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  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Greening the huge Corona recovery investments and the revised Multi Annual Framework is marketed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The European Commission is keeping its Green Deal ideas at the heart of its Next Generation EU package, but meanwhile the recovery measures of individual Member States are aimed mostly at ensuring the jobs and businesses of the grey economy. Moreover, an east-west divide is emerging over the Commissions’ green ambitions. Successful implementation will certainly depend on the steering authority the Commission might acquire. This policy brief analyses the effectiveness of key steering instruments available to the Commission. And it analyses how this effectiveness is influenced by the political context of the European Council.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Green Technology, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alban Dafa, Wouter Zweers
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: In recent years the Netherlands has voiced security-related concerns about the involvement of Albanians nationals in organised crime in the Netherlands. These concerns culminated in a request to the European Commission to suspend visa-free travel for Albanians to the EU. This policy brief argues that the current Dutch approach does not provide the best means to address issues of organised crime, such as drug trafficking, related to Albanian nationals. It identifies several inadequacies in the crime data used to substantiate the Dutch position and the way Dutch authorities publicly communicate them. It posits that greater bilateral cooperation beyond the EU accession framework could improve efforts to fight transnational organised crime effectively. The opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania may offer a window of opportunity to formulate a constructive agenda of cooperation beyond the formal EU enlargement framework. This policy brief was written by Alban Dafa from the Institute for Democracy and Mediation and Wouter Zweers (the Clingendael Institute).
  • Topic: Security, Law Enforcement, Transnational Actors, Organized Crime
  • Political Geography: Europe, Albania, Netherlands
  • Author: Maaike Okano-Heijmans
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Connectivity is high on the EU’s agenda, but its digital dimension remains underdeveloped. The short paragraph on digital in the EU connectivity strategy is telling. The EU’s distinct approach to digital connectivity – with a focus on the internal market, rule-making and development – differs from similar strategies, particularly China and its Digital Silk Road. "Now is the time to act on digital connectivity's practical as well as strategic elements of hard infrastructure and business operations." Needed, now, is a comprehensive strategic vision that spurs action on all three practical elements of digital connectivity – namely, telecommunications infrastructure, business and regulation – and gives strategic guidance in the political and even securitized sense, and not only from a market perspective. Read the full Policy Brief by Senior Research Fellow Maaike Okano-Heijmans.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Infrastructure, European Union, Digital Cooperation
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This is the second Clingendael Policy Brief on climate policy development in the Netherlands. The first 'Are the Dutch going Green' was published in January 2019 and dealt with the political context and policy proposals made between autumn 2017 and the end of 2018. This policy brief focuses on the most recent developments until mid-September 2019. During this period the Dutch Parliament adopted a Climate Bill, provincial elections were won by a climate-sceptical party, and political agreement was reached on a comprehensive package of climate policies: the national Climate Agreement. This agreement, referred to as the ‘biggest refurbishment of the Netherlands since the Second World War’, was pre-cooked in an extensive negotiating process between government and civil society. The policies target especially the industrial, energy, transportation, housing and agriculture sectors. A key element of the societal debate focused on the costs of climate policies and how they should be allocated. In order to hammer out a political deal, the Dutch government had to change key assumptions of its constituting coalition agreement of 2017, and adjust some of the proposals developed by civil society, notably those favoured by industry. A lesson learned from the Dutch case is that setting ambitions may be relatively easy, but translating them into effective climate action is a tougher job, particularly when political decisions have to be taken on who will pay for what.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands
  • Author: Ana Uzelac
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: European Union (EU) policies towards Africa have in the past years experienced a shift away from forging relations based on trade and development, to cooperation based on and measured by the successes of joint migration management. This shift has been producing often controversial outcomes for the EU, African countries and migrants themselves. Just under four years since the pivotal Valetta Summit on migration, the evidence base of these policies’ poor human rights record is growing, as is the evidence base on their localised adverse economic and societal impact. The impact of EU policies on the regional integration processes in Africa – once a pillar of the EU’s Africa strategy – has, however, not yet been sufficiently documented. But the emerging evidence and policy analysis strongly suggest that the EU policies in West Africa have the power to create incentives and even localised policy outcomes that could in the medium term challenge ECOWAS commitments to freedom of movement, and in that way also likely slow down the processes of regional economic and political integration. Paradoxically, the EU policies aimed at curbing migration may thus also end up slowing down the development processes in West Africa that the EU perceives as one of the key approaches to tackling the root causes of migration.4 It may also lead to a weakening of the existing economic coping mechanisms within these countries, and thereby potentially also to increased migratory pressures. This policy brief, by Ana Uzelac, looks at the emerging patchwork of evidence around the impact of EU migration policies on regional integration in West Africa, with a view to offering initial advice to policy-makers on how to prevent the outcomes that could slow down the economic development of the countries of West Africa, further weaken the EU’s human rights record abroad and undermine the long-term goal of sustainable managing migratory pressures on the continent. Download publication.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, European Union, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, West Africa
  • Author: Frans-Paul van der Putten
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: China’s role as a global investor and financier has grown rapidly in recent decades, nowhere more so than in Europe. In 2017, a full quarter of China’s outbound foreign direct investment was destined for Europe. China has stepped up promotion of its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with Europe as its final destination, ever greater flows of investment in Eurasian connectivity are on offer. However, in recent years scepticism about rising flows of Chinese investment into the EU has grown. This report aims to carefully scrutinize the linkage between Chinese investment in Europe and China’s influence in the region and provides a nuanced and careful analysis that goes beyond the alarmism and polarization that dominates so much of the recent discussion about China’s role in Europe. It is based on a series of case studies examining a Chinese port investment in Greece, a Chinese-financed rail project in Hungary and Serbia, and two Chinese acquisition deals in the Netherlands. Thus, the authors shed light on the motives behind these individual Chinese investments and financial packages, including the interests of both the Chinese and the host governments and firms involved, evaluating what, if any, Chinese “influence” can be linked to the deals. According to the findings, the specific terms of each investment or loan package are dependent on the individual circumstances of the countries and firms involved. In each case there is an identifiable commercial basis for the Chinese investment, but economic and political viability of each deal varies.
  • Topic: Globalization, Investment, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: With the boost that has been given to the EU’s defence policy, some of the St. Malo reflexes have reoccurred in Washington. Mostly, there are some misgivings in the United States about the exact meaning of ‘European strategic autonomy’, as it featured in the 2016 EU Global Strategy. But also in Europe, it is not clear what strategic autonomy means. In light of the increasing uncertainty among the EU and European NATO-members about the solidity of the American security guarantees, strategic autonomy gains a new quality. If Europe were forced ‘to go it alone’, what would that take, both in terms of conventional and nuclear capabilities?
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Margriet Drent
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: With the boost that has been given to the EU’s defence policy, some of the St. Malo reflexes have reoccurred in Washington. Mostly, there are some misgivings in the United States about the exact meaning of ‘European strategic autonomy’, as it featured in the 2016 EU Global Strategy. But also in Europe, it is not clear what strategic autonomy means. In light of the increasing uncertainty among the EU and European NATO-members about the solidity of the American security guarantees, strategic autonomy gains a new quality. If Europe were forced ‘to go it alone’, what would that take, both in terms of conventional and nuclear capabilities? In her latest Policy Brief author Margriet Drent concludes that European countries face a dilemma: they have to simultaneously invest in their strategic autonomy and in keeping the United States committed to their security.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, European Union, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Peter van Ham
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Today, political relations between the West and Russia have entered a new mini-Ice Age, existing arms control arrangements are either dysfunctional or simply not used, and both sides are improving their military readiness. The obvious question that needs to be raised is whether, and if so how, these escalating tensions can be contained, or even reduced? This Policy Brief offers insight into the most pressing concerns, focusing on areas and issues where matters could escalate fastest. It asks what role can still be foreseen for arms control and concludes with a call for transatlantic unity and a stronger role for NATO to counter Russia’s military and geopolitical gambit. It suggests that the classic two-pronged “Harmel approach” (based on deterrence and détente) should be restored. This includes a mix of US-Russian high summitry and the revitalisation of the NATO-Russia Council as part of a broad and far-reaching (military) risk reduction process.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia