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  • Author: Thomas Renard , Rik Coolsaet
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Some 5000 men, women and children have travelled from Europe to Syria and Iraq since 2012. An estimated 1500 of these foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) have returned so far. Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands represent a third of European FTF and returnees. This report looks into the evolution of policies on returning foreign fighters in these three countries, comparing responses with regard to fighters that are still in the conflict zone, policies to deal with returnees in prison and attitudes towards the children of foreign fighters. It is the very first systematic and in-depth study into national approaches and policies vis-à-vis returnees. Its added value lies in the wealth of data, including data that has not been published before, and in the comparative angle.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Affairs, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jan Hoogmartens
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Many observers may easily reach the conclusion that the European Union (EU) has been in crisis for the last decade. Against this background, and especially since the outcome of the Brexit referendum, the EU has begun much soul searching to carve out a new path to its future. This Policy Brief addresses the current Future of Europe debate with the Bratislava Roadmap, the Rome Declaration, the Leaders’ Agenda, and other valuable contributions. It raises the question what kind of narrative the European project will need to survive into the future. What kind of Europeans do we wish to be and what sort of Europe do we want to create? Despite growing mistrust of citizens in their own institutions and rising populism, this Policy Brief pleads for enduring support for the values on which the European project is built. These values should remain beacons for the way in which we legitimise, organise and communicate the work of the EU. Even if we cannot always agree on a common destination, Europeans should be able to agree at least on a shared trajectory based on common values. This is a narrative that should inspire Europe again.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jean De Ruyt
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The EU Treaty objective of establishing ‘an ever closer Union among the peoples of Europe’ means that European integration is a step by step process
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fabian Willermain, Anca Cioriciu
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: In the perspective of the post-2020 Multiannual financial Framework (MFF), this policy brief suggests three reforms that would improve the aim of the MFF as both an expression of EUs political priorities and budgetary planning tool. It looks into the potential overhaul of the MFF timeline, its structure in the context of new instruments such as the EFSI, and the strategic combination of different EU financial tools intended to stimulate and interconnect economies across the EU-27.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tamara Tubakovic
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: According to member states and EU officials, the European Union is now slowly entering a period of ‘post crisis.’ In this fragile period of stability, the European Commission has begun its task of strengthening the EU’s legislative framework on asylum. The focal point of the Commission’s task has been the reform of the Dublin system which, during the ‘asylum crisis,’ had almost collapsed. This policy brief has three aims. Firstly, it examines how the unprecedented movement of over one million persons seeking international protection to the EU in 2015 led to the fragmentation of the Dublin system. Secondly, it examines the main flaws of the Dublin system, namely the disconnect between the unchanged status quo on the Dublin rules and the ever-changing political and economic environment of the EU. Finally, it examines the Commission’s proposal for the recast of the Dublin system, assessing whether the new elements are adequate in resolving the key problems of the system. It is argued that although the reform does address, to a limited extent, the problems of secondary movement and the overburdening of some member state asylum systems, the reform does not sufficiently resolve the key flaws of Dublin in light of potential future migratory challenges
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexander Mattelaer
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Belgian defence budget for 2018 increases by a factor of 4.7 in commitment credits. Not only does this allow for offsetting the significant investment shortfalls of the previous years, it also provides a window of opportunity for regenerating the Belgian armed forces with a view to meeting future challenges. This Security Policy Brief makes the case that the longawaited modernisation of the major weapon systems needs to go hand in hand with a significant recruitment effort to address the critical human resources situation the Ministry of Defence finds itself in. Yet adding up personnel and equipment, the 25,000-strong force structure outlined in the Strategic Vision still risks being insufficient for meeting future requirements as they emerge in both the national and the international context (NATO/EU). As such, defence planners will need to engage with the question how best to redevelop the force structure from this minimum baseline in function of how the strategic environment evolves. For strengthening Belgium’s national security and diplomatic position in the twenty-first century the present window of opportunity is not to be missed.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Belgium
  • Author: Marc Otte
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The Middle East is once again going through a period of war and upheaval, including mass murder of civilians, state failure, transnational terrorism, sectarian wars, physical and societal destruction, massive arms purchases, use of nonconventional weapons (notably chemical) and a permanent risk of proliferation of WMD. These developments are a threat to the region, but also to the rest of the world and to Europe in particular. The current turmoil should not be underestimated for its potential to trigger an even bigger hot war that could involve other players, if only because of miscalculations by some of the parties involved.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Sven Biscop
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: The 100th Egmont Paper deals with an issue that, unfortunately, provides little cause for celebration: the impact of Brexit on European diplomacy and defence. Unless, as Sven Biscop argues, a new “special relationship” can be established between Britain and the EU, both London and Brussels will
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andre Barrinha
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: Cyberspace has become a major locus and focus of international relations. Most global powers have now streamlined cyber issues into their foreign policies, adopting cyber strategies, and appointing designated diplomats to pursue these strategic objectives. This article proposes to explore the concept of cyber-diplomacy, by analysing its evolution and linking it to the broader discussions of diplomacy as a fundamental institution of international society, as defined by the English School of International Relations. It argues that cyber-diplomacy is an emerging international practice that is attempting to construct a cyber-international society, bridging the national interests of states with world society dynamics – the predominant realm in which cyberspace has evolved in the last four decades.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Stephan Klose, Astrid Pepermans, Leia Wang
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: China’s 19th Party Congress unexpectedly amended the party’s constitution with a pledge to “pursue the Belt and Road Initiative”. This further elevates the status of president Xi’s heavily promoted foreign policy, which aims at creating trade and investment opportunities through the development of Eurasia’s continental and maritime infrastructure. As the implications of this policy are increasingly felt across Europe, following years of growing Chinese investments, so are the challenges it presents to Europe’s unity, prosperity and security. In light of these challenges a constructive engagement with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) constitutes an immense task for the European Union, whose position has been weakened by growing dissent among member states over the Union’s policy towards China.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: China, Europe