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  • Author: Gary T. Dempsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Since September 11, 2001, there have been calls from various quarters to embrace nation building as a tool for combating terrorism. The logic behind the idea is that “good” states do not do “bad” things, so Washington should build more “good” states. That idea, however, relies on several dubious assumptions—for example, that embarking on multiple nation-building missions will reduce the potential for anti-American terrorism. If anything, nation building is likely to create more incentives, targets, and opportunities for terrorism, not fewer. The nation-building idea also draws on false analogies with the past. For example, some people assert that Europe's experience under the Marshall Plan can be readily duplicated in a whole host of countries and that, with enough economic aid, trained bureaucrats, and military force of arms, “bad” states anywhere can be transformed into open, self-sustaining, peaceful states.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe, Washington
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The rotating EU presidency this week passed from the Swedish to the Belgian government. The Belgian presidency faces a considerable test of nerve as it attempts to square its constitutional ambitions for further political integration with the increasing unpredictability of European public opinion. The new public mood of caution towards European integration has resulted in a notable ambivalence on the part of Verhofstadt. While stressing the importance of a completely open debate, Verhofstadt is also using the more closed approach of close consultation between governments and their representatives in preparing keynote proposals for the Laeken European Council, which, in reality, is the only way of reaching solutions.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The proposed takeover bids directive may be lost unless the differences between the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of Ministers are resolved by June 6. The ongoing negotiations between the Council and the EP in the conciliation committee may be made more difficult by Germany's recent decision to renege on the Council common position on the directive. The move was received with incomprehension in other EU member states. Germany so far stands alone in its attempt to change the directive. Nevertheless, its decision could give MEPs enough ammunition to avoid a compromise in the conciliation committee, and hence to allow the directive to fail. More importantly, Germany's decision also draws attention to the various level-playing field issues still to be addressed in the area of corporate control through greater harmonisation of company law.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The outcome of last Sunday's general election is now clear. Although the centre-right has won substantial majorities in both houses of parliament, both the Alleanza Nazionale and the Northern League suffered setbacks. The League failed to pass the threshold needed to qualify for a share of the quarter of seats in the Chamber of Deputies allocated by proportional representation. For the time being, Forza Italia, and therefore Berlusconi, who dominates the party, is in firm control of the centre-right coalition. If Berlusconi can retain his authority over the coalition for the next five years, it could assist in stabilising a still highly-fractured and potentially unstable party system.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Caspar Fithin
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Congressional criticism of 'Plan Colombia's' military component, and the advent of a new administration in Washington, are likely to lead to a strategic review of US policy. The outcome may be a policy that is less military focused, more regionally oriented, and based on closer cooperation with other aid donors. It has become increasingly clear that Plan Colombia can only be implemented if the EU and its member states are prepared to increase their financial contribution. This will give the Europeans considerable leverage, and they are likely to use it to insist on a less militarised approach. However, even with a change in policy emphasis, the prospects of success will remain poor.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Washington, Colombia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Ulster Unionist Council re-elected David Trimble as its leader on Saturday but by an unexpectedly narrow majority of 57% to 43%. The party also voted to retain the name and insignia of the Royal Ulster Constabulary — the predominantly Protestant police force in the province — a precondition, along with an IRA commitment to decommissioning, a precondition for restructuring an all-party executive that was suspended two months ago. These are impractical terms for negotiations. The Good Friday agreement is now functionally defunct.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ireland
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's new State Duma ended its first day's work in an uproar on January 18. An unlikely alliance of pro-Communist and pro-Kremlin parties was in control of the chamber's agenda, while an equally improbable alliance of smaller factions vowed not to participate in the running of the chamber until their demands for a greater say were met. This unpromising start presents acting President Vladimir Putin with both a short-term boost and a fresh political challenge. It also highlights one of Boris Yeltsin's more surprising political legacies.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The formal position of the United Kingdom government that it favours entry into the European single currency 'in principle', but subject to five economic tests and popular sanction in a referendum, masks increasingly deep splits among senior ministers as to what exactly this formula means in terms of practical timing. A profound disagreement between the treasury and the foreign office, personified and led by their respective politicians, exists and is likely to intensify both in the run-up to the next UK election and throughout the next parliamentary term.
  • Topic: Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Health, and not wealth, should be the decisive criterion when considering the prospects of the Central and Eastern European candidates for EU membership and the capacity of the EU to enlarge. Viewed from this perspective, the outlook is promising. The CEECs are still very poor, compared to most of the existing EU members, but they are also much more dynamic. Their growth rates are generally expected to remain around 4-5% for the foreseeable future, compared to about 2-3% for the EU. This still implies that full catch-up in terms of GDP per capita will take decades, rather than years, but full catch-up is not the relevant goal if one is concerned about enlargement. Experience in the EU has shown that problems are much more likely to arise from established rich member countries with stagnant economies (Belgium in the 1980s and part of the 1990s) than poor, but more dynamic states (e.g. Portugal and Ireland today). The fact that most of the so-called 'periphery' is now experiencing stronger growth than the 'core' confirms that EU integration benefits poorer countries even more.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Jorge Nuñez Ferrer
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Berlin Summit has been concluded with the suspicious outcome in which every Head of State declares victory. The tone is not so victorious by the Presidency, however, which honestly declared that Germany didn't “win the lottery”. There is reason for suspicion if, after long and arduous discussions to reform policies and reduce EU expenditure, member states declare satisfaction at the result. Something must be amiss, if painful reforms appear not to hurt. In fact, after preliminary calculations and some political considerations, there are grounds to suspect that the reforms proposed are less than satisfactory.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Walt Patterson
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: As governments around the world liberalize their electricity systems, they are overturning the guiding principles that have shaped electricity for the past century. Yet they continue to regard electricity as a public service. The consequent inconsistencies and contradictions are already evident, and intensifying. This Briefing Paper outlines the implications. It is based on a research project now under way in the Energy and Environmental Programme, entitled Keeping the Lights On: Public Service in Liberalized Electricity. For details please see the back page.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: David Bright
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: One of the most interesting consequences of the development of the European Union has been the stimulus it has given in recent years to the rediscovery of region within European states. As the supra-state functions of the European institutions in Brussels have burgeoned and the intrinsic sovereignty of the state in Europe has declined, so regions have acquired an ever greater social and political significance. Of course, in some cases, the state was traditionally federal in nature—as with Germany\'s Länder system—and, politically at least, regional aspirations have been satisfied. In the past two decades, however, regional aspirations have expanded into social and cultural spheres that require a new, defined political context. Even in such long-established states as the United Kingdom, such pressures now have to be acknowledged as sub-state factors enter into the complex array of political elements that go to make up the contemporary Union. In this context the Spanish experience is illuminating, both in the way it demonstrates how such tendencies should be accommodated and in the way in which regional populations respond. It is, in fact, a paradigm for a development that will become inevitable and universal as the power of the state declines within the wider structures of contemporary \'Euroland\'.
  • Topic: Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The agreement reached in the Council of EU Finance Ministers (Ecofin) on 1 December 1997 on taxation policy can be considered as a landmark in EU direct tax harmonisation. The Council agreed on a package of measures to combat harmful tax competition in the EU, including a code of conduct on corporate taxation and elements which should enable the Commission to draft a new proposal for a directive on the taxation of income from savings. The Council invited the Taxation Policy Group to continue its work and instituted a Review Group to assess harmful tax competition. The first and, until now, last EU measures in the area of direct taxation date back to 1990. These abolished double taxation between enterprises of the same group.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ralph Negrine
  • Publication Date: 07-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The last decade of the 20th century has apparently seen a profound change in the way in which European media handle their reporting of the political process. It is a process which marks an end to the formality and sense of obligation with which parliamentary debates and the activities of individual politicians have traditionally been treated. It has been paralleled by far-reaching changes in the ways in which politicians seek to influence their electorate. This briefing paper summarizes the findings of a comprehensive study that attempts to quantify what these changes in presentation of news and information might really mean.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Peter D. Sutherland
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Overseas Development Council
  • Abstract: Good afternoon. Thank you, Sir Jeremy, for that kind introduction. I am honored, not merely to have been selected to deliver this year's Per Jacobsson lecture, but by the presence of so many distinguished guests. I am also delighted that two previous Per Jacobsson lecturers could be here this afternoon, and I would like to recognize them: Jacques de Larosiere, the former Managing Director of the IMF and more recently the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Joseph Yam, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
  • Topic: Economics, Globalization, Government, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe