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  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Sara Hagemann
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The ongoing negotiation of the EU's multi-annual budget is heavily constrained by how the decision process takes place. Governments focus on narrowly defined national interests, rather than on securing a better budget for Europe. While the budget is small in size, it could be used as a powerful political tool for much needed economic growth policies on a larger scale.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: 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: Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Julia Muir
  • Publication Date: 06-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: On May 31, 2010 a majority of the Lower House of the National Diet of Japan approved legislation that would reverse a decade's worth of effort to fully privatize key subsidiaries of Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. Besides postal services, the state-run postal system offers banking and insurance services, through Japan Post Bank (JPB) and Japan Post Insurance (JPI), respectively. These are the financial engines of Japan Post and were the units slated for privatization. Both subsidiaries have long received favorable government treatment, tilting the playing field against private banks and insurance firms, whether foreign or domestic. The government of Japan is in clear violation of its commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and if the Upper House approves the legislation, Japan will reverse the efforts made by the United States and the European Union, as well as domestic private banks and insurance firms, to establish a level playing field. What's more, Japan risks having a formal WTO dispute brought against it.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, 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: Rikke Broegaard
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The stated goal of land titling and administration projects supported worldwide by development agencies like the World Bank is to strengthen property rights for the poor. Formal property rights, it is argued, lead to increased tenure security, which in turn encourages property rights holders to invest. Hence, strengthening property rights for the poor contributes to facilitate pro-poor economic growth and a more equitable development. However, the link between formal land titles and tenure security is assumed rather than based on empirical evidence. This DIIS-brief reviews this and other key assumptions underlying land titling and administration interventions. Findings from research that explores rural landowners' own perceptions of the factors that constitute tenure security highlight the importance of formal titles for perceived tenure security, but only in combination with other resources. Therefore, to single out formal titles as being equal to or the most important element in tenure security does not correspond with people's perceptions. Thus, promoting land titling as the policy intervention to strengthen tenure security does not appear to be a feasible strategy for addressing the highly complex problem of insecure land tenure for the rural poor. On the contrary, emerging evidence suggests that land titling tends to make land more readily available to a larger and more resourceful circle of potential buyers. Thus, rather than facilitating pro-poor and equitable development, land titling projects may clear the road for large-scale concentrations of land that gradually exclude the rural poor.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Government, Markets
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: It is generally believed that the United States is a country of low taxes and small government, at least when compared with countries in Europe (and until the financial crisis so greatly expanded the role of the federal government in the United States in late 2008). Fully accounting for the role, size, and effect of the government in an economy is a complex endeavor, however, and it is hardly accomplished by repeatedly restating differences in top marginal tax rates, overall tax burdens, or gross sizes of governments in GDP terms.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy, Privatization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Martin Eling, Robert W. Klein, Joan T. Schmit
  • Publication Date: 11-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Independent Institute
  • Abstract: In this paper we compare insurance regulatory frameworks in the United States (US) and European Union (EU), focusing primarily on solvency, but also considering product and price regulation, as well as other elements of consumer protection. This comparison highlights the use of more fluid and principles-based approaches in the EU as it is developing under Solvency II, while the US continues to focus essentially on static, rules-based regulation. The discussion further notes evidence suggesting that the EU approach is more successful in promoting a financially solid insurance sector.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Yalım Eralp
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: For many years successive governments in Turkey have ignored an even denied the existence of Kurds in Turkey. What would have been possible in the past by recognizing cultural rights has now been a problem whereby an operation seems to be needed. Two common and important mistakes of governments: one is to say Kurds are primary citizens of this country as if there are secondary citizens! The second is “end the terror and we will recognize some rights”. Basic rights cannot be negotiated. This second mistake has led Öcalan to announce his own road map paralel to the Governments. Negotiating with hostile entities is very difficult and needs public consensus. Turkey, unlike Britain and Spain does not have public consensus. The best way was and is to follow EU's democratisation road map.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Kurdistan
  • Author: Max Watson
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Today's market turbulence and global imbalances prompt the question whether economic and regulatory policies are poorly designed or just badly implemented. The question is urgent for Europe, which has its own asset booms and imbalances to worry about as well as the backwash of US problems. The imbalances in Europe's economies in large part reflect favourable shocks, such as falling interest rates and growing financial integration. But the 'growth crisis' in Portugal underscores the fact that there can be hard landings, even without a financial crisis, if fiscal policy is unwise and if productivity fails to take off. The current global imbalances and turbulence also have a common backdrop in the long period of unusually easy liquidity and low risk premia during which today's problems built up. This suggests that central banks should be prepared more often to 'lean against the wind' in times of asset price exuberance, and that politicians should not cut taxes or boost spending permanently on the back of revenue gains that result from transient financial booms. Banks and supervisors have many lessons to draw. Some involve going 'back to basics' on issues such as liquidity, off-balance-sheet operations, and the ability to close and reopen banks. Others require a careful look at incentives – in executive pay, rating agency roles and loan production systems. Supervisors also need to take better account of boom-bust cycles when they assess risks, and address cross-border issues in EU banking. Moral hazard has been partly addressed by pain inflicted on bank managements and shareholders. But at the macro level it may be building up as policy-makers act to limit losses in a setting where they cannot trace the ultimate fallout from risks. In future, their discretionary interventions need to be truly exceptional and much more symmetrical, or the money supply and the public debt will ratchet up amid serious resource misallocation.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Ihsan D. Dagi
  • Publication Date: 08-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Court ruled not to close down the AK Party, relieving Turkey from an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. Instead, the court chose to keep the ruling party under close scrutiny by declaring it “a focal point of anti-secular activities,” and imposing financial measures.
  • Topic: Government, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • 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: John O'Brennan
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the electorate on 12 June 2008 has presented the Irish government with the most serious crisis in external relations since the Second World War. This was the third such referendum on Europe held in Ireland since the millennium and the second plebiscite in three to result in a rejection of an EU Treaty following the failed Nice poll in 2001. There is no obvious solution to the dilemma the government faces and no obvious pathway to achieve ratification. There is however a clear consensus amongst the political parties that ratification constitutes both a clear political priority and a fundamental national interest. At the October European Council summit in Brussels, Taoiseach Brian Cowen promised to come back to the December meeting “with a view to our defining together the elements of a solution and a common path to follow”. But the external context is now clear – EU leaders indicated an unwillingness to re-negotiate any part of the Treaty: it will be up to Ireland to find an Irish solution to this European problem. Thus the opportunity cost of the No vote has become somewhat clearer: Ireland faces marginalisation and isolation in Europe if a solution to the Lisbon dilemma is not found. The domestic context is also somewhat clearer now that we have access to extensive data that sheds light on the reasons for the No vote in the 12 June poll. In assessing the options for ratification this paper draws upon that data, presented in among other sources, the post-referendum Eurobarometer survey and the government-commissioned Millward Brown IMS research findings.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon, Ireland
  • Author: Daniel Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 11-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: Some policymakers in the United States and Europe argue that it is possible to enjoy economic growth and also have a large welfare state. These advocates for bigger government claim that the so- called Nordic Model offers the best of both worlds. This claim does not withstand scrutiny. Economic performance in Nordic nations is lagging, and excessive government is the most likely explanation. The public sector in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland consumes, on average, more than 48 percent of economic output. Total government outlays in the United States, by contrast, are less than 37 percent of gross domes- tic product. Revenue comparisons are even more striking. Tax receipts average more than 45 per- cent of GDP in Nordic nations, a full 20 percent- age points higher than the aggregate tax burden in the United States.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The October 20 announcement of Ali Larijani's resignation as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) has intensified pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad. Faced with criticism over the resignation, Tehran ensured that Larijani attended the Iran-European Union (EU) nuclear talks in Rome on October 23. His continued presence in the negotiations raises serious questions about who is in charge of Iran's nuclear policy and other key issues, making the regime's intentions even more of an enigma to the Europeans. As EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana stated after the Rome meeting, "I found the same Larijani I had met before, and he had the role of chief negotiator."
  • Topic: Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Tehran, Rome
  • Author: Simon Henderson, Michael Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 07-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: There are fast-moving developments in the British hunt for the terrorist cell that tried to set off two car bombs in central London on June 29. Two men were arrested after they tried to crash a vehicle loaded with flammable material into a Glasgow airport terminal on June 30. And a man and woman were arrested yesterday when their vehicle was stopped on the major highway between London and Scotland. Houses have been searched in several parts of Britain, and the number detained rose to eight today, including one in an undisclosed foreign country.
  • Topic: Government, Intelligence, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Emanuele Ottolenghi
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: President Bush is in Europe this week, where his meetings -- several of which are directly linked to aspects of U.S. Middle East policy -- represent important opportunities to build diplomatic bridges. Today, he visits Prague to address a democracy promotion conference organized by former Czech president Vaclav Havel, former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky, and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar. The president's next stop is Heiligendamm, Germany, for the G8 meeting between the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. On June 8, he continues on to Poland, Italy, Albania, and Bulgaria in order to boost new democracies, cement alliances in the former Communist Bloc, and meet with the Pope.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East
  • Author: David Makovsky
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 17, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) approved the formation of a Hamas-Fatah national unity government by an 83–3 margin. This culminated a process that began in early February with the Mecca accord facilitated by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Many governments have withheld comment since that accord. One reason for their relative silence is reluctance to criticize a project associated with King Abdullah, who is emerging as a leading force in the Arab world and a linchpin of U.S. efforts to isolate Iran. Another is bated hope that the new government guidelines will be a marked improvement over those of the current Hamas government. Since Hamas's victory in January 2006 parliamentary elections, the focus has been on three principles proposed by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the UN): (1) recognition of Israel, (2) disavowal of violence, and (3) adherence to past written commitments.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Palestine, Arabia, Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Matthew Levitt
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 8, 2007, a French court ordered the Wiesenthal Center's director for international relations in Paris to pay a symbolic €1 fine in a defamation suit brought by a U.S.-designated Hamas front organization. The Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens (Committee for Welfare and Aid to the Palestinians) (CBSP) charged that it had been defamed by allegations that it finances terrorism and raises funds to support the families of suicide bombers recruited by Hamas. Atlhough the French court acknowledged that the 150 exhibits submitted by the defense "indeed constituted an impressive body of evidence," it nonetheless issued a symbolic ruling in favor of the plaintiff.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Paris, France
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: In April 2006, key donors including the US A, EU, and Canada suspended international aid to the Palestinian Authority government (PA), following the overwhelming victory of Hamas in parliamentary elections. The Government of Israel had previously suspended the transfer of the tax and customs revenues it collects on behalf of the PA.
  • Topic: Government, Humanitarian Aid
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Budget consolidation is dominating the political agenda. The Hungarian government has embarked on an ambitious four-year consolidation programme following another election-year peak in the deficit in 2006 at 9.2% of GDP. The immediate revenue increases and spending cuts are temporarily damping growth. However, if all goes according to plan, the programme will bring dividends to the economy in the longer term. This payoff is crucially dependent on: Discipline in budgetary processes. Work needs to continue on strengthening budgetary mechanisms. A system of binding medium-term spending limits should be considered. Budgetary reform also needs to extend to the sub-national governments. Success in maintaining spending freezes. The re-scheduling that brought forward part of the 13th month payment to public-sector workers this year does not affect achievement of the 2007 fiscal target in accrual terms. Nevertheless, looking forward, strong resistance to spending pressures arising from revenue windfalls is of key importance. Implementation of the structural reform programme. The healthcare reforms that are expected to deliver a large share of fiscal savings are reasonably well advanced and a welcome cut in gas-price subsidies is already reducing government spending. The reforms in education are positive but the changes to the tuition–fee system in particular should go further. It is more uncertain, however, whether all the planned cuts in government administration will be realised. Successful reform of public spending requires the participation of the counties and municipal governments. There are potential savings in administrative overheads here too and sub-national governments are responsible for providing many government services. In-depth review of these issues in this Survey reveals a need to: Capture economies of scale. Political constraints preclude widespread mergers among the large number of small municipalities. However, the joint provision of services is widespread and should be encouraged further. Efforts to rationalise through replacement of county-level governments with regional assemblies should continue. Reform financing systems. The financing of sub-national government needs simplification and greater transparency and oversight in accounts. Also, the benchmarking of services via output and performance indicators needs to become more widespread. Reform of local taxation should include widening of property tax and removal of the local business tax. Hungary's low employment rate remains a key structural handicap to economic performance. There has been welcome reform of unemployment benefits and early-retirement pensions. Planned reforms to disability pensions look promising and a concrete proposal for old-age pension reform is in the pipeline. This Survey looks in depth at the issue of prolonged parental leave and other aspects of family policy: Current efforts to boost childcare services are welcome. Future reform needs to consider further strengthening of central-government provision requirements on municipalities regarding these services, matched by appropriate funding. A system of childcare vouchers for parents would be one way of increasing efficiency in the provision of services. Reform to the very long parental leaves should be considered, along with changes to the attendant system of additional cash benefits. Savings could be used to help fund increased childcare services.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: Sweden's 1993 Competition Act (CA) remains the foundation of a broad policy approach that includes prohibitions against restrictive agreements and abuse of dominance, control of concentrations, advocacy and support for academic research. Enforcement of this legislation by the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA) marked a shift towards a judicial, rules-based approach.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Sweden
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Premier Vojislav Kostunica won a high stakes gamble with passage of Serbia's draft constitution in the 28-29 October referendum. However, numerous credible reports indicate the process was deeply flawed and the result falsified. The referendum cannot be characterised as either free or fair. The new constitution could prove a step away from European values. It opens the door to increased centralisation of the state, curtailment of human and minority rights, destruction of judicial independence and potentially even a parliamentary dictatorship. The process used to pass the constitution illustrates how Kostunica continues to transform Serbia into something closer to illiberal authoritarianism than liberal democracy; yet, the referendum was welcomed by the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United States.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After the indiscriminate killing of civilians by Uzbek security forces in the city of Andijon in 2005, the European Union imposed targeted sanctions on the government of President Islam Karimov. EU leaders called for Uzbekistan to allow an international investigation into the massacre, stop show trials and improve its human rights record. Now a number of EU member states, principally Germany, are pressing to lift or weaken the sanctions, as early as this month. The Karimov government has done nothing to justify such an approach. Normalisation of relations should come on EU terms, not those of Karimov. Moreover, his dictatorship is looking increasingly fragile, and serious thought should be given to facing the consequences of its ultimate collapse, including the impact on other fragile states in Central Asia such as Kyrgyzstan.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Germany
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With Romania's expected entry into the European Union in 2007, the EU will share a border with Moldova, a weak state divided by conflict and plagued by corruption and organised crime. Moldova's leadership has declared its desire to join the EU, but its commitment to European values is suspect, and efforts to resolve its dispute with the breakaway region of Transdniestria have failed to end a damaging stalemate that has persisted for fifteen years. Young people have little confidence in the country's future and are leaving at an alarming rate. If Moldova is to become a stable part of the EU's neighbourhood, there will need to be much greater international engagement, not only in conflict resolution but in spurring domestic reforms to help make the country more attractive to its citizens.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Eastern Europe, Romania
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 25, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Chechnya. According to PACE's website (assembly.coe.int), the resolution, which passed by a vote of 117 to 24, stated that the Strasbourg-based assembly "is deeply concerned that a fair number of governments, member states and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have failed to address the ongoing serious human rights violations in a regular, serious and intensive manner, despite the fact that such violations still occur on a massive scale in the Chechen Republic and, in some cases, neighboring regions in a climate of impunity." The assembly also reiterated its "unambiguous condemnation of all acts of terrorism" and expressed "its understanding of the difficulties the Russian Federation faces in combating terrorism."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • 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
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On Tuesday, January 18, the yield on fifty-year inflation-protected U.K. government bonds (what the British call "indexed-linked gilts") dropped to 0.38 percent, about one-seventh the historical average of just over 2.6 percent for such debt instruments. Just a few months earlier, that yield had been over 1 percent, still extraordinarily low by historical standards, and especially low in an economy that has experienced fifty-three consecutive quarters of positive growth. A yield drop from 1 percent to 0.38 percent on a fifty-year bond corresponds to a 30 percent rise in its price over a period of just three months. That is an annual return of over 100 percent, much higher than the 13 percent annual increase in U.S. house prices at midyear and the 20 to 30 percent gains seen in the stock market before the March 2000 crash. The asset bubble has spread to long-term government bonds, especially those with inflation protection. What is going on here?
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following a long period of stagnation, Japan is growing again. The key to this success story is Koizumi's relentless focus on structural reform, with two objectives: breaking the structural trap of political constituencies defending old and unproductive economic sectors; and adopting a two-pronged macromicro approach to make reform unavoidable. This paper argues that Europe should follow a similar strategy whereby financial market integration, and not the EU bureaucracy and grandiose political declarations, should become the main driving force of national economic reforms, pressuring liberalisation in goods and services markets and making labour market reforms unavoidable.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas, Justus Schönlau
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The assertion that the enlarged EU will become dysfunctional under the current treaty provisions has been one of the strongest arguments in favour of the Constitutional Treaty. Also after the two 'no' votes to the text, political leaders continue to see the necessity of institutional reform. Jacques Chirac and Tony Blair, neither of whom is keen to resume the ratification process as such, have stressed independently that the issue needs to be addressed in the near future. The British Prime Minister argues that the EU cannot function properly with 25 member states under today's rules of governance, adding "Having spent six months as EU president, I am a good witness of that." His French counterpart even predicted that the status quo would eventually "condemn the EU to inertia and paralysis."
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Rym Ayadi
  • Publication Date: 02-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Following seven years of painstaking and demanding negotiations, European bankers and regulators breathed a sigh of relief when the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) finally got through the European Parliament on 28 September 2005, and was formally approved by the Council of Ministers of the 25 EU member states on 11 October 2005. The new CRD will finally apply the complex, risk-sensitive Basel II capital adequacy rules to some 8,000 European banks and some 2,000 investments firms in two stages, the first in January 2007 and the second one year later.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Emily Hunt
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Sami al-Arians plea agreement, unsealed last week in Tampa, Florida, has been almost universally billed as a domestic counterterrorism victory. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing financial and material support to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a U.S. specially designated terrorist group, and agreed to be deported. He is one of a small but important number of U.S. deportees (out of approximately 200,000 annually) who have connections to international terrorism.Many in the United States will say good riddance to people like al-Arian, a sentiment shared by a substantial portion of Europeans whose governments are increasing their own efforts to send terrorist suspects back to their countries of origin. Since the July 7 London transit bombings, Britain has signed deportation agreements with Jordan, Libya, and Lebanon, and is negotiating a similar one with Algeria. Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands have all recently introduced or passed legislation that will facilitate deportation on national security grounds, while the French for their part wonder why other Western democracies have been so slow to catch on. France has been deporting terrorist suspects and other extremists for more than a decade, including more than a dozen radical imams in 2005 alone. American and European deportation policies differ in key areas. U.S. policy is aimed at lawbreakers generally, whereas Europe, because of its more ingrained challenge of domestic radicalism, targets extremist imams and other purveyors of jihadist ideology who can have a pervasive radicalizing effect on a community. Nevertheless, the same rationale underpins deportation on both sides of the Atlantic, and enthusiasm for the policy seems almost universal. Sending problem immigrants back to their native countries allows Western governments to deal with extremists outside the framework of domestic legal codes that remain woefully ill-equipped to address the threat of terrorism. Deportation minimizes the need to adopt draconian measures such as indefinite detention. It is counterterrorism on the cheap, and has become the policy of first choice for domestic law enforcement agencies that lack the personnel and resources to conduct adequate surveillance on all potential terrorists. But although deportation of terrorist suspects may be the most appealing of several bad policy options, it is by no means a perfect solution. Deportation is designed to displace the threat, but it may ultimately create a host of other challenges for the West in Muslim countries and ultimately on its own territory.
  • Topic: Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, America, Europe, Middle East, France, Libya, London, Palestine, Germany, Algeria, Spain, Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands
  • Author: Nancy Snow
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Foreign Policy In Focus
  • Abstract: Anti-Americanism has emerged as a term that, like “fascism” and “communism” in George Orwell's lexicon, has little meaning beyond “something not desirable.” However it is defined, anti-Americanism has clearly mushroomed over the last six years, as charted in a number of polls. This phenomenon is, everyone agrees, intimately tied to the exercise of U.S. power and perceptions around the world of U.S. actions.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: After the fall of Communism, Russia reverted to czarism. But more importantly, Russia embraced capitalism. Although not democratic, Russia is largely free. Property rights are more deeply anchored than they were five years ago, and the once-collectivist society is going private. Indeed, private consumption is the main driver of economic growth. Russia's future now depends heavily on how fast a middle class—a self-identified group with personal stakes in having a law-based government accountable to tax payers—can be created. The West needs to take the long view, stay engaged, and maximize contacts, especially with younger Russians.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's regime has gone through a major aggravation during the first year of President Vladimir Putin's second term. The regime suffers from serious overcentralization of power, which has led to a paralysis of policy making. Putin's power base has been shrunk to secret policemen from St. Petersburg. Although his popularity remains high, it is falling. Neither unbiased information nor negative feedback is accepted. As a result, the Putin regime is much more fragile than generally understood. Russia's current abandonment of democracy is an anomaly for such a developed and relatively wealthy country, and it has made Russia's interests part from those of the United States. The United States should not hesitate to promote democracy in Russia, while pragmatically pursuing common interests in nonproliferation and energy.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Catharina Sørensen, Anne Mette Vestergard
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Danish vote on the EU\'s Constitutional Treaty will take place on September 27. The Danes have been there before, but the referendum is a difficult discipline to master. Various aspects play a role and make predictions volatile. The present brief, updated regularly, takes a closer look at the Danish debate and its context.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Chechen President Alu Alkhanov on March 28 praised a roundtable on Chechnya held in Strasbourg on March 21 under the auspices of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Alkhanov called the meeting “constructive and productive” and said that the European community now understands that the political situation in Chechnya has entered a new stage, Itar-Tass reported. “We did not stand on totally different positions, as it used to be before; indeed, we had a dialogue,” said Alkhanov, who was attending a meeting of the council of the heads of the Southern Federal District's constituent republics in Kislovodsk. The people of Chechnya, Alkhanov said, have unambiguously declared their wish to build a peaceful future as part of the Russian Federation, adding that the “doors are open for those who want to take part in this peaceful, constructive process.” He also said that former members of the pro-separatist parliament of the mid-1990s will participate in the Chechen parliamentary elections scheduled for this autumn. “The fact that so many of the former members of [the late separatist leader Aslan] Maskhadov's government are working in the Chechen government shows that we are adherents of peaceful policies, which have been decided by the people,” Alkhanov said. “If we agree that the people's wish is the determining factor, one has to take this into account. We are ready to accept anybody who adheres to this policy.”
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Chechnya
  • Author: John H. Makin
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Clear signs of political and economic stress have emerged from Europe in recent weeks. Rumors have circulated about discussions of a possible breakup of Europe's currency union, and one renegade Italian official, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni, expressed a wish that Italy could return to the lira in order to get some help from a weaker currency to relieve Italy's current recession. Perhaps more telling, 54 percent of Germans polled would like to abandon the euro and return to the deutschemark. Similarly, the inflationary impact of the move from the gilder to the euro was cited by many of the Dutch citizens who voted decisively against ratifying the European Constitution.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Michael S. Greve
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Berlin is far from Baghdad, and the Germans at least want to keep it that way. But for all the obvious differences, Germany's inconclusive election results and the impending constitutional referendum in Iraq point to some identical obstacles to effective and constitutional government. These obstacles are proportional representation and “cooperative federalism.” As it happens, well-meaning UN officials, NGOs, and U.S. advisers have been urging these constitutional arrangements upon numerous fledgling democracies, including Iraq. That may not be good advice.
