Search

Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The pressure is on for the defenders of the European Constitution. Although initially it seemed as if referenda would only be problematic in countries that have a reputation for a certain degree of Euroscepticism, now even France and the Netherlands look like unsafe candidates for public approval. While there is still a fair chance that a majority of the French will vote 'yes' when actually at the ballot box, there is an understandable nervousness among prointegrationists. A French 'no' would be the most serious obstacle that any one member state among those holding a referendum could create. In the likely case that other member states besides France then reject the text – possibly for entirely different or even opposing reasons – it would become extremely difficult to 'save' the Constitution in its entirety.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After the fall of Communism, Russia reverted to czarism. But more importantly, Russia embraced capitalism. Although not democratic, Russia is largely free. Property rights are more deeply anchored than they were five years ago, and the once-collectivist society is going private. Indeed, private consumption is the main driver of economic growth. Russia's future now depends heavily on how fast a middle class—a self-identified group with personal stakes in having a law-based government accountable to tax payers—can be created. The West needs to take the long view, stay engaged, and maximize contacts, especially with younger Russians.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's regime has gone through a major aggravation during the first year of President Vladimir Putin's second term. The regime suffers from serious overcentralization of power, which has led to a paralysis of policy making. Putin's power base has been shrunk to secret policemen from St. Petersburg. Although his popularity remains high, it is falling. Neither unbiased information nor negative feedback is accepted. As a result, the Putin regime is much more fragile than generally understood. Russia's current abandonment of democracy is an anomaly for such a developed and relatively wealthy country, and it has made Russia's interests part from those of the United States. The United States should not hesitate to promote democracy in Russia, while pragmatically pursuing common interests in nonproliferation and energy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Clear signs of political and economic stress have emerged from Europe in recent weeks. Rumors have circulated about discussions of a possible breakup of Europe's currency union, and one renegade Italian official, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni, expressed a wish that Italy could return to the lira in order to get some help from a weaker currency to relieve Italy's current recession. Perhaps more telling, 54 percent of Germans polled would like to abandon the euro and return to the deutschemark. Similarly, the inflationary impact of the move from the gilder to the euro was cited by many of the Dutch citizens who voted decisively against ratifying the European Constitution.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Michael S. Greve
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Berlin is far from Baghdad, and the Germans at least want to keep it that way. But for all the obvious differences, Germany's inconclusive election results and the impending constitutional referendum in Iraq point to some identical obstacles to effective and constitutional government. These obstacles are proportional representation and “cooperative federalism.” As it happens, well-meaning UN officials, NGOs, and U.S. advisers have been urging these constitutional arrangements upon numerous fledgling democracies, including Iraq. That may not be good advice.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Baghdad, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2004, Russia's minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov, announced plans to eliminate draft deferments for college students. Predictably, the popular reaction was so uniformly negative and furious that the abolition of deferments has been postponed—but not eliminated from the Kremlin's agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John Edwin Mroz
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Europe's policy makers currently face two key challenges: finding new methods for governments to work better together, and identifying new ways for businesses and civil society to protect the continent's citizens, infrastructure and economies from the threat of terrorism. The terrorist attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004 and London on 7 July 2005 were vivid reminders that not enough has been done.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, London
  • Author: Kristina Hadzi-Vasileva
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The areas constituting the GPKT micro-region (fYR Macedonia,1 Serbia and Kosovo) belong to some of the least developed countries in Europe. Transition to market economies has been delayed because of armed conflicts, exclusion from the international community during periods of conflict, as well as the slow process of privatization (in the case of fYR Macedonia and Serbia). Despite the fact they once used to be a part of a single country, the current connection between these areas is unfortunately their characterization of political instability and weak institutions, problems compounded by the common struggle to transform their respective economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia
  • Author: Catharina Sørensen, Anne Mette Vestergard
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Danish vote on the EU\'s Constitutional Treaty will take place on September 27. The Danes have been there before, but the referendum is a difficult discipline to master. Various aspects play a role and make predictions volatile. The present brief, updated regularly, takes a closer look at the Danish debate and its context.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Khairi Abaza
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 27, Hosni Mubarak will be sworn in for a fifth consecutive term as president of Egypt. Mubarak was reelected according to new electoral procedures introduced earlier this year that allowed for a competitive election between multiple candidates. The opposition, united in its calls for more democracy, criticized the reforms, claiming that they only aimed at strengthening the regime's grip on power. For his part, Mubarak pledged to introduce further political reforms during his fifth mandate. What would a reform program look like and what would its prospects be?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Egypt
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov on March 28 praised a roundtable on Chechnya held in Strasbourg on March 21 under the auspices of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Alkhanov called the meeting “constructive and productive” and said that the European community now understands that the political situation in Chechnya has entered a new stage, Itar-Tass reported. “We did not stand on totally different positions, as it used to be before; indeed, we had a dialogue,” said Alkhanov, who was attending a meeting of the council of the heads of the Southern Federal District's constituent republics in Kislovodsk. The people of Chechnya, Alkhanov said, have unambiguously declared their wish to build a peaceful future as part of the Russian Federation, adding that the “doors are open for those who want to take part in this peaceful, constructive process.” He also said that former members of the pro-separatist parliament of the mid-1990s will participate in the Chechen parliamentary elections scheduled for this autumn. “The fact that so many of the former members of [the late separatist leader Aslan] Maskhadov's government are working in the Chechen government shows that we are adherents of peaceful policies, which have been decided by the people,” Alkhanov said. “If we agree that the people's wish is the determining factor, one has to take this into account. We are ready to accept anybody who adheres to this policy.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Economic policy in the euro area pursues the objectives of achieving solid economic growth, a better performance of labour markets and restoring sound public finances in the context of a single monetary policy which aims at maintaining price stability. Although inflation has remained just above the ECB's definition of price stability, longer-term inflation expectations remain firmly anchored to price stability. However, progress towards the other goals has been disappointing thus far partly owing to adverse shocks such as higher oil prices or exchange rate shifts. On unchanged policies and with population ageing the euro area's potential output growth is set to decelerate over the next decades and eventually stabilises at around 1% per annum by about 2020, as illustrated in the following scenario:
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Recent and prospective growth performance is good. The Greek economy has continued to grow vigorously, buoyed especially by low nominal and real interest rates and an expansionary fiscal policy stance, largely reflecting public works in preparation for the Olympic Games in 2004. The outlook is for some slowing activity in the near term, triggered by fiscal consolidation, but a subsequent pick-up in growth thereafter. However, inflation is likely to remain above the euro-area average, to a certain extent eroding Greece's international competitiveness. Fiscal consolidation is the main priority. The fiscal audit, performed by the new government in close collaboration with Eurostat has revealed a very loose fiscal policy since the late 1990s, culminating in a general government deficit of 6% of GDP in 2004. The government debt-to-GDP ratio has remained stubbornly above 100%, despite uninterrupted strong growth during the past eleven years. Reining in government deficits is of vital importance both to meet the fiscal objectives of EMU, and to prepare for demographically-related budget pressures that will start emerging in a decade's time. Moreover, sustained high public debt makes Greece relatively more vulnerable to changes in interest rates and market sentiment, while it's servicing threatens to crowd out public spending in areas important for Greece's ambitions to reach income levels elsewhere in the EU.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Swedish economy has undergone impressive changes and has delivered a remarkable surge in productivity since the mid-1990s. Consequently, per capita incomes are slowly making up the ground lost in earlier decades. Labour market performance, however, has been less inspiring. Employment rates have yet to recover to their 1990 peaks and hours of work need to increase to support the welfare state.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The Spanish economy has enjoyed many years of brisk growth and has recovered swiftly from the recent international slowdown. Activity has been boosted by low interest rates and strong job creation, and underpinned by structural reforms and a sound fiscal policy. As a result, the income gap with the euro area steadily narrowed. However, tensions have arisen that could undermine the strong growth performance as inflation is relatively high, eroding competitiveness, while the surge in house prices does not yet show signs of abating. Also productivity gains have remained meagre and unemployment is still high.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The dominant challenge for Belgium in the years to come is to prepare for population ageing. This entails putting in place policies to attenuate its effects on economic growth and public finances. The few years left before large numbers of baby boomers retire provide a window of opportunity to push ahead with such policies and so preserve the essential elements of the system of social protection. First, further budget consolidation is required to put public finances on a sustainable path. Second, reforms are needed to increase employment rates, especially for the older working age-population, school leavers and ethnic minorities, and to slow the decline in working time. Finally, reforms are required to raise productivity growth.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Lawrence Uzzell
  • Publication Date: 03-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Pro-Moscow security agencies in Chechnya won a major victory on March 7 with the surrender of Magomed Khambiev, minister of defense in the underground separatist government of Aslan Maskhadov. Many, though not all, reports of this event in the Russian media have failed to mention the key tactical method by which this victory was apparently achieved: The systematic targeting, kidnapping and torture of the Khambiev family's relatives.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Deregulating labour markets – for example making it easier for firms to hire and fire employees – is at the heart of the employment debate in many OECD countries. Laws on firing or layoffs and other employment protection regulations are thought by many to be a key factor in generating labour market "rigidity", as well as one reason for the large differences in labour market performance among OECD countries, notably between the United States and some of the larger European countries.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Convergence of the Portuguese economy toward the more advanced OECD economies seems to have halted in recent years, leaving a significant gap in per capita incomes. The proximate cause is low labour productivity, as employment rates across the board are substantially higher than the EU average. Nor is there a shortage of capital goods in aggregate. But capital equipment in the business sector is not always efficiently used or allocated, and new technologies are not readily adopted. Furthermore, the Portuguese labour force – even its younger members – have had less formal education than workers in other EU countries, including among the new entrants from Central and Eastern Europe, and workers in Portugal also have less access to training than in many other countries. Traditional Portuguese low value-added highly labourintensive products now face increasing competition from developing countries and from the new EU entrants.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Willy Lam, Richard A. Bitzinger, Alexandr Nemets, Enzio Von Pfeil
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: China Brief, The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In April, the European Union (EU) dodged a bullet by refusing to take up the issue of overturning its 15-year-old ban on selling arms to China. Supporters of lifting the embargo, led by France and Germany, are unlikely to abandon their quest, however, and the issue will likely come up again for review, perhaps as early as this summer. If it lifts the ban, the EU risks further damaging a transatlantic alliance already strained over Iraq and other issues, with very little likelihood that its defense industry would see much, if any, benefit.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Israel