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  • Author: Judit Tóth
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: When one considers the substance of European Union (EU) official documents in a simplified way, national and ethnical minorities may appear in three contexts. The first belongs to external relations (common foreign and security policy), which cover minorities as a matter of human rights in third countries. These documents call upon the (third) countries concerned to respect human rights and international and European standards on minorities' rights that are also endorsed by the EU. In this regard, the legislation being developed in view of a common European migration policy contains provisions about the respect of minority rights in order to prevent further migration waves.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary
  • Author: Péter Kovács
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The subject of this paper is undoubtedly of paramount importance for a number of Central and East European countries. The image of a “Schengen Fortress” in statu nascendi is disappointing even for those who are enthusiastic about the accession of their countries to a unified Europe. There is a widespread fear – rational or not – that cross-border human contacts and travel possibilities from East to West will become more difficult than they were in the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The same feeling can be detected even in the Balkans, where certain countries also show symptoms of the “Schengen Fortress”.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Olga Potemkina
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Does Russia need international cooperation? This question may seem rhetorical, to which one would give a positive response, but the findings of a public opinion survey conducted by the independent Russian research organisation ROMIR clearly suggest otherwise. In April 2001, a total of 1,500 Russians were polled in 160 locations in 94 villages, towns and cities, in 40 regions, territories and republics of the Russian Federation. The questions asked concerned several key aspects of EU-Russian relations and the need for increased cooperation with international organisations.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Yuri Borko
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Strictly speaking, there are two groups of problems related to this topic. Firstly, there are some particular issues arising from the enlargement process; namely the movement of goods and people between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia, including visa regime, energy supply of the region, trans-border cooperation and fisheries. To solve these problems or not to solve them is like Hamlet's dilemma “to be or not to be”. These problems have to be solved by the Union and Russia, with the participation, at least jointly, of Poland and Lithuania.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Poland, Lithuania
  • Author: Ferruccio Pastore
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In order to understand the Italian perspective – or rather the Italian perspectives – on the shift eastward of EU external borders, it is useful, if not necessary, to anticipate briefly a few schematic concepts about the meaning of borders in Italian history. This will enable us to achieve a better understanding of current Italian attitudes in the European debate on border management issues in the framework of the enlargement process. But a rapid overview on the recent transformation of the nature and function of borders in the Italian case will also allow us to draw some tentative lessons for the ongoing enlargement process in the field of Justice and Home Affairs.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Moritz Meier-Ewert
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In January 2001, the Basel Committee for Banking Supervision (BCBS) presented its latest proposals for a revised Capital Adequacy Accord. The aim of this revision is to address some of the perceived shortcomings of the 1988 Accord, which is currently being applied. These new proposals include a number of important improvements, but unfortunately there is a serious risk that in some areas they are overshooting their target. As a result they could have adverse consequences not only for the structure of the banking industry, but also for developing countries and for systemic stability. Indeed, if implemented in its current form, the Accord could lead to a serious round of consolidation in the banking sector resulting in the domination of the market by a handful of internationally active banks, widen the amplitudes of business cycles as well as increase the frequency of financial crisis through enhanced procyclicality, and effectively cut off a number of developing country borrowers from bank-finance.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric Philippart
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In December 2000, the Heads of State or Government reckoned that once the institutional changes proposed in the Treaty of Nice were ratified, the Union would be ready for the accession of new member states. Acknowledging that the post-Nice design was certainly not optimal, they also agreed in a Declaration annexed to the Treaty to convene an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in 2004. It stipulated that Treaty changes would only be decided after two intermediary phases aimed at deepening and widening the debate on the future of the European Union: an 'open reflection' phase encouraging wide-ranging exchanges of views in multiple national and European fora, to be followed by a phase of 'structured reflection' scheduled for 2002-3. The format of the second phase was to be defined during the European Council bringing the Belgian Presidency to a close. On 15 December 2001, the Laeken 'Declaration on the Future of the European Union' was indeed adopted. No less than 56 substantive questions were proposed as a starting point for the debate to be conducted by an ad hoc structure made of a Convention flanked by a Forum. The Declaration not only defined the mandate and the institutional contours of the new structure, it also provided a number of indications on how it should proceed in terms of deliberation, drafting and decision-making.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joanna Apap
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The judgment in the case of Conka v. Belgium of 5 February 2002 by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg whereby Belgium was founded guilty of infringing the European Convention on Human Rights, has much wider implications than one might think on a first reading.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium
  • Author: Guido Tabellini
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: How should tasks be divided between the EU and its member states? And what institutional reforms are needed to insure that these tasks (but only these tasks) are efficiently performed by the EU? This is the main problem to be addressed at the upcoming European Convention. This paper argues that EU tasks in the first pillar should not be expanded further, though some changes in the direction of both more and less intervention are desirable. The single market remains to be better enforced, and this might require further centralization of tasks. On the other hand, EU meddling with redistribution should be scaled back; this would imply reforming and reducing EU intervention in agricultural policy, structural funds and the social charter. In other words, EU intervention in the first pillar should mainly aim at making sure that the single market works as effectively as possible, and at fostering competition between EU member states. Redistribution should remain a national prerogative. EU tasks should instead be expanded outside of the first pillar, namely in foreign and defense policies, in internal security and immigration. The paper ends with a discussion of what institutional reforms might be needed to accompany this allocation of tasks and increase accountability of EU decisions. Appropriate reforms should keep in mind the distinction between "bureaucratic accountability" (i.e. the control of appointed bureaucrats with a narrowly defined mission) and "democratic accountability" (i.e., the control of elected politicians with an open mandate). The former type of accountability is the most relevant in Europe today, given the lack of a true and complete European polity, and this has relevant implications for task allocation and institutional reforms.
  • Topic: Government, Human Rights, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Europe