  • Topic: Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Baghdad, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On December 29, 2004, Russia's minister of defense, Sergei Ivanov, announced plans to eliminate draft deferments for college students. Predictably, the popular reaction was so uniformly negative and furious that the abolition of deferments has been postponed—but not eliminated from the Kremlin's agenda.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Chet Richards
  • Publication Date: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: There is a principle of engineering that says that when what you're doing isn't working, and trying harder makes the situation worse, you may be solving the wrong problem. With the attacks on London proving that occupying Iraq is not making the world safer, it is time for a radically new approach.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Middle East, London
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: Many of you are aware of CDI's 30-year history of research and commentary on U.S. defense topics. You may also have noticed the expanding breadth of our international projects and activities, such as our ground-breaking China Security Bulletin featuring contributions from a retired Chinese general, and a forthcoming report on Russia's defense spending by a Russian scholar who heads our Moscow office. To better reflect our global scope and project diversity, we have created the World Security Institute — which can be thought of as our “holding company.” We felt that this title better describes all of our activities that now encompass a wider definition of “security.”
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Disaster Relief, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Rym Ayadi
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: After almost seven years of hard work to produce a new substantive piece of legislation updating the current banking regulation for European credit institutions and investment firms – the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) – it looks like its timely adoption is still uncertain. The main problem is the dissatisfaction of Parliament with its limited role in comitology and in the Lamfalussy process, which has led it to suspend 'temporarily' the comitology provisions of the CRD, casting doubt over the future ability to amend the legislation. The European Constitution addresses Parliament's concern about ensuring democratic accountability in the comitology process in Art. 36. The pause for reflection on the Constitution prompted by the no-votes in the French and Dutch referenda has re-ignited the issue and is forcing EU institutions to seek a new inter-institutional agreement on this issue.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: After the resounding Dutch no-vote of 62%, ratification of the Constitutional Treaty has become even less likely than it already was after the political earthquake caused by the French referendum three days before. While the German Chancellor and the French President encourage other countries to continue with the ratification process, the British message is clear: Any attempt to proceed at this point would be pointless. British Foreign Minister Jack Straw found rather subtle words in the House of Commons to describe the situation, but other sources suggest that instead of wasting their time on a lengthy and useless exercise that would cost the EU even more support, European leaders should bury the Constitution at the upcoming European Summit on 16-17 June (or soon afterwards) and then settle for something 'more modest'.
  • Topic: Government, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, France
  • Author: Mark C. Christie
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: While integration in Europe is, in several important aspects, already more advanced than it was in America during the decades prior to the American Civil War, there are important differences that make deeper political integration comprising all members of the European Union unlikely in the near term. A smaller group of EU members, however, is likely to continue towards deeper integration, although questions of constitutional legitimacy must be confronted and resolved. European integrationists may find the federalist principles of James Madison, regarded as the father of the American Constitution, valuable both for deeper integration and wider expansion. A Madisonian federal model for Europe could prove acceptable both to many euro-federalists and euro-sceptics and thus advance the cause of European integration. Ironically, a European federal union based on Madisonian principles would be much closer to the vision of many of America's founders than the federal structure of present-day America.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Kurpas
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The pressure is on for the defenders of the European Constitution. Although initially it seemed as if referenda would only be problematic in countries that have a reputation for a certain degree of Euroscepticism, now even France and the Netherlands look like unsafe candidates for public approval. While there is still a fair chance that a majority of the French will vote 'yes' when actually at the ballot box, there is an understandable nervousness among prointegrationists. A French 'no' would be the most serious obstacle that any one member state among those holding a referendum could create. In the likely case that other member states besides France then reject the text – possibly for entirely different or even opposing reasons – it would become extremely difficult to 'save' the Constitution in its entirety.
  • Topic: Government, International Organization, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: John Edwin Mroz
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: Europe's policy makers currently face two key challenges: finding new methods for governments to work better together, and identifying new ways for businesses and civil society to protect the continent's citizens, infrastructure and economies from the threat of terrorism. The terrorist attacks in Madrid on 11 March 2004 and London on 7 July 2005 were vivid reminders that not enough has been done.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe, London
  • Author: Kristina Hadzi-Vasileva
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EastWest Institute
  • Abstract: The areas constituting the GPKT micro-region (fYR Macedonia,1 Serbia and Kosovo) belong to some of the least developed countries in Europe. Transition to market economies has been delayed because of armed conflicts, exclusion from the international community during periods of conflict, as well as the slow process of privatization (in the case of fYR Macedonia and Serbia). Despite the fact they once used to be a part of a single country, the current connection between these areas is unfortunately their characterization of political instability and weak institutions, problems compounded by the common struggle to transform their respective economies.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia