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  • 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: Olgu Okumus
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the international media reported crude oil flowing from the KRG to Turkey, doubts about the act's legality, political acceptability and opacity have surfaced. This oil trade is commercially enticing for energy-hungry Turkey, but is also politically risky. The Turkish government's lack of transparency regarding the KRG energy deal's economic and technical aspects has triggered domestic criticism - an especially risky proposition given the proximity of next year's election - and the KRG deal may also hinder international reliance on Turkey as a reliable energy hub. Turkey would be better advised to position itself as a partner for the export of Iraqi oil and gas, without making any distinction between federal and regional authorities. An Ankara-Erbil-Baghdad partnership based on normalized energy relations would help Turkey build new energy bridges with the EU, reducing gas prices for European consumers and strengthening Turkey-EU relations.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Oil, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Vanessa Ushie
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: In the framework of the IAI-OCP Policy Center project this paper offers a conceptual framework to examine natural resource management in Turkey, Morocco and Italy and its implications for social and economic development. It recognizes the multiplicity of actors involved in natural resource management at the local, national and global level. It then proceeds by 1) advancing a definition of natural resources to be used in the context of this project; 2) highlighting relevant emerging issues in the empirical debates on natural resource management within economics and politics; 3) developing a series of indicators aimed at assessing the dimensions of the management and use of natural resources. In general, this conceptual framework adopts a flexible and plural approach that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of natural resource management, and recognizes the importance of country-specific factors in the relationship between natural resource management and socio-economic development.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Natural Resources, Sociology
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, North Africa, Italy, Morocco
  • Author: Ebru Oğurlu
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Over the last few years, the Eastern Mediterranean has been increasingly fraught with growing competition between regional players, most notably Turkey, Cyprus, and Israel, signalling an apparent return of power politics in regional relations. Of all actors involved, Turkey stands out for being both an ever more influential power and a source of serious concern to other countries in the region due to its greater assertiveness and perceived hegemonic ambitions. Against the backdrop of recent regional developments and their international implications, including the dispute over drilling rights off Cyprus' coasts, Turkey's image as a constructive and dialogue-oriented country, a critical achievement pursued by a generation of Turkish politicians, diplomats and officials, risks being replaced by one of an antagonistic/assertive power. Facing the first serious challenge to its claim to embody a benign model as a secular Muslim democracy and a responsible international actor, Turkey should not indulge in emotional reactions. It should opt instead for a more moderate and balanced approach based on the assumption that only cooperation and constructive dialogue, even with rival countries, can help it realize its ambition of being the regional pivot.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization, Development, Islam, Power Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Greece, Asia, Colombia, Cyprus
  • Author: Anar Valiyev
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As Azerbaijan celebrates its 20th anniversary of independence, democratic development remains a key challenge facing the country. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan successfully coped with immediate problems such as poverty reduction and economic and political stability, the need to reform the public administration and decentralize governance has become particularly urgent. The main problems, however, remain the same: low public trust in institutions, the absence of a democratic political culture and the lack of bridging social capital. In this regard, the assistance of the Transatlantic Community is necessary. The European Union and the United States should pursue a developmental approach to democracy promotion in Azerbaijan, which has higher chances to succeed than a more explicitly political approach, considering the weak institutional capacity in the country.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Economics, Poverty, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Marilisa Lorusso
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Armenian parliamentary elections were held on 6 May 2012. Five parties and a coalition won seats in Parliament. Three of them are opposition parties, two in the previous legislature were allies of the presidency party, the Republican Party. The latter comfortably won the elections. With 45% votes through the proportional system and 29 seats through the majoritarian one, the Republican Party has the absolute majority of seats, 69 out of 131. So the two main issues in Armenian foreign policy - the protracted conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh and relations with Turkey - will be addressed in continuity with the policy expressed so far by President Serzh Sargsyan, unless the regional counterparts change their strategies. With the party he chairs being confirmed as the leading political force of the country, Sargsyan will run for his second term in the upcoming presidential elections.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Caucasus
  • Author: Jens Hölscher
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan has been the fastest growing economy of the world and it increasingly attracts the interest of foreign investors. This paper analyses the Azerbaijani economy in transition from communism to capitalism over the past decade with a focus on investment climate. Facts and figures of the apparent economic miracle are presented and a number of political obstacles considered. Azerbaijan's transition towards a market economy has not gone very far and it is mainly slowed down by low levels of trust and high levels of corruption. There are also human rights issues and freedom or press is limited. Unless and until Azerbaijan deals with these problems, shadows will continue to loom over its economic miracle.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Caucasus, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Silvia Cavasola
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: For years the EU has been fostering a common policy to integrate immigrants. Yet, whether its efforts have progressively created something like a homogeneous European model of integration remains an open question. An analysis of the approach to immigrant integration in the EU member states that receive the largest immigration flows, as well as of EU initiatives to promote greater policy harmonization among its member states, shows that partial convergence in national integration strategies is linked more to interstate emulation and parallel path development than to proactive EU legislation on the matter. This trend can be referred to as a process of “informal Europeanization”.
  • Topic: Development, Human Welfare, Migration, Labor Issues, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Nona Mikhelidze
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The 2012 Russian presidential election and the future of the Medvedev-Putin tandem have started to dominate political debate inside and outside the country. Several developments in Russia's domestic politics have made predictions on the future president particularly arduous. These include Russia's so-called modernization initiative; Mikhail Prokhorov's debut on the Russian political scene, and the new presidential decree on the "Security Council Questions". Yet, analysing these developments suggests that whether Putin will return to the presidency or whether he will remain the de facto leader is unlikely to have major repercussions on Russian domestic policy. For Russia, the priority today is the need to maintain internal stability and formal democracy, necessary to attract foreign technologies and thus advance the modernization initiative as well as to guarantee elite continuity through an internal balance between the siloviki faction and the liberals. Both a renewed Medvedev-Putin tandem and a return of Putin to the presidency fulfil these goals. While much debated, the personality of the future Russian president is unlikely to represent a major game changer in Russia today.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Stefano Silvestri
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Union urgently has to work out a new strategy towards the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It has to back the democratic transformations of Arab societies, but also assert the need for new cooperation in the field of security so that the inevitable changes do not produce new international crises and do not generate new threats. The EU can take advantage of a favourable situation which, however, may not last long. This is a crucial test for the Union's common foreign and security policy after Lisbon.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lisbon