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  • Author: Wojciech Lorenz
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s annexation of Crimea triggered a shift in NATO’s policy towards Georgia. NATO moved from mainly political support for Georgia’s NATO membership aspirations to enhanced practical military cooperation. Although it might be more difficult for Russia to coerce its small neighbour, the lack of visible progress on the path to NATO membership may weaken Georgian morale and lead to a reversal of democratic gains. Hence, it is important that during the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels the Allies offer additional support to help Georgia increase its resilience.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Georgia
  • Author: Łukasz Ogrodnik
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Austria’s government has declared it will be a bridge-builder in the European Union between its western and eastern members. This is in fact rather more an endorsement of the Union cohesion on the eve of Austria’s presidency of the EU Council than a genuine offer to represent the Visegrad states’ interests in the EU. Vienna is also trying to strengthen its position in Central Europe using regional cooperation initiatives such as the Slavkov Triangle, Three Seas Initiative, and the V4+ format. However, Austria’s pro-Russia stances and economic conflicts of interest have burdened relations with regional partners. Common goals remain limited but include the development of transport infrastructure, an endorsement of the European integration of the Western Balkans and strengthening the EU’s external borders.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Austria
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In his first term, Chinese leader Xi Jinping abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy dictum of “keeping a low profile.” But China’s activism in the middle of Xi’s first term was still more reactive than creative. However, in the last two years a new phase of diplomacy has emerged, in which all actions are subordinated to China’s unchanging strategic foreign policy goal of regaining its superpower status. This means that China strives to enforce change in the global system, which is dominated by the West.[1] The PRC is already trying to introduce new standards for international relations and promotes its values and principles more aggressively worldwide. There are already examples that Xi is effectively implementing his ideas.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Marcin Przychodniak
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Reform of the Chinese armed forces gained new momentum under Xi Jinping in 2015. The main argument behind the strategy, structure, and equipment modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the active defence of China’s global interests to strengthen its competitiveness with the United States. A short-term goal is to make the PLA operationally capable of projecting China’s power abroad constantly, using joint exercises, peacekeeping missions, and the development of military infrastructure. One recent example was opening of China’s first foreign military base in Djibouti. The PLA should also be capable of defending China’s territory and overseas interests by performing combat operations abroad. This means a possible change to the non-intervention clause that has until now been a crucial element of China’s foreign policy.
  • Topic: International Security, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Australia has a long history of immigration, including accepting refugees. Over the years, it has developed mechanisms and instruments that aim not only to help people in need but also to provide for the country’s stability and prosperity. However, in recent years some elements of Australia’s refugee policy, especially its approach towards the so-called boat people, have come under fire. Nevertheless, the solutions implemented by Australia should be part of the EU’s efforts to find ones useful for dealing with its current migration crisis.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Humanitarian Aid, Refugee Issues, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In a communication of 12 April, the European Commission assessed the potential political and economic consequences of suspending visa exemption for U.S. citizens. Lacking pressure from individual EU Member States, the Commission discouraged such a move and gave the EU Council and European Parliament three months to take an official position. It seems almost certain that the measure of applying pressure on a non-EU country will not be used to help Poland and four other Member States obtain visa-free travel to the United States or other countries with a similar restriction. However, if current trends continue, Poland should join the U.S. Visa Waiver Programme in five years.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, European Union, Citizenship
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Carolina Salgado, Marek Wasinski
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Visegrad Group is still a new label among policy makers as well as public and private investors, scholars and media in Brazil. However, since their accession to the EU in 2004, and the financial crisis that started in 2008, the four Central European countries in this group have started to look beyond Europe in order to formulate their economic and political agenda, aiming to boost partnerships, for example among the biggest South American countries such as Brazil. V4 and Brazil should build momentum to deepen cooperation in the most promising prospective areas such as trade, military, tourism and education.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Cordella Buchanan Ponczek
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Traditionally, there is a partisan split on foreign policy in the United States: Republican candidates and voters worry more about terrorism, defense and national security than Democratic candidates and voters, thereby putting more stock in foreign policy issues, which manifests itself in the aggressiveness—of lack thereof—of each party’s foreign policy platform. But the candidates in the 2016 U.S. presidential election can be categorised by more than just party: a line can also be drawn between conventional candidates—Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Republicans—and unconventional candidates—Donald Trump, a Republican, and Bernie Sanders, a Democrat. Should a conventional candidate be elected president, U.S. foreign policy would be based on predictable adaptation to the changing international environment. An unconventional candidate, however, would be a wild card, whose actions would be difficult to predict.
  • Topic: Security, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Asia could be described as the world’s great construction site, and is already the focus of a scramble for infrastructure projects. Among countries competing for investments are not only China with its Silk Road initiative, but also Korea, Japan, India and ASEAN, which have prepared their own infrastructural strategies. The plethora of initiatives may have a positive impact on Asia, offering diverse solutions to the infrastructural bottleneck and reforms of existing institutions and modes of assistance. But there is also the risk that fierce competition may result in unprofitable projects, while economic slowdown could cause a decline in funding. For Europe these initiatives create opportunities to take part in new projects, but the EU should be aware that the projects will be implemented mainly in Asia and by Asian countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Infrastructure, Reform
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At the beginning of 2016, almost 13 years after the Thessaloniki declaration to integrate the Western Balkans into the European Union, Brussels is left with Croatia as a Member State, Montenegro half way, at best, to becoming one, Serbia with first negotiation chapters just opened, and half of the region with no clear prospect of membership. But the wait-and-see approach that the EU had been employing for a number of years towards the enlargement policy in the Balkans has become even riskier in times of new international challenges. Among them, the ever-growing tensions between the West and Russia should, in particular, serve as motivation for the Union to look at enlargement in the Balkans from a geopolitical angle. Even if the Member States have in recent years shown less enthusiasm towards further rounds of enlargement, this should not discourage the EU institutions from undertaking an active role to revive the European integration process in the Balkans.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Serbia, Croatia
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The transformation of ASEAN into an economic community is a significant step in the organisation’s integration process. The project, formally launched at the beginning of 2016, aims at creation of a single market of more than 620 million people, loosens the flow of goods, services and investment, which should underpin regional economic growth and catch the attention of foreign businesses. However, obstacles to economic cooperation remain, such as limitations on the movement of labour or capital, which shows that the integration process is not yet complete. The EU, which can benefit from a well-functioning market in this region, should share its own experience to support the ASEAN integration process.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Politics, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Transnistria, in exchange for meeting certain conditions, was allowed to benefit from the free trade agreement that Moldova signed with the EU, there are plenty of obstacles which could derail the deal. The business community in the breakaway republic is eager to enjoy the fruits of the DCFTA but is reluctant to shoulder the price of necessary reforms, the outgoing leader of the separatist enclave could undermine the agreement for electoral reasons, Russia might be tempted to test the EU’s resolve to defend its trade-related norms, and Moldova could erect bureaucratic barriers for producers from the left bank of the Nistru River. In the light of these many risks, the EU should persistently encourage all sides to stick to their commitments while averting disputes that would undermine enforcement of the DCFTA in Transnistria in a timely manner.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Elections, European Union
  • Political Geography: Moldova, Transnistria
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the EU-Turkey deal on refugees on 29 November, there has not been a significant reduction in the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU from Turkey. One of the main reasons is probably lack of trust between Turkey and European Commission in their readiness to keep promises. EU can break the impasse by offering Schengen visa liberalisation but at the same time should use the accession negotiations to exert greater pressure on Ankara.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues, European Union
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Piotr Kościński
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: At a time when many European countries are strengthening border protection (including building walls), migrants will seek new avenues to Europe. In this context and of particular importance will be the policy of the authorities of Ukraine, which currently, and despite the still unstable situation in the country (war in the east and economic problems) could become the country of choice for migrants. Another problem for Kyiv may be internal migration. Both forms increase the risk of migration to EU countries such as Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which are neighbours of Ukraine. In this situation, additional EU assistance to the authorities in Kyiv will be necessary.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its creation. As the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), it has inherited a wide scope of trade issues to address. An ambitious agenda along with a lack of consensus, mainly between the developed and developing states, are the main reasons for a stalemate in negotiations within the flagship initiative, The Doha Round. The ineffectiveness of the talks has pushed numerous countries to seek regional cooperation, which further hampers multilateral negotiations. In this situation, it is high time to rethink the future shape of the WTO and its role in the world economy.
  • Author: Damian Wnukowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its creation. As the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), it has inherited a wide scope of trade issues to address. An ambitious agenda along with a lack of consensus, mainly between the developed and developing states, are the main reasons for a stalemate in negotiations within the flagship initiative, The Doha Round. The ineffectiveness of the talks has pushed numerous countries to seek regional cooperation, which further hampers multilateral negotiations. In this situation, it is high time to rethink the future shape of the WTO and its role in the world economy.
