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  • Author: Tyson Barker
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The EU and the United States are expected to launch a Trade and Technology Council (TTC) on the sidelines of the US-EU Summit in mid-June, which could present a rare opportunity to jumpstart the EU-US technology relationship. Against the backdrop of rapid technological change, a transatlantic digital technology community could be a 21st-century answer to the Coal and Steal Community – a big democratic project that reaches across borders, knits like-minded communities together in a manner that reinforces shared values, and codifies standards of market access, increased interdependence, and intensified political dialogue.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Governance, European Union, Democracy, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Shahin Vallée, Daniela Gabor
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The ECB has been forced – in part by the COVID-19 crisis – to review its bilateral arrangements with foreign central banks. But the recent changes made by the ECB fall short of the European Commission’s ambitions to boost the international role of the euro. We suggest the ECB should put in place an alternative three-pillar framework to improve the international role of the ECB and cement its pivotal role in the international financial system.
  • Topic: European Union, Banks, International System, European Commission
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Anna-Lena Kirch
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Overall, as the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, the EU proved capable to act. Crisis management addressing the pandemic benefited from the fact that Germany held the presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2020 and could build upon its traditional approach: developing European capabilities, including all governments, and being prepared for the unexpected. Now, going forward, Germany needs to use its experience with complexity and uncertainty to help form a strategic doctrine for the EU.
  • Topic: European Union, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Miriam Heß
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The European Union should actively address the problematic use of counterterrorism by non-European states – especially Russia – and make it a permanent aspect in developing counterterrorism strategies and agendas. Failing to address the misuse of counterterrorism sends the wrong signal not only to those with reason to fear geopolitical interference by their countries of origin, but also to states that pursue “anti-terrorist-operations” in the form of abductions and executions abroad.
  • Topic: European Union, Counter-terrorism, Geopolitics, Risk
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Markus Jaeger
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Biden administration has just issued its Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. The guidance document states the need to “build back better at home” and acknowledges that “international economic policies must serve all Americans” – a theme often referred to as “foreign policy for the middle class”. While the interim guidance does not preclude cooperation with China in selected policy areas, it is unambiguous in considering China a strategic competitor. The prospect of intensifying China-US geopolitical and (geo)economic competition is bad news for Germany, which has high value trading and investment relationships with both countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, National Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Milan Nič, Julian Rappold
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The next months will show whether Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán can retain his influence in Europe even outside its largest political family. Having left the center-right European People’s Party before his party was finally pushed out, Orbán is now trying to regroup and unite the populist and Euroskeptic forces in European Parliament. What looks like a defeat could still be turned to his advantage if it leads to a lasting reshuffle of political alliances and strengthens illiberal voices.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Populism, European Parliament
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary
  • Author: András Rácz
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Political leaders could abuse the coronavirus crisis to undermine democracy. Europe’s biggest risk is Hungary. In late March, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could use his two-thirds majority in parliament to push through a law that would empower him to rule by decrees with no specified time limit. If he succeeds, it will undermine the European Union’s core principles, making the EU even more fragmented and difficult to manage once the pandemic is over.
  • Topic: Government, Authoritarianism, European Union, Democracy, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary
  • Author: Carina Böttcher
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Civilian CSDP missions rely on EU member states to staff them with skilled experts via the instrument of secondment. But the rate of seconded personnel in missions has decreased notably over the last ten years. The key to reversing this trend is addressing obstacles at the national level that hinder the recruitment and deployment of civilian experts with specialized profiles. Targeted incentives could help overcome some of these obstacles.
  • Topic: European Union, Finance, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Martin Sieg
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: In Moldova, the weakness of the Eastern Partnership has been over-reliance on incentives, rather than a lack thereof. Veto players who hid their true interests by claiming allegiance to the European cause hijacked the EU’s soft power. The EaP’s shortcoming was lack of means and readiness to make these key opponents of political reforms keep their commitments. Its core challenge is how to overcome the resistance of these veto players who have been obstructing transformational goals.
  • Topic: Reform, European Union, Partnerships, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova
  • Author: Claudia Schmucker, Stormy-Annika Mildner
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Today, trade policy is used more and more often to achieve geopolitical goals. To defend European interests in this new geo-economic environment, the EU must recalibrate its unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral trade toolbox. While the EU needs to counter the increasingly unlevel international playing field, self-sufficiency is not a viable option. The strength of the EU depends on its openness and integration in world markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Reform, European Union, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Heinrich Brauß
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: President Trump wants to withdraw US troops from Germany because it spends too little on defense. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, however, is trying to present the decision as the result of a strategic analysis. That seems grotesque. The withdrawal not only weakens NATO, but also the security of Europe and America’s ability to act. The Europeans must finally close their capability gaps, and Germany must make its armed forces fully operational earlier than planned.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Adam Traczyk
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Zbigniew Rau, who was appointed foreign minister on August 26, will help align the trajectory of Polish diplomacy with the government’s general line. His appointment fits into the logic of a larger government reshuffle, expected this fall, which aims for a greater centralization of power. His higher standing in the governing PiS party may, however, halt the gradual loss of relevance of Poland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland, Belarus
  • Author: Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Brexit talks have entered extra time. If the UK is to leave the EU in an orderly manner, it needs a deal in the next four weeks. The trouble is that, as the prospect of leaving becomes more concrete, the government has finally recognized that it needs to honor the promises it has made to voters. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is struggling to reconcile his vague pledges with real world constraints – both internationally and domestically.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Brexit, Negotiation, Boris Johnson
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Julian Rappold
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Ursula von der Leyen’s first ‘State of the Union’ speech is an opportunity for her to reassert her political agenda under the conditions of COVID-19 and to set the tone for her four remaining years in office. The summit agreement in July on a recovery strategy was perceived as a leap forward for the EU but fell short of von der Leyen’s ambitions. Fault lines between member states are deepening, and interinstitutional cooperation is on the wane. This is a make-or-break moment for the Commission President.
  • Topic: European Union, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Claire Demesmay, Milan Nič
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s European policy is to improve the position of his country in the Eastern European member states of the European Union. Although this is not a change of strategy, but only a new method, it creates favorable conditions for intensified Franco-German dialogue on European strategic issues
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, European Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, France, Germany, Baltic States
  • Author: Cristina Gherasimov
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Despite welcoming signs from the recent EU-Ukraine Summit, the underlying problems still loom large in this special relationship. The EU is running out of tools to incentivize more difficult reforms, and Ukraine is running out of arguments why it is unable to tackle corruption, oligarchs, and consolidate rule of law. With growing geopolitical turmoil in the region, a further strengthening of this partnership should be a priority. The risk of an increasing anti-Western backlash in Ukraine should not be underestimated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, European Union, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: British political institutions have shown resilience during the Brexit crisis. London apparently believes it has the scope to put EU talks behind it and recalibrate its position in the world. The British government is carrying out an integrated review of defense, aid, and foreign policy and preparing its presidency of the COP26 climate talks and G7. By contrast, its neighbors are gripped by the notion of Britain’s further constitutional deterioration. Their perceptions could well become self-fulfilling.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Politics, Brexit, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe
  • Author: Roderick Parkes
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: A crisis can bring out the best in Germany’s European policy, resulting in its selfless embrace of deeper integration. But sometimes crises require Germany to lead from the front rather than melt selflessly into the background. On such occasions, Berlin has seemed a little too keen to stress that it is taking action under severe constraints. While Germany’s EU presidency showcased both tendencies, its shift toward crisis-driven realism risks overshadowing its strides for a better Europe.
  • Topic: Politics, Domestic politics, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany