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  • Author: Anaïs Marin
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The West has come to admit that the Belarusian regime is indifferent to incentives and sanctions alike. The crackdown on the opposition that has been ongoing since Alexander Lukashenka's last fraudulent re-election shows that Belarus is drifting ever further away from democratic values and the EU's “ring of friends”. Reversing this trend requires EU member states to acknowledge that they bear part of the responsibility for the failure of the engagement policy launched in October 2008.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels
  • Author: Kaisa Korhonen
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty encourages national parliaments to jointly forge a new node in the EU institutional architecture. National parliaments are given the right to control certain aspects of EU decision-making without the involvement of member state governments. Most importantly, national parliaments share the responsibility for ensuring that the subsidiarity principle is respected in all legislative matters of the Union.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Transport is one of those few topics where the EU and Russia seem to have come to an agreement. The common understanding is that further integration of the transport systems and the removal of bottle necks serves the interests of both parties in the face of the expected increase in traffic volumes.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the area of external affairs, the Treaty of Lisbon has introduced a number of innovations into the functioning of the European Union. The initial phase of these innovations was in 2010 when two parallel processes took place. First, the set-up of the European External Action Service (EEAS) was negotiated and subsequently implemented. Second, a number of developments have taken place in the sphere of the EU's external representation. Soon after December 2009, when the new treaty entered into force, it became clear that it was wide open to interpretation. Since most actors continued to interpret the treaty provisions in their favour, the EU had to engage in difficult negotiations on several occasions. In fact, the new treaty impacts not only EU relations with third states and within international organizations, it also has a significant impact on the member states' relations with third states as well as on their representation within international organizations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tiia Lehtonen
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On 1 July 2011, Poland took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is the first Presidency for Poland during its seven-year EU membership. As an ambitious, large and relatively new member state, Poland is now striving towards joining the club of heavyweight players in the EU. Although the Polish Government and political elite are highly pro-European, this work remains nothing but demanding. Nevertheless, Poland is no doubt the most powerful state in the Presidency trio compris¬ing of Poland, Denmark and Cyprus.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The electoral defeat suffered by the ruling Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, PSOE) in the municipal elections and the prolonged financial crisis has forced Prime Minister Zapatero to call an early general election on 20 November. The Conservative People's Party (Partido Popular, PP) is ahead in the polls by a clear margin and is likely to gain an absolute majority in the parliament. The economic outlook for Spain looks bleak, which means that the new government will have to create new jobs quickly and push through harsh and unpopular reforms, particularly regarding the fiscal and administrative structures. The Indignados protest movement is gaining support, and looks set to challenge the legitimacy of the system and force the future government to produce speedy results. Spain is expected to enhance its role in international politics through pragmatic bilateral relations. In particular, relations with the US seem to be warming up, while Spain can turn to the UK and Poland in the EU for companionship
  • Topic: Debt, Democratization, Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Spain
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty anchored the EU development policy at the forefront of the Union's external relations. For the development policy, this provides an opportunity to improve its own role and functions in relation to its own targets, as well as in relation to the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the trade policy. To take this opportunity, the EU development policy actors need to find a means and a vision in the context of the changing institutional landscape and the EU development policy overhaul. A stronger EU development policy as a part of the external relations equation depends on the EU development actors' capability to act jointly in the area of shared competency, and to define the policy's focus and content vis-à-vis the other branches of the EU's external relations. This is of utmost importance in the new institutional context that was formed to implement the Lisbon Treaty. Most notably, the European External Action Service (EEAS) risks inheriting the previous organizational challenges of the EU development policy and creating new ones. The EU Commission proposal 'Agenda for Change' (October 2011) still passes up the opportunity to present a strong vision for the development policy in the EU's external relations along the lines of the Lisbon Treaty. While enhancing the common agenda for the CFSP and the development policy is conducive to development policy objectives, it is alarming that the policy proposal turns a blind eye to the role of the EU trade policy.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European Parliament achieved full legislative powers when the Lisbon Treaty came into force, as most of those policy fields that had formerly been beyond the reach of the EP were duly added to these powers. In the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, the EP's strengthened position is characterized as a vigorous promotion of arrangements favourable to its own position in the EU decision-making process. Important changes have taken place in the roles and functions of major parliamentary committees along with the extension of the EP's powers; the changes are most substantial in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI) and in the Committee on International Trade (INTA). Concerns about the spread of undemocratic legislative practices and weaknesses in administrative capacities have been raised since the EP has been accommodated to its new powers.
  • Topic: Democratization, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Janne Salminen
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: From the legal point of view, the most important change ushered in by the Treaty of Lisbon concerns the scope of the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union. This was widened due to the dismantling of the pillar structure. As a general rule, the jurisdiction of the European Courts now covers previous third pillar matters as well, namely criminal law and police co-operation. The dismantling of the pillar structure did not, however, affect the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Union Courts still do not have jurisdiction in this area. This rule has two important exceptions. Although the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice is communitarised and more coherent than before, the previous limits in its territorial scope, namely the opt-outs of the UK, Ireland and Denmark, did not disappear, so limits in the Courts' jurisdiction remain. The Treaty of Lisbon amendments did not change the fundamentals of the judicial doctrines, such as the direct effect and primacy of European Union law. Importantly, the application of these doctrines was widened instead, owing to the depillarisation. The Treaty of Lisbon amendments meant that the decisions of the European Council and European Union bodies, offices and agencies can be reviewed under the preliminary ruling procedure. The Treaty of Lisbon changed the much-debated criteria for the standing of non-privileged applicants in actions to review the legality of the European Union acts.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Law
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Denmark, Lisbon, Ireland
  • Author: Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Europe and the EU have played an influential role in the development and decision-making of the Group of Twenty (G-20). Europe's influence in shaping the developments in the group and, more broadly, in global governance is, however, declining. The G-20 Summit in Cannes provided Europe with an opportunity to re-assert its leadership. Its aspirations were, however, overshadowed by internal divisions heightened by the deepening European sovereign debt crisis. Even prior to the current crisis, the increasing global competition and decrease in standing turned EU members inward-looking. Instead of a further Europeanization of foreign policy and external relations, many have observed a tendency to re-nationalize European policy-making. This tendency will make it increasingly difficult for Europe to secure its standing and adapt to the on going transition of the world's economic and political power. Europe should reinvigorate its commitment to a joint external action as a matter of priority. The key question for Europe is whether it will manage to Europeanize the G-20 and gear it towards the multilateral principles which lie at the heart of European integration; or whether we will see the opposite process, namely a 'G-ization' of the EU in the sense of major(European)powers dominating increasingly informal European and global decision-making. It is in Europe's interests to further institutionalize the G-20 and tie it to the formal multilateral architecture of the world economy and politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna Korppoo, Thomas Spencer, Kristian Tangen
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Copenhagen climate summit was seen as a set-back for the eu. It was left out of the final meeting between the usa and major developing countries which lead to the Copenhagen Accord, and had to accept a deal that fell below its expectations. Due to the impact of the economic crisis, the eu's current target of a unilateral 20 % reduction is no longer as impressive as it seemed in 2007–2008; this is undermining the eu's claim to leadership. In order to match the higher pledges of Japan, Australia and the us, as well as shoulder its fair share of the industrialized countries' aggregate 30 % reduction, the eu would have to pledge a 35 % reduction. The eu's practise of attaching conditionalities to its higher target gives it very little leverage. However, there might be a case for the eu to move unilaterally to a 30 % reduction in order to accelerate the decarbonisation of its economy and capture new growth markets. Doing so could support stronger policy development in other countries such as Australia and Japan, and help rebuild trust among developing countries. But on its own it would be unlikely to have a substantial impact on the position of the other big players—the usa, China, India, and Brazil. The incoherence of the eu's support of a “singe legal outcome” from the Copenhagen summit, based on the elements of the Kyoto Protocol, was a major cause for its isolation. The us remains domestically unable to commit to this type of a ratifiable treaty while developing countries are not yet ready to commit to absolute targets. A return to a two-track approach, involving the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol and the negotiation of a new instrument for the usa and major developing countries, may be a more politically and practically feasible approach, while retaining the goal of working towards a legally binding instrument for all key participants over time.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Europe, India, Brazil, Australia
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The past five tumultuous years of the Viktor Yushchenko presidency laid bare Ukraine's gravest problem—its seeming inability to govern itself properly. Following the victory at the polls, the new Ukrainian leadership will inevitably be seeking to consolidate power, correct the country's flawed constitutional design and establish a strong government. This is a tall order indeed, given the anarchic state of Ukraine's political system and the weakness of most of its public institutions. Ukraine's dismal economic situation and the limited set of international options will severely constrain the president-elect in pursuing domestic and foreign policies. For the new leader, the job ahead will be a balancing act, at home and abroad. To see Kiev succeed in its attempts at stabilization and reform, the European Union needs to re-engage Ukraine. Disillusionment and frustration should give way to patience and perseverance. Focusing on step-by-step integration will be a good way to revitalize the troubled relationship.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The political system that Vladimir Putin established during the first decade of the 2000s is often referred to as 'the power vertical'. The term suggests a stable, streamlined and effective centre-led system. Yet, this image does not quite correspond with Russian reality. The system creates inefficiency, encourages corruption and is hostile towards bottom-up political initiative. The current leadership acknowledges that Russian stability is on shaky ground and therefore the system is in need of modernization. The economy is clearly a priority for the leadership: it believes that the political system's modernization should emerge gradually and in a highly controlled fashion from economic achievements. The current system in Russia is hostile to innovation and prone to corruption and therefore Medvedev's modernization plan is unlikely to succeed unless transparency and open competition within the system are considerably enhanced. This will be difficult to achieve because the elite benefits from the current corrupt and non-transparent system where the lines of responsibility are unclear. The West should not expect dramatic changes and radical liberal reforms in Russia. Western actors should, nevertheless, actively support and encourage economic and political reforms in the country and engage with it through international cooperation on specific issues such as anti-corruption policy. By stepping up its engagement with Russia, the West can demonstrate that a prosperous, competitive and modern Russia is also in the interests of the West.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Timo Behr, Aaretti Siitonen, Johanna Nykänen
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the Lisbon Treaty finally ratified, EU attention has now shifted towards the arduous task of implementing the treaty reforms. Central amongst these is a complete overhaul of the existing structures of EU foreign policy-making, providing the EU with a new "double-hatted" foreign policy chief—in the person of Catherine Ashton—and creating the European External Action Service (EEAS). Conceived as the EU's own diplomatic corps, the EEAS has been lauded as a "once in a generation opportunity" that will endow Europe with a greater voice and more influence in international affairs. But setting up the EEAS is proving more difficult than anticipated, with different European actors squabbling over composition and structure of the new institution. This should come as little surprise, given that the precise shape and detailed functions of the EEAS were all left to be negotiated during the implementation phase. Moreover, settling these issues entails more than just some fine-tuning of the EU's institutional structures: it requires a wholesale re-writing of the ground rules of European diplomacy. What is at stake in this process is not only how and by whom EU foreign policy is being made, but the nature and direction of European diplomacy itself.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Anna Korppoo, Thomas Spencer
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the lack of a global agreement in Copenhagen, momentum remains for the further development of EU climate policy, as indeed it does in many other countries. A 2010 Deutsche Bank report surveying the development of climate policies worldwide concluded that "…'the race is on' for countries to achieve a green economy". A wide range of EU initiatives on energy and climate are expected this year, providing opportunities to enhance the coherence and impact of EU policy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Toby Archer
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The British general election of 2010 has, despite all expectations, become a genuinely exciting and possibly ground-breaking event. If, as more and more opinion polls indicate, the outcome on May 7 is a hung parliament, with no one party having an overall majority, the result will reverberate through the British political system and onwards through European politics more generally. Until very recently, Britain's European partners were, like the British punditocracy, expecting a Conservative win and a new round of British Euroscepticism as a result. Now, the sudden rise of the Liberal Democrats, by far the most pro-EU of the three big British parties, is calling all that into question. This briefing looks at why a hung parliament is now possible and after considering the manifesto policies on European and foreign affairs of the three main parties, considers what it might mean for Britain's relations with the EU and wider world.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At first glance the EU's political system doesn't seem to correspond to any contemporary type of regime. There is a directly elected European Parliament (EP), but the way of constructing relations of power and accountability between the parliament and the three bodies with executive powers, the Commission, the European Council or the Council, complicates the picture. The Commission's accountability to the European Parliament has been confirmed in the founding treaties ever since their conclusion. But what is the value of such a rule when there seems to be a much more powerful executive emerging beyond the reach of any EU-level accountability, namely the European Council?
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The maritime border delimitation deal between Russia and Norway sensationally announced by President Dmitri Medvedev in Oslo on 27 April 2010 and signed in Murmansk on 15 September 2010 warrants a re-appraisal of Russia's Arctic policy. The penchant for sensationalism often spills over from the media into policy analysis, which recycles perceptions of the 'struggle for resources' reaching the intensity of a 'great Arctic game' and escalating into a 'new Cold War'. In reality, however, Moscow has not overstepped the rules of international law and has remained committed to the 'club regulations' of several Arctic institutions, so 2010 might set the trend towards a de-escalation of tensions in the High North. It would have been too simplistic to explain away the pronounced emphasis on cooperation in Russia's foreign policy with references to the impact of the economic recession, which has undercut the previous rise of ambitious self-assertiveness. Rather, the Arctic policy is shaped by a dynamic interplay of poorly compatible Russian interests and intentions, and this paper seeks to demonstrate that this interplay cannot be reduced to an equation of security imperatives and economic drivers because immaterial ideas add to its complexity.
  • Topic: Cold War, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Kaisa Korhonen
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The presidency of the Council of the European Union is still alive and rotating, albeit in a somewhat modified form, after the entering into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009. At the same time as the prerogatives of the Council presidency were decreased in number by the new treaty, it was overshadowed by two new political figures with presidential mandates–the President of the European Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The post-Lisbon role of the Council presidency was tentatively deemed politically unimportant and limited to administrative assistance only. After a year with the Treaty of Lisbon in place, a more nuanced analysis of this new role is, however, justified.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The adoption of the new energy efficiency legislation in Russia in 2009 has led to anticipation that a new exciting avenue of cooperation is about to open up in Russia-EU relations. The EU has been called upon to support the Russian initiatives as they would make its energy relations with Russia more stable. Furthermore, because both Russia and the EU are working towards the same goal of making their respective economies more energy efficient, the two are natural partners. This partnership is often postulated in terms of transferring European investments and technologies to Russia’s emerging energy efficiency market.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe