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  • Author: Julia Hamann
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: More fragmented than ever, Europe is at a crossroads, making the 2019 European Parliament election an immensely political event. Stakes are high for Emmanuel Macron, Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orbán, all of whom could shake up the balance of power in the EP. Macron has lost much of his initial vigor, and the disruptive potential of Salvini and Orbán is significant. If played well, their combined power could send shock waves across all European institutions
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia Hamann, Sara Jakob
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: For many young people in France, President Macron’s reforms failed to alleviate their social anxieties. Unemployment remains high, employment conditions precarious, and what started as a protest against new fuel taxes quickly spilled over to other reform areas including social policy. Macron will need to gain the youngsters’ trust ahead of the European Parliament election – not least because its outcome will decisively shape his domestic credibility, and consequently, his political fate
  • Topic: International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna-Lena Kirch, Daniel Braun
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Germany considers itself a leading European power that utilizes its influence to promote EU cohesion in the face of Brexit and numerous other crises. However, a different picture emerges in European health policy, an area that is not only being discussed as an essential part of the EU’s social dimension but also in the context of its security and development positioning: Far from shaping the discussion, Germany is at times even perceived as the brakeman to an effective European health policy.
  • Topic: Health, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: China’s increased engagement in Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe has aroused concerns in Europe that China is pursuing a divisive strategy. Its primary goal, however, is to use the region as a gateway to Western Europe’s markets while including the EU in its own Eurasian integration project; in Beijing’s view, a robust regulatory EU is doubtless preferable to a fragmented Europe. China’s deepening involvement in the region could nevertheless increase economic divisions within the EU as whole. As a trade triangle emerges involving China, Germany, and the Visegrad states, the “German-Central European manufacturing core” potentially stands to gain at the expense of the EU’s Atlantic and southern European member states. Germany must address this risk with a triple strategy that balances national interest, EU cohesion, and engagement with China. This involves, first, working with the Visegrad Four, with other European countries, and with EU institutions to forge a deeper and more effective cooperation with China to enhance transport connectivity and economic modernization, particularly in the Western and Eastern Balkans. Second, Germany should increase pressure on China to open up the Chinese domestic market to ensure mutual access. And third, it should promote forward-looking European industrial policy centered on the digitalization of value and supply chains for Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe. This would allow Germany to prevent intra-European divisions from deepening, while taking advantage of its triangular relations with China and the countries of Central Europe and fostering mutually advantageous integration across Eurasia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Sergey Markedonov
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus continues to be critically important to Eurasian security. The outbreak of fighting in April 2016 between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh introduced new uncertainty and confrontation to the region. Russia’s policies here are crucial, as they are in the region’s other ethno-political conflicts, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Sergey Markedonov offers an insider’s perspective on the Kremlin’s involvement in the region, highlighting its security concerns and stressing that Russia is not taking a universal approach to all of the post-Soviet conflict zones. While the “Western” political and expert community often assumes that territorial revisionism is a kind of idée fixe within Russia, this is far from the case. Each situation demands an indi- vidual response from Moscow, as it weighs and pursues its own interests. This in turn explains the improbability of “Crimean situations” multiplying in the South Caucasus. The region undoubtedly harbors risks of confrontation – not only between Russia and the countries of the immediate region but also with such large powers as the US, the EU, Turkey, and Iran – but it also holds several opportunities for cooperation.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Daniela Schwarzer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: A Macron presidency could be the last chance for liberal-minded politicians to reform France and the EU. Failure to do so may pave the way in ve years’ time for a far-right or far-left president who would then begin undoing the EU
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Hans Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) faces a double challenge. The transformation of post-Soviet countries it was designed to support has largely failed to emerge. In its place, a conflict with Russia has arisen for which the EaP was unprepared. This spells a dilemma. Rather than support EaP governments on the basis of their reform records, the EU is tempted to back them for the geopoli- tical choices they have made (namely, for their professed pro-European positions). In the long run, however, the EaP cannot succeed without delivering on its “trans- formational agenda.” Even in countries that have already signed Association Ag- reements with the EU, the ultimate success of the EaP is in question. This analysis describes the EaP’s “transformational challenge.” It argues that geopolitical com- petition with Russia was neither avoidable nor will it be easy to overcome. The key obstacle to change, however, is not geopolitical competition but the veto power of vested interests within EaP countries themselves. Since this veto power marks a crucial difference from conditions that prevailed in EU enlargements in Central Europe, the EaP’s response must apply a different transformational logic. The EU must go beyond merely supporting reforms in the EaP and effectively take co- responsibility for them. This involves upgrading the principle of conditionality and getting involved more directly in implementation. The paper concludes by stressing the importance of human resources in state institutions and proposes concrete measures for appointing and retaining qualified personnel and, particularly, inde- pendent leaders for key law enforcement and regulatory bodies.
  • Topic: Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe
  • Author: Maria Ramos, Carlos Victoria
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Youth unemployment rates in Spain are considerably higher than the European average. Moreover, those young people who do have jobs generally work under extremely unstable conditions on temporary contracts. Most of these temporary contracts are “involuntary” – workers would prefer to nd permanent jobs but are unable to do so. The consequences of this job insecurity in Spain are dramatic. Across the educational spectrum, young workers are at greater risk of remaining unemployed, getting stuck in temporary contracts for long periods of time, experiencing wage penalties, or being over-quali ed for their jobs. The crisis has increased the overall risk of long-term poverty and social exclusion, particularly for youth with migrant backgrounds and those who are not in education, employ- ment, or training. The paper concludes by outlining the three most urgent objec- tives for the Spanish labor market today: bridging the gap between education and work; developing active labor market policies; and reducing labor market segmen- tation between workers with temporary and permanent contracts and between “insiders” and “outsiders.”
  • Topic: Youth Culture, Employment
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Iryna Solonenko
  • Publication Date: 05-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In the two years since its “Revolution of Dignity” – also known as Euromaidan – Ukraine has launched important reform initiatives. Most of them are still in the inception phase, however, and much remains to be done to ensure their sustainability. The past two years have made clear the enormity of the challenge Ukraine faces in its transformation. At the same time, it has also shown unprece- dentedly strong determination on the part of new reform-minded actors to overhaul the old system. Ukraine today can best understood as a battlefield: the old system and its structures are fighting for their survival, as new actors – from both within the system and outside it – push for a new social contract. This struggle is taking place on an everyday basis at different levels, national and local, in a number of different reform areas. External actors can best contribute by giving stronger sup- port to reformers while promoting development of institutions that limit the space for vested interests to persist. Special attention should be paid to enforcing and implementing already adopted decisions and new laws that change the rules of the game.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Stefan Meister
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Germany-Poland-Russia Trialogue Workshop held at the DGAP in December 2015 focused on security. It brought together a group of Russian, Pol- ish, and German experts to discuss their respective national security discourses and the security situation in Europe more generally. The three short papers includ- ed here provide brief analyses of how the security situation is currently perceived in each of the three countries. From the German side, the answer was the refugee crisis. Polish experts pointed to the threat posed by Russia, while the Russian speakers described their worries about color revolutions and regime change in the post-Soviet sphere. Certainly, perceptions of security threats differ greatly among EU member states, to say nothing of the difference between Russia and the EU as a whole. Only real understanding of our counterparts can help in forging a new modus vivendi and overcoming the dangerous situation in which Europe currently nds itself. The Germany-Poland-Russia Trialogues aim to forge better understand- ing of “the other side” through presentations and opportunities for discussion, offering crucial rst steps toward overcoming misperceptions and stereotypes. The Trialogue meets regularly under the aegis of the DGAP (German Council on Foreign Relations), IMEMO (Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations Russian Academy of Sciences), and PISM (Polish Institute of International Affairs) and in cooperation with and nancial support from SDPZ (Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Warsaw office
  • Topic: International Security
  • Political Geography: Europe