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  • 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: Viral V. Acharya, Sascha Steffen
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The eurozone is mired in a recession. In 2013, the GDP of all 17 eurozone countries fell by 0.5% and the outlook for 2014 shows considerable risks across the region. To stabilise the common currency area and its (partly insolvent) financial system, a eurozone banking union is being established. An important part of the banking union is the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which will transfer the oversight of Europe's largest banks to the European Central Bank (ECB). Before the ECB takes over this responsibility, it plans to conduct an Asset Quality Review (AQR) in 2014, which will identify the capital shortfalls of these banks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Patryk Pawlak, Catherine Sheahan
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The benefits of an open and accessible internet for growth and development have been acknowledged on numerous occasions. But as the potential of the digital economy for fostering innovation and creating new business opportunities grows, so too do the difficulties with protecting it. In February 2014, the European External Action Service presented the Friends of the Presidency on Cyber Issues with a Food for Thought Paper ('Further Strengthening European Cyber Diplomacy'). According to the document, 'the EU and its Member States should be in a position to present a coherent and comprehensive suite of policies which keep pace with the ever shifting international landscape, taking into account the strategic policy goals of other actors in the field'.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Neil Robinson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The EU's cyber defence agenda provides an opportunity to ask questions about what the EU could do in terms of setting security priorities. Furthermore, as a possible area for cooperation, cyber defence shares with military air logistics the peculiarity of being a common capability which does not require explicit war-like conditions to demonstrate its utility. Indeed, the diversity and complexity of the threat environment – coupled with challenges of attribution – suggests the opposite: military cyber defence capabilities might offer better value for money in peacetime rather than in times of war.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eneko Landaburu
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Despite the hopes raised by the most recent Treaties, the Lisbon Treaty in particular, the European Union has been unable to strengthen, let alone develop its role on the international stage. A couple of weeks away from the European Parliament elections, we need to ask ourselves what can reasonably be done by the upcoming Parliament to ensure that significant progress is made with respect to the EU's foreign policy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Philippe de Schoutheete
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief discusses the potential reforms of the EU institutions that can take place during the 2014 - 2019 legislative term. It argues that negotiations on Treaty change are a possibility, but they should only start in the second part of the legislature. In the meantime, several institutional reforms that can improve the functioning of the EU – and hence increase its legitimacy – should already be considered.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Frank Vandenbroucke
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief discusses the notion of a 'European Social Union', in which European countries would cooperate with an explicit social purpose. A European Social Union should not be seen as an idealistic bridge too far. Instead, a Social Union is both desirable and necessary for the eurozone and wider European integration.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Xavier Vanden Bosch
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Given their limited involvement in EU affairs, the Belgian parliaments at the different levels of the Belgian federation barely contribute to the legitimation process of the EU's actions. In order to strengthen their role, not only should governmental communication towards parliaments be improved but parliamentary activities should also adapt to the confederal features of Belgium. The latter poses a unique challenge in Europe.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Charles Secondat, Daisy Roterod, P.J. Goossens
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The German Constitutional Court (BVG) recently referred different questions to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling. They concern the legality of the European Central Bank's Outright Monetary Transaction mechanism created in 2012. Simultaneously, the German Court has threatened to disrupt the implementation of OTM in Germany if its very restrictive analysis is not validated by the European Court of Justice.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The task of ensuring the democratic legitimacy of the euro has been placed high on the agenda. A eurozone subcommittee in the European Parliament is one of the rare concrete proposals to secure this, creating high hopes. Due to legal and political hurdles the idea might nonetheless have minimal results, which might result in suboptimal parliamentary scrutiny of the eurozone. This Policy Brief argues that if a eurozone subcommittee is to be both meaningful and politically feasible, it should combine substantial competences with innovative decision-making.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jacques Pelkmans, Weinian Hu
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This CEPS Policy Brief is based on a larger study for the EEAS and European Commission, written by the same authors in the run-up of the Milan ASEM summit of 16-17 October 2014. The main idea of the study is to assess whether ASEM works and how, by verifying the factual evidence in detail. After all, ASEM has no institutions, no budget and no treaty, whilst dialogues and a loose improvement over time in Asia-Europe relations refer to process much more than genuine 'results'. The stocktaking covers all ASEM activities since the 2006 Helsinki summit. Summit and foreign ministers' declarations and ASEM calendar of activities (and interviews) are used to trace ASEM activities in the three ASEM pillars (political, economic, and peoples-to-peoples/cultural). All the 'regular' ASEM meetings at ministerial and other levels (many of which are only known to relatively few) have been mapped. Also the ASEM working methods, based on the 2000AECF framework and many subsequent initiatives, have been scrutinised, including whether they are actually implemented or not or partially. Such methods refer to how to work together in areas of cooperation (beyond the typical ASEM dialogue), organisation, coordination and ASEM visibility.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Singapore
  • Author: Christopher Musselman
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The Ukraine crisis demonstrates that European security can no longer be taken for granted and that NATO and the broader transatlantic community are struggling to address emerging security challenges. Whether Russia is classified revanchist, expanding its sphere of influence, or seeking to create regional hegemony, Putin's actions in both Crimea and eastern Ukraine are a stark reminder that the era of geopolitical competition in Europe is far from over. The transatlantic community must be ready to deal with similar challenges in the decades ahead.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The European council's decisions on the common Security and Defence policy (CSDP) in December 2013 and the process that now follows should be used by EU member states as a means to progressively empower the CSDP within a short-term future.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Raquel Freire
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution
  • Abstract: TThis policy brief focuses on the interplay of external actors in the South Caucasus, i.e. the EU, NATO and Russia, looking specifically at how political and security relations have been shaped. Three main issues are highlighted: firstly, that the South Caucasus is a heterogeneous area and that the concept of being a region in its own right is underdeveloped; secondly, that despite the enlarged involvement of international players in the area, the South Caucasian countries retain agency and are not mere agents of foreign role-players; and, thirdly, that the area is characterised by processes of competition and collaboration that do not necessarily meet common agendas, despite shared interests regarding regional stability. The paths of the three South Caucasian republics has been different, with Armenia being dependent on Russia, Azerbaijan pursuing a policy of independence regarding external players, and Georgia assuming a pro-Western, anti-Russian position. The lack of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, EU involvement in crisis management in the wake of Georgia's 2008 war with Russia, a diminished NATO presence and increased Russian assertiveness in the area are central elements to understanding ongoing policies and practices. This complex framework suggests the need to address challenges and opportunities in the South Caucasus in terms of the complexity of the actors and factors at play.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Baldur Thorhallsso, Alyson J. K. Bailes
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Iceland applied for EU membership in 2009 at the height of the economic crisis. Four years later, a new government has put the application on hold: the majority of Icelanders are opposed to entry, but want to continue the accession process and put the results to a vote. Iceland's longer-standing problems with European integration stem from the issue of sovereignty in general, and maintaining control over fisheries and agriculture in particular. Since 2009, anti-European feelings have been stoked by the 'Icesave' dispute, while the prospective benefits of entry (including use of the euro) have been tarnished by witnessing the fate of other small states during the euro crisis. The new government proposes remaining a member of the EEA and developing relations with other world powers. But the US commitment to Iceland has weakened over the years, and 'rising' powers like China are unable, as yet, to solve the country's core problems. In terms of both its security and its standing within the global economy, Iceland is becoming more rather than less dependent on Europe over time. The question raised by the latest political turn is whether it will have to maintain that relationship from a distance, with limited control and with no guaranteed goodwill.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Safeguarding the EU's unity in the long-term development of the EMU is currently one of the major challenges for the Union. The de facto adjustments made to the EU's economic and fiscal powers due to the economic and financial crisis, including the completion of the Banking Union, create pressures to address the treaty-based division of powers and to strengthen the democratic control of the powers executed by the Union. The need to back the EU's macroeconomic goals with fiscal instruments has been made evident by the economic crisis; the position of these instruments outside the common budget might become increasingly controversial. A further increase in economic solidarity (jointly guaranteed debt, taxation power) might jeopardize the EU's stability and democratic legitimacy if carried out in the current political and institutional framework. A system of constitutional and fiscal federalism would produce a more stable outcome, but would require major changes in the EU's democratic system and system of policy implementation, in its external policies and the way its constitutional powers are arranged.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ángel Ubide
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The euro area has made significant strides in the last six months in designing a banking union. The goal has been to centralize supervisory decision making and improve the management of failing banks while protecting European taxpayers and imposing costs on creditors through so-called bail-ins to reduce moral hazard. Euro area leaders have reached some political agreements, and legislation is being prepared for eventual adoption by the European Parliament and then the various member states. This progress has been hailed as a step in the right direction, with particular praise for the euro area leaders' plan to endow the European Central Bank (ECB) with supervisory powers and create new rules for managing troubled banks.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Bernard Delbecque
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper argues that it should be possible to complement Europe's Economic and Monetary Union with an insurance-type shock absorption mechanism to increase the resilience of member countries to economic shocks and reduce output volatility. Such a mechanism would neither require the establishment of a central authority, nor would it lead to permanent transfers between countries. For this mechanism to become a reality, however, it would be necessary to overcome certain technical problems linked to the difficulty of anticipating correctly the position of an economy in the business cycle.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hadewych Hazelzet
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: Over the past two years, many high-level discussions within the EU have centred around the question of the 'added value' of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). In times of fiscal austerity, member states want to make sure they invest their resources where their impact is strongest. In the current climate of financial crisis and retrenchment, there are no resources or time to waste on a 'beauty contest' between organisations or instruments. In order to prepare for the next decade of deployments, the question to ask is therefore not whether but under what conditions CSDP has brought added value, to date, in responding to given contingencies.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Fiott
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The European Commission has now released its renewed vision of European defence industrial cooperation called Towards a More Competitive and Efficient Defence and Security Sector. It is a Communication that can be characterised as an interesting hybrid of regulatory and project-based proposals. The Commission began thinking seriously about European defence in 1996 with the release of its first Communication; the latest version is the sixth since this time. Indeed, not perhaps since its 2003 defence Communication – developed in the context of the establishment of the European Security and Defence Policy, the convention on the Future of Europe and the then impending EU enlargement – has a Commission Communication on defence been so eagerly anticipated.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Industrial Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jo Coelmont
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: This paper will argue that the objective should be to pave the way for political discussions at the highest level and eventually the adoption by the European Council of a global security strategy. It is labelled “global” to indicate that this strategy is not only dealing with the EU's Foreign, Security, and Defence Policies , CFSP and CSDP sensu stricto , but is to encapsulate all security aspects related to EU external action. In other words, a European Global Security Strategy (EGSS) should be aimed at.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Globalization, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The December 2013 European Council will address the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Pooling Sharing of military capabilities will be high on the agenda. What should be expected from the Heads of State and Government? Capabilities now, capabilities in the future, and a common idea on what to use them for.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stijn Verhelst
  • Publication Date: 05-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The idea of introducing contracts between Member States and the EU on structural reforms has its merits, it also has several disadvantages. Most notably, the contracts risk rendering European economic governance even more complex and cumbersome. It is therefore sensible to first try to integrate the structural reform contracts into one of the foreseen economic governance instruments.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Governance, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Faleg
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Let us take three assumptions: The demand for security provision continues to increase in Europe's fragile neighbourhood (notably following the 'Arab Spring'); Austerity restrictions have hit national defence budgets heavily; The balance of power is shifting 'from the West to the rest' and the Americans are pivoting eastwards. Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that the EU is struggling to establish itself as a credible and effective security actor. The final report of High Representative Catherine Ashton, released in preparation for the December 2013 European Council on Security and Defence, admits that Europe "faces rising security challenges within a changing strategic context while the financial crisis is increasingly affecting its security and defence capability". But these are not the true causes of CSDP inertia.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sergio Carrera, Elspeth Guild, Nicholas Hernanz
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The European Union, and its Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ), is founded on a set of common principles of rule of law, democracy and human rights. This has been officially enshrined in the body of Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) which lists "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities" as the shared values on which the Union is rooted. One of the current modalities of action to ensure that all member states of the EU respect Article 2 TEU is to filter their compliance with these values before they accede to the Union. The so-called 'Copenhagen criteria' have been established in 1993 to ensure that all new EU member states are in line with the Union's common principles before crossing the bridge towards membership.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Law, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dariusz Kalan
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has, from the beginning of his tenure, made public declarations of his deep engagement with cooperation in the region, and outlined very ambitious visions about its future. The idea to make 2013, the year of Hungary's presidencies of the Visegrad Group and the Central European Initiative, a Central European year, is a part of the policy of special attachment to regional matters too. However, there is a visible gap between politicians' rhetoric and their activity. This is especially true regarding Hungary's dialogue with Romania and Slovakia, which, due to many historical, social and psychological obstacles, has always been most challenging for leaders in Budapest. Orbán's government, though, by taking steps to culturally and politically unify Hungarians from the Carpathian Basin, promoting historically ambiguous persons and inviting revisionists such as Erika Steinbach to parliament, not only fails to engender a good atmosphere in the region, but also proves how lively among the country's governing elite are both resentments from the past and temptations to use them to achieve temporary political goals.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kinga Dudzinska, Elzbieta Kaca, Karolina Zubel
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: A redefinition of the Eastern Partnership beyond 2013 is urgently needed in order to make the EU a more competitive player vis-à-vis Russia and China in the region. Eastern partners which choose deeper economic integration with the EU must therefore be supported by enhanced cooperation, which would require further differentiation in approaches towards neighbours. It should also be supported by certain horizontal policies, strengthening the EU's multilateral cooperation and the fledgling European Union diplomacy in this region, assisted by better targeting policies at EaP societies.
  • Topic: Economics, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Anita Sobják
  • Publication Date: 07-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite months of internal political wrangling, Moldova seems to be making steady progress in its Association Agreement with the EU. But the domestic political crisis has revealed many truths about both Moldova's European policy and the EU's transformative power. As such, the road to the EU remains murky as long as several variables remain in place: the ongoing tensions in the governing alliance, lower public support for European integration in Moldova, and Russia's re-emerging leverage via Transnistria. That is why Poland, together with its partners, should look for new ways to keep Moldova as the pacesetter of the Eastern Partnership.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Simon Johnson, Peter Boone
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Successive plans to restore confidence in the euro area have failed. Proposals currently on the table also seem likely to fail. The market cost of borrowing is at unsustainable levels for many banks and a significant number of governments that share the euro.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Doom and gloom about the euro abounds. An increasing number of commentators and economists, including here at the Peterson Institute, have begun to question whether the common currency can survive.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Timo Behr, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Germany's ambiguous role during the eurozone crisis has stoked fears that a more self-confident and dynamic Germany is threatening the political independence and economic well-being of its neighbours and will lead to a “German Europe”. German weakness, not power, is the main challenge to EU integration. In order to build a supranational EU and a “European Germany”, Germans will have to overhaul their Cold War institutions and traditions that have become a brake on EU integration. Germany's political elite continues to favour a federalist vision for the EU, but faces a somewhat more sceptical public as well as strong domestic veto players, such as the Federal Constitutional Court, which limit their pro-integrationist tendency. While Germany continues to support the use of the “Community method”, Angela Merkel has increasingly resorted to the “Union method” that places function over form and prioritizes pragmatic problem-solving to address the current crisis. Germany's uncompromising attitude towards the eurozone crisis and its sometimes erratic foreign policy are the product of its deeply embedded stability culture and instinctive pacifism, rather than a sign of growing global ambitions. European partners will have to help Germany in its indispensable leadership role by jointly formulating a vision for the European integration project and by assisting Germany in adapting its political institutions and culture.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Lukas Obholzer, Christine Reh
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Constitutional Affairs Committee is currently reviewing the European Parliament's Rules of Procedure to increase the effectiveness, transparency and inclusiveness of first-reading agreements under co-decision. This CEPS Policy Brief takes a stand as to which rules should be adopted to achieve these objectives. Given the steep rise of early agreements and Parliament's role as a guarantor of EU legitimacy, we place a premium on inclusiveness and transparency. The rules suggested are designed to maintain efficiency for technical proposals, facilitate effective decision-making on urgent files and increase the overall legitimacy of legislative decision-making in the EU.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Paul De Grauwe
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: One of the major problems of the eurozone is the divergence of the competitive positions that have built up since the early 2000s. This divergence has led to major imbalances in the eurozone where the countries that have seen their competitive positions deteriorate (mainly the so - called ' PIIGS ' – Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain ) have accumulated large current account deficits and thus external indebtedness, matched by current account surpluses of the countries that have improved their competitive positions (mainly Germany).
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Global Recession, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Kaisa Korhonen, Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Finnish parliamentary elections in spring 2011 were marked by a landslide victory for the Eurosceptic (True) Finns Party. Such an unprecedented upswing for anti-integrationist voices was expected to reshape Finland's EU policy. The Finns Party did not join the government, however, and the party has mainly influenced Finnish EU policymaking while in opposition, and indirectly through public opinion-building. While outright anti-integrationist rhetoric remains on the margins of national public debate, more critical approaches to EU politics have become increasingly pronounced. Political parties have, to varying degrees, adapted their rhetoric and policies to the changing environment. Importantly, the broad consensus on EU affairs in Finland has broken down, at least temporarily. The EU has featured high on the agendas of the recent election campaigns as well as in opposition politics. This has affected Finland's official position too. It has moved in a more cautious and self-contained direction, although the country remains a pro-integrationist member state.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Lessons learned from the current economic and financial crisis pose great challenges for the EU concerning the future development of the EMU. Through the recent changes the limits of a mere coordination of economic policies have been reached and a debate about turning the system into a true Economic and Monetary Union must be launched. A further strengthening of the EU's power in economic and fiscal policies would require a clearer move in the direction of fiscal federalism, that is, a more balanced relationship between the Union's budget and those of the member states. It would also require the finalization of the Union's democratic system along the lines of a federal political order. The divided character of the currency union presents significant difficulties for its further deepening and democratization.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU has a strategic goal to build political association and economic integration with the six countries included in its Eastern Partnership policy. To reach this goal, it has invented a new model of association agreement that includes deep and comprehensive free trade. At best, three out of six Eastern partners are likely to sign the agreements within the next couple of years.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Micossi
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Once again the European Council will meet in an emergency session at the end of June, with the eurozone economy in recession and actually plummeting in its Southern periphery. Further doubts are also growing on the sustainability of sovereign debts due to the vicious spiral of deteriorating bank balance sheets, ballooning potential liabilities from banking rescues and widening spreads on government borrowings. The sovereign debt crisis in the periphery has now turned into a fully fledged banking crisis that threatens to spread from Greece to Spain and tomorrow, who knows, to Italy, France and even Germany itself.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Cinzia Alcidi, Alessandro Giovannini
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: What would be the cost if Greece were to exit from the eurozone? This much-debated question cannot be answered with a single number. The consequences of Greece's exit would depend decisively on the exact circumstances of events in the country itself as well as the general state of financial markets in the eurozone.
  • Topic: Debt, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Ilaria Maselli
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The recently approved labour market reform in italy is clearly inspired by the danish flexicurity model. However, despite the noble intention and some improvements, the reform is failing to bring the long- hoped-for change, especially regarding the dualisation of the labour market and the universalisation of welfare provision.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Henk L.M. Kox
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In most EU member states, the business services industry has booked no productivity growth during the last two decades. The industry's performance in the other member states was weaker than that of its US counterparts. Exploring what may be causing this productivity stagnation, this policy brief reports that weak competition has contributed to the continuing malaise in European business services. The study analyzed the persistence (over time) of firm-level inefficiencies. The evidence further suggests that competition between small firms and large firms in business services is weak. Markets for business services work best in countries with flexible regulation on employment change and with low regulatory costs for firms that start up or close down a business. Countries that are more open to foreign competition perform better in terms of competitive selection and productivity.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Tanja Tamminen
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Lisbon Treaty and the European External Action Service provide the EU with an excellent framework for comprehensive and effective crisis prevention and crisis management work. They just need to be utilised to the full. The security and development nexus can only be enhanced through long-term perspectives. Rather than renewing its general security strategy, the EU's focus should be on preparing tailor made and institutionally endorsed regional approaches and strategies, where the broad objectives would be operationalized into more concrete goals. In conflict-prone regions, goal-setting should be carried out through full participation with the beneficiary countries and their civil societies. Dialogue and mediation are perfect tools for achieving reconciliation and stability, and need to be utilized at every stage of comprehensive crisis management and at different levels of society. Comprehensive EU activities in the field of crisis prevention and crisis management should be duly evaluated, as only by looking at the bigger picture can lessons truly be learned and endorsed.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Security, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Lisbon
  • Author: Lenka Peťková
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: European Union (EU) has been reluctant to start visa liberalization talks with Turkey until mid–2012 despite the fact that citizens of all other candidate countries have enjoyed visa-free travel to Schengen area since 2009. The Turkish diplomats had mastered to negotiate roadmap to visa-free travel in an exchange for the initial of the readmission agreement, implementation of which is considered key in securing EU's eastern borders. The issues of migration and visa policy are covered in the negotiating chapter Justice, Freedom and Security, which has been blocked by the Republic of Cyprus. Demonstrating that the said topics represent joint interest of Turkey and the EU, the chapter was added to the positive agenda launched this May with the aim to keep Turkey's accession process alive. Despite the fact that visa liberalization and readmission agreement will both be negotiated outside of Turkey's accession framework, reforms adopted in these areas are likely to ease Turkey's alignment with the provisions of the relevant chapter of the acquis communautaire. Visa liberalization and readmission agreement are thus important factors influencing Turkey's protracted journey to the EU.
  • Topic: Islam, Migration, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Famine
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Imke Pente
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: With a three-month postponement, the European Council agreed to grant Candidate Status to Serbia in early March. This right and groundbreaking decision may yet not release Serbia from settling its relationship with Kosovo and from advancing in settling Kosovo's status. Serbia implemented the agreements of the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue held under the auspices of the European External Action Service only sluggishly. The dialogue has been subject to recurrent adjournments due to growing tensions between the conflicting parties. The fatal escalation of the customs conflict between Serbia and Kosovo in July 2011 illustrated the limbo in northern Kosovo threatening to overturn. The clear results of the referendum about the recognition of the government in Pristina held in Northern Kosovo in February 2012 constitute yet another indicator for the deadlock between the Albanian and Northern Serb communities. For the sake of stability, the EU member states must not be lenient with the status settlement question before allowing Serbia membership in the European Union.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans
  • Author: Anne Bercio, Katrin Böttger
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG)
  • Abstract: Given the current criticism of EU foreign policy after the Lisbon Treaty, the EU urgently needs success in the Western Balkan’s approximation to the EU in order to reassert its own foreign policy standing. After the 2004 enlargement, the EU has been widely advocating its accession policy as its most successful foreign policy instrument. With the Western Balkan countries’ ambitions for and great expectations in a future EU membership, the confirmation of the “European perspective” at Thessaloniki 2003, should have put them on a stable and progressive path towards European Union membership.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Regional Cooperation, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia
  • Author: Anders Åslund
  • Publication Date: 11-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Hyperinflation is one of the most misused words in the English language. Two years ago, I heard a prominent American investor say that we were about to get hyperinflation, “not 15 percent a year as under Jimmy Carter but perhaps 5 percent a year.” Hyperinflation is usually 1,000 percent or more a year. The standard definition by Philip Cagan (1956) is that hyperinflation starts when inflation reaches 50 percent a month, and then the economy is in hyperinflation for one year until monthly inflation falls and stays below 50 percent.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Regional Cooperation, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Mihaela Carstei
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Historically, energy security has played a central role in shaping the national security strategy and interests of the Baltic states. The diverse challenges that exist in the region make it necessary to focus on identifying areas of cooperation between the countries as they pursue diversified oil and gas supplies.This is crucial to achieve a regional approach to the European Union's common energy security goals.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Energy Policy, Oil, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Isabelle Francois
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Conventional arms control in Europe remains relevant more than two decades after the singing of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE). Today, it could serve as a useful vehicle for collaboration with Russia on a broad range of security issues, and productive movement forward would also do much to reassure and secure smaller NATO allies and regional partners. Ultimately, what is needed is a paradigm shift away from "mutual assured destruction" and towards a concept of "mutual assured stability."
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Transport is the only sector in the EU in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Unless this trend can be reversed, the EU will have little chance of reaching its objectives in the context of global obligations on industrialised countries to reduce emissions between 80% and 95% by 2050 compared to 1990. Many different solutions exist, including, for example, new technology such as electrification of road transport, modal shift, optimising existing technologies and policy measures and more radical measures such as binding GHG emissions targets. While there is some merit to all of these approaches, this Policy Brief argues that current EU policy thinking is not (yet) bold enough to credibly tackle the GHG emissions challenge from transport.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sebastian Rosato
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The European project seems to have run aground of late. Observers want to know how likely it is that the Europeans will recommit themselves to establishing a political and military union, and what the future holds for the single market and single currency.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe