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  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the Spitzenkandidaten process, the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Commission – and particularly their leaders – has strengthened. This inter- institutional connection also has a party-political dimension, being intrinsically linked to the emergence of a ‘grand coalition’ between the two biggest groups of the EP. However, in an EU beset by crises, the political agenda is firmly under the control of the member states and the European Council, which makes it difficult for the EP to take advantage of its closer relationship with the Commission, as the latter acts very cautiously.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Affairs, Democracy, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Katja Creutz
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Targeted sanctions are political acts that infringe upon the enjoyment of fundamental rights by designated individuals and entities, especially the rights of defence and the right to an effective remedy. Increasing international attention has therefore been paid to the legal implications of targeted sanctions. Targeted sanctions must meet basic standards of fair and clear procedures not only to guarantee the rights of individuals, but also in order to be a credible and effective foreign policy tool. To date, concerns over fair treatment have been addressed in a fragmented and piecemeal way. Judicial review before European courts has provided an important incentive for change, especially for the creation of the office of the UN Ombudsperson. A holistic approach should be developed, which not only emphasizes retrospective review of sanctions, but would also address concerns in the initial phase of their adoption. Increased attention should be paid to the use of confidential information and the right of designated individuals to receive information. Efforts to strengthen legality aspects in the use of targeted sanctions must take account of the circumstances in which these measures are taken. Concerns for international peace and security, and especially for the authority of the Security Council, must be balanced against the protection of fundamental rights.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The new EU leadership has restructured the way the European Commission manages its external relations. The High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, was formally put in charge of coordinating the work of the Commissioners' Group on External Action and relocated her offices to the Commission building. Under the new approach, the Commission aims to be more closely involved in the preparation of Foreign Affairs Council meetings. Regular meetings of external action Commissioners are supposed to foster a common position, as well as increase the Commission input on sectoral policies and instruments ahead of ministerial meetings. In the face of the gravitational shift towards the Commission, it is in the interests of member states to ensure that the EEAS remains, despite all its teething troubles, the political hub of EU external relations, and to invest in its development accordingly. An in-depth examination of the externally relevant policies within the remit of the Commission reveals that, across all issues, EU foreign policy can improve by a joint approach combining the political perspective of the EEAS with the sectoral expertise of the Commission.
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Antto Vihma, Harro van Asselt
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Notwithstanding the incremental steps taken in October 2013, meaningful action on regulating international aviation emissions through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) remains a distant prospect. The European Union (EU) must decide on its aviation Directive without the guarantee of a global market-based mechanism being agreed in 2016. The strong and uncompromising positions of countries opposed to the inclusion of foreign airlines in the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) are more related to a realist game of politics rather than to the design details of the policy instrument. The political and legal arguments against the European Commission's proposal to amend the EU ETS vis à vis aviation emissions are unconvincing. Europe should also insist on its own sovereign rights-such as the right to regulate international aviation in its own airspace-and consider ways of manifesting more assertiveness in the future in order not to create a precedent with the retreat in the Aviation Directive case. Otherwise, the EU ma y become vulnerable to pressure in other areas of regulation with extraterritorial implications, and the EU's credibility when faced with strong and coordinated external influences might be undermined.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Health, Treaties and Agreements, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Reforms made to the EU's economic and fiscal policies have served to reinforce the fragmentation of the division of competences between the EU and its member states in this field. It has also impacted the way in which these competences are exerted by the European and national institutions. Resulting from a differentiation of responsibilities between the eurozone countries and the rest of the EU, fragmentation is increasingly taking place even inside the EU institutions. The current fragmentation of competences and institutions complicates the democratic scrutiny of economic and fiscal policies. The biggest challenge is to accommodate the differentiated responsibilities of the eurozone countries and the rest of the EU within the framework of existing institutions in a w ay that would ensure the unity of this framework, but also the proper democratic anchoring of the EU's economic and fiscal powers.
  • Topic: Economics, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Janne Salminen, Päivi Leino
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The actual need for Treaty amendments is open to interpretation, for example in relation to the inclusion of the recent euro crisis-related international agreements in EU law. These questions are partly political in nature, and linked to the wider legitimacy of the EU and the integrity and clarity of its legal system. The full realization of the Commission's vision for the future of the EMU would require Treaty changes in order to revise the nature of competence in the area of economic policy and the general framework of cooperation. The recent discussion on the euro crisis measures has demonstrated that many member states have constitutional 'red lines' relating, for example, to the exercise of budgetary powers or sovereignty. It seems unlikely that these hurdles will be overcome in the short term.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ever since the founding of the Republic in 1923, the idea of making Turkey a European country has been a major component of the nation-building project, although Europe has also been perceived as a threat. The incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) embarked on an EU-inspired reform project at first, but has subsequently taken an increasingly anti-European position. Turkey's EU bid under the AKP government needs to be seen within the context of the domestic power struggle, whose origins can be traced to two opposing modernization alternatives: radical and Islamic. Within the domestic power struggle, the AKP has used the EU process as a tool to de-legitimize the secularist state elite-lite, composed of the armed forces and the judiciary. After having consolidated its hegemony, the AKP abandoned its EU aspirations, and there is currently very little societal pressure from the AKP constituency to continue the EU reforms.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Regime Change, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Sanna Salo
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the May 2014 European Parliament elections, Eurosceptic parties mobilized on a new cleavage between the winners and losers of globalization, which mainstream parties have neglected. The Eurosceptic surge should not be regarded merely as populism or protest, but a legitimate articulation of concerns about the new economic underclass - the globalization losers. The articulation of the new cleavage varies according to domestic political contexts and traditions: in France, the Front National mobilized on themes of ethnic unity and national sovereignty; in Germany, the Alternative für Deutschland raised concerns over monetary independence in the eurozone, while in the UK, UKIP campaigned with anti-immigration and economic welfare themes. Since the EP elections, the Eurosceptics have seemed intent on polishing their images and on being perceived as respectable office-seeking parties, both in the EP and at domestic levels. Respectability requires a non-xenophobic agenda: in the EP, other Eurosceptics refused to cooperate with the FN due to the party's anti-semitic past; yet the AfD, mobilizing on a more economic agenda, managed to join the ECR group dominated by British Conservatives, while UKIP managed to reform its EFD group.
  • Topic: Globalization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristi Raik, Juha Jokela, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has responded to the Ukraine crisis with a set of political and economic sanctions against Russia which constitute a qualitatively new step in the EU sanctions policy. The EU sanctions against Russia are exceptional and have strategic importance due to a combination of three factors: big power rivalry, the context of a major European crisis with global ramifications, and the costs of the sanctions for the EU itself. The EU has managed to maintain its fragile unity and has applied its collective diplomatic and economic weight in very difficult circumstances. The sanctions have not provided an alternative to diplomatic efforts to solve the crisis - on the contrary, hardening sanctions have been used as a way to put pressure on Russia to seriously engage in diplomacy. The impact of the sanctions on daily developments in Ukraine has been limited and uncertain, but the sanctions have imposed a long-term cost on Russia for violating key international norms. The policy process of Russia sanctions has exposed problems of leadership and coordination. The latest reform of the EU foreign policy machinery has streamlined the preparation of sanctions, but the current system still lacks the necessary resources to match the growing importance of the EU sanctions policy.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Power Politics, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis has reminded Europeans of the importance of defence policy, thus amplifying the main message of the December 2013 European Council on security and defence. Many of the proposals put forward by the December summit are currently being worked on, but the Ukraine crisis creates additional challenges for the EU, highlighting the strategic divergence within the Union and posing fundamental questions about its role as a security provider. Regarding concrete achievements, the EU's defence ministers recently adopted a policy framework for systematic and long-term defence cooperation, and the Commission has also begun to work energetically towards achieving its key objectives in the defence sector. Ultimately, however, the success of the EU's efforts will depend on the commitment of the member states.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Harri Mikkola, Jukka Anteroinen, Ville Lauttamäki
  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European defence industrial base is transforming. The changes in the European defence market legislation, the decrease in defence materiel demand and changing defence requirements are redefining the industry in a way that has not been seen in decades. The new European legislation in particular poses serious challenges for the Finnish defence industry, including the national market opening and the diminishing possibility for offset arrangements. It is likely that the major European states are trying to protect their own defence industrial base. The future of the Finnish defence industry will be determined by whether the European market opens up in the first place, in part or in its entirety. There is no going back to the time preceding the new legislation. It is crucial for the Finnish defence industry to find and utilize new market opportunities. Networking with the European system integrators and sub-contracting chains will be of paramount importance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Timo Behr, Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The outcome of the German federal elections on September 22nd will have a significant impact on the management of the on-going eurozone crisis and set the tone for the future course of European integration. Although the EU and the euro are largely absent from current electoral debates, significant differences on these issues exist both inside and between German political parties in the run-up to the September polls. However, in the absence of significant debate, fundamental decisions over the future of EU integration will be postponed until after the election, when a cross-party compromise appears more feasible. Regardless of the election outcome, the next German government is likely to prove more conciliatory on austerity policies in Europe and will boost domestic spending, but will retain some red lines on further EU integration. While the rhetoric and the pace of change might differ significantly depending on the shape that the next coalition government takes, German eurozone policies will continue to trade fiscal solidarity for structural reforms.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Juha Käpylä, Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With exciting economic opportunities and serious environmental challenges, the Arctic is transforming and re-emerging as a geopolitically important region. Major global players within and without the Arctic are paying greater attention to the region. While Russia is a traditional Arctic state with significant economic and security interests in the region, China, the US and the EU have also expressed their Arctic interests more explicitly. They are keen to tap into the economic potential and have a say in the way the region becomes accessed, exploited and governed. As a result, the Arctic is no longer a spatially or administratively confined region, but is instead taking its new form in the midst of contemporary global politics. The globalization and economization of the Arctic will most likely downplay environmentalism and reduce the relative influence of the indigenous people and small Arctic states in Arctic affairs. Arctic governance is also likely to turn more complex and complicated as the economic and political stakes are raised.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Development, International Trade and Finance, Oil, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Baldur Thorhallsso, Alyson J. K. Bailes
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 at the height of the economic crisis. Four years later, a new government has put the application on hold: the majority of Icelanders are opposed to entry, but want to continue the accession process and put the results to a vote. Iceland's longer-standing problems with European integration stem from the issue of sovereignty in general, and maintaining control over fisheries and agriculture in particular. Since 2009, anti-European feelings have been stoked by the 'Icesave' dispute, while the prospective benefits of entry (including use of the euro) have been tarnished by witnessing the fate of other small states during the euro crisis. The new government proposes remaining a member of the EEA and developing relations with other world powers. But the US commitment to Iceland has weakened over the years, and 'rising' powers like China are unable, as yet, to solve the country's core problems. In terms of both its security and its standing within the global economy, Iceland is becoming more rather than less dependent on Europe over time. The question raised by the latest political turn is whether it will have to maintain that relationship from a distance, with limited control and with no guaranteed goodwill.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Safeguarding the EU's unity in the long-term development of the EMU is currently one of the major challenges for the Union. The de facto adjustments made to the EU's economic and fiscal powers due to the economic and financial crisis, including the completion of the Banking Union, create pressures to address the treaty-based division of powers and to strengthen the democratic control of the powers executed by the Union. The need to back the EU's macroeconomic goals with fiscal instruments has been made evident by the economic crisis; the position of these instruments outside the common budget might become increasingly controversial. A further increase in economic solidarity (jointly guaranteed debt, taxation power) might jeopardize the EU's stability and democratic legitimacy if carried out in the current political and institutional framework. A system of constitutional and fiscal federalism would produce a more stable outcome, but would require major changes in the EU's democratic system and system of policy implementation, in its external policies and the way its constitutional powers are arranged.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Diarmuid Torney
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has long played an important role in international climate governance, but changing relations of global power and governance are leading some to question the continued centrality of the EU in this area. For some, these changes were crystallized in the European experience at the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009. The shifting sands of contemporary climate politics make it all the more important for the EU to make the most of its diplomatic resources and capacities.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Climate Change, Diplomacy, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Policymakers, observers and the media have referred to a vast number of divisions in crisis-torn Europe. The EU is divided between north and south or creditors and debtors. Some have emphasised the emerged division between anti-EU and pro- EU forces. Significantly, these divisions are also manifested within the eurozone, in the form of the current differences between the French and German views, and the increasing role of the populist movements in many euro countries. Yet others have highlighted the boundary between the eurozone and the rest of the EU, and suggested that the euro countries now form the core of the Union. Relatedly, some of the non-euro members are distancing themselves from the EU – most notably the UK – while many others aim to secure their influence in the Union, even if euro membership may have been put on the back burner.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The era of the Millennium Development Goals and the Millennium Declaration expires in September 2015. As the largest donor of international development aid and trader with the developing countries, the EU has a key interest in the future outcome. It has also made binding commitments to support developing countries' own efforts to fulfil the present goals, as well as to act as a global partner. In the ongoing consultation process, the UN is pushing ahead with an enabling, universal development paradigm with an enhanced development partnership that goes well beyond traditional development assistance. Whereas the EU and the UN share common ground on human rights, governance and security issues, their preliminary proposals differ significantly on the question of a global partnership. The European Commission has tabled a proposal for the Union that is still based on a very conventional donor-recipient approach, which the UN seeks to reject. The European Commission proposal is problematic because it fails to present a comprehensive analysis of the current Millennium Development Goal on a global partnership, especially regarding trade and debt issues. Instead, it focuses on developing countries' domestic policies. The EU still has time to correct this as the process unfolds. Should it fail to do so, it is highly unlikely that other donors will take up the UN proposal and push it through in the inter-governmental negotiations.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Human Rights, Foreign Aid, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The decision to place security and defence policy on the agenda of the December European Council and the intensive pre-summit preparations have given renewed impetus to this policy area and raised the level of expectations ahead of the meeting. While there is now widespread agreement among the member states on the main challenges facing the EU in the area of security and defence, conflicting political and economic interests still exist and continue to hamper the Union's efforts. The December summit is unlikely to engage in a major strategic debate, but it will discuss steps to improve the implementation of the Union's security and defence policy, to enhance cooperation in the area of capabilities, and to support the European defence industry. A major novelty is the European Commission's stronger involvement, which remains controversial, however. The most crucial task for the EU heads of state and government is to translate the momentum created by the pre-summit process into a lasting commitment on the part of all actors involved, by putting forward binding timelines, specific targets and concrete follow-up projects.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Samu Kurri
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The financial and economic crisis has reinforced the two-layer economic integration structure in the EU. Many of the new rules and structures created during the crisis have focused on a solution to the euro crisis and are thus euro area-specific. There is little evidence, however, that the situation would have dramatically changed compared to the Maastricht EMU. All of the changes are still in line with the basic idea that all EU countries will join the euro when they are ready to do so. One of the key questions in the near future is likely to centre on the contours of the euro area specific decision-making, its relationship to the EU as a whole, and its institutions and procedures. Even if the Euro group remains 'formally informal', it has managed to transform itself into a de facto institution within the EU, and its role and weight is likely to increase rather than decrease.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti, Johanna Jacobsson
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Multilateral trade liberalisation is in crisis. The WTO's ambitiously named Doha Development Round has been ongoing for more than a decade. Only a few limited issues remain on the negotiation agenda. While the round is being increasingly declared dead even by WTO members themselves, the same countries are concluding deeper trade agreements than ever before. Such progress, however, takes place at the bilateral and regional level. Another major development is the appearance of deep regulatory issues on the trade agenda. The shift from customs tariffs to countries' internal policies requires a certain like-mindedness from negotiation partners and poses challenges for national decision-making policies. Developing countries have gained less from multilateral trade liberalisation than what they had hoped for. The shift towards more fragmented trade regimes makes them even more prone to remain bystanders in global trade. At the WTO's next ministerial conference in Bali, progress on agriculture, trade facilitation and the treatment of the poorest countries would give a much-needed signal that the WTO can still benefit all of its members.
  • Topic: Economics, International Cooperation, International Organization, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, World Trade Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo Behr, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Germany's ambiguous role during the eurozone crisis has stoked fears that a more self-confident and dynamic Germany is threatening the political independence and economic well-being of its neighbours and will lead to a “German Europe”. German weakness, not power, is the main challenge to EU integration. In order to build a supranational EU and a “European Germany”, Germans will have to overhaul their Cold War institutions and traditions that have become a brake on EU integration. Germany's political elite continues to favour a federalist vision for the EU, but faces a somewhat more sceptical public as well as strong domestic veto players, such as the Federal Constitutional Court, which limit their pro-integrationist tendency. While Germany continues to support the use of the “Community method”, Angela Merkel has increasingly resorted to the “Union method” that places function over form and prioritizes pragmatic problem-solving to address the current crisis. Germany's uncompromising attitude towards the eurozone crisis and its sometimes erratic foreign policy are the product of its deeply embedded stability culture and instinctive pacifism, rather than a sign of growing global ambitions. European partners will have to help Germany in its indispensable leadership role by jointly formulating a vision for the European integration project and by assisting Germany in adapting its political institutions and culture.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Patrick Matschoss
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Renewable energies will be the major contributor to any future low carbon energy system and the share may be as high as nearly 80% of the world's energy supply by 2050. Renewable energies have vast potential but require a set of coherent policies to reach necessary deployment rates, because the market place neither accounts sufficiently for their climate change-related and wider benefits nor for the benefits of technological learning, making them appear less competitive than they really are. Renewable energies can be integrated in all supply systems and end-use sectors but at some point they will require investment and change. In electricity, an enhanced Pan-European network infrastructure (smart grid) would smooth variability and the remaining non-renewable generation capacity would be highly flexible. Energy security would be enhanced by greater efficiency and a broader and less import-dependent energy portfolio with less vulnerability to energy price volatility. Network stability needs to be addressed but some renewable energies are fully dispatchable and part of the solution. The transition to renewable energies is possible and beneficial, not only due to climate change but also because it serves energy security concerns and necessary infrastructure improvements. The EU's proposed long-term strategy concerning emission reductions and competitiveness, as well as the related legislation, is moving in the right direction and it is up to the member states to pick this up and push it forward.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, Energy Policy, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kaisa Korhonen, Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Finnish parliamentary elections in spring 2011 were marked by a landslide victory for the Eurosceptic (True) Finns Party. Such an unprecedented upswing for anti-integrationist voices was expected to reshape Finland's EU policy. The Finns Party did not join the government, however, and the party has mainly influenced Finnish EU policymaking while in opposition, and indirectly through public opinion-building. While outright anti-integrationist rhetoric remains on the margins of national public debate, more critical approaches to EU politics have become increasingly pronounced. Political parties have, to varying degrees, adapted their rhetoric and policies to the changing environment. Importantly, the broad consensus on EU affairs in Finland has broken down, at least temporarily. The EU has featured high on the agendas of the recent election campaigns as well as in opposition politics. This has affected Finland's official position too. It has moved in a more cautious and self-contained direction, although the country remains a pro-integrationist member state.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Stefan Meister
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The return of Vladimir Putin as Russia's president and the probable end of Dmitri Medvedev's modernization project will increase the alienation within German-Russian relations. Germany's modernization partnership with Russia has produced limited results because the two sides have different views on the cooperation. While the German side wants to develop common projects of good practice which will modernize the Russian economy and politics, the Russian side is interested in technology transfer. The interest in and knowledge of Russia among German decision-makers is decreasing. Germany lacks vision and concepts on how to influence developments in Russia. This is also due to the resistance of the current Russian elite towards implementing political reforms. As a result, Russia is losing its most important advocate in the EU (also regarding energy policy). This will have a negative impact on EU-Russia relations because the EU lacks leadership on Russia. Ongoing changes in Russian society, which challenge the Putin system, will present an opportunity to find new allies in Russia for cooperation and modernization, which may increase Germany's interest in its large neighbour. But this will call for a more balanced approach between the Russian elites and society in Germany's Russia policy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Social Stratification, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Lessons learned from the current economic and financial crisis pose great challenges for the EU concerning the future development of the EMU. Through the recent changes the limits of a mere coordination of economic policies have been reached and a debate about turning the system into a true Economic and Monetary Union must be launched. A further strengthening of the EU's power in economic and fiscal policies would require a clearer move in the direction of fiscal federalism, that is, a more balanced relationship between the Union's budget and those of the member states. It would also require the finalization of the Union's democratic system along the lines of a federal political order. The divided character of the currency union presents significant difficulties for its further deepening and democratization.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo korkeamäki
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The costs of euro membership have been a topic of lively political debate in recent years, and they have received ample media attention. In contrast, numerical estimates on the benefits of the euro have been practically non-existent. While the corporate benefits of the euro have been widely documented in the academic literature, the practical value of those publications has suffered from their technical complexity. Several experts have linked the fast growth of corporate bond markets in Europe since 1999 to the introduction of the euro. With growing arm's length credit markets in Europe, companies' access to financing has improved significantly. Companies from countries with small and unstable legacy currencies, such as Finland, have benefited comparably more from the widened financial markets. The cost savings due to the lowered cost of debt are non-trivial. For a set of large Finnish companies alone, the narrowing spread between their interest expenses and those of their German counterparties has resulted in after-tax cost savings of over €400 million each year. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark may have received some free-rider benefits while staying outside the currency union. However, it is difficult to estimate whether such benefits would have been obtainable had Finland chosen to keep its own currency. Reductions in the cost of financing should increase companies' ability to invest, and thus these savings are likely to have multiplicative effects on the economy for years to come.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has a strategic goal to build political association and economic integration with the six countries included in its Eastern Partnership policy. To reach this goal, it has invented a new model of association agreement that includes deep and comprehensive free trade. At best, three out of six Eastern partners are likely to sign the agreements within the next couple of years.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marikki Stocchetti
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) marks a historic opportunity to address unsustainable trends in economic, social and environmental development multilaterally. Still, on the eve of Rio+20, the international community lacks consensus and leadership. The European Union has taken a very proactive and constructive role in the preparations for Rio+20. However, the EU's commitment to the sustainable development agenda is not shared equally across its policies or member states. This weakens the EU's strategic position in the negotiations. Disagreements between Rio+20 parties cut across all the main items on the agenda. In particular, the topic of the “Green Economy” brings old clashes between developing economies and post-industrialized countries back to the fore. The key question relates, on the one hand, to the right to determine development strategies, and on the other hand, to the division of responsibilities between countries. On a more optimistic note, the need for institutional reform and joint sustainable development objectives has been widely acknowledged. In addition, much progress can still be made in the 15 thematic areas of sustainable development. This may compensate for the lack of unanimity on grand paradigms. It is of utmost importance for a successful outcome that the Union works in unison, with clear negotiation mandates, and coordinates its views effectively throughout the process. Success at Rio+20 may also help to increase the EU's own coherence with regard to sustainable development in the future.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tanja Tamminen
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty and the European External Action Service provide the EU with an excellent framework for comprehensive and effective crisis prevention and crisis management work. They just need to be utilised to the full. The security and development nexus can only be enhanced through long-term perspectives. Rather than renewing its general security strategy, the EU's focus should be on preparing tailor made and institutionally endorsed regional approaches and strategies, where the broad objectives would be operationalized into more concrete goals. In conflict-prone regions, goal-setting should be carried out through full participation with the beneficiary countries and their civil societies. Dialogue and mediation are perfect tools for achieving reconciliation and stability, and need to be utilized at every stage of comprehensive crisis management and at different levels of society. Comprehensive EU activities in the field of crisis prevention and crisis management should be duly evaluated, as only by looking at the bigger picture can lessons truly be learned and endorsed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland's decision to acquire advanced semi-stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) from the United States is much more than an arms deal – it has significant political and regional military implications. Finland is only the second country to be approved for JASSM. No NATO country has ever received such approval. This suggests something about the closeness of the relationship between the United States and Finland, as well as something about how the United States sees European and regional defence arrangements. In the web of multilateral, multinational and bilateral relationships that Finland is weaving to enhance its security, the US relationship is a key cable The JASSM acquisition significantly changes Finland's ability to disrupt enemy activities, both within Finland and beyond its borders. Despite being a conventional weapon, it will serve as a deterrent. Finnish decision-makers have a responsibility to understand both the implications of the new capabilities, and to ensure that the continued development of the Finnish Defence Forces is not inhibited due to misunderstandings of what a modern defence requires and consists of.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Finland
  • Author: Anaïs Marin
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One should not expect the 23 September election to comply with democratic standards. The current legislation in Belarus does not guarantee a free and fair process. The institutional setting prevents a transparent vote count and the election of opposition candidates. Yet, in sending a full-fledged observation mission to Belarus, the OSCE again appears to be giving official Minsk the benefit of the doubt. Breaking the vicious circle of external regime legitimation would require consistency and restraint in giving this periodic electoral farce any credence whatsoever. Imitating procedural democracy brings regime consolidation for Lukashenka: enticing the opposition forces – and their Western supporters for that matter – into the electoral trap is a preemptive scheme to disqualify them. Decapitated, divided, distrusted, the opposition is incapable of carrying out regime change. The regime's repressive build-up also dissuades Belarusians from mobilising to contest the predictable fraud – for now. They are nonetheless expressing increasing demands for independent election monitoring. In view of the 2015 presidential elections, the EU should invest more in the capacity-building and training of civil society actors, notably domestic election observers. Turning voters into reliable rule of law watchdogs could raise awareness in, and demand for democracy in Belarus.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Corruption, Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Sean Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Russia is to follow an evolutionary path to democracy, then the regime must be ready to draw the so-called 'non-systemic' opposition into political processes. This gradualist formula for democratic change is also the formula for political stability. A number of liberalising reforms conducted by the regime in response to widespread protests following the December 2011 State Duma election gave grounds for optimism that this process is now underway. However, any hopes that these events would kick-start democratic reforms were short-lived. Rather than draw in opponents, the regime has sought to isolate them, using a combination of reform, non-reform, dividing tactics and repression. But the results have not been positive. The non-systemic opposition is under increasing pressure, having seen its options all but reduced to more protesting. It is also showing signs of radicalisation. At the same time, the Kremlin's uncompromising approach is undermining regime stability. The pressure is building in the Russian political system. The combination of repression and radicalisation could easily see political stagnation degenerate into instability and the EU should take this new dynamic into account in its future policy planning.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Erik Jones
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European sovereign debt crisis is the result of capital flows across the single market. The danger that such capital flows could unleash market speculation was known from the start; indeed, the single currency was created to remove the threat of exchange rate instability. The problem is that the architects of the single currency did not consider the impact of capital market integration on the banking sector or on the relationship between banks and national governments. Once markets lost confidence in the security of their cross-border investments, investors began to pull back their capital and the internal market for financial services started to disintegrate. The creation of a banking union is part of the solution. However, the euro area also needs a common 'risk-free' asset to use as a safe haven in times of crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Markets, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Jarno limnéll
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Cybersecurity concerns everyone, and is everyone's responsibility. It is a genuine example of a society-wide security issue. The United States is ahead of Europe in discussing and integrating (military) cybersecurity into its foreign and security policies. For the US, the biggest challenges at the moment are: updating legal frameworks, creating cyber rules of engagement for the military, building cyber deterrence and clarifying the cybersecurity roles and responsibilities of government and private sector actors. Cooperation at national and international levels is integral to improving cybersecurity. This includes updating international and domestic legal frameworks to ensure that state actions are accountable, and to protect citizens from wanton strikes at critical infrastructure. Governments must hold private sector partners accountable, and through partnerships ensure that societal cybersecurity is not overshadowed by private interests – public-private partnerships have a crucial role to play in this.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Science and Technology, Terrorism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Johanna Nykänen
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kurdish question in Turkey is one of the most pressing issues facing the EU in its near neighbourhood. It involves a rights-based dimension caused by the lack of cultural rights and freedoms for the Kurds, and a security dimension caused by the violent conflict between the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish military. It has the potential to destabilise Turkey as well as its Kurdish-inhabited neighbours of Iran, Iraq and Syria, with ramifications for Turkey's EU membership negotiations and the EU 's foreign-policy goals in the region. The EU is also directly intertwined with the issue, not least because of its large and active Kurdish diaspora. As such, the EU has a major stake in finding a solution to the question.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Antto Vihma
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Cancún climate meeting adopted a package of decisions to numerous standing ovations. However, it did so against loud and formal protests from Bolivia, stretching the concept of “consensus” more than ever before within the UN climate regime. The Cancún meeting also brought to everyone's attention the inconvenient truth that decision-making in the UNFCCC exists in a legal vacuum. The Conference of the Parties has never agreed its Rules of Procedure, and has during its 17-year history operated with draft Rules of Procedure without voting rules, under a general agreement that decisions are taken by “consensus”. In the light of the dramatic events in the recent Copenhagen and Cancún meetings, as well as the daunting prospects of achieving a ratifiable legal instrument for post-2012, it is clear that the relationship between consent and authority has become too flimsy to provide an unproblematic basis of legitimacy for the UNFCCC's decision-making. The 2000s led to the erosion of UNFCCC's legitimacy as a decision-making arena, especially in the subjective views of Northern governments as well as considerable parts of the expert community and the public in general. This trend led to an outburst of UN scepticism after the Copenhagen meeting, declaring the UN climate regime to be a “multilateral zombie”. While the Cancún meeting has been criticised with arguments based on process and legitimacy, from a broader perspective it seems likely that achieving decisions with some substance is actually the primary need in securing the legitimacy of the UN process. Had the Cancún agreement been negotiated outside the UN, it would very likely have been weaker on several fronts. Also, it is important to keep the longer term option for a legally binding treaty open; the only institutional possibility for this lies within the UNFCCC.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, United Nations
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU needs to place a stronger emphasis on promoting democracy in its Eastern neighbourhood. A new approach should combine limited, focused conditionality with increased openness and multi-level linkages. Conditionality is often effective in promoting faster and better reforms where the home-grown will to democratise is present (as in Moldova, for example). It is not likely to work as a transformative policy, bringing about change from authoritarianism to democracy in the neighbourhood. The goal of tying neighbours to Europe should prevail over the principle of political conditionality. Economic integration and visa freedom have to be pursued with all neighbouring countries. This makes democratisation more likely to occur in the longer term. Engagement, providing it is not limited to political leaders, can be a successful strategy to push for democratic change. Cooperation with (semi-)authoritarian governments has to be accompanied by strong support for civil society and multiple links with the populations. Ukraine is a test case of the EU's ability to use association agreements as a tool for democracy promotion. The involvement of neighbours in the negotiation process offers a possibility to shape their domestic agendas. At the same time, there must be 'red lines': the EU should emphasize that it will not sign the agreements with countries having major problems with democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Teemu Sinkkonen
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the stabilization of the Georgian-Russian conflict, no further progress has been achieved and the conflict is in danger of freezing again. Leaders on both sides are taking full advantage of the tension that exists between them, while the people living on the boundary line are paying a heavy price because of the conflict. The EU has assumed considerable responsibility for the resolution of the conflict, but due to insufficient coordination at the operational level and a lack of coherent political support, it has been increasingly ignored by both parties. The Georgian-Russian conflict offers a great window of opportunity for the EU to define its overall strategy for the conflict management it so desperately needs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Georgia
  • 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
  • Author: Toby Archer
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The global recession is resetting the context of the immigration debate across Europe. Immigration is one of the most visible manifestations of globalization for large numbers of Europeans. Globalization is a disruptive process challenging long held social assumptions and beliefs. It creates resistance, and concern over immigration is part of this. The recession is amplifying this effect significantly. The costs and benefits of globalization have never been equally shared, either within states or amongst them. Certain social groups fear immigration more than others, particularly in labour competition. The recession is leading to national or nationalist priorities becoming more popular and xenophobia can result. Political leaders understand this and even those who actively try to explain the advantages of immigration still tend to discuss it unhelpfully as a security issue. Immigration is a legally complex set of interrelated but different issues. The public discourse tends to not separate them, leading to all immigration issues being politically loaded. The EU plays an important role, but because borders and who can cross them is so closely linked to notions of sovereignty, the Union takes a secondary position to national policies.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tuuli Mäkelä
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The international community is currently in the midst of negotiating a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, due to be concluded at Copenhagen in December this year. The European Union has so far taken extensive measures internally to comply with its commitment under the Protocol, and has thereby led the global effort to slow down climate change. At Bali in December 2007, the European Union played an active role in brokering a deal with developing countries on the Copenhagen building blocks, while US climate politics were still largely in gridlock.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Aaretti Siitonen
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland is to elect 13 representatives to the seventh European Parliament on 7 June 2009. In the last European elections in 2004, EU-wide voter turnout remained at 46%, the figure in Finland reaching only 41.1%. This was, however, a considerable improvement on the 1999 elections, where Finnish turnout was a meagre 31.4%.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Igor Torbakov, Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As the Kremlin believes that the global economic downturn is increasing the trend towards greater regionalism, the strategic conclusion is to strengthen Russia's position as the centre of its "own region" - post-Soviet Eurasia. In order to enhance its geopolitical posture in the ex-Soviet area, Russia has been pursuing a two- track policy: it is buying up assets from, and giving out loans to, its distressed neighbours on a massive scale. Several forces appear to be working at cross-purposes with the Kremlin's ambitions: 1) the state of Russia's own economic system; 2) the wiliness and cunning maneuvering of Moscow's "allies"; and 3) the growing competition on the part of the other centres of power - the European Union and China. Ultimately, the Kremlin's desperate efforts to turn Russia into a geopolitical leader of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are likely to be frustrated by Russia's lack of a coherent long-term strategy and by its socio-political system's dearth of appeal.
  • Topic: Globalization, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Anna Korppoo
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The 10-15% reduction target by 2020 announced by Russia reflects neither the country's efficiency potential, nor modeled emissions trends. With emission reduction measures, Russia could commit to a target of ca. -30% by 2020. Transferring the surplus emission allowances Russia gained under the Kyoto Protocol due to the economic restructuring of the 1990s represents an extreme threat to both the environmental and market integrity of the Copenhagen agreement as it could be used to offset real domestic emission reduction measures in other countries. But it seems politically unlikely that Russia would join without transferring the surplus under the Copenhagen agreement. Countries should recognize the threat posed by the surplus, and offer a cooperative strategy to deal with it. However, pushing through a 'cancel or discount' approach to the surplus problem by three-quarter majority, which could be brought together without the co-operation of the surplus-holding countries, should be kept as a reserve strategy. More ambitious targets - beyond the 25-40% suggested by the IPCC - for the Annex I industrialized country group, especially for the surplus holding countries including Russia, could absorb the transferred surplus. However, given the current low pledges of Annex 1 countries, higher targets are unlikely to absorb the whole surplus, and therefore, a basket of approaches should be applied. To gain credibility on this issue of vis-à-vis Russia and to avoid Russia setting the tone, before Copenhagen the EU must adopt an internal solution to deal with the surplus of its new member states. If expecting to transfer the surpluses, the other surplus holding countries including Russia could announce national surplus use plans prior to the Copenhagen climate talks. In order to minimize a scenario of Russia blocking the Copenhagen process in the final hours, key countries should publically engage Russia on climate and the Copenhagen talks. Important Annex I countries, especially the US, should send very high-level representatives to Moscow like they have sent to China and India.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, India, Asia
  • Author: Timo Behr, Matthieu Chillaud, Toby Archer, Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Valtteri Vuorisalo, Barbara Zanchetta
  • Publication Date: 09-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The increase in fighting in the summer of 2009 has led to renewed debate in many of the countries contributing troops to the international mission in Afghanistan. In the UK the heavy loss of life amongst British soldiers has been central to the discussion on Britain's continued contribution. In Germany the debate has more focused on the increasingly offensive actions that the Bundeswehr is undertaking. France's contribution to the Afghanistan mission is less politically controversial than in other European countries because of the president's power over foreign and security policy. For many years Italy's Afghanistan contribution was less politically sensitive compared to the Italian presence in Iraq, but this is changing with the increase in violence in Afghanistan. In Sweden the annual parliamentary approval process and the increased expeditionary focus of the armed forces have lead to a strong consensus on the need to participate in Afghanistan. The debate in Finland is sporadic and reactive as there is not an annual parliamentary debate as is the case in Sweden and Germany. Nevertheless Finland's contribution is centrally linked to the decision made in those countries.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden
  • Author: Timo Behr
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The German elections provided a clear mandate for current Chancellor Angela Merkel to form a new coalition government between her Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Liberals (FDP), led by Guido Westerwelle. Coalition talks between the two parties have started and are likely to be concluded by early November. The big winners of the elections have been the Liberals (+4.8%), as well as Germany's two other mid-sized parties, the Greens (+2.6%) and die Linke (+3.2%). The biggest loser of the elections were the Social Democrats (SPD) (-11.2%), who return to opposition after 11 years in government. Despite Angela Merkel's popularity, the electoral standing of the CDU has also deteriorated (-1.4%).Overall, the elections represent a clear shift in the political spectrum from left to right. They also indicate a further weakening of Germany's two “catch-all” parties, CDU and SPD, and will lead to a more fluid and less predictable party system. As the clear winners the Liberals are in a strong position to shape the agenda of the new government, especially when it comes to tax cuts and structural reforms. But it would be wrong to see the elections as a vote in favour of radical change. Rather, they were a vote against the unpopular grand coalition government. As a result, some friction between FDP and CDU might be unavoidable. In the short-run the domestic agenda will also be constrained by next year's elections in North-Rhine Westphalia; important because of their impact on the government's majority in the Bundesrat, Germany's upper chamber. At home, the new government will face a difficult trade-off between the campaign promises of windfall tax cuts and the pressing need of budget consolidation. Differences also remain over health care reforms and labour market policies, while there is a consensus on extending nuclear energy and corporate tax reforms. Broad, there will be few changes as Angela Merkel will dominate her inexperienced new foreign minister on all important foreign policy issues. As before, Germany will seek close ties with the US, but will only reluctantly grow into the role of a more “normal” international actor. In the EU, the new government will seek to play a constructive role, but is unlikely to be the source of new ideas and initiatives.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Toby Archer
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Stockholm Programme sets the agenda for the European Union's actions for the next five years in the area of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). It is the next step towards the goal of making the EU into an Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). Justice and Home Affairs became the third pillar of the EU after the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. Originally, it was firmly intergovernmental area of policy-making but some parts were transferred to the supranational first pillar when the treaty of Amsterdam came in to force 1999. In the same year the EU decided it need a focused plan for cooperation in this field for the next five years; and the Tampere Programme was produced. This was followed in 2004 by the Hague Programme that ends this year, and the Stockholm Programme will lay out the next five years of JHA cooperation. Producing the programme has been complicated due to both the sensitive nature of many of the issues covered and by doubt until recently over whether the Lisbon Treaty would be ratified. The ratification of Lisbon changes the power balance between the European Commission, Council and Parliament and this has ramifications for the JHA area. With the success of the EU single market and the end of border controls within the EU, to stop crime within the EU, to guarantee the rights of citizens who are moving between EU member states, and to manage people from third countries who are seeking to come into the EU, requires cooperation across the Union. The Stockholm Programme seeks to lay out what path this should take. Migration policy is an important and difficult part of the programme. How Europeanised dealing with irregular migrants and asylum seeker should be has been one of the politically difficult areas within the programme.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Law
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yury E. Fedorov
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In November 2009, the 'Law on Amendments to the “Law on Defence”' proposed by President Medvedev entered into force. It allows the Kremlin to dispatch troops outside Russia for four purposes: to counter armed attacks against Russian armed forces, other troops and bodies deployed beyond its borders; to counter or prevent an armed attack against another country if this country has requested Russia to do so; to protect Russian citizens abroad from an armed attack; and to combat piracy and guarantee the safety of shipping. The law is an attempt to close the gap between Moscow's strategic goals, primarily the establishment of its geopolitical dominance over the former Soviet republics, and Russia's legislation, which restricted its ability to deploy armed forces beyond national borders. In effect, the amended legislation enables the Kremlin to deploy its armed forces abroad in a wide range of situations, precisely because of a lack of clear criteria. The wording of 'Medvedev's amendments' sheds light on some plans and scenarios that may be taking shape in Moscow. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Russia may plan to ignite large-scale disturbances and ethnic clashes in Sevastopol or in Latvia and Estonia, which may be used as a pretext for Russian military intervention. A Russo-Ukrainian conflict in Crimea would pose not so much a military as a political challenge for Europe and the West. Even though Ukraine does not belong to these organizations, if NATO and the EU failed to respond to Russian intervention in Crimea with strong political and economic measures, their strategic relevance would be seriously undermined. If NATO did not defend its member states in the Baltic, the strategic role of the Alliance would be reduced to zero. The aforementioned scenarios fall into the worst-case category, yet there are numerous precedents in Russia's history which demonstrate that worst-case scenarios can become reality. European dependence on Russian energy supplies and interest in Russia's support in resolving the Iranian nuclear problem and the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as the Obama administration's interest in Russia's partnership in nuclear issues, constrain Western ability to respond. However, the West could and should make it quite clear that new Russia's military interventions will result in the country's political ostracization. Furthermore, the West could propose and develop an internationally recognised mechanism regulating the most important aspects of humanitarian intervention. In particular, it should minimise the ability of individual states to make unilateral decisions to intervene militarily if the UN Security Council were unable to make firm decisions. Such mechanisms could be discussed and developed in the frameworks of the UN, the OSCE, the so-called Corfu process and similar international forums.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Law
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The self-assertive rhetoric of the Russian leadership, in which President Putin's Munich speech marked a shift towards a more aggressive style, has been translated into such demonstrative actions as the resumption of regular patrols by Long Range Aviation and the unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty. Despite new funding and against confident self-assessments, Russia's strategic arsenal continues to shrink, and many key modernization projects, such as the Bulava missile for strategic submarines, have encountered setbacks. The need for brandishing the diminishing capabilities is driven by the desire to deter the perceived threat of a 'coloured revolution' sponsored by the West, the urge to assert a more solid status than just that of an 'energy super-power', and the complicated intrigues surrounding the on-going reconfiguration of the political leadership. Expanding demonstrations of the dilapidated strategic arsenal increase the risks of technical failures but fall far short of initiating a new confrontation of the Cold War type. The most worrisome point in Russia's ambivalent power policy is Georgia, which has been the target of choice for multiple propaganda attacks, but which now faces the challenge of an external intervention in its domestic crises since Moscow has built up usable military instruments in the North Caucasus. Russia's desire to secure higher international status does not amount to malicious revisionism; so over-reaction to its experiments with muscle-flexing could constitute a greater risk to the Western strategy of engagement than underestimating its ambitions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During recent years, transport and infrastructure development has acquired the status of a 'topic to be mentioned by the president' and other high-level state officials in their public appearances. The rise of transport from almost complete oblivion into the sphere of state strategic interests has been rapid, and it is a subject which is likely to maintain a high profile in the years to come. Success in implementing the current plans for infrastructure development is considered critical in order to generate further economic growth. From the longer-term perspective, it will also be critical in ensuring the diversification of the economy and securing Russia's place amongst the most advanced economies in the world. The modernization of the transport infrastructure is also seen as a lever with which Russia can reposition herself as a power-house in Eurasia. In actual fact, Russia is not a bridge but the dead-end of Eurasia. The country is faced with the enormous task of modernizing its transport infrastructures and implementing structural reforms that have been postponed for years. This would pose a tremendous challenge even in the best possible external circumstances, never mind against the backdrop of inflation and uncertainty in the world markets which exists at present. Something which has changed is that Russia now has the resources and the appropriate legislation in place to carry out these tasks. Yet, even if considerable effort has gone into defining strategic priorities, infrastructure investments are still implemented in an ad-hoc manner. The country is in dire need of massive construction projects. If the quality of the state apparatus in managing government spending does not improve – and there are few signs of that materializing – infrastructure development will become the Trojan horse of the Russian economy.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's current foreign policy should be understood as an element of the political regime that was built under Vladimir Putin's leadership. The major domestic impact on foreign policy seems to stem from the inclination among the elites and the power groups to maintain the power status quo in the country whilst profiting from the economic ties with the West. In this context the West becomes perceived as an unwanted external political factor on the one hand, and as a source of profits and financial stability for the Russian elites on the other. The current political system has given rise to a specific kind of foreign policy and diplomacy that both actively criticizes and challenges the West in rhetoric, while furthering economic ties between Europe and Russia's major business players. This contradiction is not self-evident as it is often couched in the assertive discourse of “strong state” and “national interest”. In reality, it is the “special interests” of Russia's state-private power groups and networks that lie behind the country's international standing. As long as the internal order in the country remains as it is, it is not feasible to expect any critical rethinking on foreign policy. The scope for public and expert debate has shrunk tremendously as foreign policy-making becomes increasingly bureaucratic and profit-driven. The prevailing climate of tense relations and diplomatic bickering in Russia-Western relations may linger despite the change of president. This does not mean that stabilization of relations or even engagement with Russia should be ruled out, however. Western actors should pay close attention to the domestic development in Russia, particularly the economic side. Further growth in the economy will push Russia towards a more intense (both in terms of cooperation and competition) interaction with the West. It is in the interests of the West to respond to this development in a consistent and constructive way by anchoring Russia in the rule-based economic environment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Alena Vysotskaya, Guedes Vieira
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the first months of 2008, the Belarusian leadership made some unprecedented declarations, demonstrating its willingness to cooperate with the EU. In contrast to similar declarations in the past, the current statements were supported by tangible cooperation-oriented steps on the part of the official Minsk, including the decision on the opening of the Delegation of the European Commission in the country and the release of several political prisoners. The recent attempts of the Belarusian leadership to establish its own terms for the fulfilment of EU demands on the one hand and the establishment of the Commission's Delegation in Minsk on the other, invite further consideration of EU-Belarus relations. Nevertheless, the existence of concessions as far as the official Minsk is concerned should not be mistaken for a fundamental change in the Belarusian approach towards the EU. As before, the official Minsk is not simply promoting cooperation with the EU, but cooperation of a very special type, namely one whereby it defines its own conditions, rather than adopting those defined by the EU, thus developing something of a reverse conditionality. The EU should clarify whether it can reward the Belarusian leadership for single cooperation-oriented steps, and to what extent such rewards can be granted. In other words, the EU needs an inventory of the instruments that are, or can be, employed in its policy towards Belarus. As far as the character of different instruments is concerned, the EU approach might appear contradictory, but this strategy is paradoxically the only way to move forward in its relations with Belarus. If the EU wants to promote the democratisation of Belarus, it should try to find synergies among its own measures and the policies of other actors. As the recent changes have demonstrated, only a combination of pressures from different sides will create a sufficient basis for EU leverage in Belarus.
  • Topic: Democratization, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War EU–Russia relationship has been based on erroneous premises: Russia has not been willing to live up to its original aims of pursuing a western democratic and liberal path; nor have the European Union and its member states been able to develop a coherent policy line that would have consistently nudged Russia in that direction. The lack of a genuinely shared understanding concerning the relationship has resulted in chronic and growing political problems and crises between the parties. The increasingly fraught nature of the EU–Russia relationship has also played to Russia's strengths. It has enabled Russia to re-assert its sovereignty and walk away from the commonly agreed principles and objectives already codified in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1994. The erosion of the original central aims of the partnership has not resulted in an atmosphere of working relations. Although Russia has been able to get its own way in most of the issues, a relationship worthy of the name “strategic partnership” is currently more elusive than ever. Instead of toning down its relations with Russia, the EU should seek to re-invigorate its approach to the country. It should also acknowledge that despite the current problems the EU's policy on Russia has, by and large, been based on sound principles. Democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human and minority rights, and liberal market principles are all factors that are badly needed in order to ensure a stable and prosperous future for Russia. The EU should, through its own actions, also make it clear to Russia that it deserves respect and needs to be taken seriously. It would be prudent to proceed from the sector that seems to be the key to the current relationship: energy. By pursuing a unified internal energy market and subsequent common external energy policy, the EU might be able to make Russia take the Union level more seriously again. It would also deprive some of the main culprits – Russia and certain key member states alike – of the chance of exploiting the economic and political deals cut at the bilateral level to the detriment of the common EU approach to Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Tanja Tamminen
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Naton huippukokouksessa Bukarestissa 2.-4. huhtikuuta 2008 Albania kutsuttiin aloi t tamaan jäsenyys-neuvottelut sotilasliiton kanssa. Monessa suhteessa Länsi-Balkanin kehityksessä hännillä ollut Albania siirtyykin nyt kärkikaartiin. Albanian Nato-jäsenyys on selkeä viesti esimerkiksi parlamenttivaaleihin valmistuvalle Serbialle: Belgradista käsin takapajuisena nähty Albania on nyt siirtynyt selkeästi naapurimaidensa edelle euro-atlanttisessa integraatiossa. Tämän toivotaan herättävän serbialaisäänestäjät valitsemaan EU-tien tulevissa vaaleissa. Naapureiden positiivisella esimerkillä onkin Balkanilla usein tehokkaampi uudistusvoima kuin Brysselin tai Washingtonin julkilausumilla. Albanian rooli on 1990-luvulta ollut rakentava alueellisissa kysymyksissä. Se ei ole vaarantanut mah-dollisuuksiaan Nato-tai EU-jäsenyyteen liian kansallismielisellä Kosovo-politiikalla – se on päinvastoin antanut kaiken tukensa länsiliittoutuman politiikalle Balkanilla. EU on jälleen vahvistanut Länsi-Balkanin jäsenyysnäkymiä poliittisella retoriikalla niin komission tuoreessa Länsi-Balkanin tiedonannossa kuin ulkoministerien EU-Länsi-Balkan ministerikokouk-sen julkilausumassa. Tästä huolimatta Albanian EU-jäsenyyteen on vielä pitkä matka. Maan on ensin toimeenpantava EU:n kanssa solmimansa vakaus-ja assosiaatiosopimus. EU-lähentymisen hitautta kompensoidakseen unioni väläyttelee alueelle viisumivapauden mahdollisuutta. Albania on yhä heikko valtio: se kärsii raastavista sisäpoliittista ristiriidoista ja poliittisen johdon epäkyp-syydestä. EU-jäsenyys on liian kaukainen tavoite velvoittaakseen maan johdon todellisiin uudistuksiin. Monet poliitikot ajattelevat vain lyhyen tähtäimen etuja – vaalimenestystä tai taloudellista voittoa. Kommunistidiktatuurin taakka näkyy yhä yhteiskunnan kehityksessä mutta myös käytännössä muun muassa raskaan teollisuuden saastuttamina alueina tai vaarallisina vanhenevina asevarastoina.
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans, Albania
  • Author: Mikko Patokallio
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent years, Russia's resurgence has been driven by favourable conditions rather than solid foundations. Despite the favourable conditions, Russia's resurgence has only achieved mixed results. Buoyed by economic growth, Russia has become wealthy, assertive and confident; but the country has also alienated and provoked its neighbours and the West. Sustaining these conditions is unlikely due to problems resulting from Russia's internal structural weaknesses and assertive foreign policy. Without change, these problems are likely to worsen. Energy exports – the cornerstone of Russia's resurgence – are set to decline. The end of this boom threatens Russia's domestic stability and ability to tackle other long-term threats as external resistance to Russia hardens.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's conduct in the post-Soviet space in general and its policies toward Central Asia in particular should be seen within the context of Russia's post-imperial readjustment. The notion of the sphere of “privileged interests” currently advanced by the Kremlin is a clear indication that Russia's search for a new modus operandi with its ex-Soviet neighbours is a painful and, essentially, an open-ended process. Moscow views Central Asia as an area of great strategic importance as it presents both considerable opportunities (due to the region's rich energy resources) and serious threats (stemming from the region's inherent instability and its proximity to volatile Afghanistan). Russia's key interests in Central Asia appear to be preservation of the region's stability, strengthening control over the region's energy resources, and balancing other major actors that are increasing their presence in the region – the United States and China. The effectiveness of the Kremlin's policies in Central Asia seems to be constrained by the nature of Russia's current socio-political system whose key features are authoritarianism and rent-seeking. The latter prompts Moscow to act as a conservative rather than reformist force in the region. Russia's goal of maintaining strategic pre-eminence in Central Asia underpinned by Moscow's significantly increased economic and political clout may ultimately not be realized. The odds are that, given the rise of China, Russia may prove to be a weaker competitor. The European Union's strategic interests increasingly compel the bloc to engage the Central Asian nations, particularly in the spheres of energy and security. Eventually, Russia's wariness of China's growing economic and political clout might prompt Moscow to seek deeper cooperation with Brussels in Central Asia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The West should keep a close eye on Belarus. Events during recent weeks have resulted in some unexpected shifts in Belarus' foreign policy. Apparently, President Lukashenko now sees the main challenge to his power to be coming from Russia's direction, and feels the need to look for support from the West. Over time, this could also herald some potentially far-reaching changes inside the country. One should not expect Lukashenko's regime to vanish overnight. Despite the increases in gas and oil prices, the country's economic situation is likely to remain stable for the foreseeable future. What is more, the political opposition remains weak and fragmented. The Belarusian foreign policy line is not developing within the “Russia-West” axis only. In reality, the Minsk contacts are more diversifi ed than is sometimes believed. Most visible are the ties with Venezuela, Iran, and China, as well as some other Latin American and Arab countries. The Western actors should be cautioned against taking Lukashenko's recent overtures at face value. It is quite likely that they may end up being deceived and merely help Lukashenko perpetuate his regime. More importantly, by rushing to embrace Lukashenko, the West would only discredit its own liberal agenda as well as betray the very opposition forces in Belarus that it has sought to cultivate. Despite the rapid pace of recent events, the West should be in no hurry to react. Time remains to follow the developments. The West – especially the European Union – should voice its continued support for the liberal agenda of the genuine opposition in Belarus and be ready to approach the country with a generous programme of rapprochement should the ice begin to thaw in the as yet frozen river.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Duma election and its results reinforce the prevailing undemocratic trends in Russia. The changes in electoral laws, the election campaign and its biased coverage in the Russian media, the Russian authorities' hostile attitude towards international election observation and the so-called Putin's Plan leave very little hope of democratic pluralism developing in Russia anytime soon. Russia's political system has been built gradually over the years. The system aims at controlling the competition for power and securing the political elite's interests. The system is characterised by non-transparent and manipulated political processes, misleading doublespeak on democratic norms, and the misuse of soft and hard administrative resources. Putin's overwhelming popularity does not compensate for the lack of democratic accountability. Likewise, his possible premiership would not strengthen parliamentarism in Russia because the decision is driven by instrumentalism towards political institutions. Instead, it would create a dangerous precedent for an ad hoc separation of power. Western actors should be more aware that the stability that Putin is often praised for bringing about is not build on solid ground, and they should change their policies accordingly. Promoting democracy – and thus longterm stability – in Russia is in western actors' interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has in a very short time span embraced multilateral mechanisms to address a broad range of issues and avoided confrontation with the United States. Both stances have shaped Asian and European views of a rising China. At present, Asian and European leaders take China's word regarding its peaceful intentions as a rising power. However, Asian and European policy-makers tend to refrain from confronting China too strongly on issues sensitive to Beijing (poor implementation of intellectual property rights, disregard for human rights, etc). The more prosperous China grows, the less influence any other country will have over Beijing's policies. A rising China is a challenge to others because of its sheer size, its great need for imported energy, and the environmental degradation it causes due to its ongoing industrialization. The troubled relationship between China and Japan is one of increasing concern and could lead to aggravated tensions in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Arkady Moshes
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The fate of the transformation in Ukraine is important for Europe. If successful, Ukraine could positively affect the prospect of the systemic change in Russia and would serve as a linchpin of democratization and stabilization in the region stretching from Belarus to the Caspian Sea. A reformed and economically transparent Ukraine could play a significant role in Europe's strategy of diversifying its energy supplies. Since the Orange revolution, Ukraine has demonstrated progress in its reforms. The parliamentary elections in March 2006 confi rmed that the majority of the population remained supportive of further change. All in all, the country has a fair chance of succeeding. At the same time, the challenges are many and the transformation could still fail or stall, particularly if in Europe the reforms are viewed predominantly as a domestic Ukrainian issue, a “homework” rather than as a joint endeavour. European engagement in Ukraine should increase further. Europe could do more to transfer its expertise in transition and adaptation, to help Ukraine address its energy concerns and to make sure that the bilateral relations go beyond cooperation and develop into an integration pattern. Depending on the progress made, the question of Ukraine's EU membership might have to be addressed sooner or later as it has proved to be the most powerful tool for transformation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2009, against all expectations, Moldova managed to shake off its inertia in an effort to leave behind zigzagging reforms and set itself on course for European integration. Although the European option enjoys overwhelming support in Moldova, the experiences of the eu's latest newcomers have shown that aspirations only materialize if you are prepared to do the necessary homework. Is there enough political will and ability to implement reforms in Moldova? What has the new government done so far, domestically and externally, to bring Moldova closer to the eu? What are the obstacles that could hinder reforms in Moldova? How could the eu help to bring about change, accelerating Moldova's Europeanization?
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova