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  • 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: Simeon Djankov, Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, Lisa Hyland, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite many significant gains by women in the paid workforce in recent decades, the percentage of women participating in the labor force has remained lower than the percentage of male participants. Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn it precipitated, the gap in labor force participation between men and women in some economies has actually widened, with potentially damaging repercussions for women’s career prospects and pay. The pandemic has disproportionately affected sectors employing more women, such as retail stores, restaurants, and the hotel and hospitality business. An increase in family caregiving responsibilities because of school and childcare closures has also fallen on working mothers' shoulders. Both factors have pulled women out of the labor force. The authors track trends in male and female labor force participation in 43 countries and find substantial differences across countries in the way women’s participation has been affected relative to that of men. In some countries, such as Colombia, Chile, and Cyprus, the gender gap in labor force participation widened the most during the pandemic. The gender gap also widened in the United States, driving 2.5 million women from their jobs in what Vice President Kamala Harris called a “national emergency” for women. In other economies, such as Luxembourg and Lithuania, the gender gap in labor force participation, unexpectedly, shrank during the early period of the pandemic. On average, female employees have fared better in countries where women are less concentrated in the services sector, less likely to be employed as temporary workers, and where laws supported greater equality at the onset of the crisis. Greater government expenditure on childcare in the pre-COVID-19 era, however, does not appear to have insulated female workers from the damaging repercussions of the pandemic.
  • Topic: Economics, Gender Issues, Labor Issues, Women, Services, COVID-19, Empowerment
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Chile, Cyprus, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Simeon Djankov, Eva (Yiwen) Zhang
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: New business applications have surged in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth is driven largely by startups in online retail, transportation, and personal services. Many of these new entrepreneurs are self-employed and were likely laid off and forced into entrepreneurship by necessity. No official data are available yet on the number of businesses destroyed in 2020, because business data for firms that close without entering bankruptcy are lagging. But the authors calculate that firm births may have surpassed firm deaths during the pandemic. While this boom in business entry is a tribute to the adaptability and potential innovative spirit in US capitalism, one should not be overly optimistic about jobs created in this wave of startups. As many of these new startups are by people forced to strike out on their own, the number of jobs created per new firm is even smaller than it was during previous US recessions. And like online businesses started around the last recession (e.g., Uber, Airbnb, and Venmo), some of these new firms may turn out to be major contenders in their sectors, displacing workers employed by their traditional rivals.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Financial Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Joseph E. Gagnon, Steve Kamin, John Kearns
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: COVID-19 vaccination programs are generally understood to be a prerequisite for a return to normalcy in our social and economic lives. Emergency measures to research, test, produce, and distribute vaccines have been expensive, but increases in GDP resulting from the vaccines are expected to exceed those costs by wide margins. Few studies have quantified the economic costs and benefits of different rates of COVID-19 vaccination, however. This Policy Brief focuses on developing such a quantitative assessment for the United States; the approach may be applied to other countries as well. Two illustrative scenarios support the conclusion that most plausible options to accelerate vaccinations would have economic benefits that far exceed their costs, in addition to their more important accomplishment of saving lives. This Policy Brief shows that if, for example, the United States had adopted a more aggressive policy in 2020 of unconditional contracts with vaccine producers, the up-front cost would have been higher but thousands of lives would have been saved and economic growth would have been stronger. Instead, the federal government conditioned its contracts on the vaccines’ being proven safe and effective. The projections presented in this analysis show that even if unconditional contracts led to support for vaccines that failed the phase III trial and ultimately were not used, the cost would have been worth it.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Crisis Management, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Egor Gornostay, Madi Sarsenbayev
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: An intense debate has erupted over whether the unprecedented size of the US fiscal stimulus will cause the US economy to overheat and generate high inflation. To date, the debate has focused primarily on the United States, even though many other developed economies responded to the COVID-19 crisis with unprecedented economic stimulus packages. By some measures, Japan stands out: The total amount of its three consecutive stimulus packages is estimated to exceed 50 percent of its GDP, about twice as high as the US fiscal packages (about 26 percent of US GDP). However, overheating concerns are not being actively raised for Japan. This Policy Brief finds that although Japan’s headline number looks astonishingly high, the actual size of its discretionary fiscal measures is about 16 percent of GDP, substantially smaller than the total size of the US packages. US fiscal stimulus is the largest among Group of Seven (G7) countries relative to GDP, justifying the attention economists have given it. The United Kingdom is estimated to spend more than Japan as a proportion of GDP, but even the UK stimulus program markedly lags behind that of the United States. If additional stimulus measures making their way through the legislative process in Canada are counted, Japan’s fiscal stimulus looks even smaller and would amount to being only average in size among G7 countries. Given this and the lackluster performance of its economy in the first quarter of 2021, it is unlikely that Japan will find itself in overheating territory any time soon.
  • Topic: Inflation, G7, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Saud Al-Sharafat
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The pandemic has not ended terrorism in Jordan, and ISIS is still a significant threat. Last year’s abnormally low terrorist activity in Jordan could be interpreted as an indication that the threat of ISIS in the country has diminished significantly. Unfortunately, this is not the case; while there are several explanations for the low occurrence of terrorist attacks in Jordan in 2020, none of them point to a future in which ISIS does not continue to pose a threat to Jordanian security. On the contrary, the decrease in ISIS activity in Jordan last year was primarily a result of effective counterterrorism efforts, not the special circumstances of the pandemic or any other factor. Accordingly, Jordanian anti-terror institutions should not relax their guard. Rather, they should capitalize on their successes, expanding cooperation with their partners and enhancing their resources in combatting extremism. Jordanian security forces should be especially concerned with activities along their borders. There have been several recent international and UN reports that confirmed the rising activities of terrorist groups in countries that border Jordan. Iraq in particular has seen a recent rise in terrorist attacks, including two suicide bombings in Baghdad on January 21, 2021 that killed 32 people and injured 110 others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. In turn, ISIS's mounting activities in Iraq have led to increased terrorist activity in the Badia al-Sham region and the Jordanian Syrian-Iraqi border triangle, where terrorist militants move in small, highly mobile groups. This increase in activity has prompted Jordanian security forces to strengthen their presence on the borders with Iraq and Syria. Following a Russian air campaign in the Badia region in late February, in which Russian planes launched at least 130 air strikes in one day against terrorist groups in the area, Jordan started to strengthen and tightened its security presence on the borders to prevent infiltration of ISIS elements into Jordan. Russian strikes were especially targeted at ISIS, which extends between the governorates of Homs and Deir al-Zour at the border with Iraq.
  • Topic: Security, Counter-terrorism, Peace, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Jordan
  • Author: Elizabeth Chen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 28, members of an international team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded fourteen days of quarantine and began field work in Wuhan, China for a mission aimed at investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the time of writing, the team had made visits to the Hubei Center for Disease Control and Prevention; the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. State media also reported that the WHO team visited “an exhibition featuring Chinese people fighting the epidemic,” raising concerns that the trip could prove to be little more than a public relations move even as the origins of the coronavirus remain heavily politicized and uncertain (Global Times, January 31). Foreign experts have worried about whether the WHO investigation will be sufficiently transparent or if investigators will be allowed adequate access to key locations and scientific data (SCMP, January 27). Apart from a “terms of reference” report and a list of WHO members released in November, further details on the WHO team’s trip have not been released.
  • Topic: World Health Organization, COVID-19, Misinformation , Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: In November of 2020, Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison was the first head of government to physically visit Japan to meet with his new counterpart Yoshihide Suga since the latter’s assumption of office for the annual summit meeting of their bilateral strategic partnership. Commentators were surprised that Mr Morrison would travel internationally in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but his determination to do so, enduring quarantine measures upon his return, was indicative of the high value that Australia ascribes to its “Special Strategic Partnership” with Japan. At a time of simmering strategic rivalr y in the Indo-Pacific region, Canberra places a premium on its close collaborative relationship with Tokyo, as both countries confront similar challenges in navigating the turbulent and unstable regional environment. It is in this context they affirmed their intent ‘to elevate bilateral security and defence cooperation under the Special Strategic Partnership to a new level.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Partnerships, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, Australia, Oceania
  • 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: 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: Jai Chul Heo
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China has been able to escape from the Covid-19 outbreak relatively quickly compared to other countries. Nevertheless, it still remains greatly influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic across its politics, economy, society, culture, and other areas, which has led to various changes throughout China. Therefore, this study comprehensively examined the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on various aspects of Chinese politics, economy, society, and culture. And in response to these changes in Chinese society, the study explores new strategies toward China in the post-Covid-19 era.
  • Topic: Politics, Culture, Economy, COVID-19, Society
  • Political Geography: China, 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
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: This brief presents some of the key effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s public school education, focussing specifically on children. It begins with a discussion of the pre-pandemic status of school education and key policy shifts over the past few years, and provides an overview of the principal issues arising from the pandemic and the resulting school closures. It then offers potential policy suggestions to address these challenges, and thereby ensuring quality education to all children.
  • Topic: Education, Health, Children, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Mukta Naik
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for Policy Research, India
  • Abstract: Resilience and adaptation have become buzzwords as governments, corporations and society find ways to survive the Covid-19 pandemic and, where possible, seek to develop processes and outcomes that improve on the pre-crisis status quo. Members of the Women, Work, and the Gig Economy research consortium have also thought deeply about strategies to continue research under these challenging conditions, while considering the ethics that must underpin research at a time of great distress for people across the world. This brief summarizes the conceptual and practical approaches that consortium members have taken to address ethical concerns as well as strategic and tactical shifts in research methods within the broader, geographically diverse and evertransforming context of Covid-19. These insights draw on the deliberations of an internal workshop held in September 2020 where consortium members presented and debated their respective approaches and perspectives. In particular, the team at LIRNEasia provided substantive takeaways from their colloquium on “Research methods in a pandemic.”
  • Topic: Women, Ethics, Work Culture, COVID-19, Gig Economy
  • Political Geography: South Asia, India
  • Author: Owen Mangiza, Joshua Chakawa
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This Policy and Practice Brief (PPB) discusses the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on border communities, principally in relation to border controls by governments and trans-border activities by community members living close to the border in Zimbabwe.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Border Control, Pandemic, Community, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • 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: 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: 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: Antonio Missiroli, Michael Ruhle
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic, which broke out in December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan and quickly spread across the globe, will have a lasting impact on worldwide economic, political and strategic developments. Some observers question whether the different approaches by nations to the pandemic may benefit or hinder global economic competition. Others worry that some states may exploit the pandemic as a pretext to curtail individual freedoms. Still others note the emergence of an outright "battle of narratives" on the origins of the virus and the correct approach to bringing it under control, adding fuel to an already lingering "systemic" contest.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Asia, Global Focus
  • Author: Bates Gill
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: It is frequently noted that the Chinese word for "crisis" combines characters connoting "threat" on the one hand and "opportunity" on the other. This bit of linguistic trivia can be overdrawn. For China and the COVID-19 crisis, however, it rings true: the pandemic and its aftermath have generated dangerous problems for the Chinese leadership while also opening enticing opportunities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Power Politics, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Alice Billon-Galland
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: At the time of writing, the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaks havoc around the world. Its scale and duration, as well as the full social and economic impact of lockdowns and social distancing measures, are yet to be seen. Exactly how the pandemic and its aftermath will impact the defence policies of European states in the long-term remains uncertain for a while yet. However, some Europe-wide trends--economic strategic, and geopolitical--are already visible. These will impact how Europeans (re)think their security after the pandemic, and therefore have implications for defence planners, decision-makers and armed forces throughout the continent.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Geopolitics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Claudia Major
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis is teaching European countries that a pandemic can destabilize societies, the economy and political institutions to the same extent that military or hybrid threats do. However, while the pandemic's impact on European security seems massive, it is difficult to isolate the COVID-19 factor: what is uniquely pandemic-driven, and what is the result of other elements, such as the lack of US leadership, is not always easy to determine.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Institutions, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Olivier Rittimann
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: At the height of the COVID-19 crisis, a number of voices criticized NATO's absence in the fight against the pandemic. As expected, many of these critics came from Russia and China, exploiting a highly effective STRATCOM to allege an apparent lack of NATO involvement. However, criticism also emerged from within the Alliance, urging that NATO should wake up to the situation. Russian propaganda, backed by the actual deployment of planes and trucks to Italy, and domestic condemnation fueled a sense of discontent in people as regards the usefulness and effectiveness of international organizations at large, and more specifically NATO and the European Union (EU). This impression of inaction persisted for a couple of weeks after the outbreak of the COVID crisis in most Allied nations, until eventually an aggressive counter messaging strategy was put forward by NATO HQ, SHAPE and individual nations themselves.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, European Union, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America
  • Author: Andrew Monaghan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The sense of Great Power competition and challenge to the liberal international order that characterised the Euro-Atlantic commu- nity’s debate through the 2010s has become more acute in 2020. Government responses to the spread of COVID-19 have provided much ammunition for those who describe a weakening of the liberal order and the threat posed by authoritarian regimes. And the sense of competition between the powers was il- lustrated by the race to create a vaccine, redolent for many of the Cold War era, with Russia’s “Sputnik V” vaccine controversially being registered first in August. Yet the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic sug- gests a new stage, with a greater emphasis on emer- gent bipolarity in international affairs. If Russia was the original point of focus in the “New Cold War/ Cold War 2.0” of the 2010s, attention has now shift- ed to the rise of China. In September 2020, then-US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper stated that China is now the main concentration for his department, and that departmental attention would be on the Indo-Pa- cific region. Other senior officials consider Russia to be “bursts of bad weather”, while China represents “climate change”, the greater long-term adversary. China’s economic recovery – already returning in late 2020 to growth while the US, UK and Eurozone re- main in red and facing surging debt – is seen to be the foundation for a more assertive international activity.2 What, then, of Russia? What has the crisis meant for Russian strategy? Does the pandemic change Mos- cow’s view of international affairs and its international posture?
  • Topic: Grand Strategy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Ben Bland, Alexandre Dayant, John Edwards, Stephen Grenville, Natasha Kassam, Herve Lemahieu, Alyssa Leng, Richard McGregor, Shane McLeod, Alex Oliver, Jonathan Pryke, Roland Rajah, Sam Roggeveen, Sam Scott
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The fight against COVID-19 has been the greatest challenge the world has faced since the middle of last century. As countries have fought to control the disease, they have closed borders, quarantined their citizens, and shut down economies almost entirely. The ramifications will reverberate for years, if not decades, to come. In April 2020, the Lowy Institute published a digital feature in which twelve Institute experts examined the ways in which the COVID crisis would affect Australia, the region and the world. In this new feature, Lowy Institute experts provide policy recommendations for Australia to address issues that are critical to our nation’s — and the world’s — successful emergence from the pandemic. Countries have turned inwards in an attempt to fend off the threat of an infection that is oblivious to borders. Some have seen globalisation as the cause of the crisis, and have focused on solving problems without recourse to the international institutions of global security and prosperity, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the G20. Yet global problems require international solutions. As the world emerges from the crisis, cooperation between nations will be more important than ever. Nation states cannot revive their economies purely through national solutions. They cannot address global threats, including the possibility of further pandemics, alone. Australia’s achievements in managing the COVID crisis have been exemplary. It has handled the health and economic emergency with great competence. But this is just the beginning of our crisis recovery. The challenges in our region, and the global problems that existed before COVID, have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Australia has already done much to address the domestic economic and health issues from the COVID crisis. But to shape a prosperous and secure future, it will also need to work in cooperation with other nations, large and small, allies and partners, on a much broader array of international issues ranging from the economic disruption across the region, pressure from China on trade, and development challenges in the Pacific, to increasingly competitive relations between the United States and China, the weakening of the World Health Organization, and the declining utility of the G20.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Health, World Health Organization, G20, Geopolitics, COVID-19, International Order
  • Political Geography: China, Indonesia, Australia, United States of America
  • Author: Roland Rajah, Stephen Grenville
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The principal economic problem facing Indonesia amid COVID-19 is financing the budget deficit needed to respond to a once-in-a-lifetime shock. In a world of self-help, Indonesia has been right to turn to Bank Indonesia, which could establish a clear policy of yield curve stabilisation as a basis for providing a readily scalable amount of deficit financing. Key bilateral partners, such as Australia, could complement this by providing a large standby loan facility to help reduce some of the inherent risks of Indonesia relying on its central bank.
  • Topic: Economics, Budget, Banks, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Australia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Roland Rajah, Alexandre Dayant
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Lowy Institute for International Policy
  • Abstract: The Pacific faces a potential ‘lost decade' owing to the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and an inability to finance the scale of government largesse needed to limit the damage. A multi-year ‘recovery package’ of at least US$3.5 billion (A$5.0 billion) is needed for the Pacific to fully recover from the pandemic. This should be funded by the region’s official development partners. Australia should establish a US$1.4 billion (A$2 billion) COVID-19 Pacific recovery financing facility, and advocate for other parts of the international community to follow its lead in contributing to the Pacific’s economic recovery. Once Australia has stepped up its own Pacific recovery financing contribution, it will be in a much stronger position to call on other development partners to do the same.
  • Topic: Finance, COVID-19, Economic Recovery , Loans
  • Political Geography: Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: With a global recession looming due to COVID-19,the large blue-helmet UN missions will be harder to sustain, both financially and politically. So the UN is learning to “think small”. Recommendations ■ The Secretariat should work with member states to improve the UN’s mechanisms for deploying bespoke, case-specific peace operations and SPMs at short notice. ■ Member states should stand ready to deploy small numbers of military and police personnel to serve in more flexible forms of UN operations and to offer specialized expertise and training as requested. ■ Member states should pay their respective share of the UN peacekeeping budget on time and increase their voluntary contributions.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, South Sudan
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has had an immediate impact on UN peace operations. Troop rotations have been frozen, and interactions with local populations minimized. Yet the long-term economic and political consequences for peacekeeping look more severe. Recommendations UN leaders and member states should: ■ Sustain and where necessary boost funding for UN operations and other international actors to support host states’ efforts to manage the consequences of COVID-19. ■ Commit to maintaining current levels of UN deployments throughout 2020 and to ensuring that deployed personnel are not carrying COVID-19 in order to reduce uncertainty over the future of missions. ■ Offer specialists in public health management and related fields to strengthen planning within missions at UN headquarters and thus help manage the crisis.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, UN Security Council, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nina Nyberg Sørensen
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Shock mobilities are sudden human movements made in response to acute disruptions, such as the present COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike planned migration, shock mobility encompasses various degrees of forced migration or can be categorized as reactive migration caused by a crisis situation. Forced migration often starts with shock mobility, but shock mobility does not always lead to protracted forced migration. FUTURE IMPLICATIONS ■ Shock mobilities may affect broader socioeconomic relations in the future. Five manifestations of shock mobilities as ‘link moments’ provide clues as to how. ■ How shock mobilities will be received and internalized in the years ahead is uncertain. They could yield significant impacts on state-citizen relations, as well as on relations between different populations. ■ The ‘shocks’ give us a glimpse into the world we are entering. Tomorrow’s normality will grow out of today’s disruption. Therefore, a better understanding of ongoing shock mobilities will help us analyse potential problems for decades to come.
  • Topic: Development, Migration, Fragile States, Conflict, Risk, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Thomas Philippon, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The measures that most governments took in response to the sudden collapse in economic activity during the COVID-19 lockdowns nearly exclusively focused on protecting vulnerable workers and firms. These measures included unemployment benefits, grants, transfers, loans at low rates, and tax deferrals. As lockdowns are lifted, governments must shift policies toward supporting the recovery and design measures that will limit the pain of adjustment while preserving productive jobs and firms. This Policy Brief explores how such measures can be designed, with particular emphasis on Europe and the United States. The authors propose a combination of unemployment benefits to help workers, wage subsidies and partially guaranteed loans to help firms, and debt restructuring procedures for small and medium-sized companies handicapped by excessive legacy debt from the crisis.
  • Topic: Government, Labor Issues, European Union, Unemployment, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jérémie Cohen-Setton, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The US package of measures to help households hit by the economic shock from the COVID-19 crisis, including the Paycheck Protection Program, is almost twice as large in proportion of GDP as the French package, but it has proven less effective in curbing unemployment because of poor design and implementation. In contrast, the increase in the unemployment rate in France has been five times less than the increase in the United States. Cohen-Setton and Pisani-Ferry dive beneath the unreliable headline numbers to assess the effectiveness of government support provided to households in March–May 2020 in the two countries. They conclude that the French approach (mirrored in some other European countries) delivered a bigger bang for the buck. But the fact that the US approach has fallen short should not diminish the significance of the policy shift signaled by the enactment of measures to maintain household income.
  • Topic: Education, Financial Crisis, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jason Furman
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Unemployment insurance in the United States has played a critical role in both protecting workers who lost their jobs and supporting the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The abrupt expiration of any form of expanded unemployment insurance at the end of July 2020 would create problems both for the workers directly affected and for the economy as a whole, reducing GDP by about 2.5 percent in the second half of 2020—more than a typical year’s worth of economic growth. Furman emphasizes that expanded unemployment insurance should continue, with adjustments made as the unemployment rate changes. He also points out that the unemployment insurance system had major shortcomings even before the COVID-19 crisis and should be permanently reformed.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Unemployment, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Matthew Fisher, Adnan Mazarei
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: As the International Monetary Fund (IMF) adapts its strategy to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis, it should develop a new temporary lending instrument to assist emerging-market countries facing pandemic-related fiscal and balance of payments difficulties. A dedicated IMF Pandemic Support Facility would help meet the exceptional financing needs of emerging-market countries at a time of high uncertainty while providing more lenient repayment periods and also allow the Fund to be more flexible in its operations with minimum disruptions to its existing facilities.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Edwin M. Truman
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented global recession have triggered fears of a debt crisis requiring massive intervention by international financial institutions as well as debt restructuring by private and official creditors. Truman draws two lessons for the current crisis, based on his ring-side experience during the debt crises of the 1980s. First, the initiation of debt relief will require a broad consensus among four groups: the borrowing countries, their foreign creditors, the authorities of the countries in which those creditors are located, and international institutions. Reaching consensus takes time. Second, implementation of the consensus framework will be case by case, because of differences in the political and economic circumstances of each country, which will militate against simple replication for different countries and against implementation all at the same time. Any framework will not be self-implementing. While the call for rapid action is understandable, applying a one-size-fits-all approach will not be possible.
  • Topic: Debt, Emerging Markets, History, International Monetary Fund, Financial Crisis, World Bank, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Julien Maire
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: In March 2020, most countries implemented stringent measures—closing schools and workplaces, limiting public gatherings, and curbing travel—to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Using the Oxford Stringency Index and smartphone data from Google, Maire examines the effects of the stringent measures implemented in March–May 2020 on individual mobility. The results suggest that stringent measures were more effective at reducing individual mobility in higher-income countries than in lower-income countries and that the differences reflect factors such as extreme poverty, perception of risk, the share of vulnerable employment, number of hospital beds, age distribution of the population, and population density. Understanding how the effects of lockdown measures on individual mobility differed across countries is important to determine the effectiveness of such measures on health outcomes and their impact on economic activity.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Governance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Nicholas R. Lardy, Tianlei Huang
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: Despite predictions by some observers that the United States and China are headed for a “decoupling,” China’s integration into global financial markets is accelerating. Regulatory reform has opened China’s financial market to many US and other foreign financial institutions. Foreign ownership of onshore Chinese stocks and bonds is growing rapidly and is likely to continue to expand in 2021. And inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) is on track to hit a new record in 2020. This integration is very asymmetric, however. China retains relatively tight control over both outbound direct investment and outflows of portfolio capital. US efforts to roll back the trend of deepening financial integration by threatening to delist Chinese companies traded on US markets and prohibiting any US investment in 35 Chinese companies that the Department of Defense alleges to be linked to the Chinese military appear to be largely symbolic.
  • Topic: Financial Markets, Investment, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Hanny Megally, Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a dire risk to the tens of thousands of people imprisoned in Syria’s archipelago of prisons and detention facilities, many in conditions so ghastly that they constitute crimes against humanity. These facilities function as overcrowded torture chambers by design. Thousands have already died in detention due to such circumstances, and those still living are especially vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus. If COVID-19 is permitted to take hold, the devastation among the prison population will be swift and fatal. Nor will it stop at the prison walls. What can be done to avert a catastrophe that threatens not only the up to 100,000 who may still be alive in detention, but also the war-weary Syrian population at large? This briefing outlines a two-step approach to averting the looming disaster, calling first and foremost for immediate and large-scale prisoner releases, because no prevention or mitigation efforts will succeed unless the challenges presented by overcrowding are addressed. While releases are underway, the living conditions of those who remain imprisoned must be radically transformed to safeguard health and prevent the pandemic from taking hold.
  • Topic: Prisons/Penal Systems, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Knut Gerlach, Robert Kang
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: 2020 is the 75th anniversary year of the United Nations (UN), and it has already shaped up to be a year of unprecedented international shocks and potential for transformation, from COVID-19’s impact to the current mobilization for racial justice in many areas of the world. What does this mean for global trust in international cooperation and multilateral institutions? This briefing by Karina Gerlach and Robert Kang examines recent global polling data, finding a growing demand for international cooperation but diminished trust in international institutions to play a role in the response to COVID-19. It also looks at shifts in member state leadership and perceptions of United States-China rivalry, arguing that middle power alliances and regional networks offer a path forward for international cooperation even in difficult circumstances.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, United Nations, Reform, Multilateralism, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Ben Phillips
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: A growing body of evidence shows that the COVID-19 crisis is significantly affecting people’s priorities for the future. With economies around the world suffering the impact of the pandemic, the global public wants governments to adopt bold approaches in response—and polls from a range of countries show that large majorities believe their actions have not been strong enough. In this briefing, Leah Zamore and Ben Phillips examine global polling data to show what kinds of policies—including those previously deemed “radical”—are now garnering widespread support. They find that people want governments to act boldly both in responding to the immediate economic crisis and in fundamentally transforming the social contract moving forward. The briefing examines polling on a range of topics, from wide support for redistributive programs and a rejection of austerity policies, to the growing popularity of measures that check corporate power in favor of workers and consumers.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, Economy, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Marc Jacquand
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: In recent years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the United Nations (UN) have increased their collaboration and strengthened their respective capacities to engage more effectively in fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) contexts. Recent global developments, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic, point to the need to accelerate such efforts and deepen collaboration between these three institutions. Everywhere—including in high-income countries—political turbulence and contestation of traditional governance arrangements are increasing the stakes and impact of macroeconomic decisions, and now of pandemic response measures. This extremely challenging global landscape, where risks intersect with increasing virulence, is calling out for greater collaboration between the IMF, the Bank, and the UN, as the three institutions to which many countries that find themselves facing such crises often turn. This briefing by Marc Jacquand makes the case for increased collaboration on four levels: factual, financial, political, and counterfactual. It also lays out the challenges, both internal and external, that impede collaboration. Finally, it makes recommendations for institutional improvements to facilitate more effective joint work in FCV contexts.
  • Topic: United Nations, Governance, Reform, Multilateralism, Crisis Management, IMF, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: David Steven, Maaike de Langen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global emergency. It is not only a health crisis but also a human rights crisis. Justice actors face daunting responsibilities as they design, implement, and enforce new measures to prevent the spread of infection. Measures that heighten the risk of human rights abuses can undermine trust, at a time when the justice system most needs to maintain the public’s confidence. For better or for worse, justice systems and justice workers are on the frontline of this pandemic. This Pathfinders briefing, drafted by lead authors David Steven, Maaike de Langen, Sam Muller, and Mark Weston with the input of more than 50 justice experts from around the globe, discusses the most pressing priorities that the public health emergency poses for justice leaders and proposes seven areas for urgent action as the tide of infections continues to rise. It is the first in the Justice in a Pandemic series.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Governance, Rule of Law, Crisis Management, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Scott Guggenheim
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: This policy briefing examines how governments, multilateral organizations, and international financial institutions can leverage existing and new community-based responses to deal more effectively with the health, social, and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Governments around the world are stretched to their limits trying to cope with not just the health risks of the COVID-19 virus, but also the economic fallout as people lose their jobs and entire sections of the economy close down. In this policy briefing, Pathfinders adviser Scott Guggenheim argues that governments must harness an underutilized but highly effective tool—traditional community solidarity and volunteerism.
  • Topic: Governance, Food Security, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank conducted their first virtual Spring Meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This briefing summarizes the discussions, which focused on the economic impact of the pandemic, and provides key takeaways on topics such as debt relief, financing for COVID-19 response, multilateral partnerships, and efforts to support global supply chains. In this readout of the 2020 Spring Meetings, CIC director Sarah Cliffe details the historic—but ring-fenced—debt moratorium and accelerated financing deal that were reached, as well as efforts to inject more global financing through an exceptional issue of IMF Special Drawing Rights. The briefing also covers partnerships between the United Nations and the international financial institutions, including a call for collaboration on global supply chains for medical equipment, agricultural inputs, and other goods and services.
  • Topic: Governance, Finance, Multilateralism, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis, IMF, COVID-19, Supply
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Lockdown measures have been an integral tool in the fight against COVID-19. But they come at a high cost, given their impacts on economies, employment and incomes, education, food systems, mental health and even the potential for civil unrest. This policy briefing by Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, and Nendirmwa Noel examines how countries are balancing the need for lockdown with policy measures to alleviate their effects and plans for reopening. It provides comparative data on the stringency of lockdowns, showing that while there has been a convergence towards more stringent measures over time, there is also wide variation among countries—even among those in the same region, or income group. A brief case study of Sierra Leone and snapshot examples of policy from ten other countries illustrates the range of answers to the question of how much lockdown is enough.
  • Topic: Employment, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Global Focus
  • Author: Leah Zamore, Tayseer Alkarim
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The humanitarian crisis in northern Syria is on the verge of becoming a COVID-19 catastrophe. A decade of conflict has left the healthcare system in ruins—and millions of displaced people in Idlib province were already suffering due to a lack of shelter and sanitation. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic posed to spread to an area with just 600 doctors and fewer than 50 adult ventilators for four million people, the situation is dire. Why is Idlib the last refuge for internally displaced Syrians, and what can donors, international humanitarian actors, and local organizations do to ensure that they are not left behind as the world grapples with COVID-19? This policy briefing by Tayseer Alkarim, Hanny Megally, and Leah Zamore delves into roots of the humanitarian crisis in Idlib, details the current capacity of the exhausted healthcare system amid the ongoing conflict, and examines what these constraints mean for mounting a response to the spread of the coronavirus. The briefing explains how donors and international humanitarian organizations can take action now to support local institutions, increase testing and treatment capacity, improve availability of PPE and public information, and press for an immediate ceasefire. The plight of Idlib is one of the most complex humanitarian dilemmas of our time, influenced by prolonged conflict, a looming COVID-19 outbreak, and the ongoing failure of the international community to take effective action. A further failure to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Idlib will cost lives—and risk global health security further by allowing the virus to spread in one of the places that is least-equipped to contain it.
  • Topic: Health, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Said Sabir Ibrahimi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Afghanistan faces many hurdles in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic: a prolonged armed conflict, a lack of social protection systems, limited healthcare capacity, and insufficient preparedness and coordination mechanisms. The Afghan government has developed a response plan and secured aid from international donors, but effective implementation remains challenging. This briefing by Said Sabir Ibrahimi and Dr. Naqibullah Safi provides an overview of the current state of the COVID-19 response in Afghanistan against the background of the ongoing conflict. It also details the additional challenges that hamper Afghanistan’s ability to deal with the crisis and provides recommendations for mitigating them.
  • Topic: Foreign Aid, Conflict, Humanitarian Crisis, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The protests that have roiled the United States over the past weeks are rooted in an issue at the heart of the divisions in American society: racism, and in particular racism within the security forces. But their extent and impact are unprecedented in recent decades. What makes this moment different from previous waves of protests? This briefing by Sarah Cliffe draws on comparative global analysis to ask whether the US now risks large-scale civil conflict. It examines how the combination of a public health crisis, systemic generalized inequality and racial disparities, growing socioeconomic hardship, the political manipulation of racial and religious identities and the potential trigger of the forthcoming presidential election have exacerbated long-standing tensions in American society.
  • Topic: Race, Protests, Crisis Management, Police, COVID-19, Civil Unrest
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karina Gerlach, Robert Kang
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: 2020 is the 75th anniversary year of the United Nations (UN), and it has already shaped up to be a year of unprecedented international shocks and potential for transformation, from COVID-19’s impact to the current mobilization for racial justice in many areas of the world. What does this mean for global trust in international cooperation and multilateral institutions? This briefing by Karina Gerlach and Robert Kang examines recent global polling data, finding a growing demand for international cooperation but diminished trust in international institutions to play a role in the response to COVID-19. It also looks at shifts in member state leadership and perceptions of United States-China rivalry, arguing that middle power alliances and regional networks offer a path forward for international cooperation even in difficult circumstances.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Race, United Nations, Reform, Multilateralism, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: David Steven, Maaike de Langen
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered what may be the worst global recession since the Second World War—and the impact of this second-order crisis will be widespread, including in the justice sector. Access to justice has been affected by the public health response to the coronavirus, but it will also be challenged by the economic downturn. The first in this series—Justice for All and the Public Health Emergency set out recommendations for how justice systems and actors can respond to the health impacts of the pandemic. This second briefing now turns to the question of how the economic downturn will affect access to justice—and how justice systems and partners can play a role in the recovery. The briefing examines how the economic effects of COVID-19 impact common justice problems, and how justice systems can anticipate and innovate in response. It provides recommendations for how justice systems and actors can react nimbly to the pandemic’s effects, and look ahead for opportunities to build back better, reshaping justice systems so they can support more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economies.
  • Topic: United Nations, Global Recession, Rule of Law, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Kevjin Lim
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Beijing has steadily become Tehran’s economic ventilator, diplomatic prop, and military enabler, and the Iranians need this backstop now more than ever. When the coronavirus spun out of control in Wuhan this January, Iran ignored the example of many other countries and continued to maintain direct flights and open borders with China. Even after President Hassan Rouhani’s government suspended all such flights on January 31, Mahan Air—a company affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—kept flying between Tehran and four first-tier Chinese cities, leading many to allege that the airline was instrumental in introducing or at least exacerbating Iran’s raging epidemic. Whatever the truth behind these allegations, Mahan’s policy is symptomatic of a larger geopolitical reality: Tehran has become profoundly, disproportionately, and perhaps irretrievably dependent on Beijing, despite its own revolutionary opposition to reliance on foreign powers. Where diplomatic and economic sanctions have fallen short, the pandemic has succeeded in isolating the Islamic Republic like never before, compelling it to keep its borders to China open. COVID-19 has also dispelled the notion that Iran’s heavily-sanctioned “resistance economy” still suffices to keep the country solvent. The government has conceded that staying afloat would be impossible if it curtailed cross-border trade, shut down industries, and quarantined entire cities. The crisis is so severe that Iran’s Central Bank has for the first time in decades requested billions of U.S. dollars in assistance from the IMF. Indeed, according to Deputy Health Minister Reza Malekzadeh, whenever his colleagues questioned why China flights continue, bilateral economic relations were among the reasons given. Two days after the government’s ban on such flights, Chinese ambassador Chang Hua tweeted that Mahan CEO Hamid Arabnejad wanted to continue cooperating with Beijing. Neither man specified exactly what this meant, but the implied message to Tehran was clear given China’s resentment of travel bans. Meanwhile, the Iranian Students News Agency, Tabnak, and other domestic media criticized Mahan for prioritizing profit margins over public health.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Iran, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: Developed by Brown University faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, emergency medicine, medical education, and instructional design, the training curriculum has been designed in accordance with World Health Organization standards, best practices, and guidelines. The training program, teaches and evaluates trainees on COVID-19 core competencies, including biology and transmission mechanisms; infection prevention and control; contact tracing; screening and triage; diagnosis and management; stabilization and resuscitation; health facility operations and surge capacity; and risk communication and public health messaging. Designed for ease of remote access, the training program is delivered virtually by Brown University trainers and is accompanied by real-time Q&A support. Tailored for each specific country setting in which it is delivered, the curriculum focuses on strengthening the capacity of health workers in resource-limited settings. The training utilizes a Training-of-Trainers model to engage master trainers and coach new trainers, allowing Project HOPE and CHRHS to quickly build a cadre of competent instructors who are able to train other health workers within their networks to respond efficiently to the threat of COVID-19 while also protecting their own health.
  • Topic: Health, Training, Data, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Masooma Rahmaty, Jasmine Jaghab
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: This year was expected to be an opportunity to assess the past twenty years of progress on the women, peace, and security (WPS) agenda. Instead, it has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has dominated the international community’s attention and put recent gains for WPS at risk. One of the areas most at risk is the participation of women in peacebuilding efforts and peace processes, which is already a part of the WPS agenda where progress has been limited. This paper looks into what actions states and international actors can take to ensure women’s participation in peacebuilding and peace processes during the pandemic. It draws on two virtual meetings—one at the ministerial level and one at the ambassadorial level—convened in partnership with the government of Sweden. Based on these meetings, the paper identifies five key factors that could help the UN and its member states keep the focus on women peacebuilders during the pandemic: State leadership on WPS in multilateral fora: In the face of the pandemic, it is critical for UN member states to defend recent gains made in implementing the WPS agenda in multilateral fora, especially the Security Council. Women’s participation in formal peace processes: While the pandemic has made it even more difficult for many women to participate in formal peace processes, the normalization of virtual convenings could be an opportunity to bring more women to the table. Protection and security of women peacebuilders: The UN and its member states have a role to play in providing women peacebuilders both physical protection and international legitimacy and recognition. Financing for women peacebuilders: The pandemic has made funding even more of a challenge for women peacebuilders. Donors should recognize the important role of women’s organizations in the pandemic response and recovery when deciding how to allocate funding. Data-driven responses: There is a need for a coordinated, risk-sensitive approach to data collection to ensure that the COVID-19 response reflects an understanding of how the pandemic affects women.
  • Topic: Security, Women, Peace, COVID-19, Inclusion
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Richard Weitz
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: For the first time, the European Commission has identified the People’s Republic of China (PRC), along with Russia and other actors, as responsible for conducting “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighborhood, and globally” (European Commission, June 10). In the past, PRC media management normally focused on censoring undesirable narratives at home while employing positive messaging to promote favorable images of China’s policies abroad. This contrasted with the more combative international approach traditionally adopted by Moscow. During the current COVID-19 crisis, however, PRC propaganda has followed the Russian practice of not only advancing positive reviews of its own actions, but also promoting negative messages about other states. The PRC and Russian foreign ministries have jointly complained that “certain [i.e., Western] countries, out of ideological bias and political needs, have been spreading disinformation, distorting history, attacking other countries’ social systems and development paths, politicizing the pandemic, pinning labels on the virus, and restrict[ing] and oppress[ing] foreign media for doing their job” (PRC Foreign Ministry, July 25). Their information departments have agreed to cooperate against the West’s media policies, including by executing joint digital media projects (Russian Foreign Ministry, July 24).
  • Topic: Pandemic, COVID-19, Disinformation, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia
  • Author: Taylor Butch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In October 2015, People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping visited the United Kingdom at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the first time that the PRC head of state had done so in ten years. In the lead-up to the visit, both Chinese and British officials had publicly acknowledged the significance of this meeting, calling it a “golden era” in relations between the two countries. Five years on, U.K.-China relations remains steady, but there are increasing signs of tension in the relationship. Rising controversies over Huawei’s role in 5G infrastructure, and Beijing’s actions to suppress opposition in Hong Kong—as well as tensions over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic—lie at the heart of this downturn in relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Science and Technology, Communications, Infrastructure, COVID-19, 5G
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Hong Kong
  • Author: Sunguta West
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Al-Shabaab’s recent attack targeting Somalia’s head of the military is the latest indication of the Islamist militant group’s growing confidence in its battle for control of the war-torn country in the Horn of Africa. Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, has been waging a deadly insurgency in the country for 14 years. Its weapons of choice have ranged from improvised explosive devices (IED) and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), to deploying suicide bombers to target security forces, public installations, and government officials. Its war is largely asymmetrical, where it also relies on hit and run attacks, assassinations, and grenade attacks.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Islamism, Al Shabaab, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Binhan Oğuz, Godfrey Gordon, Henry H. Cruz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: With subsidence of the Covid-19 pandemic to medically acceptable levels, international coordination of health and safety protocols, once agreed and implemented, will be the critical first step to the next phase to the opening of international tourism, more likely well into 2021, and unlikely to be a robust one, if travel is restricted to any agreed ‘quarantine-free corridors. Then there remains the issue of social (physical) distancing and wearing protective masks at airports and onboard planes, and expectation that at destination countries agreed protocols will be respected. One major challenge to medical tourism for the immediate future is travel by the elderly and other vulnerable individuals, for whom travel restrictions may be more stringent.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Tourism, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Taro Hayashi
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Sixty years ago, Japan and the United States signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security marking the beginning of the Japan-US Alliance as we know it today. The two countries have made a commitment to core values such as democracy, respect for human rights, and a rules-based international order. The Alliance has played an integral role in ensuring the peace and security of the two countries as well as realizing their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific through security cooperation.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Economy, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Brendan Brown
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This policy study is based on the newly released book, Europe’s Century of Crises under Dollar Hegemony: A Dialogue on the Global Tyranny of Unsound Money, by Brendan Brown and Philippe Simonnot, published by Palgrave Macmillan. One hundred years ago, the United States emerged from the First World War and its immediate aftermath, including the Spanish flu pandemic, as the global monetary hegemon, exercising immense power over the Old Continent. This new power quickly became the source of huge instability in Europe, culminating in the collapse of the Weimar Republic. After World War II, the Bretton Woods system set new contours for US monetary hegemony, ultimately resulting in the great economic crisis of 1973–75. This woeful history continues to the present day: Dollar hegemony has not been a force for good. It could have been different. The United States and Europe would both have gained from a US hegemony based on sound money principle. Instead, the guiding characteristic of US monetary power has been inflation, especially around election time. According to the doctrine made notorious by Treasury Secretary John Connally, who served under President Nixon, “the dollar is our currency but your problem.” The US monetary regime’s further lurch toward fundamental unsoundness during the COVID-19 pandemic is not getting the new century of US monetary hegemony off to a new start. The “known unknown” is whether forces will emerge in Europe that will again challenge US inflationary dominance, as occurred under Germany’s leadership in the 1970s. Could high inflation in the post-pandemic US economy cause US monetary hegemony over Europe to crumble?
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, History, Monetary Policy, Hegemony, Transatlantic Relations, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Weitz, Aurimas Lukas Pieciukaitis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Russian media outlets have waged a comprehensive disinformation campaign throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and the EU External Action Service (EEAS) have identified numerous stories in Kremlinlinked accounts that have sought to discredit the policies and performance of Western democracies, while conversely painting Russian actions in a most positive light. According to the GEC, throughout the pandemic, “the full Russian ecosystem of official state media, proxy news sites, and social media personas have been pushing multiple disinformation narratives.”
  • Topic: Health Care Policy, Media, Repression, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Lithuania
  • Author: Phil Thornton
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The world is facing unprecedented health and economic crises that require a global solution. Governments have locked down their economies to contain the mounting death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic. With this response well underway, now is the time to move into a recovery effort. This will require a coordinated response to the health emergency and a global growth plan that is based on synchronized monetary, fiscal, and debt relief policies. Failure to act will risk a substantial shock to the postwar order established by the United States and its allies more than seventy years ago. The most effective global forum for coordinating this recovery effort is the Group of 20 (G20), which led the way out of the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2009, the closest parallel we have to the current catastrophe. Eleven years ago, world leaders used the G20 meeting in London as the forum to deliver a unified response and a massive fiscal stimulus that helped stem economic free fall and prevented the recession from becoming a second Great Depression. A decade on, it is clear that the G20 is the only body with the clout to save the global economy. This does not mean that the G20 should be the only forum for actions for its member states. The United States, for example, should also work closely with like-minded states that support a rules-based world order, and there are many other fora where it can and must be active with partners and allies. But no others share the G20’s depth and breadth in the key focus areas for recovery. The other multilateral organizations that could take up the challenge lack either the substance or membership. The United Nations may count all countries as members but is too unwieldly to coordinate a response. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has the resources but requires direction from its 189 members. The Group of Seven (G7), which once oversaw financial and economic management, does not include the fast-growing emerging economies. The G20 represents both the world’s richest and fastest-growing countries, making it the forum for international collaboration. It combines that representation with agility.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, G20, Global Markets, Geopolitics, Economy, Business , Trade, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Canada, Asia, Saudi Arabia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey Cimmino, Matthew Kroenig, Barry Pavel
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a strategic shock, and its almost immediate, damaging effects on the global economy constitute a secondary disruption to global order. Additional secondary strategic shocks (e.g., in the developing world) are looming. Together, these developments pose arguably the greatest threat to the global order since World War II. In the aftermath of that conflict, the United States and its allies established a rules-based international system that has guaranteed freedom, peace, and prosperity for decades. If the United States and its allies do not act effectively, the pandemic could upend this order. This issue brief considers the current state of the pandemic and how it has strained the global rules-based order over the past few months. First, it considers the origins of the novel coronavirus and how it spread around the world. Next, it examines how COVID-19 has exacerbated or created pressure points in the global order, highlights uncertainties ahead, and provides recommendations to the United States and its partners for shaping the post-COVID-19 world.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, European Union, Economy, Business , Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, South Asia, Eurasia, India, Taiwan, Asia, North America, Korea, United States of America, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Carlos Monge
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Key messages: Companies are demanding temporary bailouts, requesting that governments subsidize them with breakeven prices over sale prices, and allow them to postpone tax and royalty payments and agreed investments. Such actions may be necessary to preserve jobs and ensure domestic energy supplies. Governments are considering lowering social and environmental standards, fast tracking procedures and providing long-term subsidies to support ongoing projects and to attract new investments. For an industry already facing its twilight, these actions are not justified. Governments must urgently move ahead with economic diversification and energy transitions to ensure the availability of jobs, energy and fiscal incomes that the oil industry currently provides.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Diversification, Renewable Energy, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Colombia, South America, Central America, Mexico, Peru
  • Author: Carlos Monge
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Natural Resource Governance Institute
  • Abstract: Mining companies are asking governments to make consultation and environmental procedures more flexible to mitigate production risks and attract new investments. However, there is no real reason to slacken regulations in order to promote mining in Latin America. Conversely, the region should strengthen these standards to prepare for a possible new mining cycle fueled by the transition to clean energy. In the event of a new mining cycle, governments should safeguard against overreliance on commodity exports and the use of fossil fuels. Instead, governments and companies should explore ways in which the mining sector can contribute to economic diversifications and energy transitions. Demand and prices for minerals produced in the region have fallen as a result of the global recession. Logistical issues resultant from pandemic-related lockdowns have slowed internal production. Consequently, mining taxes and royalties will likely fall this year. Prices have not fallen enough to threaten the commercial feasibility of current projects, the global investment budget remains robust, and the region is attractive to mining investors. Furthermore, the global transition to clean and sustainable energies will most probably increase the demand and prices for the critical minerals (copper, silver, lithium and others) produced in the region.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Commodities, Mining, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Latin America
  • Author: Engin Yüksel, Nancy Ezzeddine, Rena Netjes, Beatrice Noun, Erwin van Veen
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: The Middle East was already plagued by war, famine and death in the form of the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as the US, radical extremism, the Kurdish question and Iraq’s many travails – in large part a result of decades of autocracy, corruption and repression. The outbreak of Covid-19 added pestilence to this trio and makes for a harmful long-term mix. With this in mind, the purpose of the brief is twofold: first, to examine the longer-term impact of the virus on political tensions and conflict in the region; and second, to explore opportunities for innovative conflict resolution that might be seized in the wake of Covid-19. In this way, we hope to stimulate something good coming out of this trying period yet.
  • Topic: Fragile States, Conflict, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Loïc Bisson
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Countries in West Africa were quick to take strong prevention and mitigation measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. But border closure, curfew, market closure and limited internal movement already impact key value chains in the region and threaten livelihoods. It risks lowering decent working conditions and labour rights and increasing child labour and gender violence. Informal, migrant and female workers are especially at risk and are likely to take the brunt of the economic downturn. Disruptions in the food value chain also endangers food security in the region. Instability in West Africa threatens both European and Dutch economic, security and geopolitical interests. By virtue of being involved in various West African value chains, European and Dutch consumers and companies bear both leverage and responsibilities in regard to secure livelihoods, good working conditions free of gender violence and respect for labour rights in West Africa.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Fragile States, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Karolien van Teijlingen, Barbara Hogenboom
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: COVID-19 struck Latin America in the middle of what was already a tough economic, political and social period. This policy brief looks into the effects of the pandemic on employment and labour rights in the Colombian and Peruvian large-scale mining sectors. Mining has been severely affected by low commodity prices and demand, interrupted supply chains, national lockdowns and the (partial) closure of operations. Companies have tried to cut costs on the back of their labour force, resulting in layoffs, renegotiations and suspension of contracts. Informal economies around mining operations also suffer from the fall in demand for services and goods. The most impacted groups are outsourced workers and workers in the informal economy, the latter being predominantly women. On the long-term, these countries risks a race to the bottom in terms of labour rights. The brief calls upon (Dutch) companies and investors working in the Latin American commodity sectors to put social and economic justice at the centre of their operations.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Mining, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: South America, Latin America
  • Author: Loïc Bisson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: In the Sahel, market closures, border closures and movement restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the structurally weak pastoral sector, already made vulnerable by conflict. There are several signs of the negative impacts of COVID-19, such as difficulties in moving food and people, poor access to markets, rising food prices and loss of livelihoods. In Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, the pandemic adds to ongoing problems of conflict and political instability. The threat to pastoralists is to lose their herds through overgrazing, zoo-sanitary diseases or lack of income to feed the animals. If pastoralists go bankrupt, they could be forced to sell their livestock at devastatingly low prices to large landholders or wealthy neo-pastoralists. This scenario would aggravate an already-growing trend in the region – escalating economic inequality and the consolidation of wealth among an elite. This risks fuelling inequality and deepening existing fault lines. The priority for Sahelian governments should be clear: keep food coming and people moving, and develop a post-COVID-19 strategy to tackle the vulnerabilities revealed by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Conflict, Pastoralism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • 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: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China plays a significant role in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where the current Director-General of the WHO was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs. This opaque influence and the support given by Beijing to Dr. Tedros seems to have weighed on the positions taken by the WHO in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. The consequences of these decisions are now being felt worldwide and contribute to undermining the credibility of a fragile multilateral system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations, World Health Organization, Multilateralism, Soft Power, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Thomas S. Wilkins
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: The spread of the novel Corona Virus COVID-19 from the Chinese province of Hebei across the world has resulted in a global pandemic of catastrophic proportions. Certain countries have been affected more severely than others, and there have been glaring disparities in how national governments have responded to the outbreak. In addition to the global death toll of 400,000 (and counting), the industrial and financial disruption has been severe, with the Asian Development Bank estimating the loss to the global economy at between USD$ 5.8-8.8 trillion.1 To overcome the current crisis, and work toward a vaccine, global solidarity, including cooperation through multilateral organizations like the World Heath Organization (WHO), is desperately needed.
  • Topic: Health, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Australia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: On August 28, Shinzo Abe, the longest-serving prime minister in Japan (2,822 days) stepped down and was replaced by Yoshihide Suga, Abe’s former Chief Cabinet Secretary. Having long focused on internal politics and the intricacies of Japanese bureaucracy, Prime Minister Suga is now facing the task of navigating an increasingly tense and uncertain strategic situation, with stakes going far beyond Japan’s borders and immediate environment in the context of the unresolved COVID-19 pandemic.1 The challenges that Prime Minister Suga is facing are manifold and diverse; some can be considered long-term or permanent. Others are relatively new or continued trends with new effects on the strategic balance of power and threats to the region and beyond.
  • Topic: Politics, Bureaucracy, COVID-19, Strategic Interests
  • Political Geography: Japan, Asia
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The euro never challenged the US dollar, and its international status declined with the euro crisis. Faced with a US administration willing to use its hegemonic currency to extend its domestic policies beyond its borders, Europe is reflecting on how to promote it currency on the global stage to ensure its autonomy. But promoting a more prominent role for the euro is difficult and involves far-reaching changes to the fabric of the monetary union.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Currency, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Olivier Blanchard, Thomas Philippon, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Most governments have taken measures to protect vulnerable workers and firms from the worst effects of the sudden drop in activity related to COVID-19. But as lockdowns are lifted, the focus must shift, and governments in advanced economies must design measures that will limit the pain of adjustment.
  • Topic: Government, Labor Issues, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Annamaria Lusardi
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The concept of household financial fragility emerged in the United States after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It grew out of the need to understand whether households’ lack of capacity to face shocks could itself become a source of financial instability.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Finance, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Simone Tagliapietra, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the wake of COVID-19, some economic recovery policies will help green the economy – for example, energy renovation of buildings. But there are limits to the share of stimulus that can be explicitly green. The European Union should therefore also green the fiscal consolidation by setting out the path to much higher carbon prices than today. This would guide investment and provide revenues to help the fiscal consolidation.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Economy, Renewable Energy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, André Sapir, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: 'Whatever it takes' needs to be the motto to preserve lives and reduce the impact on the economy of the epidemic.
  • Topic: Governance, Economy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Reinhilde Veugelers, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This Policy Contribution proposes a staged support scheme to tackle the COVID-19 vaccine challenge and a moon shot programme to meet the challenge of future pandemics.
  • Topic: Health, Science and Technology, Innovation, Vaccine, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia Anderson, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has triggered a severe recession and policymakers in European Union countries are providing generous, largely indiscriminate, support to companies. As the recession gets deeper, a more comprehensive strategy is needed. This should be based on four principles: viability of supported entities, fairness, achieving societal goals, and giving society a share in future profits. The effort should be structured around equity and recovery funds with borrowing at EU level.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Global Recession, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gregory Claeys
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: To keep the euro-area economy afloat, the European Central Bank has put in place a large number of measures since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. This response has triggered fears of a future increase in inflation. However, the ECB's new measures and the resulting increase in the size of its balance sheet, even if it were to be permanent, should not restrict its ability to achieve its price-stability mandate, within its legal obligations.
  • Topic: Governance, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, Judiciary, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Elina Ribakova
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: COVID-19 is by far the biggest challenge policymakers in emerging economies have had to deal with in recent history. Beyond the potentially large negative impact on these countries’ fiscal accounts, and the related solvency issues, worsening conditions for these countries’ external funding are a major challenge.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Regulation, Finance, Economy, Central Bank, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia, Latin America
  • Author: Alicia Garcia-Herrero, Junyun Tan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: After decades of increasing globalisation on every front, from trade – pushed further by the growing role of value chains – to technology, movement of people and investment, there now seems to be a turn towards slower globalisation if not deglobalisation, at least in some areas. Deglobalisation is not a new concept but rather a megatrend which has been seen before, for example right before the First World War. Signs of deglobalisation, measured by decelerating trade and investment, and smaller global value chains, started to appear already in 2008. But this trend seems to have accelerated because of the United States’ push to contain China in the context of the strategic competition between the two. Such containment is apparent not only in bilateral trade and investment flows but also in technology. COVID-19 has been a second very important factor contributing to deglobalisation. The most obvious impact has been in movement of people. However, the trend towards deglobalisation is much less evident for finance, with the exception of foreign direct investment, though increasing attempts by the US and China to decouple particular types of financial flows are emerging, including the delisting of Chinese companies from US stock exchanges and the imposition of sanctions for transactions with certain Chinese companies and individuals. Overall, it is too early to confirm the depth and the sustainability of the current wave of deglobalisation, but an increasing number of signals suggest a trend of deglobalisation is underway.
  • Topic: Globalization, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Investment, Trade Policy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Clemens Fuest, Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Roughly two thirds of the European Union’s budget is financed out of member states’ national tax revenues. These resources, based on gross national incomes, are transparent, fair and in line with the principle of subsidiarity but they lead to political debates that emphasise the cost of EU spending rather than the benefits, and add to the perception of the EU budget in terms of net balances, rather than value added. The financing of the EU budget must be reassessed in the light of the July 2020 decision to launch the Next Generation EU programme. Budget resources could include a plastics charge, a carbon border adjustment mechanism, a digital tax, revenues from emissions trading and a financial transactions tax. We evaluate these options against four criteria: whether the origin of the revenue can be assigned to a particular member state; whether the revenue can be raised in isolation or requires pan-European tax coordination; whether the new resource can help reduce tax distortions in the EU; and whether the resource is related to EU policies. Revenues from emissions allowances fit these criteria best. Carbon emissions do not primarily cause damage only where they occur. Taking the EU cap on emissions as a given, additional emissions in a particular member state should be regarded as a negative externality on other member states. Emission reduction objectives are set at EU level. Whoever auctions off an allowance, wherever the corresponding emission occurs in the EU, and wherever the resulting good or service is consumed, the impact on common policy outcomes is the same. In this regard, proceeds from the sale of emissions trading system allowances are not that different from customs duties. Compared to the ETS, the other candidates for EU own resources are less convincing. Carbon border adjustments are intended to limit international competitive distortions rather than to generate revenue. Digital taxes and minimum corporate taxes are best left to the process underway in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. On a financial transactions tax there is no agreement within the EU. Total ETS revenues up to 2050 would approach €800 billion in a realistic scenario and possibly even €1.5 trillion assuming the scope of the ETS and the share of auctioned permits are increased. ETS revenues therefore would be largely sufficient to repay the Next Generation EU debt. However they would generate distributional effects, and so part of the revenues should finance grandfathered rights that would accrue to the member states. The EU can tackle the distributional issues involved in the reform of own resources.
  • Topic: Budget, European Union, Finance, Tax Systems, COVID-19, Decarbonization, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: André Sapir
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: All European Union countries are undergoing severe output losses as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis, but some have been hurt more than others. In response to the crisis, EU leaders have agreed on a Recovery and Resilience Fund (RFF), which will help all EU countries, but those hit hardest will benefit most. This Policy Contribution explores why some countries have been hit economically more than others by COVID-19. Using statistical techniques described in the technical appendices, several potential explanations were examined: the severity of lockdown measures, the structure of national economies, the fiscal capacity of governments to counter the collapse in economic activity, and the quality of governance in different countries. We found that the strictness of lockdown measures, the share of tourism in the economy and the quality of governance all play a significant role in explaining differences in economic losses in different EU countries. However, public indebtedness has not played a role, suggesting that that the European Central Bank’s pandemic emergency purchase programme has been effective. We used our results to explore why some southern EU countries have been more affected by the COVID-19 crisis than some northern countries. Depending on the pairs of countries or country groupings that we compared, we found that differences in GDP losses were between 30 and 50 percent down to lockdown strictness, between 35 and 45 percent to the quality of governance and between 15 and 25 percent down to tourism. This could have implications for the allocation of the RRF between recovery and resilience expenditures. Supporting the recovery through a combination of demand and supply initiatives is important to ensure that countries rebound as quickly as possible from the COVID-19 crisis, without leaving too much permanent damage to their economies. But in many countries, especially some of the southern countries hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis, resilience is a major sticking point. Too often, in some of these countries, the poor quality of governance has had a negative impact on their resilience, as the relatively large size of their GDP shocks has demonstrated. It is crucial therefore that RRF programmes devote sufficient attention (and resources) to improving the quality of governance in these countries.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jean Pisani-Ferry
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Union’s plan for aiding recovery in member states hit by the coronavirus crisis has been rightly hailed as a major breakthrough for the bloc. But there is much less clarity on the plan’s economic aims, its priorities and the content of the contractual arrangements it should entail between the EU and member countries. The plan’s main plank, the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is widely seen as a short-term Keynesian stimulus. The EU debt is expected to be repaid through contributions from member states, but this has not stopped the resulting transfers as being seen, including by national governments, as money from heaven. There has also been controversy over the conditions attached to grants and loans. Such fuzziness over objectives and overloaded procedures can derail the RRF. The EU needs to make an effort to provide clarity from the outset and put the plan on the right track. It should acknowledge and emphasise that the main goal of the RRF is not to contribute to immediate relief or a Keynesian stimulus, but to foster structural transformation, especially in less-advanced and harder-hit member states. The EU should hold back from trying to impose through overall policy conditionality its reform agenda on the member states. Instead, there should be a narrow-conditionality approach in which reforms that strongly complement intended investments should be identified and bundled with that investment. A grant aimed at encouraging decarbonisation in the transport sector, for example, would, be made conditional on the elimination of transport fuel subsidies. Therefore, in national recovery and resilience plans, each bundle of investments and reforms should be focused on the limited set of policy measures that need to be implemented to maximise the impact of EU-financed investment. Meanwhile, complementarity across objectives should be addressed through a dialogue with each member state on the sectoral allocation of EU funding and the overall architecture of their recovery and resilience plans. And the EU should emphasise when relevant the cross-border dimension of investment plans and find ways to encourage member states to cooperate on the design and the implementation of their plans.
  • Topic: Governance, Budget, European Union, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Janka Oertel
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a new convergence of EU member states’ assessment of the challenges China poses to Europe. The Sino-European economic relationship lacks reciprocity, and there are mounting concerns within the EU about China’s assertive approach abroad, as well as its breaches of international legal commitments and massive violations of human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Overall, there is growing scepticism about the future trajectory of the relationship, which provides an opportunity for a more robust and coherent EU policy on China. In its remaining months, the German Council presidency could use this momentum to create institutional structures to improve the EU’s capacity to act. In doing so, it will be crucial to ease concerns about Franco-German dominance of the China agenda – especially those of eastern and southern European countries – while enabling all member states to become more engaged in shaping the EU’s future approach to China.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, European Union, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Susi Dennison, Livia Franco
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Portugal’s plans for the EU presidency centre on European priorities for the pre-coronavirus world. These include the completion of the monetary union, the UK-EU relationship after Brexit, the EU’s relationships with Africa and India, climate change, digital transformation, and social inequality. The Portuguese EU presidency should handle these issues in line with European voters’ perceptions of the new reality created by the coronavirus. Many Europeans have lost confidence in the transatlantic relationship, fear for Europe’s place in a world dominated by US-China competition, and want the EU to provide global leadership and shape the international order. Portugal can help the EU develop a foreign policy strategy that takes account of these changes.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, European Union, Transatlantic Relations, Strategic Competition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Portugal, United States of America
  • Author: Ivan Krastev, Mark Leonard
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: As covid-19 raged, speculation grew that the crisis would restrengthen public support for the state; faith in experts; and both pro- and anti-Europeanism. New research reveals these all to be illusions. Instead, the crisis has revolutionised citizens’ perceptions of global order – scrambling the distinctions between nationalism and globalism. One group – the DIYers – sees a nineteenth-century world of every nation for itself; the New Cold Warriors hear echoes of the twentieth century and look to Trump’s America to defend them from China; the Strategic Sovereigntists foresee a twenty-first-century world of blocs and regions. This last group are the largest and represent a new form of pro-European who believe Europe will need to support its own sovereignty through joint foreign policy, control of external borders, and relocalised production. This moment represents a new opportunity for European cooperation – but the continent’s leaders must make the case carefully to avoid provoking a backlash of reintensfied Euroscepticism. Rather than a ‘Hamilton moment’ of proto-federalisation, we are instead living through a ‘Milward moment’ of strong nation state identities searching for protection in a dangerous world.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Politics, Crisis Management, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Thierry Brésillon, Hamza Meddeb
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Tunisia’s 2019 elections produced a vote against the establishment and a fragmented political landscape in which it was challenging to form a government. Parliament is deeply divided and lacks a clear foundation for stable and efficient policymaking, while the new president has neither political experience nor a party to implement his agenda. The 2019 elections may have finally ended the transactional power-sharing agreement forged by Ennahda and representatives of the old regime, which long ignored major socio-economic challenges. The government must build on its successful response to the covid-19 pandemic to create a compromise that shares the burden of economic reform between major political actors and interest groups. If it fails to do so, the resulting rise in economic and social tension could empower anti-democratic forces and destabilise Tunisia. The European Union should actively help the Tunisian government take the path of reform by launching a strategic dialogue to rethink their priorities and identify their common interests.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, Elections, European Union, Economy, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Susi Dennison, Pawel Zerka
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A new pan-European survey conducted by ECFR shows that, after the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a rise in public support for unified EU action to tackle global threats. This is grounded in Europeans’ realisation that they are alone in the world – with their perceptions of the United States, China, and Russia worsening overall. The pandemic has made European voters keenly aware of the need to prepare for the next crisis. There is growing support for the fulfilment of climate change commitments in every surveyed country. Respondents still believe in the value of European cooperation, but generally feel that EU institutions have not helped them enough during the crisis. Policymakers need to elicit voters’ support for a strong European voice on the global stage by building coalitions and identifying areas in which there is either a consensus or a bridgeable divide.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Economy, Alliance, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan Hackenbroich, Jeremy Shapiro, Tara Varma
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The coronavirus affected EU member states in different ways and to different extents, but almost all found that their public health relied, more than they understood, on goods or services from third countries. This reliance undermined Europe’s capacity to respond autonomously. The EU bodies coordinating the response and providing an early warning system were slow to act and requests for aid from EU member states went unheeded, creating feelings of abandonment among the worst-hit countries. Europe must improve its early warning systems, supply chain resilience, medical research and development, and cyber security and technology, to act decisively in future public health emergencies. Europe can build greater health security by creating common strategic stocks, diversifying and reshoring supply chains, strengthening investment protection in innovative companies, investing in R&D, and coordinating efforts in multilateral forums.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, European Union, Crisis Management, Pandemic, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pawel Zerka
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: ECFR research into how EU member states and institutions worked together – or failed to – at the height of covid-19 confirms Germany was the bloc’s undisputed crisis leader. Germany made a shaky start in showing solidarity on the pandemic, but regained other member states’ trust on the health and economy fronts. The Netherlands, however, paid a reputational price as the leading ‘frugal’ state opposing greater financial burden-sharing. EU institutions won few plaudits but policymakers still look to it for post-crisis economic leadership. France emerged at the head of a strengthened ‘southern’ grouping of member states, while the Visegrad platform was invisible during this crisis. It will fall to Germany and France to close the north-south divide, building coalitions on major policies. But they should not forget that closing the east-west divide remains an important goal.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Health Care Policy, European Union, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Mark Leonard
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The shock of covid-19 in Britain may end the culture-wars politics set off by the Brexit referendum – which split the country between Leave and Remain, town and city, old and young. Many people had lent their votes to Boris Johnson’s Conservatives for cultural reasons, in spite of the fact that they were closer to the opposition Labour Party on economic issues. Covid-19 might cause a rethink, as voters expect competence from the government. Counterintuitively, both Leavers and Remainers are open to a leftist domestic agenda and greater cooperation with international partners – issues on which Labour is normally strong. Covid-19 has caused voters to take a dimmer view of previously touted post-Brexit trade partners like the US and China. They think more highly of countries such as Germany. The battleground will be ‘Red Wall defectors’ – voters who gave Johnson his 2019 general election landslide but who are reassessing what matters to them after Brexit. A politics divided along the lines of Leavers and Remainers could disappear as quickly as it appeared – but the Conservatives may nevertheless attempt to stoke the divisions of 2016 that secured them Brexit.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Brexit, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Julien Barnes-Dacey
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: After nine years of conflict, the US is mounting a ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Syria, seeking the regime’s demise. But, with Assad having effectively won the war, he is unlikely to succumb to US economic pressure. Assad bears responsibility for the country’s freefall but this strategy will further accelerate societal collapse, especially as coronavirus looms, and will not deliver a transition. European governments should pivot to a longer-term strategy focused on protecting those societal forces that are still standing and that can help salvage a better future aligned with European interests. This should include increased – and cautious – support to them within government-controlled Syria. The unpredictability of the Trump administration means persuading the US down this track is not impossible – Europeans should seek to influence Washington to widen space for societal support.
  • Topic: Sanctions, Conflict, Syrian War, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Bashar al-Assad
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Josep Borrell
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The pandemic will likely magnify existing geopolitical dynamics and test the strength of Europe’s democratic systems. Europe needs a new kind of globalisation capable of striking a balance between the advantages of open markets and interdependence, and between the sovereignty and security of countries. Europe should work to prevent the US-China rivalry from having negative repercussions in certain regions of the world – particularly Africa. European leaders need to focus on meeting the immediate needs of healthcare systems, providing an income for people who cannot work, and giving businesses guarantees. The European model will only mean something in the eyes of the world if we can successfully promote solidarity among EU member states.
  • Topic: Globalization, Geopolitics, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Andrew Small
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Beijing’s handling of the pandemic has changed long-standing European assumptions about its reliability as a crisis actor and its approach to the European project. Europe’s immediate medical-supply needs and dire economic situation will limit the scope of shifts in its China policy – for now. But, on issues ranging from supply chains to ideological competition, European governments have rebalanced their view of what dynamics with China should look like in the aftermath. The crisis is also intensifying demands from European parliaments, media outlets, and citizens for Europe to puts its China policy on a more open, accountable, and values-based footing. Governments’ pursuit of a “business as usual” approach to Beijing is growing harder to sustain.
  • Topic: Ideology, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19, Rivalry
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Danielle Piatkiewicz, Miroslava Pisklová
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: It was noted that the pandemic has not brought about systemic change but has instead accelerated and exacerbated existing trends. Both the US and the EU see the pandemic furthering disagreements and on both sides of the Atlantic by causing rise to internal political divisions on how to tackle the pandemic. One of the big lessons of this global crisis is that collaboration is crucial. Not even powerful countries, such as the US, can tackle it on their own. Now more than ever, it is time to move beyond competition and focus on strengthening international cooperation, otherwise we risk a success of non-democratic actors seeking to undermine democracy and rule of law.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Multilateralism, Crisis Management, Transatlantic Relations, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America