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  • Author: William Chislett
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Elcano Royal Institute
  • Abstract: Although some Spaniards joke that the country has got along fine with a caretaker government for 315 days, this year has been a lost one. There are some pressing issues that need to be tackled now that there is finally a functioning government. But the new Popular Party (PP) government no longer has an absolute majority. As a minority administration it will have to negotiate its laws and reforms in a deeply fragmented parliament, the result of the upending of the PP and the Socialist Party (PSOE) by two new parties, the far left Unidos Podemos (UP) and the centrist Ciudadanos (C’s). The government has a lot on its plate, including the following: (a) belatedly approving the budget for 2017 and meeting the EU’s threshold for the deficit (3% of GDP) in 2018 (a target imposed by Brussels that the PP persistently missed); (b) deciding what to do about the push for independence in Catalonia (the region’s government says it will hold a referendum on the issue in September 2017 regardless of whether the central government approves it or not); (c) cleaning up corruption in the political class; (d) making the judiciary more independent; (e) possibly deepening the labour market reforms in a bid to reduce the still very high unemployment rate (18.9%); (f) reforming an education system whose early school-leaving rate of 20% is close to double the EU average; (g) bolstering the ailing pension system hit by a sharp fall in the number of social security contributors and a rapidly ageing population; and (h) making its voice heard more in the post-Brexit debate.
  • Topic: International Relations, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Spain, European Union
  • Author: Milos Popovic, Sonja Stojanovic Gajic
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belgrade Centre for Security Policy
  • Abstract: The latest Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) working study summarizes the key findings of a survey on relations towards major powers and their influence on Serbia and Serbia’s foreign policy. The research was conducted from 26 December 2016 until 14 January 2017 on reprezentative sample of 1,403 adult citizens of Serbia (excluding Kosovo).
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Serbia
  • Author: Alexander Osipov, Hanna Vasilevich
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: This text discusses the structure and content of diversity policy in the so-called Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (TMR), an unrecognized state that broke away from Moldova during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The case of Transnistria is particularly useful as an example for analyzing the origins, structure, contents and effects of the post-Soviet ethno-cultural policy in a comparative perspective. Moreover, the model of Transnistrian state- and nation-building, since it is not explicitly based on privileging a core ethnicity, differs from nearly all countries and de facto states of the post-communist space. The working paper describes the TMR normative framework pertinent to the management of ethnic and linguistic diversity and analyzes the patterns of its implementation. The authors analyze the reasons why ethnic diversity has never been a challenge to the Transnistrian statehood and its stability while different ethnicities and languages are treated differently. The Transnistrian phenomenon is also considered from the perspective of the effectiveness and efficiency of post-Soviet diversity policies.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Soviet Union
  • Author: Alexandros Mallias
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Ambassador (retired) Alexandros Mallias analyses the perspectives for improving the relations between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the day after the formation of a new Government in Skopje. Alexandros Mallias , who was first Head of Mission of Greece to Skopje ,1995-1999, suggests that the two governments should not raise high expectations .They should work to enhance and expand the Confidence Building Measures' Process and rather opti for a quiet diplomacy on the name issue He stresses that fYROM's 1991 Constitution is a bad one ,being the root cause of problems with its neighbors as well as of the endemic interethnic conflict.It was already amended 30(thirty) times within 15 years .He is of the opinion that there are still some extra miles to go.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Macedonia
  • Author: Malcolm D. Knight
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper is premised on the fact that the most important macroeconomic policy issue confronting global leaders at this time is the need to restore, modernize and expand the international network of basic infrastructure that underpins global economic activity. This would help foster stronger long-term productivity growth and per capita output. This paper first outlines key policy elements that are needed within each country to design and implement a successful National Infrastructure Investment Programme (NIIP). It then describes how these NIIPs could be integrated into an Internationally Coordinated Infrastructure Investment Programme (iCIIP), and the complementary roles that the G7 and G20 summit leaders could play in carrying out this vast programme of infrastructure renewal and expansion. The G7, as a tightly knit group of advanced countries, can be instrumental in giving a clear impetus to key elements of the iCIIP strategy. The G20 instead is the appropriate body to set the course of modernization and expansion of a renewed, internationally-integrated network of basic productive infrastructure, and to guide the iCIIP as it is implemented over the next decade.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephen Pickford, Paola Subacchi
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Most G7 countries are facing political and economic uncertainties, and long-standing structural problems.The short-term outlook is reasonably positive, but longer term prospects are more challenging. These challenges have underlying economic causes stretching back many years, fostered by low productivity growth, stagnating real incomes and living standards, rising inequality and technological change. G7 countries should address short-term weaknesses, reduce political and policy uncertainties, and tackle these longer-term problems as well. Acting together to address these challenges will be more effective: (1) short-term and medium-term measures to boost growth should focus on fiscal actions (including infrastructure spending), normalizing monetary policy, completing financial regulatory reforms, and structural policies; (2) tackling policy uncertainties requires international consensus on consistent policies, starting with greater certainty over the direction of trade policy and over the Brexit negotiations. Sending positive signals on trade cooperation will be difficult, but the G7 could make progress on some specific issues such as a code of practice against competitive exchange rate devaluations; (3) an agenda to emphasize fairness could include: fair trading arrangements, implications of financial regulation for fairness and agreement on international corporate taxation to ensure companies pay their fair share of taxes.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Amanda Paul
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: On 28 June under the auspices of the UN, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot Communities, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, will meet in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in a fresh effort to resolve the decades-old Cyprus problem following a recent five-month impasse in the talks. The three guarantor states, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom will also participate. A solution would be a win-win for both communities as well as the broader region. It would not only enhance the Cypriot economy, including possible new energy projects, but also bring a new climate of security and stability to the Eastern Mediterranean. However, while progress has been made on many areas, significant differences remain on the issue of security and guarantees. Overcoming these differences will on both sides require political courage, creative thinking and a readiness to compromise and let go of maximalist goals. Yet, even if the two leaders clinch an agreement, selling it to their respective communities will be a significant challenge as Cypriots are far from prepared for the comprises that an agreement requires.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Cyprus
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Ammar al-Hakim’s announcement on July 24, 2017 that he is stepping down as the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) came after generation- al con icts surfaced between a number of the Coun- cil’s senior gures, who had visited Tehran to demand that he should be pressured over his reliance on the youth. Moreover, al-Hakim himself rejected attempts by senior members of the council to assume govern- ment positions, and even sought to build unique rela- tions with Arab and Western countries by presenting himself as an acceptable moderate Shiite gure. The outgoing leader is preparing for the upcoming elec- tions to be held across Iraq.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: The escalating crisis between the United States and North Korea is of special importance for Iran. Firstly, the US Administration of President Donald Trump has designated both Iran and North Korea as an imminent threat to the national security of the United States. The approach builds on the administration of former president George W. Bush’s repeated labelling of Iran and North Korea, as well as Iraq, as key rogue states of the so-called axis of evil, who sponsor terrorism and seek to ac- quire weapons of mass destruction.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Mathieu Pellerin
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Recently, the successful organization of La Francophonie summit in November 2016 and the success of the Donors’ and Investors’ conference in December of the same year have ensured Madagascar’s return to the international scene. However, careful observation of the state of the country leads us to question if the crisis has continued in other forms. The economic difficulties, despite some glimmers of hope, and an increasingly vindictive opposition (in the National Assembly and elsewhere) are the most visible signs of it. The very identity of this opposition, largely built around the former transitional president, Andry Rajoelina’s, party shows that the political sequence that opened in 2009 is still not closed, and that it promises to be subject to a new crisis in the next presidential election in 2018. However, the most difficult legacy of the transition to deal with, as we demonstrated in 2014, is undoubtedly the ever more advancing pervasiveness of multi-faceted crime.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Madagascar