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  • Author: Inès Abdel Razek, Claudia Del Prado Sartorius
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: It is a busy diplomatic period among the Heads of State and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the European Union and the Mediterranean countries. On the 24 and 25 February 2019, the EU and the League of Arab States (LAS) are set to hold their very first Euro-Arab Summit at the level of heads of state. The two regional blocks are meant to focus on “stability” and “migration”, going back to prioritising the security and stability agenda over the promotion of democracy and human rights. The aim is also to forge a new European-African Alliance, where Arab countries must play a necessary bridging role. This goal already questions whether the centre of gravity of EU-Arab cooperation is moving away from the Mediterranean to Africa. A few months back, the Conference of Mediterranean Ministers of Foreign Affairs – that includes all EU countries and 10 Arab countries – marking the tenth anniversary of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), was held on the 8th of October 2018. However, it passed almost unnoticed on mainstream media. The event could be considered as an achievement in itself given that it gathered the 43 UfM countries, with their divergent and sometimes antagonistic geopolitical agendas – including Israel, Turkey, alongside the European and Arab countries – and allowed to reaffirm a rhetorical commitment to this regional partnership that focuses more on the socioeconomic issues. The Conference did not manage to produce a formal conclusive document, but just a mere declaration signed by the co-presidents1 . The UfM Conference was followed more recently by the Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 5+5 dialogue (Western Mediterranean Forum2 ) on 18 and 19 January 2019, where parties adopted a declaration focused on reinforcing western Mediterranean ties focusing on “sustainable development, youth, migration and mobility”3 . The more “Mediterranean” format of this dialogue only composed of riparian states in the western part of the Mediterranean is attractive to its member countries as more manageable than the UfM, composed of 43 countries, including countries that are remote from the Mediterranean itself. 1 https://ufmsecretariat.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Conclusions-of-the-Co-Presidency.pdf 2 Malta, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauritania, 3 http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-01-18/local-news/5-5-Western-MediterraneanDialogue-Foreign-Ministers-meeting-held-in-Malta-6736202278 Memorandum Opex Nº 239/2019. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) ten years after its foundation - How to overcome the frustrated ambitions 2 In that regard, France is pushing for its initiative of the “Summit of the two shores”, announced by President Macron, that will take place on the 24th of June 2019 in Marseille. It aims to revive the 5+5 Dialogue format, with 10 of the 43 countries of the UfM, while making it more inclusive and less government-driven, including civil society and all actors of the “voices of the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue”. It proposes a new “Mediterranean policy”, hinting on the existing failures of the UfM formula4 . In this paper, the authors zoom in the UfM, today considered, within the Mediterranean countries political and diplomatic circles, as a positive forum for formal political dialogue among its 43 member-states. However, throughout the past ten years, none have passed without analysts or politicians asking for revitalisation and necessary changes in the partnership, which lacks depth and vision. If you address the 43 capitals of the UfM, you are likely to find at least 20 different interpretations of the value and meaning of this somehow forgotten partnership. The EU, on a discursive level, presents the UfM as a model for regional integration complementing its Neighbourhood policy. Southern Mediterranean countries, on their end, continue to maintain low profiles, showing their moderate interest in an organisation which has failed to become a partnership based on equal footing – one country, one vote- that would increase regional economic integration with the EU. Critical security and geopolitical issues are put on the discussion table outside the UfM’s realm, through the League of Arab States or 5+5 Dialogue. The partnership’s lack of coherence and articulation with the other forums and partnerships (Neighbourhood Policy, 5+5, EU-Arab League) contributes to its weakening. At a time when multilateralism is vilified all around the world, when the EU is internally divided and marked by the rise of nationalist populist forces and securitydriven agendas; at a time when the Arab world, all the more divided, stands far from the short-lived optimism brought by the Arab Springs, is the Mediterranean agenda going to be central to its member states’ international cooperation? Will the UfM hold a central place in the Mediterranean agenda and more broadly EU-Arab relations, or just be one of many actors? Despite all its shortfalls, the authors believe in the added value of the UfM forum to advance people-centred socioeconomic models. We argue for reinforcing its 4 Foreign Policy Speech at the « conférence des Ambassadeurs » http://www.elysee.fr/declarations/article/discoursdu-president-de-la-republique-a-la-conference-des-ambassadeurs/ Memorandum Opex Nº 239/2019. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) ten years after its foundation - How to overcome the frustrated ambitions 3 existing institutions in order for all Mediterranean countries to advance a progressive socio-economic agenda, whether in the North or the South.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Migration, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, Mediterranean, Southern Europe
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Our starting point was the observation that the international order, but also the political, social and economic order on a domestic level in the West are undergoing profound changes, some of which stem from the new social, political and economic situation in the United States. The world’s major power has become the epicentre of numerous transformations that have accelerated with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House. The consolidation of a populist political narrative and the implementation of a series of highly disruptive policies in the international system are unequivocal signs of profound transformations rooted in changes that have been under way for years. At the Fundación Alternativas’s Observatory of Foreign Policy (OPEX) we set out to coordinate a Working Group commissioned with the task of analysing those transformations and trends in the United States, primarily from a European standpoint. Our goal was to explore the new social, political, technological, economic and cultural trends that are going to shape thought and debate in Europe and the rest of the world on numerous and very diverse topics – from the new geopolitics to social breakdown; from globalisation and the technological shift to transatlantic relations; the crisis of the traditional political parties; robotization and digitalisation; migration flows, climate change and renewable energies; fake news and new media. Lastly, we tried to begin reflection with regard to Spanish and European political and social agents, drawing a prospective map of important changes that all of these trends are causing on both sides of the Atlantic. The project included several work sessions at the Fundación Alternativas offices over the course of 2018. They were built around a short presentation, followed by a lively exchange of ideas. Numerous experts linked to the Fundación Alternativas, practitioners and guests from other prestigious Spanish and international institutions took part in the Working Group. To have them with us and Vicente Palacio US Trends That Matter For Europe January 2019 5 be able to broadcast the sessions live to a wide audience, we also made use of Skype and social media. The result, then, is a starting point rather than an end point: an initial cognitive map that will have to be continued and extended in the future. We have chosen to put into print and disseminate this material electronically thanks to the collaboration of the School of International Relations at the Instituto de Empresa (IE) and its Transatlantic Relations Initiative (TRI) led by Manuel Muñiz, Dean of IE School of Global and Public Affairs, to be more precise. Special thanks go to him and to Waya Quiviger, Executive Director of the TRI, for their collaboration in the completion of this project that we present jointly at the IE headquarters in Madrid.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Europe Union, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Atlantic Ocean
  • Author: François Vallancourt, Jesús Ruiz-Huerta, Violeta Ruiz Almendral
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Since 2009 Autonomous Communities have started to set their own Personal Income Tax rates for the first time. This is both the result of the 2009 rule change and the difficulties to get other public revenues during the years of the Great Recession. We will examine what the Autonomous Communitie s explicit choices have been and see how they compare to what Canadian Provinces have done. Before 2000, these provinces other than Québec were required to use a surtax approach that saw provinces collect personal income tax as a% of federal taxes (tax on tax) using the same number of brackets, boundaries of brackets and progressivity structure. Since 2000 they can and have chosen to use a tax on income approach as noted above. Thus they must make similar choices to those of Autonomous Communities for their Personal Income Tax since 2000.
  • Topic: Economics, Global Recession, Tax Systems, Recovery
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, Spain, North America, Western Europe
  • Author: Luis Fernando Medina Sierra
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The present document has three goals: first, present an overview of the main legal and regulatory developments regarding the digital platforms; second, reflect the diversity of view that these technologies have generated among the social actors (unions, workers, government and enterprises) and third, offer a comparative framework to make sense of this diversity and the challenges it presents for labor relations and social dialogue. The institutional response has been so far mainly reactive, giving rise to ambiguities that may generate conflicts in need of resolution. But the structure of the different industries where these platforms have been introduced is such that the workers' experiences, their opportunities and their incentives to organize are all markedly heterogeneous. Given the way in which digital platforms redefines the labor relationship between workers and companies, any possible regulation will entail a serious rethinking of key aspects of the welfare state.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Labor Issues, Regulation, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Western Europe, Mediterranean
  • Author: Manuel de la Rocha Vàzquez
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: Completing, deepening and rebalancing the Economic and Monetary Union is perhaps the most crucial point of the dense European policy agenda. For social democrats, reforms of the Eurozone cannot aim exclusively at stabilising financial and sovereign markets or introducing more fiscal Discipline. From a progressive perspective, the main objective of reforming the Economic and Monetary Union is to address the problems of low growth and high unemployment, lack of social convergence and the democratic deficit. The authors present some crucial elements for a reform inspired by progressive values; they advocate for a fully-fledged Banking Union, a Convergence Code, a real Social Dimension and a Fiscal Capacity which includes both a stabilisation and an investment function.
  • Topic: Reform, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The year since the publication of our previous report in April 2016 has been nothing short of an annus horribilis for the European Union. The victory for Leave in the UK referendum was followed by the triumph of Donald Trump in the US elections and his stated support for the further weakening of the EU, an attitude that the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has described as a threat. At the same time, there have been a number of significant events, both in Europe and elsewhere in the world, which we analyse in this 6th Report on the State of the EU, produced in partnership between Fundación Alternativas and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: El periodo comprendido entre la publicación del anterior Informe –abril 2016– y el actual se podría calificar, sin exagerar, como el annus horribilis de la Unión Europea (UE). Al referendo británico que se inclinó por la ruptura con la Unión, el brexit, se ha sumado el triunfo de Donald Trump en las elecciones norteamericanas y su manifestado deseo de que se produzcan nuevos brexits. Una amenaza en palabras del presidente del Consejo Europeo Tusk. Entre medias se han sucedido muchos acontecimientos en la vida europea y global que se analizan en este VI Informe sobre el estado de la UE, producto de la colaboración de la Fundación Alternativas y de la Fundación Friedrich Ebert.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Antonio Fernández Tomás
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: La Fundación Alternativas presenta un nuevo estudio: ¨The impact and consequences of Brexit on acquired rights of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU-27¨. Informe encargado y financiado por el Parlamento Europeo, ha sido elaborado por Antonio Fernández Tomás y Diego López Garrido.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Antonio Fernández Tomás
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: La Fundación Alternativas presenta un nuevo estudio: ¨The impact and consequences of Brexit on acquired rights of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU-27¨. Informe encargado y financiado por el Parlamento Europeo, ha sido elaborado por Antonio Fernández Tomás y Diego López Garrido.
  • Topic: International Relations, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe