity and its alleged humiliation by the West after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia longs for recognition of its great-power status in particular from the US. This report focuses on relations between China and Russia on the one hand and the US and Russia on the other. It analyses the current developments and future trends in these relationships, as well as their implications for the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Hegemony
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Henri Vanahanen
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland’s efforts to weave a web of bi- and multilateral defence cooperation have developed faster than anticipated. Yet cooperation with Sweden is unique, partially because limits have not been set a priori on what cooperation could entail. Finland should formally adopt this ‘no a priori limits’ approach throughout its other defence cooperation relationships.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Military Strategy, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Agne Cepinsktye
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland and Norway are planning to build the Arctic Railway, stretching from Rovaniemi to Kirkenes through the homeland of the indigenous Sámi people. The state governments have acknowledged their duty to consult with the Sámi, whose culture and livelihoods the railway would affect, but the Sámi have dismissed the consultation efforts thus far as inadequate and have denounced the project. The dispute has exposed the ambiguity of the state’s duty to consult with indigenous peoples: international law firmly establishes the duty but does not prescribe specific rules for carrying it out. In Norway, the domestic regulatory framework concerning the consultation duty is more evolved and the practice of implementation is more consistent than in Finland, but both states still lack an effective legal incorporation of the duty. Despite the ambiguity, the scope of the consultation duty is determined by its purpose: creating favourable conditions to reduce power disparity between the state and indigenous peoples in order to reach an agreement that reconciles national interests with indigenous rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Indigenous, Transportation, Railways
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Arctic
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: At their 1998 Saint-Malo Summit, the UK and France initiated the creation of a military arm for the European Union, now known as the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Ever since, EU member states have consistently claimed that more cooperation between their armed forces is the only way to significantly increase military capability. Successive projects have been proposed, yet none has ever really been implemented.Sceptics can therefore be forgiven for eyeing the EU’s latest initiative, known as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), with some suspicion – not least because the EU has already tried and failed to activate PESCO, in 2010 after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Conditionality in the EU comes in many forms: legally codified and enforced by the Court of Justice, or reliant on intergovernmental bargaining and expressed by means of political or economic (dis)incentives. This European Policy Brief explores the boundaries of the conditionality debate, and assesses what varying degrees of conditionality can and cannot achieve. The overarching objective of conditionality is to foster integration and cohesion amongst the peoples of Europe and their Member States. A sound logic of conditionality must therefore set incentives in such a way that their application contributes to this intended outcome. A balanced combination of political, legal and budgetary instruments can help remedy a major lacuna in the Treaties: the effective protection of the rule of law and democracy.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Democracy, Legal Theory , Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Basile Ridard
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: At a time of rising populism in Europe and a global crisis of democratic representation, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) aims to provide a concrete response to those denouncing the lack of democratic legitimacy of the EU institutions. The new regulation, proposed by the Commission last September and still under discussion by both the Parliament and the Council, facilitates the use of ECI. However, it remains insufficient for citizens willing to engage regularly in the EU law-making process. This Egmont Paper assesses the overall impact of the ECI on European policies and compares it to the complementary tools of participatory democracy such as the recently established Citizens’ consultations.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Democracy, Europe Union, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rik Coolsaet, Thomas Renard
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: According to intelligence estimates, there are around 1,400 European children in Syria and Iraq, many of them born there. The fate of these children confronts European governments with moral, legal, political, diplomatic and security dilemmas. Governments are divided over the issue, but almost all are reluctant to address it head-on. None have taken a proactive stance with regard to these children, creating several security voids. This policy brief looks into the fate of these European children before exploring in more detail the situation of the Belgians among them. It analyses the position of the Belgian government with regard to repatriation and reviews existing policies concerning returning children. The authors end up with a number of recommendations for Belgian and European authorities, including a plea for a more proactive response.
  • Topic: Security, Children, Displacement, Reparations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Belgium, Syria
  • Author: Basile Ridard
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The European institutions are not always able to address crises in a timely manner due to the cumbersome decision-making process. European agencies often provide the most appropriate response to the concerns of citizens and businesses that are experienced across the single market. They should be granted greater autonomy to bring to life EU policies while being made more responsible. At a time of growing uncertainties, the EU needs to further develop existing EU agencies and create new ones for addressing new cross-border challenges. A common legal framework should also be created for all EU agencies in order to harmonize their overall functioning.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Legal Theory , Medicine
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nina Wilen
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The recent adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2436 on UN peacekeeping is the latest development in an ongoing debate on how to improve peacekeeping performance. Africa’s status as both the largest provider of troops and the continent hosting most current peace operations, positions it at the heart of this discussion. This policy brief critically examines two of the options identified to improve peacekeeping: more troop contributions from states with advanced military capability and better training for peacekeepers. Specifically, it highlights challenges with training troops from (semi-)authoritarian and post-conflict states and points to the importance of improving civil-military relations in order to enhance peacekeeping performance.
  • Topic: Security, United Nations, Military Strategy, Conflict, Civil-Military Relations
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Nanae Baldauff
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Not so long ago Japan seemed to be left out on the diplomatic stage, notably when it decided not to join China’s newly established Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) in 2015. But while no one can deny China’s impressive global outreach under the banner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Japan has not been sitting idly by. Quite the contrary, Japan is playing a leading role in shaping the concept of free and open Indo-Pacific region, and has positioned itself as an important political actor that upholds the rule of law under its Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy (FOIP). As China becomes more and more assertive economically and militarily, strengthening ties with Japan becomes all the more important for the European Union (EU). As a strategic partner of Japan, the EU more than ever needs to work with Japan in upholding the liberal international order.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, Asia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: What are we to make of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration outlining the future relationship between the EU and the UK? This European Policy Brief explores the current state of the Brexit debate from a Belgian perspective. While the Brexit deal deserves to be welcomed, domestic politics continue to act as a bottleneck. Whether or not the Withdrawal Agreement obtains parliamentary approval, Belgian authorities would do well to stay alert and prepare for multiple potential outcomes.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Gustaaf Geeraets
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Against a background in which the United States is increasingly drawing into question its commitments to free trade and the global commons, the challenge for the EU and China is to deal with a global governance system that is evolving from a multilateral system centred around the US into a more diffuse system resting on the three strong trading poles: China, the EU and the US.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia, North America
  • Author: Betcy Jose, Christoph H. Stefes
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Western actors have long dominated the political processes and discourses that shape global norms impacting interstate behaviour. Yet, more recently, powerful autocratic regimes such as China and Russia have seemingly challenged democracies, emerging as potential contesters of international norms. What might be the outcome of this contestation? This paper broadly explores this query by investigating Russia’s humanitarian justifications for its Ukrainian incursion. It examines whether Russia’s claim of humanitarian intervention is more than a petty attempt to disguise pure power politics. Is Russia contesting Western understandings of humanitarian interventions in order to reshape our ideas of permissible violations of sovereignty norms to protect vulnerable populations? Using Atlas.ti, we also explore global responses to Russia’s humanitarian claims. Our initial findings indicate that the Ukrainian intervention enabled Russia to contest Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and to champion an alternative version of humanitarian intervention with some limited success.
  • Topic: Imperialism, Military Strategy, Authoritarianism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Kressen Thyen
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the Middle East and North Africa, EU foreign policy has tended to prioritise regime stability over democratisation. Existing research has argued that this could create anti‐European sentiment in the respective populations. However, empirical evidence on the relationship between the EU’s stance towards regime change and citizen attitudes remains rare. Focusing on Morocco and Egypt, this study uses a mixed‐methods approach, combining qualitative case studies with original survey data to examine whether the EU’s divergent responses to the 2011 uprisings in these two countries are mirrored in regime opponents’ support for EU cooperation.
  • Topic: Social Movement, European Union, Democracy, Arab Spring, Protests
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, Egypt, Morocco
  • Author: Christopher Huber
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Previous research has shown that minority grievances can contribute significantly to violent conflict. However, it appears that grievances do not inevitably induce religious and other minorities to engage in protest or rebellion. Moreover, relative deprivation may explain conflict but not necessarily violent conflict. Contributing to research on these questions, this paper explores the conditions under which the grievances of religious minorities lead to non‐violent or violent protest. Using a motive‐opportunity framework, we assume that members of religious minorities who feel discriminated against must be willing and able to engage in peaceful and violent forms of protest – and that certain conditions are required for grievances to result in peaceful or violent dissent. We test this proposition by comparing the Jewish and Muslim communities in Canada. Our findings indicate that relative economic and political deprivation may create concrete grievances that in combination with origin-based value incompatibilities can explain differences in behaviour in reaction to these grievances.
  • Topic: Religion, Minorities, Discrimination, Protests, Anti-Semitism
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America