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  • Author: Thomas G. Mahnken, Grace B. Kim
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: On NATO’s entire Eastern and South-Eastern flank, the Allies face a major, pressing and subtle challenge. Using sub-conventional grey zone tactics, Moscow has repeatedly tried, and at times succeeded, in expanding its influence, eroding international norms, undermining the rules-based in- ternational order, and shifting the balance of power in its favour. Preventing Russia from launching such op- portunistic acts of aggression is particularly import- ant because its armed forces are developing the ability to attack quickly – under the cover of increasingly capable defences – countries on their periphery in a clear effort to impose a fait accompli.1 NATO countries are at a particular disadvantage in this type of compe- tition. Their force structures consist of expensive and technologically complex information-gathering platforms, such as satellites and manned aircraft, which due to their high costs are also scarce and employed with reluctance by states who generally hesitate to put them in harm’s way. Additionally, the prohibitively high cost of these platforms deters some countries from investing in these types of capabilities. As debates within NATO about cash, capabilities and contributions continue to hold the stage, highlighting Allies’ needs for different types of capabilities – less expensive, more resilient, and relatively more disposable – is important.2 Equal- ly critical is the need for Allies to develop new concepts of operations as well as new organi-zations to employ them effectively. The solution may not involve fielding exotic new capabilities so much as employing existing ones in innovative ways. It will also benefit greatly from approaches that allow Allies and partners to participate fully. If we do not adapt, we risk being surprised by potentially catastrophic events in a future conflict.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Surveillance
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, Eastern Europe, North America, Southern Europe
  • Author: Olivier Rittimann
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: What is commonly known as the “Ber- lin Plus” arrangements, signed in March 2003, provides for the European Union (EU) to draw upon NATO’s assets and capabilities for operations in which the Alliance would not be militarily involved. Following lengthy delays incurred by the Cyprus question, it was only as of 2003 that the agreement was successfully implemented with the transfer of operations from NATO to the EU in both the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2003) and then in Bosnia-Herzegovina (2004). The Berlin Plus agreement guarantees EU access to NATO planning capabilities, which contribute to EU- led military operations through the identification of command options, procedures for release and recall of NATO assets and capabilities, and the exchange of classified intelligence under reciprocal security protection rules. At the end of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia (1999), the EU had no defence staff fit to plan nor conduct an operation, and it is only fifteen years ago that member states established national Operation Headquarters (OHQ), which nations make available for EU operations, as was done in 2006 in the Demo- cratic Republic of Congo and in 2007 in Chad. At the end of the 1990s, the Berlin Plus proposal made em- inent sense: it prevented any duplication (by the EU) of assets and fostered the emergence of a European operational culture. But is the Arrangement still fit for purpose almost 20 years later?
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Andris Banka
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In recent years NATO has markedly increased its presence in the Baltic states. Relatively “light”, yet highly diverse multinational forces have been placed across the Alliance’s frontline with an underly- ing objective: to deter Russia. In this effort, the United States has served as a critical ballast. The Pentagon has directed sophisticated military exercises and rotated US service members throughout the region. These mea- sures, however, often did not align with US President Donald Trump’s spoken words nor written tweets. This obvious dichotomy disoriented Allied governments and shook bedrock assumptions about US security commitments. As political power changes hands in Washington, this lends an opportunity for a retooling of the transatlantic partnership. Domestically, incoming US President Joe Biden ran on the platform “Build Back Better”. In the spirit of that slogan, this Policy Brief lays out policy cor- rectives that both sides of the Atlantic could pursue to strengthen the US-Baltic security link.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Marcin Zaborowski
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War enlargements have changed the Alliance, its geopolitics and the definition of its purpose, which is no longer limited to deterring against threats to Allies’ territory. Enlarge- ments have also redefined the security and defence policies of the new member states, by transforming their armed forces, civil military relationships and im- pacting their defence industries. The states that joined NATO since 1989 are usually categorized as Central Europe or Central and East- ern Europe. Within this Central European realm of new member states, one can distinguish between the North-East, the Centre, the South-East, and the West- ern Balkans. All states in these groupings were com- munist prior to the end of the Cold War. Today, with the Cold War fast becoming a faded memory, Central Europeans tend to define their security needs with in- creasing divergence, with major repercussions on their defence policies, in spite of their belonging to the same Alliance. This Policy Brief maps out Central Europe by identifying groups of states in the region and looking at defence policy divergences. It focuses on a number of indicators, such as defence spending, acquisition of defence equipment and attitudes towards hosting for- eign NATO troops on their soil.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Post Cold War
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Heather A Conley
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The 1949 Washington Treaty is a remarkably brief document consisting of a preamble and 14 articles. The Treaty describes only the po- litical commitments and obligations of the signato- ries. It does not articulate a requirement for NATO members to spend a certain amount of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defense nor does it specify the military capabilities that a NATO member must possess to defend the Alliance. From 1949 to the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO was the singular locus of geopolitical discus- sion between North America and Europe. These were not easy discussions, yet the Alliance weathered strident policy and geopolitical policy differences. NATO also endured its members temporarily ceasing to be democracies due to military coups or concern about Communist influence on NATO governments. With a political body standing on the shoulders of a credible military deterrence, Allies were able to deploy creative problem-solving skills to bridge political dif- ferences, such as the policy innovation of deterrence and détente, while pursuing other, quieter methods, such as the temporary suspension of sharing sensitive intelligence from compromised NATO governments. Unfortunately, NATO’s centrality as a political forum greatly diminished after the Cold War as the Alliance reduced its political consultations in a less demanding geopolitical environment. Despite occa- sional interruptions of intense political discussion re- lated to conflict in the Balkans and the September 11th attacks, US retrenchment, combined with Europe’s inward focus, minimized NATO as a political forum. NATO was increasingly consumed by tactical decisions on out-of-area operations and transatlantic policy divisions over the Iraq War which fueled both Europe’s desire for greater autonomy and America’s questioning of the military utility of its Allies. NATO leaders substituted tactical – albeit important – military decisions regard- ing troop contributions, placement, and caveats as a substitute for political discussion. This political drift has now become so great that NATO members have begun to withhold support for the defensive planning of other Allies and new disputes between NATO members have the potential to escalate.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Michael Clarke
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: NATO has always been an important player in global politics. It is in the nature of the Alli- ance that its essential military missions were always carefully defined and its geographical boundar- ies strictly set by the collective defence commitments among its members. Nevertheless, NATO’s role as a politico-military institution among the great powers of the Cold War ensured it would always be global- ly significant. It could not have been otherwise. This remains as much the case – though now in different ways – as we consider the international environment taking shape for the 2030s. In this new environment the unavoidable global responsibilities of being a regional military alliance can be summarised in three ways; looking at NATO’s role in helping western powers defend their wider interests in the multi-polar world; helping meet the pseudo-ideological challenges posed by the rise of autocracies; and contributing to issues of the “global commons”.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Olivier Roy
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Any counter-terrorist policy should be shaped according to the nature of the threat. For an alliance like NATO, it is particularly import- ant to distinguish the fundamental characteristics of global movements from local terrorist entities. Whilst global jihadi propaganda and Islamist ideology still represent a significant danger, in many instances, it is the local dynamics that prevail. Complex NATO operations – designed to prevent, stabilize or rebuild – must be framed and designed accordingly.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Globalization, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism, Military Strategy, Radicalization, Local, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Andrea Gilli
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Under the guidance of the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, in 2020 NATO embarked on a reflection process aimed at equipping the Alliance for the challenges of 2030.1 Composed of several parts, actors and phases, the process ul- timately aims to make NATO more relevant in the years ahead when technological disruption, climate change, competition among Great Powers and vio- lent non-state actors will pose new and major threats. Ideas, proposals, and recommendations are coming in from within and from outside the Alliance. Inter- estingly, among the recommendations, several voices have called for NATO to expand its net assessment capabilities.2 For most observers, even in the security and defence world, net assessment is an esoteric word. While many may have heard of Andrew Marshall and the US Department of Defense’s Office of Net As- sessment, most would probably struggle to define the term. This Policy Brief provides a short introduction to the topic: what is net assessment, how and why has it emerged, how reliable is it and how could NATO use it?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Niccolo Petrelli
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: In late 2020, analysts recommended for the first time the establishment within NATO of a net assessment (NA) capability to deal with an in- creasingly complex strategic environment.1 The same recommendation was reiterated in the NATO 2030 report to address the problem of “strategic simultane- ity”: i.e. the emergence of multiple, simultaneous and interconnected threats. According to the Reflection Group appointed by the Secretary General, “NATO should consider creating a new net assessment office [...] with the mission of examining NATO’s strate- gic environment on the basis of agreed threats and challenges across the whole spectrum of military and non-military tools. [...] A net assessment function [...] would bring a systematic methodology distinct from horizon scanning. It would exist to analyse the organisation’s strengths and options [...]”.2 The term NA was first coined in the US during the early 1970s by national security official Andrew W. Marshall to refer to a constellation of concepts and techniques for evaluating relative power. In West- ern usage, however, and for some decades now, it has been employed in a broader sense to denote the function of combining the appreciation of one’s own strength against that of one’s opponents in interna- tional affairs at the highest level.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America
  • Author: Maria-Louise Clausen
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Denmark assumed leadership of NATO Mission Iraq in late 2020. The Iraqi people’s perceptions of their personal security and of those who provide it can impact the success of this mission. A recent survey provides new insights. At a time of political turmoil and insecurity in Iraq, NATO has vowed to step up its commitment in the region. This happens at a time of increased resistance to the US presence in Iraq, and a deteriorating security situation due to the escalation of the conflict between the US and Iran taking place on Iraqi soil, as well as signs of an Islamic State resurgence. Security is a major concern in Iraq. When respondents were asked to select their most important concern for the Iraqi government to address, the most common choice was ‘maintaining security and stability’ (30.5%), closely followed by the job situation (27.5%), and corruption (26.2%). This should be read in conjunction with the fact that 71.7% of respondents stated that they experience their personal security as currently either only partially or not at all ensured. This was most pronounced among the surveyed Shias, with only 18.8% indicating that they feel fully or partly secure in contrast to 46.7% of Sunni respondents.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Democratization, Diplomacy, International Organization, Non State Actors, Fragile States, Violence, Peace, Police, Justice
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, Denmark
  • Author: Trine Villumsen Berling
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Denmark encountered a number of unforeseen obstacles when negotiating the Nord Stream and Baltic Pipe gas pipelines, and the country ended up standing exposed and alone. A better politics of energy alliances and better strategic preparation are key lessons for small states like Denmark when dealing with the problematic combination of security and energy. RECOMMENDATIONS: Small states should include energy in strategic documents pertaining to foreign and security policies, as energy is a tool in the security toolbox of the great powers. Self-sufficiency in energy does not mean that a country is shielded from the dynamics of international energy. Small states should strive to build enduring political alliances focused on energy. Small states should prioritise sending experts to the NATO Centre of Excellence for Energy Security in order to stay on top of the international security situation concerning energy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Natural Resources, European Union, Gas, Minerals
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark, Baltic States
  • Author: Christine Nissen, Jessica Larsen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The concept of ‘European strategic autonomy’ is girdled by myths and resistance. These common misconceptions can be overcome by member states to strengthen the EU in the face of today’s challenging security environment. RECOMMENDATIONS: Ways forward for the concept of strategic autonomy: Level of ambition: strategic autonomy should not be seen as an end in itself but as a means to protect and promote common values and interests across strategically important EU policy areas. Geography: strategic autonomy should enable the EU to undertake activities, in particular in the immediate European neighbourhood. Policy scope: strategic autonomy should encompass the entire spectrum of foreign and security policy, and not just defence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Organization, European Union, Strategic Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Ole Winckler Andersen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Development assistance for new renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly being used to mobilise additional private capital. Recipient countries do not always share the priorities of donors. Realism and long-term support are key. RECOMMENDATIONS: Continue funding, but also acknowledge different interests and objectives, in order to move new renewable energy to scale. Balance the support for market development with support to government entities. Support longer-term capacity-building to ensure energy sector sustainability in recipient countries. Adopt flexible approaches and ensure independent advice to governments and institutions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Foreign Aid, Renewable Energy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Gabriella Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The upcoming EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling 2021-2025, like its predecessor, suggests that the prevention of and the fight against migrant smuggling will continue to be at the centre of a strong and comprehensive European approach to migration management. However, to be effective, the Action Plan must rely on the growing evidence-base concerning the structure and organization of migrant smuggling, as well as rethink the way smuggling research and analysis is produced. Doing otherwise may seriously impact the Action Plan’s implementation and outcomes. Recommendations: Demand that gender, race and class perspectives are present in smuggling and counter-smuggling research and analyses in ways that identify the wider impact of EU actions on communities in countries of origin, transit and destination and within the EU. Include the perspectives of third-country, junior and female researchers, scholars and policy analysts, and involve stakeholders and informants beyond those typically reached out to during research, policy making or knowledge generating processes. Create an open access database that includes examples of smuggling caselaw and legislation that showcase the impact of EU law enforcement agencies’ counter-smuggling efforts in transit, destination and origin countries and within the EU to demonstrate clear efforts towards transparency and accountability.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Migration, Borders, Risk
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gary Clyde Hufbauer
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Open Sub-navigation BackOpen Sub-navigation Publications Back Policy Briefs Working Papers Books PIIE Briefings Open Sub-navigation Commentary Back Op-Eds Testimonies Speeches and Papers Topics & Regions PIIE Charts What Is Globalization? Educational Resources Open Sub-navigation Back Senior Research Staff Research Analysts Trade Talks Open Sub-navigation Back RealTime Economic Issues Watch Trade & Investment Policy Watch China Economic Watch North Korea: Witness to Transformation 中文 Open Sub-navigation Back All Events Financial Statements Global Connections Global Economic Prospects Stavros Niarchos Foundation Lectures Trade Winds Open Sub-navigation Back News Releases Multimedia Media Center Open Sub-navigation Back Board of Directors Staff Employment Contact Annual Report Transparency Policy POLICY BRIEF VIEW SHARING OPTIONS Will industrial and agricultural subsidies ever be reformed? Gary Clyde Hufbauer (PIIE) Policy Brief21-5 March 2021 Photo Credit: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse One economic argument for government subsidies is that they are necessary to compensate firms and industries for benefits they provide to society at large but cannot capture in the prices they charge for goods or services. For example, subsidies to renewable energy are defended because renewable energy limits carbon emissions. When a major economy subsidizes extensively, however, its trading partners are drawn into the game, with losses all around. As the prisoner’s dilemma suggests, a better outcome would entail mutual restraint. But the goal of mutual restraint is no less difficult in international trade than it is in international arms control. Both the European Union and the US federal system try, in different ways, to regulate industrial subsidies. Hufbauer examines efforts to contain unjustifiable subsidies and proposes modest improvements, bearing in mind that as countries struggle to overcome the global economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little appetite for restoring a free market economy—one in which firms compete with minimum government assistance or regulation. Selective upgrading of the rulebook may nevertheless be possible.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Government, Reform, European Union, Regulation, Manufacturing, Industry, COVID-19, Subsidies
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A reimagined approach to Iran nuclear talks could extend the country’s breakout time, preserve U.S. negotiating leverage, and strengthen American alliances in Europe and across the Middle East. In the first in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos examining policy challenges across the Middle East, esteemed diplomat and policymaker Dennis Ross provides an innovative approach to reengaging Iran in nuclear diplomacy. His ideas have the potential to extend Iran’s breakout time, preserve U.S. negotiating leverage, and strengthen U.S. alliances in Europe and across the Middle East. Ross explains: “If regime change is not a realistic or advisable goal, the objective must be one of changing the Islamic Republic’s behavior. While this would be difficult, history shows that the regime will make tactical adjustments with strategic consequences when it considers the price of its policies to be too high.” In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Power, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • 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: Catherine Turner, Aisling Swaine
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: The protection of women in armed conflict and their participation in peace and security activities are central pillars of the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda. Overall, however, the WPS agenda has overlooked the relationship between participation and protection. This perpetuates a false binary between the participation of women as leaders with agency and the protection of women as victims of conflict. It also misses the gendered, context-specific, and conflict-related protection risks that accompany women’s participation. Finally, it overlooks the critical link between the harms women experience and their low levels of representation. This paper considers the intersection between women’s participation and protection in the context of Northern Ireland. While often assumed to be free of “global policy” concerns such as WPS, Northern Ireland starkly illustrates the intrinsic connections and tensions between women’s leadership and protection in conflict and post-conflict situations. After providing an overview of these connections and tensions more broadly, this paper examines the participation and protection of women in Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. It draws from twenty-five semi-structured interviews with women in leadership positions in Northern Ireland. The paper concludes that gender inequalities and gendered insecurities intersect with sectarianism, the legacy of violence, and political crises arising from power-sharing arrangements under the peace agreement. These, in turn, intersect with emerging technologies such as social media to stymy women’s participation across all areas of post-conflict political life. While these findings underscore the continued relevance of the WPS agenda, they also signify that deeper engagement with gendered protection issues is required if the agenda is to substantively advance women’s equality and participation in the longer term.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Women, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, Northern Ireland
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Many of the technologies that can help the European Union become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 have been shown to work but are not yet commercially competitive with incumbent fossil-fuel technologies. There is not enough private investment to drive the deployment of new low-carbon alternatives. This is primarily because carbon prices are neither high enough nor stable. There are a number of benefits from the deployment of low-carbon technologies that private firms do not factor in. These include the benefits of decreasing industry-wide costs over time, and the global climate benefits from the development of low-carbon technologies within the EU that can subsequently be exported. The result is an investment level below the socially optimal value in the EU. Commercialisation contracts could be implemented as a temporary measure to remove the risk associated with uncertain carbon prices for ambitious low-carbon projects. The aim of the contracts would be to increase private investment to the socially optimal level. Contracts would be allocated through auctions in which fixed prices for abated emissions over a fixed duration would be agreed on a project-by-project basis. On an annual basis, public subsidies amounting to the difference between the agreed carbon price and the actual EU carbon price would be provided to investors, depending on the total carbon emissions abated. As long as EU carbon prices are low, investors would receive larger subsidies to ensure their competitiveness. Contracts would be auctioned at EU level. This would generate increased competition compared to national auctions, leading to more efficient outcomes and preventing fragmentation of the single market. From about €3 billion to €6 billion would be provided to the main industrial emitting sectors annually, with the amount reducing as the EU carbon price rises and low-carbon technologies become competitive without subsidy.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Science and Technology, Investment, Trade, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Lionel Guetta-Jeanrenaud
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Union’s capital markets remain very underdeveloped compared to the United States. The market for equity, as measured as the size of the total market capitalisation of listed domestic firms relative to GDP, is much larger in the US and in Japan than in Europe.
  • Topic: European Union, GDP, Capital Flows
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Monika Grzegorczyk, Mario Mariniello, Laura Nurski, Tom Schraepen
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The pandemic has shown that many workers can efficiently work remotely, with benefits for wellbeing and even productivity. The European Union should develop a framework to facilitate hybrid work.
  • Topic: European Union, Work Culture, Innovation, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Zsolt Darvas, Maria Demertzis, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the biggest global recession since the Second World War. Forecasts show the European Union underperforming economically relative to the United States and China during 2019-2023. Southern European countries have been particularly strongly affected. While the ICT sector has benefitted from the COVID-19 crisis, tourism, travel and services have suffered. Business insolvencies have, paradoxically, fallen. While total employment has almost recovered, the young and those with low-level qualifications have suffered employment losses. Inequality could rise. The pandemic may lead to medium to long-term changes in the economy, with more teleworking, possibly higher productivity growth and changed consumer behaviour. Policymakers must act to prevent lasting divergence within the EU and to prevent scarring from the fallout from the pandemic. The first priority is tackling the global health emergency. Second, we warn against premature fiscal tightening and recommend instead additional short-term support from national budgets. Over the medium term, fiscal policymakers will need to gradually move away from supporting companies through subsidies, towards tax incentives for corporate investment. A review of the European fiscal framework is needed to achieve the EU’s green goals more rapidly. The quality of public finances, how policymakers spend resources and the associated reforms are of central importance to prevent scarring. Improving the efficiency of insolvency procedures will be crucial for speedy and effective recovery. Targeted labour market policies for the young and less-qualified are needed. As teleworking becomes a more permanent feature of the EU’s labour markets, it will be crucial to adapt social security and taxation systems in the context of the single market for labour. The EU should resist protectionist calls in the wake of the pandemic. Rigorous competition policy enforcement and an integrated EU market have been beneficial for European convergence and growth. Capital markets have an important role to play in a speedy recovery.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Inequality, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Pauline Weil
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Despite tensions over China’s discriminatory business practices, China’s trade continues to thrive, and the country has taken over from the United States as the first destination for foreign investment. American and European businesses continue to be engaged in China’s large and growing market, even amid a trade war between China and the United States. Drawing on surveys of companies and international comparisons, we show that – contrary to the prevailing narrative – China’s business practices have improved significantly in recent years. China’s business environment is today generally more favourable than that in other large countries at similar levels of development and, in some though certainly not all aspects, is in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average. Differences over geopolitics and human rights must be addressed, but it is clear that trade and investment agreements conditioned on accelerated reforms in China would yield substantial dividends. The benefits of such deals would accrue not only to foreign investors in China and exporters to China, but also to consumers and importers in the European Union and, especially, in the US, where punitive tariffs on China remain in effect. Critical aspects in the negotiations would include better access for American and European investors to China’s market for services and improved enforcement of rules and regulations in China. As in many middle-income countries, uneven enforcement of the law (rather than the law itself) remains a critical problem in China.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Business , Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Alexander Lehmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: International debt investors increasingly demand assets that are aligned with environmental, social and governance objectives. Sovereign debt is being belatedly swept up in this change. This huge asset class represents a uniquely long-term claim and funds a wide range of public expenditure, both brown and green. Public capital expenditures will be a central part of the roughly €3 trillion investment budget needed to pay for the European Green Deal. European Union countries have so far met investor appetite for climate-aligned assets through sovereign green bonds, the issuance of which has rapidly grown since 2017. The EU itself will also issue green bonds in large volumes. However, because of some inherent flaws in such instruments and as their still-weak frameworks, these bonds are unlikely to meet the environmental criteria demanded by investors, and will complicate established principles in sovereign debt management. Much more comprehensive information is needed on the climate related aspects of the public budgets of EU countries. Greater transparency in this respect would support stability and improve the functioning of capital markets, given that sovereign debt plays a pivotal role in all investor portfolios and also in regulatory and monetary policy. Adoption by sovereign issuers of green budgeting principles, based on a common taxonomy of sustainable activities, would enhance transparency. It could also be driven by investors who, under new EU rules, must disclose the climate-related aspects of all financial instruments offered in the capital market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Debt, Markets, Sovereignty, European Union, Finance, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Hydrogen is seen as a means to decarbonise sectors with greenhouse gas emissions that are hard to reduce, as a medium for energy storage, and as a fallback in case halted fossil-fuel imports lead to energy shortages. Hydrogen is likely to play at least some role in the European Union’s achievement by 2050 of a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. However, production of hydrogen in the EU is currently emissions intensive. Hydrogen supply could be decarbonised if produced via electrolysis based on electricity from renewable sources, or produced from natural gas with carbon, capture, and storage. The theoretical production potential of low-carbon hydrogen is virtually unlimited and production volumes will thus depend only on demand and supply cost. Estimates of final hydrogen demand in 2050 range from levels similar to today’s in a low-demand scenario, to ten times today’s level in a high-demand scenario. Hydrogen is used as either a chemical feedstock or an energy source. A base level of 2050 demand can be derived from looking at sectors that already consume hydrogen and others that are likely to adopt hydrogen. The use of hydrogen in many sectors has been demonstrated. Whether use will increase depends on the complex interplay between competing energy supplies, public policy, technological and systems innovation, and consumer preferences. Policymakers must address the need to displace carbon-intensive hydrogen with low-carbon hydrogen, and incentivise the uptake of hydrogen as a means to decarbonise sectors with hard-to-reduce emissions. Certain key principles can be followed without regret: driving down supply costs of low-carbon hydrogen production; accelerating initial deployment with public support to test the economic viability and enable learning; and continued strengthening of climate policies such as the EU emissions trading system to stimulate the growth of hydrogen-based solutions in the areas for which hydrogen is most suitable.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Uri Dadush, André Sapir
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Union is very open to foreign direct investment. By comparison, despite considerable liberalisation in the past two decades, foreign investors in China’s markets still face significant restrictions, especially in services sectors. Given this imbalance, the EU has long sought to improve the situation for its companies operating or wanting to operate in China. After eight years of negotiations, the EU and China concluded in December 2020 a bilateral Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The text awaiting ratification aims to give foreign investors greater market access, enforceable via state-to-state dispute settlement. It does not yet, however, cover investor protection (such as against expropriation). Meanwhile, investor protection is covered by bilateral investment treaties between EU countries and China, which remain in force. The CAI has been met in some quarters with scepticism on economic and geopolitical grounds. The main criticism is that it provides little new market access in China, and that this small economic gain for the EU comes at the price of breaking ranks with its main political ally, the United States. Our assessment, which focuses on the economic implications, is different. It is true the CAI provides only modest new market access in China, but this is because China has already made progress in recent years in liberalising its foreign investment regulations unilaterally. The CAI binds this progress under an international treaty, marking an improvement for EU firms insofar as their market access rights can be effectively enforced. Most important, the CAI includes new rules on subsidies, state-owned enterprises, technology transfer and transparency, which will improve effective market access for EU firms operating in China. These bilateral new rules could also pave the way for reform of the multilateral rules under the World Trade Organisation, with the aim of better integrating China into the international trading and investment system – a goal shared by the EU, the United States and other like-minded countries. From an economic viewpoint therefore, the CAI is an important agreement, and one worth having. However, its ratification by the European Parliament is unlikely while China continues to apply sanctions against some members of the European Parliament and other critics of China’s human rights record.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Investment, Liberalization
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Ottmar Edenhofer, Mirjam Kosch, Michael Pahle, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Putting carbon pricing at the centre of the EU climate policy architecture would provide major benefits. Obtaining these benefits requires a uniform, credible and durable carbon price – the economic first-best solution, however, several preconditions required to attain this solution are not yet met. This paper proposes a sequenced approach to ensure convergence of the policy mix on the first-best in the long run.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Nicola Viegi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In both Europe and the United States, interest rates have been declining for more than fifteen years. For much of this period, real interest rates have been negative and they are expected to remain negative for at least another decade. The literature associates this decline in interest rates with a similarly protracted decline in productivity. But the decline in productivity appears paradoxical given major technological advances. The decline in the price of capital is underpinned by the factors that have caused a decline in demand for capital, as well as a relative increase in its supply. On the supply side, aging and an increase in overall macroeconomic risk since the financial crisis have both led to increased savings. On the demand side, the increase in the importance of intangible capital in production has reduced the demand for physical capital. Nevertheless, for the US, the literature has identified the increase in market concentration as the biggest factor responsible for the reduction in the overall demand for capital. Digital innovation has led to the creation of champion firms that have captured big market shares and have been able to prevent others from entering not only the US market, but markets globally. This has dampened investment. Europe is affected by US digital dominance, but other factors, including aging and increased risk, are more prominent in sustaining the downward pressure on interest rates. In particular, the lack of risk capital, in the context of capital markets, contributes to this downward pressure in the EU. As the knowledge economy relies increasingly on intangible capital, a bank-based system that requires collateral is not well suited to finance investments. A lack of suitable finance will remain an important factor in the downward pressure on interest rates. The structural factors behind the downward pressure on interest rates imply that macroeconomic policy will have a reduced role in managing aggregate demand. Monetary policy in the euro area will be more about preventing financial fragmentation and less about stimulating demand. Equally, fiscal policy will have more of a supporting rather than stimulating role. Tackling the structural decline in market dynamism and therefore in real rates will require structural policies to reduce market power globally and ensure the creation of capital markets in the EU.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Governance, European Union, Finance, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Leonard, Jeremy Shapiro, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal is a plan to decarbonise the EU economy by 2050, revolutionise the EU’s energy system, profoundly transform the economy and inspire efforts to combat climate change. But the plan will also have profound geopolitical repercussions. The Green Deal will affect geopolitics through its impact on the EU energy balance and global markets; on oil and gas-producing countries in the EU neighbourhood; on European energy security; and on global trade patterns, notably via the carbon border adjustment mechanism. At least some of these changes are likely to impact partner countries adversely. The EU needs to wake up to the consequences abroad of its domestic decisions. It should prepare to help manage the geopolitical aspects of the European Green Deal. Relationships with important neighbourhood countries such as Russia and Algeria, and with global players including the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, are central to this effort, which can be structured around seven actions: Help neighbouring oil and gas-exporting countries manage the repercussions of the European Green Deal. The EU should engage with these countries to foster their economic diversification, including into renewable energy and green hydrogen that could in the future be exported to Europe. Improve the security of critical raw materials supply and limit dependence, first and foremost on China. Essential measures include greater supply diversification, increased recycling volumes and substitution of critical materials. Work with the US and other partners to establish a ‘climate club’ whose members will apply similar carbon border adjustment measures. All countries, including China, would be welcome to join if they commit to abide by the club’s objectives and rules. Become a global standard-setter for the energy transition, particularly in hydrogen and green bonds. Requiring compliance with strict environmental regulations as a condition to access the EU market will be strong encouragement to go green for all countries. Internationalise the European Green Deal by mobilising the EU budget, the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund, and EU development policy. Promote global coalitions for climate change mitigation, for example through a global coalition for the permafrost, which would fund measures to contain the permafrost thaw. Promote a global platform on the new economics of climate action to share lessons learned and best practices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Maria Demertzis
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Productivity growth in Europe has been on a downward trend for several decades. Given that productivity growth is a crucial source of output growth, particularly in an aging society like the European Union, it is crucial to understand what is driving this slowdown and what the potential consequences are for our economic model and for citizens’ welfare. Some explanations for this trend are global in nature, but there are also significant differences in country structures in Europe that have led to different outcomes and that need to be accounted for before policy prescriptions can be made. The objective of MICROPROD, an EU-wide research project that runs until the end of 2021, is to contribute to this research strand by using data from various European countries to study the microeconomic mechanisms behind this macroeconomic phenomenon. In particular, the aim is to understand the challenges posed to Europe by the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on productivity in the context of globalisation and digitalisation, and to recommend policies to address these challenges. MICROPROD researchers have so far delivered 20 papers on four broad issues relevant for today’s policy debates: the measurement and effects of intangible capital on productivity; the impact of globalisation, international trade and the integration of global value chains (GVCs) on productivity; factor allocation and allocative efficiency; and finally the social consequences of the two structural shocks Europe has faced in the last two decades: globalisation and technological progress. This Policy Contribution reviews the main conclusions of these 20 MICROPROD papers and how they inform policy debates. However, the mid-point of the three-year MICROPROD project also coincided with the start of the COVID-19 crisis, which might have accelerated some trends or possibly reversed others. We therefore discuss how some of the messages of MICROPROD research may contribute to our understanding of the current crisis and its aftermath.
  • Topic: Globalization, Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, Productivity, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marek Dabrowski, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the 2010s, the economic situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) deteriorated as a result of lower oil and other commodity prices, a new round of domestic political instability, continuous intra-regional conflicts, stalled economic and governance reforms and, finally, the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth of real GDP, which slowed after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, further decelerated in the second half of the 2010s and became negative in 2020 as result of the COVID-19 shock. Fiscal balances have deteriorated, even in the oil-exporting countries, and public debt has grown rapidly. MENA countries continue to face numerous long-term socio-economic and institutional challenges including high unemployment (especially youth unemployment), low female labour-market participation rates, the poor quality of education, costly and ineffective public sectors, high military and security spending, high energy subsidies and trade protectionism. Only comprehensive long-term reform programmes can address these challenges. The European Union is MENA’s second largest trading partner after the region itself, and is one of two main sources of foreign direct investment and a major aid donor. However, given the critical importance of the MENA region to its own security and stability, the EU’s engagement in conflict resolution and in supporting economic and political transformation of the region is insufficient and should be intensified. The EU should also update and upgrade its existing association agreements with the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, including their free trade provisions.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Trade, COVID-19, Economic Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The estimation of payments from the European Union’s COVID-19 economic recovery fund, Next Generation EU (NGEU), to each EU country in 2021-2026 involves uncertainties, yet the overall magnitudes can be estimated with a reasonable degree of precision. In contrast, estimating member states’ contributions to the repayment of EU debt (which will be issued to finance NGEU spending) is burdened with enormous difficulties, primarily related to the uncertainty of gross national income projections up to 2058. Some numerical scenarios can be put forward to illustrate the difficulties in estimating the amounts of such future contributions.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dong-Hee Joe
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Immigration is one of the factors often considered as the causes of Brexit. Researchers find evidences that regions with more immigrants from the new member states of the European Union (EU hereinafter) in eastern Europe tended to vote more in favor of Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Similar relations between the size of immigrant population and anti-immigration attitudes or far-right voting are found in other richer EU member states. A common explanation for this relation is the concern that immigrants negatively affect the outcome in the host labor market. Immigration is drawing attention in Korea too. Although immigrants' share in population is still substantially smaller in Korea than in the EU, its increase is noticeable. Also, certain industries in Korea are known to be already heavily reliant on immigrant labor. Recently, as entry into the country was tightened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, firms and farms are reported to have faced a disruption in production. This trend of increasing presence of immigrants in population and in the labor market, vis-à-vis the low fertility rate and rapid aging in Korea, is raising interest and concern on the socioeconomic impact of immigration. To offer some reference for the debates related to immigration in Korea, KIEP researchers (Joe et al. 2020 and Joe and Moon 2021) look at the EU, where immigrants' presence was much higher from much earlier on, and where the greater heterogeneity among the immigrants allows for richer analyses. This World Economy Brief presents some of their findings that are salient for Korea.
  • Topic: Immigration, European Union, Brexit, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Pyoung Seob Yang, Cheol-Won Lee, Suyeob Na, Taehyn Oh, Young Sun Kim, Hyung Jun Yoon, Yoo-Duk Ga
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China’s investment in the European Union (EU) increased significantly during the European financial crisis, but has been on the decline in recent years. The surge of Chinese investment has raised concerns and demands for analysis on the negative effects it could have on the EU companies and industries. In this context, the present study aims to analyze the main characteristics of Chinese investment and M&A in Europe, major policy issues between the two sides, the EU’s policy responses, and prospects of Chinese future investment in Eu-rope, going on to draw important lessons for Korea. To summarize the main characteristics of China's investment in Europe, the study found that the EU's share of China's overseas direct investment has continued to increase until recently. Second, investment in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) is gradually increasing, although it is still insignificant compared to the top five destinations in the EU: Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Third, China's investment in the EU is being made in pursuit of innovation in manufacturing and to acquire high-tech technologies. When it comes to China's M&A in Europe, the study found that the proportion of indirect China's M&As (via third countries (e.g. Hong Kong) or Chinese subsidiaries already established in Europe) was relatively higher than direct ones. Empirical factor analysis of investment also shows that China's investment in the EU is strongly motivated by the pursuit of strategic assets. Other factors such as institutional-level and regulatory variables are found to have no significant impact, or have an effect contrary to expectations. This suggests that China's investment in the EU is based on the Chinese government's growth strategy, and accompanies an element of national capitalism Today, It is highly expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a reorganizing effect on the global value chain (GVC) and Foreign investment regulation in the high-tech sector motivated by national security is emerging as a global issue as the US and the EU are tightening their control. As Korean companies are not free from the risk of falling under such regulations, a thorough and careful response is required. And for the Korean government, it is necessary to prepare legal and institutional measures regulating foreign investment in reference to the US and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis, European Union, Economy, Economic Growth, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
  • Abstract: Despite the Biden administration’s push to revitalize U.S. alliances, U.S. relations with NATO are due for a reset. The United States should incentivize European members of NATO to take on additional responsibilities for their defense. Encouraging the European allies to take initiative will help the United States focus on its other domestic and international priorities and may facilitate improving relations with Russia. This approach will also prove attractive to European states concerned about the future direction of U.S. foreign policy. Recalibrating the U.S. role in Europe would conform with the United States’ post–World War II efforts to stabilize European security — and stand as the fruit of Washington’s success in this regard.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Security, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Alliance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Marty, Damien Ientile
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Despite the European Union's ambitious response, the current crisis is a stark reminder of a nagging problem: the challenge, in practice, to the principles and concepts governing major European economic policies. This situation can be seen in monetary policy, budgetary rules, trade policy, competition, the European budget and the structure of the euro zone. It fuels resentment between Member States and populations and, paradoxically, it encourages economic divergence. It is also undermining the legibility and credibility of European action in the eyes of the public. It therefore would seem advisable to reform the European economic framework in a pragmatic rather than radical way.
  • Topic: Reform, Budget, Economic Policy, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Eric Maurice
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: For half a decade, the Polish government has been reshaping the country's judicial system in a process described by the European Union as a "threat to the rule of law". Despite numerous Council of Europe reports and resolutions, several infringement proceedings and decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), and the unprecedented activation of the so-called Article 7 procedure of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the transformation of the judiciary into relays of political power has continued and accelerated since the Law and Justice Party (PiS) won a new term in 2019 and the reelection of President Andrzej Duda in 2020, pushing Poland to the limits of the European legal order.
  • Topic: Government, European Union, Courts, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Sarah Brichet, Hugo Chouarbi, Marie Dénoue, Valérian Frossard, Armony Laurent, Nicolas Libert, Anne-Flore Magnuszewski, Pauline Maillard, Juliette Rolin
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The launch of the European Defence Fund is a true step forward. Its objective is to facilitate the emergence of a European defence industrial and technological base through cooperation between European industrialists and thus reduce European "capability bottlenecks" in the field of military equipment while attempting to increase the Union's "strategic autonomy". With a budget of €7 billion under the EU's new multi-annual budget, a new Directorate General, DG DEFIS, will be responsible for its management, under the supervision of the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton. At the heart of European institutional and conceptual transformations, its operation and management are of particular importance.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology, Governance, Industry
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Crises reveal the state of a policy, reveal its ambiguities, strengths and shortcomings, and sometimes force a redefinition or clarification of its guiding principles to ensure its sustainability, if not its survival. Although at the height of the crisis, there is a reflex to completely overhaul what already exists, the constants and structuring considerations quickly tend to dampen the ardour for reform.
  • Topic: Reform, European Union, Trade, COVID-19, Adaptation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pierre Mirel
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR were supposed to usher in a golden age in which liberal democracy and a market economy would naturally spread throughout the European continent. On the strength of this optimism, the European Union concluded accession negotiations with ten countries between 2003 and 2005, opened them to Croatia and Turkey, promised the same to the Western Balkans and launched the Neighbourhood Policy in the East and the South. Initiated in 2004, this policy intended to ensure 'stability and prosperity' on the European Union’s new borders after the accession of the Central and Eastern European countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Partnerships, Resilience
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Sachka Stefanova-Behlert, Martina Menghi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: We live at a time of deep and radical transformations. The pandemic has accelerated many of the changes that were already underway and has brought new challenges to the surface. Among the most affected realms of our societies, we undoubtedly find work and the freedom of movement of people. In Europe, it is precisely at the intersection of these two elements that the posting of workers lays. In this field, we are also at a crucial moment because the pandemic arrived just a few months before the deadline for the implementation of the changes related to the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive. Hence, it has become even more urgent to understand how all these changes have impacted the posting of workers as well as propose solutions to facilitate workers and companies in this adaptation path. That is key if we are to safeguard an important instrument of the European single market. This is exactly the merit of this article and its two co-authors: offering a first and clear account of the characteristics of posting of workers during the pandemic, identifying the main challenges faced by Member States, EU institutions and businesses, while also identifying some potential future developments, despite the climate of great uncertainty surrounding us.
  • Topic: European Union, Crisis Management, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alexandre Kateb
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: According to official statistics, the African continent has been relatively spared by the Covid-19 pandemic compared to Europe, America and Asia. The factors behind the low incidence of coronavirus in Africa are not fully understood. According to the WHO, the African continent has benefited from certain structural factors such as the limited international connectivity of most African countries, with the exception of some regional "hubs" such as Johannesburg, Casablanca, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Incidentally, the most 'connected' African countries such as Morocco and South Africa have incurred the highest prevalence rates of Covid-19, which may lend credence to this explanation.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Louis Caudron
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: On 18 December 2020, the European Commission welcomed the political agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Member States allocating €79.5 billion to a new Neighbourhood, Development Cooperation and International Cooperation Instrument (NDCI) for the period 2021- 2027. Since its creation, the European Union has been a major player in public aid granted by rich countries to developing countries. The European Development Fund (EDF) was launched by the Treaty of Rome in 1957 and for decades provided aid to the former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The eleventh EDF, covering the period 2014- 2020 with a budget of €30.5 billion, will be replaced by the NDICI (Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument). The Union and its Member States are the world's largest donor of official development assistance. Their contribution of €74.4 billion in 2018 represents more than half of the OECD countries’ Official Development Assistance ($150 billion in 2018).
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Education, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • 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: Joana Purves, William Echikson
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The European Union has built a one-stop-shop for its member state regulators to post product safety notifications – Safety Gate (European Commission 2021d). Constructed on top of the Rapid Alert System for Dangerous Non-Food Products, or RAPEX, the Safety Gate web portal is designed to make public the “quick exchange of information” between 31 European countries and the European Commission “about measures taken against dangerous non-food products.” While Safety Gate represents a significant achievement, our research revealed areas for improvement to increase its utility for manufacturers, marketplaces and consumers. Many product notifications published on the website lack details required to facilitate speedy removals and recalls. The study graded eight essential criteria for a total of 918 Safety Gate notifications published over eight months in 2020. The average notification score was a respectable 70 out of 100, but over 98% of the notifications omitted at least one key criterion. Only 14 notifications included all the information to enable efficient and accurate product identification.
  • Topic: Health, Food, European Union, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Fredrik Erixon
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the Digital Services Act (DSA), a package of new rules for platforms proposed by the European Commission late last year. The paper takes stock of current and future situations for rules on content moderation and takedowns, and discusses how the DSA addresses the balance between the desired culture of openness online, on the one hand, and more pressures to take down not just illegal but harmful and objectionable content, on the other hand. The DSA introduces a few new transparency rules that follow previous codes of conduct: they are straightforward and desirable. However, it also brings in new know-your-customer rules and exacerbate the ambiguity surrounding the definition of illegal content. These types of rules will most likely have the effect that platforms will minimize risk even more by taking down more content that is legal. Moreover, there is a risk that the DSA will create new access barriers to platforms – with the result of making it difficult for smaller sellers to engage in contracts on platforms. New regulatory demands to monitor and address “systemic risks” will likely have the same effect: platforms will reduce their exposure to penalty risks by taking down and denying access for content that is legal but associated with risks. The DSA’s differentiation between large platforms and very large platforms is disingenuous and contradicts the purpose of many DSA rules. Obviously, exposing some platforms to harder rules will lead to content offshoring – a trend that is already big. Objectionable content – not to mention illegal content – will move from some platforms to others and lead extremists and others to build online environments where there is much mess content moderation. Furthermore, the new regulatory risks that come with being a very large platform will likely become an incentive for some large platforms to stay large – and not become very large. While the DSA is often billed as a package of regulations that will reduce the power of big platforms, it is more likely to lead to the exact opposite. Very large platforms have all the resources needed to comply with the new regulation while many other platforms don’t. As a result, the incumbency advantages of very large platforms are likely to get stronger.
  • Topic: Culture, Digital Economy, Internet, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Philipp Lamprecht
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: Advanced economies like Germany need to focus more on attracting foreign high-skilled labour and become better at importing foreign technology and business models. This might not sit well with current thinking of economic sovereignty in Berlin, but it is a necessary step for improving technology-penetration, competitiveness and productivity. Supply of high-skilled labour is getting more difficult to obtain and the cost of generating and adopting new ideas is increasing. Policymakers need to create the right conditions to open their markets to foreign technology and high-skilled labour. But openness alone is only a necessary condition – not a sufficient one. Policymakers also need to focus on creating the right environment domestically to attract a specialised and highly-skilled labour force, despite fierce competition from around the globe. The crucial question is to what extent companies make use of innovation capacities that can be obtained from international recruitment. Our analysis focuses on what German policymakers can do to increase openness for, and its attractiveness to, the high-skilled labour. Germany’s policy framework should focus on public policy initiatives aimed at increasing the incentives and removing obstacles for firms to attract the global high-skilled labour force. To stay attractive, Germany’s policies should also target issues of bottleneck regulation to facilitate field-testing new technologies and to support innovation sandbox processes of companies. And German policies should focus on the regulatory environment, notably the type of regulations that policymakers pursue. Many current regulations in Germany do not sufficiently allow for experimentation of technologies and ideas.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Regulation, Human Capital, Innovation, Skilled Labor
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Meelis Kitsing
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: There isn’t one model for success in the digital future; there are many. Europe is now debating what policies that could help to power entrepreneurship and growth in Europe’s economy, and some are arguing that Europe should make itself technologically sovereign – independent from the big platforms from the US. This is not the right approach – partly because there cannot be just one model applied in Europe if it is to become more successful in technology and competitiveness. This briefing paper argues that is far more important for Europe to create a better environment for companies to experiment and discover with new business models, and to learn from the past platform success while they do so. That requires a much greater space for entrepreneurship and that the EU and national governments stay away from excessive regulations that strain new business growth. Europe can be a powerful region that shapes rules and standards globally – “the Brussels effect”. But that isn’t the future for Europe if it ensnares entrepreneurs in red tape – “the Brussels defect”.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Digital Economy, Entrepreneurship, Economic Growth, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Johan Norberg
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: During the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe has benefitted strongly from being an open economy that can access goods and services from other parts of the world. Paradoxically, some politicians in Europe think that dependence on foreign supplies reduced the resilience of our economy – and argue that Europe now should wean itself off its dependence on other economies. In this Policy Brief, it is argued that self-sufficiency or less economic openness is a dangerous direction of policy. It would make Europe less resilient and less capable of responding to the next emergency. It is key that people, firms and governments can get supplies from other parts of the world. It is diversification, not concentration of production, that will make Europe more resilient when the next emergency hit. We don’t know where the next crisis will come from. Nature will throw nasty surprises at us, and we will make stupid mistakes, some of which will have devastating consequences. What we do know, though, is that we stand a better chance to fight the next emergency if we get richer and improve our technology. The best policy for resilience is one that encourages specialisation and innovation – and, when the emergency hit, allow for people to improvise in search for solutions. For that to happen, we need openness to goods, services and technology from abroad.
  • Topic: Health, International Political Economy, Innovation, Economic Cooperation, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Hosuk Lee-Makiyama
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal, the flagship initiative of the incumbent European Commission, aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 55% by 2030 (from the current target of cutting 40% of 1990 levels) by overhauling fiscal, trading and regulatory regimes. Brussels is well-placed to deliver the interregional distribution or the minutiae of technical regulations that this challenge calls for. Energy diversification is also central to EU competitiveness and strategic autonomy. But this initiative is not costless: its official impact assessment points to a GDP loss of additional -0.3 to -0.7%, by 2030, relative to the previous level of ambition. The full loss could be up to -2.5%. These costs are also unevenly, and the inability to cushion asymmetrical shocks have nearly torn the Union apart in the past. A carbon-neutral Europe could also make losers out of today’s winners among stakeholders and give the EU a significantly different industrial structure, forcing over-exporting Northern Europe into reforms that are probably overdue. Most importantly, the gap between the financing needed and the financing available is unprecedented. The success of the European Green Deal and a cost-efficient transition hinge on the rapid and effective mobilisation of investments – as the diffusion period for new energy-related technology is 40-50 years. Therefore, a smart climate policy does not just distribute costs and investments between different groups, but also over time: The investments are needed now, if we are to reap their benefits before 2050.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy, International Political Economy, European Union, Green Technology, Sustainability, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe