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  • Author: Leonardo Cadamuro, Francesco Papadia
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This Policy Contribution tests the hypothesis that an imbalance has grown in Europe over the last few decades because markets have integrated to a greater extent than European-level policymaking, potentially creating difficulties for the democratic process in managing the economy. This hypothesis has been put forward by several authors but not so far tested empirically.
  • Topic: Markets, Governance, Democracy, Regional Integration, Macroeconomics, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Major Lebanese factions are urgently trying to fulfill French demands for the formation of a technocratic government that opens the door for international aids and alleviates public anger and increasing foreign isolation.
  • Topic: Government, Bilateral Relations, Crisis Management, Technocracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, France, Lebanon
  • Author: David Carment
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: After three years of limited discussion, the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine renewed their peace talks to resolve the separatist conflict in Eastern Ukraine (Donbas). Efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Donbas began five years ago with the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine. This framework, developed by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), attempted to facilitate a dialogue between Russia and Ukraine through the mediation of an impartial actor, and it culminated in the Minsk I (September 2014) and then Minsk II (February 2015) agreements. The Minsk II agreements comprised a 13-point peace plan, chief among which is an arrangement specifying support for the restoration of the Ukrainian-Russian border. While the implementation of the military portions of the Minsk II agreements were finalized within three months of signing, the political and security portions remained unresolved. Though President Vladimir Putin has declared his intent to protect the Russian-speaking peoples of the region, he has also stated he has no interest in reclaiming Eastern Ukraine. Not surprisingly, since Russia’s ultimate goal is undeclared, the conflict has proved very difficult to resolve.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Territorial Disputes, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Canada, France, Germany, United States of America
  • Author: John Seaman
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: From emerging technological fields such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities to traditional sectors including energy, health care, railways and agriculture, China is increasingly proactive in nearly every domain where technical standards remain to be developed and set. Technical standards are the definition of processes or technical specifications designed to improve the quality, security and compatibility of various goods and services, for instance GSM for telecommunications or WiFi for wireless Internet. They can be thought of as basic specifications or technologies on which other technologies or methods will evolve – creating lock-in effects and path-dependency for future products and technological trajectories. Defining standards can provide significant benefits for society at large, but can also carry significant implications for which technologies will dominate future markets and provide substantial advantages to those who master standardized technologies. Chinese policymakers have become keenly aware of the relationship between technical standard-setting and economic power. Indeed, a popular saying in China posits that third-tier companies make products, second-tier companies make technology, first-tier companies make standards. In 2015, the State Council highlighted China’s deficiencies in the field and set out to transform the country’s standardization system, seeking to harness the capacity of standard setting not only to improve the daily lives of its citizens, but to drive innovation, boost China’s economic transformation toward the industries of the future, and turn China into a premier purveyor of international technical standards.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Communications, Multilateralism, Standardization
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Vedran Dzihic
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: The global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken by governments around the world constitute a major rupture to the “business as usual”, and this includes the Western Balkans, too. The pandemic has been overshadowing other developments while also accelerating existing trends, and it will continue to do so. This analysis establishes the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical juncture, a crisis that can permanently shake up institutions and societies. There are considerable dangers beyond the impact of the pandemic on human lives, ranging from an economic crisis which could turn out to be worse than the one in 2008/9, to a heightened crisis of democracy and a geopolitical shift. None of these developments are inevitable and some of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the Western Balkans can be mitigated. By exploring nine critical fields, this analysis will highlight ways in which the pandemic and government responses pose particular challenges: 1. The Role of the State, 2. Democracy and State Capture, 3. Geopolitical Shifts, 4. New Nationalisms, 5. Social Resilience, 6. Environmental Impact, 7. Migration and Health Care, 8. Health Care and Social Security and 9. Economic Implications. With regard to all of the critical fields, the study examines the impact and outlines possible risks and opportunities before identifying specific interventions that could prevent the worst consequences for the region. In its emergency response, the EU needs to include all Western Balkans countries in assistance and post-emergency reconstruction plans, irrespective of the status of their accession talks. The full inclusion of the region is essential so as to prevent dire economic consequences and geopolitical drift. Support to overcome post-crisis economic and social effects should be conditioned on measures to reduce state capture. The pandemic cannot be an excuse for an unlimited suspension of democracy and restrictions on civil liberties must be temporary, proportional and transparent. The EU needs to identify and monitor the restrictions concerning democratic institutions and civil liberties that are permissible during the state of emergency in the Western Balkans. After the pandemic, state-society relations need to be rebuilt and the states of the region need to prioritise communication and education of the population over excessive repression. The spread of fake news is best combatted by clear and open communication, not through restrictions and censorship. Vulnerable groups, such as the Roma, need to be given access to healthcare and be protected from discrimination. The environmental crisis in the region will not be resolved or even ameliorated and faces the risk of becoming sidelined in the interest of a quick economic recovery. The combination of reduced car traffic during the lockdown and the continued record-high lev- els of air pollution have exposed the urgency of decisive action in regulating heavy industry: many large factories keep violating environmental standards and endangering the citizens’ health. To address the economic and social consequences, governments should support SMEs in particular, while also securing food supply for vulnerable groups. Finally, a temporary universal basic income could help citizens who have lost their livelihood. There is both a short- and long-term need to improve the quality of hospitals in terms of equipment, adequate supplies of medication, and reducing overcrowding of acute hospital wards, along with a raise in wages for hospital staff to secure their retention. A joint approach by governments and EU member states is required to address the shortage of medical personnel due to emigration from the region, which puts an additional strain on health care. A careful mixture of short- and long-term measures is needed to prevent the pandemic from turning into an enduring disaster for the Western Balkans. The crisis has also given greater visibility to many structural weakness- es in the region, from the weak health care systems, low trust in the state, to weak democracy and state capture, while at the same time awakening civic consciousness and serving as a backdrop for increased solidarity among citizens. Putting a spotlight on the weaknesses can help tackle them and build more resilient societies.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Policy, Institutions, Services, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Laura-Theresa Krüger, Julie Vaillé
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: On 22 January 2019, France and Germany signed the Aachen Treaty. Therein, 56 years after the Elysée Treaty, re-emphasising their support for multilateralism, sustainable development and development cooperation. Despite the ambitions expressed in this document, the signing of the Treaty calls for reflection: to what extent does this type of agreement indeed lead to joint operational approaches and have a real impact on French–German cooperation? To answer this question, this Briefing Paper analyses the obstacles to a closer French–German cooperation in the field of sustainable international development. It focuses on how these commitments are put into practice at the level of political coordination and project implementation. The analysis is based on about 20 interviews with representatives of French and German ministries, development agencies and think tanks. It finds that things get most complicated at the level of political coordination. Three main obstacles are identified: slightly diverging strategic visions; an incompatibility between institutional structures concerning the degree of specialisation and the mandates of the ministries responsible for steering aid, as well as the degree to which development agencies are involved in strategic decision-making; and cultural particularities regarding communication and time management. Five recommendations are proposed: 1. Protect what has been achieved: the alignment between France and Germany at the political and project implementation levels is an asset in an international context where the focus on national interests is increasing. Such cooperation should thus continue to be supported and reinforced. 2. Channel the political momentum to the working level: in order to reinforce their coordination, the two countries could establish a solid and regular follow-up mechanism for each commitment, detailing joint actions, shared objectives and milestones. 3. Promote mutual knowledge and trust: personnel exchange between the departments, as well as deep dive sessions on the two countries’ activities and strategies would allow increased understanding of each other. 4. Share best practices: a balanced and respectful French–German collaboration could be encouraged by the sharing of practices for which one country is more advanced or better positioned than the other (such as the French interministerial coordination or the German project evaluation and monitoring procedures). 5. Act jointly or divide the work: in the run-up to each joint Franco-German action, make a deliberate and conscious decision whether the two countries have an interest to act jointly or to divide the work. This decision would allow maximisation of the impact, either by specialising or by working together.
  • Topic: Development, Treaties and Agreements, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Kulani Abendroth-Dias, Carolin Kiefer
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: For delivery within the European Union, Amazon now sells facial recognition cameras for door locks, webcams, home security systems, and office attendance driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)—powerful tools with civilian and military purposes. Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Romania have tested and often deployed AI and ML facial recognition tools, many of which were developed in the United States and China, for predictive policing and border control. AI and ML systems aid in contact tracing and knowledge sharing to contain the COVID-19 virus. However, the civilian and military strategies that drive use of AI and ML for the collection and use of data diverge across the member states of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Topic: NATO, Science and Technology, Artificial Intelligence, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Naďa Kovalčíková, Gabrielle Tarin
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Women In International Security (WIIS)
  • Abstract: The rise of China poses a strategic challenge for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Alliance needs a comprehensive political, economic, and security strategy to deal with China’s growing global power. The more assertive a role China plays in world affairs, the more it could undercut NATO’s cohesion and military advantages by translating commercial inroads in Europe into political influence, investing in strategically important sectors, and achieving major breakthroughs in advanced digital technologies.
  • Topic: NATO, Science and Technology, International Security, Digital Cooperation , Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Yang Jiang
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Beijing has imposed sanctions on North Korea each time the latter has conducted a nuclear test, sometimes leading Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table. The aim is to make North Korea abandon its nuclear program and open up its economy. RECOMMENDATIONS: ■ Denmark should support UN inspections of North Korea’s denuclearization activities, as well as the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by the signatory states. ■ Denmark, in collaboration with other countries, can monitor the implementation of economic sanctions against North Korea while at the same time joining the EU’s discussions on the option of gradually easing sanctions. ■ Denmark should also prepare for the possibility of diplomatic and political normalization between North Korea and the rest of the world in the medium to long term....
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Power Politics, Disarmament, Nonproliferation
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North Korea, Denmark
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: A common refrain in Denmark is that China is too far away to be a threat to Danish economic, foreign and security policy interests. This is no longer the case. Danish policy-makers acknowledge that China’s rise as a global superpower presents Denmark with new challenges. However, transforming this strategic thinking into practice is no simple task. Recommendations Intensify cooperation between the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs to ensure Denmark’s initiatives in foreign policy, security and economic relations with China are more closely integrated. Beware of the bilateral. Beijing’s new assertive foreign policy and US-China strategic competition require that Denmark leverage its interests increasingly through the EU, NATO and other multilateral bodies. Assess the economic vulnerabilities of Danish industries in China and diversify trade and investment across Asia’s emerging markets and developed economies in the G7/EU.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Power Politics, Bilateral Relations, Cybersecurity, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Denmark