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  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Italy has traditionally looked to Germany as a natural partner in defining the EU’s approach to Russia. Shared views of Russia as a member of the European family of nations, converging assessments of Europe’s security needs, and parallel energy and trade interests have all contributed to this. However, since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis a perception has begun to emerge in Italy of a widening gap between the Italian national interest and Germany’s Ostpolitik. While German policy per se is not a major topic of discussion, the Italian debate about the most appropriate policy course towards Russia and Eastern Europe contains a number of implicit assumptions about German choices and interests. This debate runs along political cleavages, with Italy’s expanding Eurosceptic coalition increasingly advocating a normalization of relations with Russia. Germany’s Ostpolitik, or at least some of the fundamental assumptions on which it is predicated, seems thus destined to become the object of greater contestation in Italy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Germany, Italy
  • Author: Anne-Laure Delatte, Sebastien Jean
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper discusses what useful form international economic co-ordination might take, notwithstanding the tense climate witnessed in recent months. On international trade, we argue that aiming at wide-ranging negotiations or more-of-the-same trade liberalizations would be pointless under present circumstances. Priority should instead be given to preventing the doom loop of protectionism and retaliation, and to addressing the political concerns about globalization. On fiscal competition, we point to the risk of a potential race to the bottom despite the progress achieved thanks to the OECD BEPS initiative. We finally emphasize the need for coordinated policies on the demand side. Paper presented at the international conference on “Major Challenges for Global Macroeconomic Stability. The Role of the G7”, organized in Rome on 27-28 March 2017 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Bank of Italy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: C. Fred Bergsten, Edwin M. Truman, Jeromin Zettelmeyer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper examines how G7 cooperation can be maintained in the Trump era. Its working assumption is that the US administration will remain open to international cooperation in principle and yet be constrained by Trump’s economic nationalism and specific campaign promises, such as reducing trade imbalances. The main finding is that useful areas for G7 macroeconomic, trade and financial cooperation continue to exist even after taking US constraints into account. At the same time, other G7 leaders need to be prepared to proceed on their own if attempts to convince the US administration that G7 economic cooperation is in the interests of all members fail. Paper presented at the international conference on “Major Challenges for Global Macroeconomic Stability. The Role of the G7”, organized in Rome on 27-28 March 2017 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Bank of Italy.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • 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: Rolf Langhammer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: While Germany continues to defend an open trading system it is not prepared to play a proactive role in pushing for liberalization of global trade. Preventing further disintegration in Europe has a higher priority for the German government than further integration in the world economy. Such priority does not only match with widespread skepticism in the German electorate on the gains from globalization. It also complies with an implicit understanding in the government that further globalization should be subject to stricter public surveillance. On nancial stability, German authorities emphasize the need to minimize the role of taxpayers in future bail-outs and giving regulators the power to force troubled banks to restructure or liquidate. Germany is also keen for the imposition of a nancial transactions tax at the global level. On macroeconomic policy, the increased reliance on domestic demand to spur growth in Germany will contribute towards global rebalancing. Given its scal space, boosting Germany’s public investment could be part of a collective e ort to address global demand weakness while addressing long-term growth challenges through structural reforms.
  • Topic: 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: Fabian Zuleeg
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: The Brexit negotiations continued this week with the UK government still insisting that the endpoint be an exit from the EU, including its Customs Union and the Single Market. But back in Britain, the turmoil is obvious, with different members of government taking diverging views, suggesting, at times, that a soft Brexit or a transition arrangement might be possible, even if it means concessions on the role of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the exit payment, the rights of EU citizens and even (temporarily) continued freedom of movement of EU citizens.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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