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  • Author: Salome Minesashvili
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Georgia`s foreign policy, especially the implementation of international agreements, is best understood in the context of domestic contestation among alternative foreign policy views. • Nativist views exert increasing influence on the Georgian public. Georgia’s European partners should engage the Georgian public through civil society support and people-to-people contacts, to build trust and facilitate open debate. • The exclusive character of differing foreign policy positions further fuels the extreme political polarization. The government and opposition should be encouraged to come together over shared democratic values, instead of playing up the differences. • Pluralism and tolerance should be encouraged in the public and media debate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Public Opinion, Europeanization, Polarization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Fredrik Erixon
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief takes stock of the EU Trade Policy Review – the Commission’s proposed strategy for trade. Despite appearances, the Review doesn’t come close to its billing as a strategy for the new geopolitics of trade. In fact, the Review is weak on key geopolitical developments and rather gives the impression that the EU doesn’t have an ambition to shape outcomes. Obviously, the Review is anchored in Europe’s general economic climate: defensiveness on globalization, competition and digitalization. It follows that Europe is getting increasingly detached from world developments. There are several good parts in the Review. The Commission wants to revive and reform the World Trade Organisation, and it’s clear about what factors that have made the Geneva-based trade body dysfunctional. The Review also acknowledges that the EU will seek a closer alliance with the United States and use that for constructive purposes. Finally, it is welcome that the Commission proposes some new instruments for dealing with market distortions caused by foreign subsidies and protectionism in government procurement. All these initiatives can achieve good outcomes. However, they all require that Europe makes changes in its own policies and positions. The bad parts in the Review are Europe’s weak agenda for getting better market access in the growth regions in the world and its continued passivity on matters related to China. Europe’s main trade-policy challenge in the next decade is to ensure that businesses and consumers in Europe get better integrated with a world-market dynamism that predominantly will come from the Asian region. Absent a realistic and medium-term strategy for dealing with challenges connected to the rise of China, Europe will have difficulties getting the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment approved. Europe needs an actionable agenda for addressing bilateral frictions with China and problems that occur outside bilateral trade. Finally, the ugly part of the trade strategy are all the commercial policies in the EU – with strong effects on trade – that aren’t recognized or only casually mentioned in the Review. The latter category includes the ambition to introduce an autonomous carbon border tax on imports. Such a policy comes at a high political and economic cost, and the measure’s effect on reducing global carbon emissions is at best very negligible.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Geopolitics, Digital Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Charles Thépaut, Elena DeLozier
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: By triggering the nuclear deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, Britain, France, and Germany are opening diplomatic space that could help the United States and Iran return to the negotiating table. In a press conference following the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, President Trump reaffirmed his administration’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran and asked, once again, for European countries to leave the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Tehran announced what it called a “fifth and final remedial step” away from its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. In response, the British, French, and German foreign ministers stated on January 14 that they would trigger the JCPOA’s dispute resolution mechanism (DRM). At the same time, however, the E3 clarified that they are not joining the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign, which has steadily intensified ever since the United States withdrew from the JCPOA and reimposed unilateral sanctions in 2018. Contrary to U.S. claims, the European decision will not immediately provoke “snapback” UN sanctions on Iran (though that scenario could unfold later if the E3 plan fails and Iran’s violations go before the UN Security Council). Instead, Europe is maintaining its evenhanded position somewhere between Washington and Tehran in order to preserve the possibility of new negotiations, on both the nuclear program and other regional issues.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Greening the huge Corona recovery investments and the revised Multi Annual Framework is marketed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The European Commission is keeping its Green Deal ideas at the heart of its Next Generation EU package, but meanwhile the recovery measures of individual Member States are aimed mostly at ensuring the jobs and businesses of the grey economy. Moreover, an east-west divide is emerging over the Commissions’ green ambitions. Successful implementation will certainly depend on the steering authority the Commission might acquire. This policy brief analyses the effectiveness of key steering instruments available to the Commission. And it analyses how this effectiveness is influenced by the political context of the European Council.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Green Technology, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, 20th of June, ELIAMEP publishes a Policy Brief on the forthcoming New Pact on Migration and Asylum, by Dr. Angeliki Dimitriadi, Senior Research Fellow and Head of ELIAMEP’s Migration Programme. COVID-19 has affected access to asylum. Border closures have prevented in many cases asylum seekers from reaching safety, or made them face prolonged delays in their asylum application. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum is expected to be announced by the end of June. It is one of the biggest challenges facing the current European Commission, which is called upon to submit proposals that will be accepted by the Member States with different perspectives but also asylum and immigration needs. The biggest challenge, however, is to ensure that the right and access to asylum is fully preserved and will be a priority for the Union for years to come. In the midst of ongoing conflicts, extreme poverty and increasingly restrictive practices at the external border, it is perhaps the last chance to ground a common migration and asylum policy on the the principles of humanity and solidarity, between Member States and towards asylum seekers. The New Pact for Asylum and Migration will seek to bridge the differences between Member States on the solidarity, burden-sharing and common asylum processes. Southern member states have tabled a detailed proposal on the way forward grounded on mandatory solidarity. Forced movement will continue and likely be exacerbated due to the impact of COVID-19 in critical regions like Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Migration, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Refugees, Borders, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi, Senior Research Fellow; Head of ELIAMEP Migration Programme, discusses some first thoughts about the New Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Commission, which was presented this week. The Pact promotes a future where Europe looks inward. Proposal is based on an integrated vision for returns but not for reception. Mandatory flexible solidarity is the new way forward. The Pact introduces critical changes to Dublin but responsibility remains with first country of arrival. Deterrence remains the norm.
  • Topic: Migration, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Laura-Theresa Krüger, Julie Vaillé
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: On 22 January 2019, France and Germany signed the Aachen Treaty. Therein, 56 years after the Elysée Treaty, re-emphasising their support for multilateralism, sustainable development and development cooperation. Despite the ambitions expressed in this document, the signing of the Treaty calls for reflection: to what extent does this type of agreement indeed lead to joint operational approaches and have a real impact on French–German cooperation? To answer this question, this Briefing Paper analyses the obstacles to a closer French–German cooperation in the field of sustainable international development. It focuses on how these commitments are put into practice at the level of political coordination and project implementation. The analysis is based on about 20 interviews with representatives of French and German ministries, development agencies and think tanks. It finds that things get most complicated at the level of political coordination. Three main obstacles are identified: slightly diverging strategic visions; an incompatibility between institutional structures concerning the degree of specialisation and the mandates of the ministries responsible for steering aid, as well as the degree to which development agencies are involved in strategic decision-making; and cultural particularities regarding communication and time management. Five recommendations are proposed: 1. Protect what has been achieved: the alignment between France and Germany at the political and project implementation levels is an asset in an international context where the focus on national interests is increasing. Such cooperation should thus continue to be supported and reinforced. 2. Channel the political momentum to the working level: in order to reinforce their coordination, the two countries could establish a solid and regular follow-up mechanism for each commitment, detailing joint actions, shared objectives and milestones. 3. Promote mutual knowledge and trust: personnel exchange between the departments, as well as deep dive sessions on the two countries’ activities and strategies would allow increased understanding of each other. 4. Share best practices: a balanced and respectful French–German collaboration could be encouraged by the sharing of practices for which one country is more advanced or better positioned than the other (such as the French interministerial coordination or the German project evaluation and monitoring procedures). 5. Act jointly or divide the work: in the run-up to each joint Franco-German action, make a deliberate and conscious decision whether the two countries have an interest to act jointly or to divide the work. This decision would allow maximisation of the impact, either by specialising or by working together.
  • Topic: Development, Treaties and Agreements, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Aliyyah Ahad, Monica Andriescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Just weeks after the United Kingdom’s formal departure from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe with full force. The outbreak drew public and political attention away from the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, while also straining many public administrations, including agencies responsible for residency applications. With the clock ticking down on the transition period, set to end on December 31, 2020, many EU countries have yet to announce the details of the systems that will govern the future status and rights of their UK-national residents. The United Kingdom is further along, having rolled out its pilot EU Settlement Scheme to resident EU nationals in 2019. But of the 26 EU countries with responsibilities for citizens’ rights, only Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands had launched registration schemes before the pandemic began. And even where implementation had begun, many systems faced setbacks as in-person government services were suspended by lockdown measures. This has created considerable uncertainty for UK nationals in EU countries, and EU nationals in the United Kingdom—as well as their families—who will have six months after the transition period ends to acquire a new post-Brexit status. As this policy brief details, the pandemic has put some in an even more precarious position, including families with third-country-national members that have been separated by travel restrictions, and the newly unemployed, who may no longer meet the conditions of the EU Free Movement Directive (the foundation of the withdrawal agreement). This brief sets out steps governments on both sides of the Channel can take in the coming months to “pandemic-proof” their implementation plans. These include: investing in smart outreach to would-be applicants, streamlining status-adjustment processes, and supporting civil-society groups that can help applicants through the process.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Brexit, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Miroslav Tuma
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: Will the U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the American-Soviet INF Treaty of 1987 become a possible reality? The Treaty prohibits ground-launched shorter and the middle-range missiles (500–5,500 kms) with nuclear or conventional warheads. The Treaty´s security significance and its main parameters, the legal framework of the withdrawal and the reasons of both parties for accusing each other of violating the Treaty, are discussed in the article as well. In its conclusion, the article, among other things, explains the context of the possible termination of the Treaty, and its consequences for the U.S.-Russia arms-control architecture. Motto: “ A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” (A joint statement of the American president Ronald Reagan and the Soviet highest representative Mikhail Gorbachev from their first meeting in Geneva in January 1985)
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Paul Hofhuis
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This is the second Clingendael Policy Brief on climate policy development in the Netherlands. The first 'Are the Dutch going Green' was published in January 2019 and dealt with the political context and policy proposals made between autumn 2017 and the end of 2018. This policy brief focuses on the most recent developments until mid-September 2019. During this period the Dutch Parliament adopted a Climate Bill, provincial elections were won by a climate-sceptical party, and political agreement was reached on a comprehensive package of climate policies: the national Climate Agreement. This agreement, referred to as the ‘biggest refurbishment of the Netherlands since the Second World War’, was pre-cooked in an extensive negotiating process between government and civil society. The policies target especially the industrial, energy, transportation, housing and agriculture sectors. A key element of the societal debate focused on the costs of climate policies and how they should be allocated. In order to hammer out a political deal, the Dutch government had to change key assumptions of its constituting coalition agreement of 2017, and adjust some of the proposals developed by civil society, notably those favoured by industry. A lesson learned from the Dutch case is that setting ambitions may be relatively easy, but translating them into effective climate action is a tougher job, particularly when political decisions have to be taken on who will pay for what.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Treaties and Agreements, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe, Netherlands