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  • Author: Daniele Fattibene
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Russia’s “pivot to Asia” has come to the fore in the wake of the crisis over Ukraine. Growing tensions with the West over the common neighbourhood, coupled with economic sanctions, have accelerated this trend, with China gaining in strength as both an economic and military partner to Moscow. The Kremlin’s propaganda has sought to convince the broader public that Russia’s strategies in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Arctic region are a complement to China’s new Silk Road Economic Belt. Nonetheless, behind the headlines huge potential problems jeopardise the emergence of a durable Sino-Russian consensus in Eurasia. Against this backdrop, the EU should opt for “strategic patience.” This would be a far more effective policy choice than finger pointing, which only deepens the mutual ideological clash between the EU and Russia.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-69-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Nicola Casarini
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: With the One Belt One Road (OBOR), arguably Beijing’s major diplomatic outreach in decades, a process towards greater Sino-European connectivity has been put in place. The implementation of the OBOR in Europe has focused so far on financing infrastructure projects, in particular railways in Southeast Europe and ports in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been complemented by growing monetary linkages between the People’s Bank of China and European central banks through the establishment of currency swap agreements and yuan bank clearing – so-called “offshore renminbi hubs” – with the aim of lowering transaction costs of Chinese investment and bolstering the use of the Chinese currency. While there are undoubtedly great economic opportunities, China’s OBOR initiative also presents the EU with a major political challenge. There is the risk, in fact, that a scramble for Chinese money could further divide EU member states and make it difficult for Brussels to fashion a common position vis-à-vis Beijing. Furthermore, China’s economic penetration into Europe may lead – if not properly managed – to a populist backlash as well as a strain in relations with Washington. All these elements should be taken into consideration by EU policymakers, as China’s OBOR makes inroads into the Old Continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-64-4
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Marco Sanfilippo
  • Publication Date: 12-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper analyses foreign direct investment (FDI) activities of Chinese multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Italy. Chinese investments in Italy present features similar to those in other advanced countries, while also showing some country-specific features. Italy is considered an attractive destination for Chinese investors not only because of its large market and its strategic position as a gateway to the Mediterranean, but also because it is seen as a valuable source of strategic assets in both traditional and advanced industries. The analysis of the Italian case is supported by the presentation of a number of detailed case studies, which exemplify the strategies followed by Chinese companies in the country and help summarise the main implications of this phenomenon. Evidence presented in this paper gives rise to a number of suggestions for policy makers on how to maximise the benefits from rising flows of FDI from China and other emerging economies.
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Alessandro Riccardo Ungaro
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The new US strategic guidance released in January 2012 represents a hallmark of US President Barack Obama's foreign policy and forms integral part of the so-called “Pivot to Asia”. However, rather than a radical departure from the past, the strategic guidance represents an evolution and extension of US foreign policy towards the region, envisaging the reallocation of American military assets from Europe to the Asia-Pacific. The implementation of the guidance strategy is a long-term and complex process: several challenges, tensions and frictions between the US and regional actors may hamper the implementation of the policy and will require a delicate balancing act in which China will play a key role. On the European side, the US shift should be seen as an opportunity to review the European Security Strategy and elaborate its own strategy towards Asia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Europe, Israel, Asia
  • Author: Silvia Menegazzi
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: China's assertiveness is growing. While in the past China's foreign policy kept a low profile in international affairs, global developments, prime amongst which in the Middle East, highlight China's growing influence in world politics and its ensuing role in shaping global norms. Within the liberal peace discourse, China's reinterpretation of international norms can be seen as the result of a mixture of prior local norms - sovereignty and non-interference - and changes within the international environment - namely conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East. Particularly, in terms of intervention and peace-building practices, China insists that a number of preconditions - which are encapsulated in the notion of Responsible Protection (RP) - have to be met in order to consider intervention in sovereign states. This paper argues that in order to achieve a full picture of Chinese foreign policy and its normative underpinnings, it is necessary to explore the debate within non-state actors beyond the government apparatus, such as think tanks and research institutions.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Emerging Markets, International Affairs, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Libya, North Africa, Syria
  • Author: Silvia Colombo, Ian Lesser
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The paper provides a summary of the key issues raised in the third meeting of the Mediterranean Strategy Group which was convened in Rome to discuss the problem of energy security and cooperation in the Mediterranean from a transatlantic perspective. The meeting looked into the impact of geopolitical and economic variables on energy security around the Mediterranean, including the role and interests of “new” actors such as China, Russia and India. It also examined the outlook for new oil, gas, nuclear and electric power transmission projects, the prospects for alternative energy schemes, and the implications for strategy and policy affecting governments and the private sectors.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, India
  • Author: Bénédict de Saint-Laurent
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Basic questions posed in this study were whether the trend of Gulf involvement in the Mediterranean economies was sustainable, what the specifics of those investments are, and could a triangular cooperation be envisaged? What is clear is that Gulf investors have become major players in the Mediterranean with an investment volume of more than 70 billion Euro in nearly 700 projects since January 2003. The Gulf now seems to have joined Europe as a sustainable second investment pillar. The complementarities between needs and resources of Europe, GCC and Med countries call for the implementation of an integrated co-operation model, similar to the Japan-China-ASEAN triangle.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Ian O. Lesser
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: “Coalition” may be an inappropriate term to describe the constellation of state and non state actors cooperating in the global struggle against terrorism. The term coalition implies a certain agreement on strategy and objectives, short of a formal alliance. In fact, to the extent that NATO plays an active role in counter-terrorism, the current pattern of cooperation does have elements of an alliance. But the vast bulk of international cooperation on counter-terrorism, before and after September 11th, has involved the routine, sometimes intensive, coordination of intelligence, police and judicial activity. Contributions to large-scale military operations in Afghanistan, or elsewhere – although important to current objectives – are exceptional. Most counter-terrorism cooperation has been, and will almost certainly continue to be, of a more prosaic nature. The sheer range of activity – from the most intensive cooperation among European allies, to the ad hoc and often arms length relations with states such as Libya, Syria and Iran, not to mention Russia and China, makes it difficult to speak of a single grand coalition against terrorism.. The reality is a highly diverse pattern of cooperation; some limited, some extensive; some sustained, and some on a case-by-case basis.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, International Cooperation, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, China, Europe, Iran, Libya, Syria