  • Author: Patrcyna Sasnal
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As so often in the past after political upheavals, the state in Egypt is trying to get a strong grip on Islam. But it is only able to control the institutionalised element of the religion (“official” Islam), whereas the uncontrollable and fragmented form, “popular” Islam, meaning the real source of religious inspiration for people, is metamorphosing. The result of this process will not only determine the future agents of mass mobilisation but may also signal a broader social transformation in the Arab world in the long term.
  • Author: Alex Lazarowicz
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the limited mobility of EU citizens across the European Economic Area, let alone that of migrants, this cherished right has found itself at the centre of political debates in Europe. As illustrated by the key cases debated, and against the backdrop of a rise of populist solutions, one cannot expect a complete overhaul of the free movement framework. All in all, intra-EU mobility for EU citizens and migrants has not been changed as such, only certain provisions have been specified. To this end, bilateral cooperation between sending and receiving countries gains in importance. Cooperation between Norway and Poland, especially on integration, could help depoliticise the debate, and ensure the continued success of Polish workers in Norway.
  • Author: Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: One of the political ambitions of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, is to push for more openness in European Union policymaking. However, the improvements they propose are substantially undermined by opaque decision-making procedures and the lack of consistency in EU institutional culture. The open-governance drive is also stymied by fears among the Member States that too much disclosure might diminish effective policymaking there. Yet, if the EU does not understand that it needs to present a unified approach to transparency vis-à-vis its citizens, it will never evolve into a genuine political union.
  • Author: Sebastian Płóciennik
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Once again, Ukraine has a chance to transform its economic system and build a democratic capitalist one. It is tempting to say that Central European countries such as Poland in particular constitute a good pattern for Kyiv’s reforms. However, this time will be different in many respects, and simply re-running an older plan will not work.
  • Author: Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The conflict in Ukraine continues to attract global attention. Moreover, foreigners are also involved in actual combat in the eastern part of the country. Russians, be they soldiers or volunteers, are the dominant foreign group in the war zone. Others, mostly Europeans, constitute neither “NATO’s foreign legion” nor the “Donbass international brigades,” as their numbers likely do not exceed 300 on either side of the conflict. Interestingly enough, many of these European foreign fighters share common ideological roots, i.e., anti-Americanism, anti-liberalism, extreme nationalism, fascination with authoritarianism, rejection of European integration, but these do not, however, stop them from taking opposing sides in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. They, as a group or as lone individuals, might constitute a threat to European security and must be closely monitored.
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During 2014, the Belarusian economy experienced serious problems, which were deepened by the crisis in Russia. Further deterioration of the economic situation in Russia and Belarus’ other trade partners such as Ukraine mean that 2015 could be much worse. That is why the Belarusian authorities need external financial support, although this need is still not forcing them to conduct structural reforms. Moreover, as presidential elections are planned for November, the president, Aliaksandr Lukashenka will traditionally try to postpone reforms and impose pro-social policies.
  • Author: Bojan Elek, Ljiljana Ubovic, Tomasz Żornaczuk
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Countries wishing to accede to the EU must involve civil society organisations (CSOs) actively in the process. In Serbia, in order to champion their effectiveness in cooperation with the government, the CSOs gathered in networks, and the three main, nationwide ones have proven to be of greatest relevance. The National Convention on the EU covers all 35 negotiation chapters, the Sectoral Civil Society Organisations group is involved in pre-accession funds distribution, while prEUgovor focuses exclusively on the hottest potato in the negotiations, which concerns chapters 23 and 24. Although in general terms the legal basis and good practices for such collaboration are established, more understanding of the government’s approach to the CSOs is needed in order to achieve visible benefits.
  • Author: Justyna Szczudlik-Tatar
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Under the fifth generation of leaders, a conceptual shift in China’s foreign policy is becoming abundantly apparent. Xi Jinping is more clearly jettisoning long-standing Deng Xiaoping’s foreign policy dictum of “hide and bide,” calling for big power diplomacy and a great revitalisation of the Chinese nation. This is not merely rhetoric. China is becoming more active in its closest neighbourhood and Asia, and is expanding its influence worldwide. Apart from coining new diplomatic catchphrases to win hearts and minds, China is establishing new institutions as an alternative to the Western-led global architecture, to reflect its ascendancy and normative power.
  • Author: Marta Stormowska
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Between 2004 and 2014, the number of Poles in Norway grew tenfold. Poles have become the biggest minority in Norway, bringing economic benefits for both countries but also social challenges. Whereas the effects of migration for sending and receiving countries differ, there are many areas in which cooperation could bring mutual benefits. Such cooperation based on the respect of the fundamental freedom of EU citizens’ free access to the labour market should lead to better integration of migrants. However, the biggest challenge in this respect lies in embracing the diversity of flows occurring within the free movement framework, ranging from short term stays to permanent settlements
  • Author: Michal Łuszczuk, Piotr Graczyk, Adam Stępień, Małgorzata Śmieszek
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Given the multidimensional transformation taking place in the Arctic, it is timely to redefine and develop Poland’s engagement in the region. Although Poland has neither vital nor direct political and economic interests in the Arctic, the state’s multi-faceted involvement in international cooperation in that region may improve national security as well as enhance Poland’s international standing, especially in the EU, European and transatlantic dimensions. A clearly defined and comprehensive Arctic policy should be the foundation for further Polish engagement in the region. How this policy should look may be determined on the basis of the previous achievements, current potential, and identification of key rationales and of the areas for future activities.
  • Author: Justyna Prus
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s use of history as a political weapon may have long term negative consequences. The manipulated narrative will be difficult to reverse and, could lead to an even more confrontational attitude towards immediate neighbours and the West. Western countries cannot remain passive. To counter Russian historical propaganda, they will have to adopt and effectively use the narrative based on truth and common values.
  • Author: Marcin Terlikowski, Anna Pochylska
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the decision to select Patriot as its next medium-range air and missile defence system, Poland is launching a programme considered the most important one out of the $35 billion Armed Forces Technical Modernisation Plan for the years 2013–2022. The sheer value of the contract ($4–6 bln), its strategic and operational significance, and the technologies involved, are all enough to make it a hot topic in popular debates. But this programme is special also because it involves a U.S. contractor, which will be responsible for providing key technologies. While Poland has long been gravitating towards closer defence political ties with the United States, it has also been particularly anxious with regards to defence cooperation with Washington, even despite the fact that the U.S. became the top importer of Polish defence materiel. To make the most out of the AMD selection, and any other possible programmes that may be won by a U.S. contractor, Poland should drop unrealistic or simply false assumptions regarding defence industrial cooperation with the U.S. and push the envelope of collaboration, wherever it is possible, while limiting its ambitions where they are exaggerated.
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While actively contributing to NATO exercises and operations that confirm Turkey’s commitment to the Alliance, Ankara has also actively avoided cooperating with the Western political and economic efforts to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine. Turkey’s low-level involvement, shaped by security concerns, economic needs, yet at the same time its consolidating dependence on Moscow, and its optimistic opportunism, increasingly raise concerns about possible prospects of a Turkish pivot away from the Euro-Atlantic community. But even while distancing itself from NATO, it may be in Turkey’s interests to rebalance its policy by supporting the stability of Ukraine and closer cooperation with the EU.
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt, Justyna Prus
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The annexation of Crimea has been a propaganda gain for the Kremlin, helping to augment support for the ruling elites. However, the protests of minorities opposing the annexation—Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians—has prompted Russians to begin harsh repressions. On May 18, the Crimean Tatars commemorate the anniversary of the Stalinist deportation of their nation in 1944, which led to mass deaths among the deported population. Although the Crimean Tatars are a relatively small minority at the peninsula, they are politically well organised and will not accept the Kremlin’s praise of the Soviet (including Stalinist) era, or the current authoritarian system based on neo-imperial and neo-Soviet ideology.
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The revolution in Ukraine has shown that the difficult history of Central and Eastern Europe ended neither with the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor with the enlargement of the European Union to the east. Moreover, Russia's violent reaction in the form annexing Crimea and supporting separatists in Donbas has set in motion a number of political processes, which have not only shaken international relations in Central and Eastern Europe, but have also shown the countries in the region that stability in this part of Europe is not a given. Thus, these countries, the vast majority of which are members of the European Union and NATO, face a serious problem regarding the further evolution of relations with Russia, not only in the political or economic dimension, but also in the military sphere.
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt, Teona Turashvili
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga set for 21–22 May, Georgia is seen as one of the most advanced EaP members in terms of adoption of European standards. The country is quite successful in terms of building a democratic and transparent state, which is both rare and sets an important precedent in the post-Soviet region. Still, such positive changes in Georgia are not irreversible, and many reforms are only at the initial stage. The EU should offer more support, and encourage the government in Tbilisi in reforming state institutions. Priority should be given to the justice sector, public administration, and local government in order to secure democratic governance and a fair political environment for further transformation. Moreover, the EU should also increase support for Georgia’s civil society, which is the most efficient “whistle-blower” in the event of bad practices such as corruption, cronyism or use of prosecutors and the judiciary against political opponents.
  • Author: Marek Wąsiński
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: he Paris Climate Conference to be held in December may be the last chance to deliver a global agreement on tackling climate change. One issue that could be a game-changer for the negotiations and one that is inevitable to achieve global climate goals is so-called climate finance. The existing framework does not provide enough predictability and capacity to limit global warming to a maximum of 2°C. A clear mechanism for gathering public funds from developed countries and the inclusion of private investments is needed to secure reliable post-2020 climate actions.
  • Author: Kacper Rękawek
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although Central Asian states are vulnerable to the activities of radical Islamic organisations due to the weaknesses of their political and social systems—marked by authoritarianism, corruption, nepotism, and ethnic and religious tension, as well as their poor economic circumstances—interest in ISIS among their citizens remains low. These states so far also have not become an area of interest for ISIS, although that may change. When some people in these countries do leave for Syria and Iraq, their decision is not rooted just in poverty but also in social exclusion and poor religious education. At the same time, citizens of far more affluent and often far less authoritarian European and Middle Eastern countries travel in higher numbers to Syria to join ISIS. Nonetheless, a potential increase in the popularity of radical Islamist factions will not only be a problem for the five countries of the region, where the authorities will try to use the phenomenon to strengthen their special services and raise funds for border protection, but also for Russia, especially since people from Central Asia are mainly recruited to ISIS on Russian territory and traverse it to reach the battlefields. Russia, therefore, will continue to support its neighbours in the fight against such organisations by helping to strengthen border control, support for local special services and by CSTO Rapid Reaction Forces. The European Union and the United States should offer not only intelligence support and assistance in protecting these borders against this threat but also economic programmes and development assistance that can be used to decrease the factors that may contribute to the radicalisation of those living in Central Asia.
  • Author: Borta Górka-Winter
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: After more than a decade of international military assistance in Afghanistan, the newly created Afghan National Security Forces are still facing several daunting challenges, including the need to stabilise a still volatile security situation and sustain a sufficient level of manpower. The latter, in particular, may prove to be extremely difficult, as statistics show that the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are shrinking dramatically. On the one hand, many independent assessments show that the ANA has reached a high level of maturity and efficiency in combating the insurgency (as demonstrated by the ANA recently when parliament was attacked by the Taliban). Moreover, the armed forces also receive a level of social support unprecedented in the modern history of Afghanistan. On the other hand, the unstable political situation, a potential loss of financial support from donors, and the re-emergence of militias that, under the command of warlords, act as parallel security forces in Afghanistan, may result in the progressive disintegration of the ANA, depriving it of the strong mandate given to it by the Afghan population.
  • Author: John Todd, Nina Graeger
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU and NATO share a common interest in responding effectively to threats posed by Russia in the east and by Islamic extremist to the south of Europe. However, bilateral issues and the pursuit of national interests, especially those involving Cyprus and Turkey, as well as a general lack of strategic convergence have limited the effectiveness of both organisations’ crisis-management capabilities. In times of a deteriorating security environment these limitations will be even more detrimental for Euro-Atlantic security. Poland and Norway, participants in both the EU and NATO missions and two principal countries of the GoodGov project are well positioned to break this institutional deadlock.
  • Author: Patryk Toporowski
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The economic crisis led the eurozone to become a more deeply integrated area. The redesign of its institutional architecture significantly changes the perception of the costs and benefits of the membership of the zone. In this regard, the Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) are reassessing the effects of eurozone accession, by reviewing the set of arguments for and against further integration. The overall result of this review is still in favour of further integration, but successful accession requires comprehensive preparations from the candidates.
  • Author: Piotr Plewa
  • Publication Date: 07-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Over the course of the last 50 years, migration to the United States has transformed from European to Latin American, and predominantly Mexican. Increased legal migration from Latin America has been coupled with increased unauthorised entries from the region. The major challenges facing U.S. policymakers concern their ability to prevent unauthorised entries and the repatriation or integration of those already in the country. With decreased legal and unauthorised immigration rates, Poland has lost the potential to affect U.S. migration policymaking. Hence, it is worthwhile to assess whether the limited benefits stemming from visa-free travel to the U.S. would justify the increase in invested political capital required to secure one of Poland’s traditional foreign policy goals.
  • Author: Dylan O'Driscoll
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recently, Turkey and the U.S. signed an agreement for Turkey to join the coalition’s fight against the Islamic State (IS, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL). As part of this agreement an IS-free zone will be created in Syria, but it is not clear yet whether this will encroach on the territory of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish armed group operating in Syria. The YPG has been one of the most successful forces on the ground in the fight against IS and despite the changing dynamics it still remains important. However, Turkey’s entry into the battle will lead to every aspect of the YPG being reassessed, as Turkey deems it to be a terrorist organisation. Nonetheless, the YPG still has a significant role to play and abandoning it now could lead to the situation in Syria becoming even more complex.
  • Author: Marcin Terlikowski, Pernille Rieker
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Recently, Turkey and the U.S. signed an agreement for Turkey to join the coalition’s fight against the Islamic State (IS, a.k.a. ISIS/ISIL). As part of this agreement an IS-free zone will be created in Syria, but it is not clear yet whether this will encroach on the territory of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish armed group operating in Syria. The YPG has been one of the most successful forces on the ground in the fight against IS and despite the changing dynamics it still remains important. However, Turkey’s entry into the battle will lead to every aspect of the YPG being reassessed, as Turkey deems it to be a terrorist organisation. Nonetheless, the YPG still has a significant role to play and abandoning it now could lead to the situation in Syria becoming even more complex.
  • Author: Pinar Elman
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Turkey’s decision to open Incirlik airbase to the anti-IS coalition could offer a significant advantage in the fight against the Islamic State, including cutting it off from outside supplies, and changing the regional parameters. However, statements from the U.S. and Turkey still contradict each other, and their divergent priorities could hamper their operational capacity. Turkey’s contribution to the coalition may potentially reduce cooperation between the U.S. and the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the anti-IS zone. In addition, the absence of a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the domestic polarisation provide a permissible environment for potential provocations that may escalate the violence in Turkey, potentially diminishing its contribution. The U.S. and Turkey still have to overcome their differences in order to become effective coalition partners
  • Author: Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although it happens rarely, national governments, including those of EU countries, do sometimes hire foreign experts. In Ukraine, employing Georgians from former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration seems to be a logical move. His presidency’s biggest successes were the establishment of well-functioning police and an efficient fight against corruption, something both of which Ukraine badly needs. Other foreigners, including renowned experts such as Ukrainian American Natalie Jaresko and Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavičius, responsible for economic recovery, may be successful but face extremely difficult tasks. As all these figures are affiliated with the West in one way or another, their failure would be interpreted by pro-Kremlin media as a collapse of President Petro Poroshenko’s policies (perceived by Russia as a Western project).
  • Topic: Corruption, Politics, Governance, Self Determination, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Susanne Droge, Thomas Spencer, Alexandra Deprez, Liz Gallagher, Artur Gradziuk, Andrei Marcu, Sebastian Oberthur
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Prior to the Paris Climate Conference each country is to submit an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) – a vision of the country’s efforts to tackle climate change. The EU’s submission is very clear in its goal to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 40% by 2030, but it leaves room for defining precisely how the Union plans to achieve this target. The European INDC also lacks specifics on the adaptation and climate finance, thus putting at risk the EU’s ability to build a more ambitious coalition in support of the Paris Agreement. Also important for the Union is to hammer out plans for adjusting its domestic policy processes to regular five-year review cycles.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Budget, European Union
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Victoria Bucătaru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Leading up to the formation of Moldova’s third government since elections a year ago, Chisinau faces not only political and macro-financial instability, but also suffers from a severe trust deficit in relations with external partners, some of which have suspended aid flows this year. If Moldova was once the most advanced Eastern Partnership state in terms of aid coordination, government ownership of the process has significantly weakened as a result of the protracted political crisis. Although donors continue to cooperate among themselves via well-established channels, participation by state institutions is currently limited. Once the political setting is stabilised, the government will need to go to great lengths to regain the trust of its external partners and re-establish donor coordination. This is fundamental if Moldova is to make the best use of assistance in order to recover its finances quickly.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Author: Stanislav Secrieru
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the first time since the outbreak of the war in Donbass, the situation on the frontline is nearly a proper cease-fire. This is the outcome of the interplay of three factors: the political-military balance in Donbass, sanctions and Russia’s military intervention in Syria. Nevertheless, it is premature to assume that military options in Donbass are no longer in the cards. Russia is likely to use force if needed to repel a Ukrainian attempt to retake parts of the area, to obstruct the Minsk process if it goes in a disadvantageous direction for Moscow, or to seize more territory if there is further political and social turmoil in Ukraine. To minimize the risks of an eruption of violence in Donbass, the EU and U.S. should prolong the sanctions, fine-tune the diplomatic pressure on both sides to implement and uphold the Minsk Protocols, and pay more attention to the political and economic transformations in the rest of Ukraine.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Defense Policy, Politics, Military Strategy, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Anita Sobjak
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Euromaidan revolution, Ukraine has seen an unprecedented boom in external assistance in support of reforms, which needs to be synchronised appropriately in order to be effective. Although most of the structures and mechanisms for aid coordination have been conceived, they still need to be set in motion, and this requires time. For the system to be functional, the donors should improve coordination at a planning stage (especially those large donors with strict development agendas), while the Ukrainian government has to enhance its capacities for implementation of the reform as a matter of urgency. The present set of 18 reform priorities also needs to be narrowed down further, to focus on the most urgent needs.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Ukraine
  • Author: Karolina Borońska-Hryniewiecka
  • Publication Date: 08-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During his first visit to Warsaw after re-election as prime minister of the UK, David Cameron found an ally in support of one of his ideas to reform the EU. Rafał Trzaskowski, the Polish minister for Europe, speaking on behalf of the Polish government, officially endorsed the British position to strengthen national parliaments in EU policymaking. Yet, the proposals to date either require treaty changes or are merely technical adjustments. In fact, much more could be achieved by enhancing the mechanisms of inter-parliamentary cooperation within the existing scope of the treaties. Although this would play very well with the current institutional climate of better regulation and more transparency, it also requires a genuine political will on the side of EU institutions and Member States, which seem to be the missing link.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Kinga Dudzińska, Jakub Godzimirski, Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The migration and refugee situation in Eastern Europe receives comparatively little attention in the EU for a simple reason: the people displaced by the fighting in eastern Ukraine have tended to stay close to home or travel to Russia rather than head to the European Union. But eastern migration deserves attention. Migration issues, including questions of population loss, diaspora loyalty and border management, are gaining real geopolitical significance across Eastern Europe. Moreover, the EU’s technocratic efforts to leverage access to its labour markets in return for political reform in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are becoming increasingly politicised there. This paper therefore sets out some basic data on the issue. It takes as its case studies the receiving countries Norway and Poland, both located at the external border of the EU, EEA and Schengen zone and next to Russia, and pays special attention to the question of border management, including small border traffic and migration control, looking particularly at the gender dimension of migration.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Politics, Refugee Issues
  • Political Geography: Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Kamran Ismayilov, Konrad Zasztowt
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan recently had to face a wave of criticism from the European institutions (the OSCE and the European Parliament) due to its government’s undemocratic practices. In response, Baku accused its European partners of Islamophobia and declared the suspension of parliamentary cooperation in the framework of the EU’s Euronest. The Azerbaijani ruling elite also blames the West of supporting a “fifth column” in Azerbaijan (meaning civil society organisations) as well as of giving political support to its arch-enemy Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. At the same time authorities in Baku are displaying their developing political partnership with Russia. This paper examines the consequences of the crisis in relations between the EU and Azerbaijan and Azerbaijani-Russian rapprochement for the prospects for EU-Azerbaijan energy projects and regional security in the South Caucasus.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Civil Society, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Azerbaijan
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following the 2015 national election in Turkey the AKP, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, failed to win enough votes to form a majority government. Since the election the AKP has given the impression that it is attempting to form a coalition government, but in reality the party has been employing a number of tactics in order to increase its share of the vote in preparation for a snap election. These tactics have mainly revolved around increasing the nationalist vote and damaging the main Kurdish party. However, these manoeuvres have increased polarisation in Turkey and have resulted in an escalation of the conflict with the Kurds. Worryingly, it has become evident that the AKP aims to win power in the next election at all costs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Turkey