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  • Author: Dumitru Minzarari
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has not only triggered a crisis in public health and safety that engendered a significant economic fallout. The pandemic has also triggered an infodemic, one that sets the context for a significant spike in anti-NATO and anti-Western propaganda. Unless countermeasures are taken, the already deteriorating public opinion vis-a-vis the Alliance can be expected to worsen. Viewed individually, these two pandemic's outcomes have not critically threatened the Alliance; however, their combined effect could become a formidable challenge for NATO. Despite the measures taken, the pandemic is likely to continue exacerbating the frustrations among member states, further fraying the Alliance's unity. This, arguably, is the most immediate and concerning challenge facing NATO today.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, NATO, Public Health, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Claudia Major
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis is teaching European countries that a pandemic can destabilize societies, the economy and political institutions to the same extent that military or hybrid threats do. However, while the pandemic's impact on European security seems massive, it is difficult to isolate the COVID-19 factor: what is uniquely pandemic-driven, and what is the result of other elements, such as the lack of US leadership, is not always easy to determine.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Institutions, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Thomas Philippon, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The measures that most governments took in response to the sudden collapse in economic activity during the COVID-19 lockdowns nearly exclusively focused on protecting vulnerable workers and firms. These measures included unemployment benefits, grants, transfers, loans at low rates, and tax deferrals. As lockdowns are lifted, governments must shift policies toward supporting the recovery and design measures that will limit the pain of adjustment while preserving productive jobs and firms. This Policy Brief explores how such measures can be designed, with particular emphasis on Europe and the United States. The authors propose a combination of unemployment benefits to help workers, wage subsidies and partially guaranteed loans to help firms, and debt restructuring procedures for small and medium-sized companies handicapped by excessive legacy debt from the crisis.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, Labor Issues, Unemployment, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Wilson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union was largely on the sidelines when the Belarusian regime rigged the 2020 presidential election, but upcoming votes in Georgia and Moldova pose a different challenge. The EU should make use of its significant leverage in Georgia and Moldova to counter their ruling parties’ extensive repertoire of electoral dirty tricks. The bloc will need to account for the obstacles created by the coronavirus crisis, not least the difficulty of conducting large-scale monitoring missions. The EU will also need to adjust to the ruling parties’ use of pandemic assistance for political gain, and their efforts to prevent citizens abroad from voting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Elections, European Union, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus
  • Author: Julien Barnes-Dacey
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine years of conflict, the US is mounting a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Syria, seeking the regime’s demise. But, with Assad having effectively won the war, he is unlikely to succumb to US economic pressure. Assad bears responsibility for the country’s freefall but this strategy will further accelerate societal collapse, especially as coronavirus looms, and will not deliver a transition. European governments should pivot to a longer-term strategy focused on protecting those societal forces that are still standing and that can help salvage a better future aligned with European interests. This should include increased – and cautious – support to them within government-controlled Syria. The unpredictability of the Trump administration means persuading the US down this track is not impossible – Europeans should seek to influence Washington to widen space for societal support.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Conflict, Syrian War, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Bashar al-Assad
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Josep Borrell
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The pandemic will likely magnify existing geopolitical dynamics and test the strength of Europe’s democratic systems. Europe needs a new kind of globalisation capable of striking a balance between the advantages of open markets and interdependence, and between the sovereignty and security of countries. Europe should work to prevent the US-China rivalry from having negative repercussions in certain regions of the world – particularly Africa. European leaders need to focus on meeting the immediate needs of healthcare systems, providing an income for people who cannot work, and giving businesses guarantees. The European model will only mean something in the eyes of the world if we can successfully promote solidarity among EU member states.
  • Topic: Globalization, Geopolitics, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Linda Zeilina
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Linda Zeilina wrote a policy paper as a part of the Think Visegrad platform on the topic of sustainable finance and energy security of the Visegrád group countries. The coronavirus outbreak has made the unthinkable happen, with major economies grinding to a halt and international travel coming to a standstill. Now, it is time to think what is often seen as unthinkable: to reimagine economic models and energy systems, and to position the Visegrad countries well for the economic models of the future. By doing so, the region will also make itself much more secure and prosperous.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Finance, Coronavirus, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, Vít Havelka writes about the Eurozone ministers first agreement on the response against the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. After several Eurogroup meetings, the finance ministers of the EU19 finally managed to agree on their first COVID-19-crisis response. They sign up to a package worth of 540 billion €, consisting of 200 billion € loans from the European Investment Bank, 240 billion € from the European Stability Mechanism, and 100 billion € kurzarbeit package proposed by the European Commission. The coronabonds fiercely wanted by Italy, Spain and Portugal have not been approved, leaving the discussion to EU leaders who are due to convene on the 24th April.
  • Topic: European Union, Finance, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jiří Lacina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, Jiří Lacina explores the impact of COVID-19 on the future development of European integration and the role of Czechia in this development. The EU, its institutions and the Member States are working together to withstand the current pandemic and prepare for the economic crisis to follow. Simultaneously, ideas on the future arrangement of the EU are appearing. Two emerged on 9 April: one of monetary and the other of environmental nature – and both dealing with region’s economic recovery. For now, the Czech Republic is not engaging in any of them, and once again risks being left behind.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Daniela Schwarzer, Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting severe economic disruptions, can only be effectively tackled with a European and global response. The degree of integration and interdependence between member states – economically, politically and socially – means that in dealing with the virus and its economic effects, the EU is only as strong as its weakest part. Governments have to devise a more forward-looking, collective response. Hesitation and the failure to tackle the problem collectively will increase the losses – in terms of lives, economic wellbeing, political stability and EU unity.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Political stability, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Cristina Gherasimov
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: While the magnitude of the current pandemic is still unknown, Eastern Europe might be facing a major regional catastrophe. The six countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) have dysfunctional health-care systems and lack resources and protective equipment for their doctors and hospitals. The European Commission’s offer of immediate assistance is good news. However, much more will be needed to help the EU’s eastern partners fight the coronavirus and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of this crisis.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Partnerships, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels
  • Author: Christina Kattami
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: The policy brief* outlines the agenda of the new Commission before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and aims to analyse the ways in which the crisis has reinforced and strengthened key points of that agenda. It further outlines the Commission’s Recovery Plan proposal, and examines its links to the aspiring green and digital transition. Finally, it showcases the legal base and timeline of the Recovery Plan proposal and highlights the main points of agreement and contention across the Member States, outlining the July deal of the European Council and the ensuing resolution of the European Parliament. It overall argues for the need of a holistic recovery, that takes into account the unprecedented policy window brought by public and private funding, and ensures that the eventual indebtedness of the next generation is at least compatible with the aspirations and goals of an economy and society of the future.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Economic Growth, Institutions, Coronavirus, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe