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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: Lior Lehrs, Moien Odeh, Nimrod Goren, Huda Abu Arqoub
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: peace processes and have the potential to contribute to the advancement of Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution. A team of Israeli and Palestinian policy experts developed a joint proposal for an international package of incentives for peace. The proposal defines the central needs of the parties that the incentives package must address, focusing on security, recognition and legitimacy, religious rights, economic prosperity and domestic needs. It examines which international actors can be relevant in addressing those needs and should be part of an international incentives package, elaborating on the potential role of the US, the EU, and the Arab and the Muslim world. The proposal also discusses when and how a package of incentives should be introduced and delivered, and what should be the international mechanism required to promote it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, European Union, Peace, Incentives
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Lionel Guetta-Jeanrenaud
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Union’s capital markets remain very underdeveloped compared to the United States. The market for equity, as measured as the size of the total market capitalisation of listed domestic firms relative to GDP, is much larger in the US and in Japan than in Europe.
  • Topic: European Union, GDP, Capital Flows
  • Political Geography: Japan, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Monika Grzegorczyk, Mario Mariniello, Laura Nurski, Tom Schraepen
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The pandemic has shown that many workers can efficiently work remotely, with benefits for wellbeing and even productivity. The European Union should develop a framework to facilitate hybrid work.
  • Topic: European Union, Work Culture, Innovation, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Zsolt Darvas, Maria Demertzis, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the biggest global recession since the Second World War. Forecasts show the European Union underperforming economically relative to the United States and China during 2019-2023. Southern European countries have been particularly strongly affected. While the ICT sector has benefitted from the COVID-19 crisis, tourism, travel and services have suffered. Business insolvencies have, paradoxically, fallen. While total employment has almost recovered, the young and those with low-level qualifications have suffered employment losses. Inequality could rise. The pandemic may lead to medium to long-term changes in the economy, with more teleworking, possibly higher productivity growth and changed consumer behaviour. Policymakers must act to prevent lasting divergence within the EU and to prevent scarring from the fallout from the pandemic. The first priority is tackling the global health emergency. Second, we warn against premature fiscal tightening and recommend instead additional short-term support from national budgets. Over the medium term, fiscal policymakers will need to gradually move away from supporting companies through subsidies, towards tax incentives for corporate investment. A review of the European fiscal framework is needed to achieve the EU’s green goals more rapidly. The quality of public finances, how policymakers spend resources and the associated reforms are of central importance to prevent scarring. Improving the efficiency of insolvency procedures will be crucial for speedy and effective recovery. Targeted labour market policies for the young and less-qualified are needed. As teleworking becomes a more permanent feature of the EU’s labour markets, it will be crucial to adapt social security and taxation systems in the context of the single market for labour. The EU should resist protectionist calls in the wake of the pandemic. Rigorous competition policy enforcement and an integrated EU market have been beneficial for European convergence and growth. Capital markets have an important role to play in a speedy recovery.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Inequality, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Uri Dadush, Pauline Weil
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Despite tensions over China’s discriminatory business practices, China’s trade continues to thrive, and the country has taken over from the United States as the first destination for foreign investment. American and European businesses continue to be engaged in China’s large and growing market, even amid a trade war between China and the United States. Drawing on surveys of companies and international comparisons, we show that – contrary to the prevailing narrative – China’s business practices have improved significantly in recent years. China’s business environment is today generally more favourable than that in other large countries at similar levels of development and, in some though certainly not all aspects, is in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average. Differences over geopolitics and human rights must be addressed, but it is clear that trade and investment agreements conditioned on accelerated reforms in China would yield substantial dividends. The benefits of such deals would accrue not only to foreign investors in China and exporters to China, but also to consumers and importers in the European Union and, especially, in the US, where punitive tariffs on China remain in effect. Critical aspects in the negotiations would include better access for American and European investors to China’s market for services and improved enforcement of rules and regulations in China. As in many middle-income countries, uneven enforcement of the law (rather than the law itself) remains a critical problem in China.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Business , Investment
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Alexander Lehmann
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: International debt investors increasingly demand assets that are aligned with environmental, social and governance objectives. Sovereign debt is being belatedly swept up in this change. This huge asset class represents a uniquely long-term claim and funds a wide range of public expenditure, both brown and green. Public capital expenditures will be a central part of the roughly €3 trillion investment budget needed to pay for the European Green Deal. European Union countries have so far met investor appetite for climate-aligned assets through sovereign green bonds, the issuance of which has rapidly grown since 2017. The EU itself will also issue green bonds in large volumes. However, because of some inherent flaws in such instruments and as their still-weak frameworks, these bonds are unlikely to meet the environmental criteria demanded by investors, and will complicate established principles in sovereign debt management. Much more comprehensive information is needed on the climate related aspects of the public budgets of EU countries. Greater transparency in this respect would support stability and improve the functioning of capital markets, given that sovereign debt plays a pivotal role in all investor portfolios and also in regulatory and monetary policy. Adoption by sovereign issuers of green budgeting principles, based on a common taxonomy of sustainable activities, would enhance transparency. It could also be driven by investors who, under new EU rules, must disclose the climate-related aspects of all financial instruments offered in the capital market.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Debt, Markets, Sovereignty, European Union, Finance, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Hydrogen is seen as a means to decarbonise sectors with greenhouse gas emissions that are hard to reduce, as a medium for energy storage, and as a fallback in case halted fossil-fuel imports lead to energy shortages. Hydrogen is likely to play at least some role in the European Union’s achievement by 2050 of a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. However, production of hydrogen in the EU is currently emissions intensive. Hydrogen supply could be decarbonised if produced via electrolysis based on electricity from renewable sources, or produced from natural gas with carbon, capture, and storage. The theoretical production potential of low-carbon hydrogen is virtually unlimited and production volumes will thus depend only on demand and supply cost. Estimates of final hydrogen demand in 2050 range from levels similar to today’s in a low-demand scenario, to ten times today’s level in a high-demand scenario. Hydrogen is used as either a chemical feedstock or an energy source. A base level of 2050 demand can be derived from looking at sectors that already consume hydrogen and others that are likely to adopt hydrogen. The use of hydrogen in many sectors has been demonstrated. Whether use will increase depends on the complex interplay between competing energy supplies, public policy, technological and systems innovation, and consumer preferences. Policymakers must address the need to displace carbon-intensive hydrogen with low-carbon hydrogen, and incentivise the uptake of hydrogen as a means to decarbonise sectors with hard-to-reduce emissions. Certain key principles can be followed without regret: driving down supply costs of low-carbon hydrogen production; accelerating initial deployment with public support to test the economic viability and enable learning; and continued strengthening of climate policies such as the EU emissions trading system to stimulate the growth of hydrogen-based solutions in the areas for which hydrogen is most suitable.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Emissions, Decarbonization, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Uri Dadush, André Sapir
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Union is very open to foreign direct investment. By comparison, despite considerable liberalisation in the past two decades, foreign investors in China’s markets still face significant restrictions, especially in services sectors. Given this imbalance, the EU has long sought to improve the situation for its companies operating or wanting to operate in China. After eight years of negotiations, the EU and China concluded in December 2020 a bilateral Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The text awaiting ratification aims to give foreign investors greater market access, enforceable via state-to-state dispute settlement. It does not yet, however, cover investor protection (such as against expropriation). Meanwhile, investor protection is covered by bilateral investment treaties between EU countries and China, which remain in force. The CAI has been met in some quarters with scepticism on economic and geopolitical grounds. The main criticism is that it provides little new market access in China, and that this small economic gain for the EU comes at the price of breaking ranks with its main political ally, the United States. Our assessment, which focuses on the economic implications, is different. It is true the CAI provides only modest new market access in China, but this is because China has already made progress in recent years in liberalising its foreign investment regulations unilaterally. The CAI binds this progress under an international treaty, marking an improvement for EU firms insofar as their market access rights can be effectively enforced. Most important, the CAI includes new rules on subsidies, state-owned enterprises, technology transfer and transparency, which will improve effective market access for EU firms operating in China. These bilateral new rules could also pave the way for reform of the multilateral rules under the World Trade Organisation, with the aim of better integrating China into the international trading and investment system – a goal shared by the EU, the United States and other like-minded countries. From an economic viewpoint therefore, the CAI is an important agreement, and one worth having. However, its ratification by the European Parliament is unlikely while China continues to apply sanctions against some members of the European Parliament and other critics of China’s human rights record.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Investment, Liberalization
  • Political Geography: China, Europe
  • Author: Ottmar Edenhofer, Mirjam Kosch, Michael Pahle, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Putting carbon pricing at the centre of the EU climate policy architecture would provide major benefits. Obtaining these benefits requires a uniform, credible and durable carbon price – the economic first-best solution, however, several preconditions required to attain this solution are not yet met. This paper proposes a sequenced approach to ensure convergence of the policy mix on the first-best in the long run.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Tax, Carbon Emissions
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Maria Demertzis, Nicola Viegi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In both Europe and the United States, interest rates have been declining for more than fifteen years. For much of this period, real interest rates have been negative and they are expected to remain negative for at least another decade. The literature associates this decline in interest rates with a similarly protracted decline in productivity. But the decline in productivity appears paradoxical given major technological advances. The decline in the price of capital is underpinned by the factors that have caused a decline in demand for capital, as well as a relative increase in its supply. On the supply side, aging and an increase in overall macroeconomic risk since the financial crisis have both led to increased savings. On the demand side, the increase in the importance of intangible capital in production has reduced the demand for physical capital. Nevertheless, for the US, the literature has identified the increase in market concentration as the biggest factor responsible for the reduction in the overall demand for capital. Digital innovation has led to the creation of champion firms that have captured big market shares and have been able to prevent others from entering not only the US market, but markets globally. This has dampened investment. Europe is affected by US digital dominance, but other factors, including aging and increased risk, are more prominent in sustaining the downward pressure on interest rates. In particular, the lack of risk capital, in the context of capital markets, contributes to this downward pressure in the EU. As the knowledge economy relies increasingly on intangible capital, a bank-based system that requires collateral is not well suited to finance investments. A lack of suitable finance will remain an important factor in the downward pressure on interest rates. The structural factors behind the downward pressure on interest rates imply that macroeconomic policy will have a reduced role in managing aggregate demand. Monetary policy in the euro area will be more about preventing financial fragmentation and less about stimulating demand. Equally, fiscal policy will have more of a supporting rather than stimulating role. Tackling the structural decline in market dynamism and therefore in real rates will require structural policies to reduce market power globally and ensure the creation of capital markets in the EU.
  • Topic: Monetary Policy, Governance, European Union, Finance, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Leonard, Jeremy Shapiro, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Simone Tagliapietra, Guntram B. Wolff
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal is a plan to decarbonise the EU economy by 2050, revolutionise the EU’s energy system, profoundly transform the economy and inspire efforts to combat climate change. But the plan will also have profound geopolitical repercussions. The Green Deal will affect geopolitics through its impact on the EU energy balance and global markets; on oil and gas-producing countries in the EU neighbourhood; on European energy security; and on global trade patterns, notably via the carbon border adjustment mechanism. At least some of these changes are likely to impact partner countries adversely. The EU needs to wake up to the consequences abroad of its domestic decisions. It should prepare to help manage the geopolitical aspects of the European Green Deal. Relationships with important neighbourhood countries such as Russia and Algeria, and with global players including the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, are central to this effort, which can be structured around seven actions: Help neighbouring oil and gas-exporting countries manage the repercussions of the European Green Deal. The EU should engage with these countries to foster their economic diversification, including into renewable energy and green hydrogen that could in the future be exported to Europe. Improve the security of critical raw materials supply and limit dependence, first and foremost on China. Essential measures include greater supply diversification, increased recycling volumes and substitution of critical materials. Work with the US and other partners to establish a ‘climate club’ whose members will apply similar carbon border adjustment measures. All countries, including China, would be welcome to join if they commit to abide by the club’s objectives and rules. Become a global standard-setter for the energy transition, particularly in hydrogen and green bonds. Requiring compliance with strict environmental regulations as a condition to access the EU market will be strong encouragement to go green for all countries. Internationalise the European Green Deal by mobilising the EU budget, the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund, and EU development policy. Promote global coalitions for climate change mitigation, for example through a global coalition for the permafrost, which would fund measures to contain the permafrost thaw. Promote a global platform on the new economics of climate action to share lessons learned and best practices.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Gregory Claeys, Maria Demertzis
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Productivity growth in Europe has been on a downward trend for several decades. Given that productivity growth is a crucial source of output growth, particularly in an aging society like the European Union, it is crucial to understand what is driving this slowdown and what the potential consequences are for our economic model and for citizens’ welfare. Some explanations for this trend are global in nature, but there are also significant differences in country structures in Europe that have led to different outcomes and that need to be accounted for before policy prescriptions can be made. The objective of MICROPROD, an EU-wide research project that runs until the end of 2021, is to contribute to this research strand by using data from various European countries to study the microeconomic mechanisms behind this macroeconomic phenomenon. In particular, the aim is to understand the challenges posed to Europe by the fourth industrial revolution and its impact on productivity in the context of globalisation and digitalisation, and to recommend policies to address these challenges. MICROPROD researchers have so far delivered 20 papers on four broad issues relevant for today’s policy debates: the measurement and effects of intangible capital on productivity; the impact of globalisation, international trade and the integration of global value chains (GVCs) on productivity; factor allocation and allocative efficiency; and finally the social consequences of the two structural shocks Europe has faced in the last two decades: globalisation and technological progress. This Policy Contribution reviews the main conclusions of these 20 MICROPROD papers and how they inform policy debates. However, the mid-point of the three-year MICROPROD project also coincided with the start of the COVID-19 crisis, which might have accelerated some trends or possibly reversed others. We therefore discuss how some of the messages of MICROPROD research may contribute to our understanding of the current crisis and its aftermath.
  • Topic: Globalization, Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, Productivity, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marek Dabrowski, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: In the 2010s, the economic situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) deteriorated as a result of lower oil and other commodity prices, a new round of domestic political instability, continuous intra-regional conflicts, stalled economic and governance reforms and, finally, the COVID-19 pandemic. The growth of real GDP, which slowed after the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, further decelerated in the second half of the 2010s and became negative in 2020 as result of the COVID-19 shock. Fiscal balances have deteriorated, even in the oil-exporting countries, and public debt has grown rapidly. MENA countries continue to face numerous long-term socio-economic and institutional challenges including high unemployment (especially youth unemployment), low female labour-market participation rates, the poor quality of education, costly and ineffective public sectors, high military and security spending, high energy subsidies and trade protectionism. Only comprehensive long-term reform programmes can address these challenges. The European Union is MENA’s second largest trading partner after the region itself, and is one of two main sources of foreign direct investment and a major aid donor. However, given the critical importance of the MENA region to its own security and stability, the EU’s engagement in conflict resolution and in supporting economic and political transformation of the region is insufficient and should be intensified. The EU should also update and upgrade its existing association agreements with the countries of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, including their free trade provisions.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, Governance, European Union, Trade, COVID-19, Economic Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Zsolt Darvas
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The estimation of payments from the European Union’s COVID-19 economic recovery fund, Next Generation EU (NGEU), to each EU country in 2021-2026 involves uncertainties, yet the overall magnitudes can be estimated with a reasonable degree of precision. In contrast, estimating member states’ contributions to the repayment of EU debt (which will be issued to finance NGEU spending) is burdened with enormous difficulties, primarily related to the uncertainty of gross national income projections up to 2058. Some numerical scenarios can be put forward to illustrate the difficulties in estimating the amounts of such future contributions.
  • Topic: Economics, Governance, European Union, Macroeconomics, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dong-Hee Joe
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: Immigration is one of the factors often considered as the causes of Brexit. Researchers find evidences that regions with more immigrants from the new member states of the European Union (EU hereinafter) in eastern Europe tended to vote more in favor of Brexit in the 2016 referendum. Similar relations between the size of immigrant population and anti-immigration attitudes or far-right voting are found in other richer EU member states. A common explanation for this relation is the concern that immigrants negatively affect the outcome in the host labor market. Immigration is drawing attention in Korea too. Although immigrants' share in population is still substantially smaller in Korea than in the EU, its increase is noticeable. Also, certain industries in Korea are known to be already heavily reliant on immigrant labor. Recently, as entry into the country was tightened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, firms and farms are reported to have faced a disruption in production. This trend of increasing presence of immigrants in population and in the labor market, vis-à-vis the low fertility rate and rapid aging in Korea, is raising interest and concern on the socioeconomic impact of immigration. To offer some reference for the debates related to immigration in Korea, KIEP researchers (Joe et al. 2020 and Joe and Moon 2021) look at the EU, where immigrants' presence was much higher from much earlier on, and where the greater heterogeneity among the immigrants allows for richer analyses. This World Economy Brief presents some of their findings that are salient for Korea.
  • Topic: Immigration, European Union, Brexit, Labor Market
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, Asia, Korea
  • Author: Pyoung Seob Yang, Cheol-Won Lee, Suyeob Na, Taehyn Oh, Young Sun Kim, Hyung Jun Yoon, Yoo-Duk Ga
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: China’s investment in the European Union (EU) increased significantly during the European financial crisis, but has been on the decline in recent years. The surge of Chinese investment has raised concerns and demands for analysis on the negative effects it could have on the EU companies and industries. In this context, the present study aims to analyze the main characteristics of Chinese investment and M&A in Europe, major policy issues between the two sides, the EU’s policy responses, and prospects of Chinese future investment in Eu-rope, going on to draw important lessons for Korea. To summarize the main characteristics of China's investment in Europe, the study found that the EU's share of China's overseas direct investment has continued to increase until recently. Second, investment in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) is gradually increasing, although it is still insignificant compared to the top five destinations in the EU: Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Third, China's investment in the EU is being made in pursuit of innovation in manufacturing and to acquire high-tech technologies. When it comes to China's M&A in Europe, the study found that the proportion of indirect China's M&As (via third countries (e.g. Hong Kong) or Chinese subsidiaries already established in Europe) was relatively higher than direct ones. Empirical factor analysis of investment also shows that China's investment in the EU is strongly motivated by the pursuit of strategic assets. Other factors such as institutional-level and regulatory variables are found to have no significant impact, or have an effect contrary to expectations. This suggests that China's investment in the EU is based on the Chinese government's growth strategy, and accompanies an element of national capitalism Today, It is highly expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a reorganizing effect on the global value chain (GVC) and Foreign investment regulation in the high-tech sector motivated by national security is emerging as a global issue as the US and the EU are tightening their control. As Korean companies are not free from the risk of falling under such regulations, a thorough and careful response is required. And for the Korean government, it is necessary to prepare legal and institutional measures regulating foreign investment in reference to the US and the EU.
  • Topic: Foreign Direct Investment, Financial Crisis, European Union, Economy, Economic Growth, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia, Korea, United States of America
  • Author: Eric Maurice
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: For half a decade, the Polish government has been reshaping the country's judicial system in a process described by the European Union as a "threat to the rule of law". Despite numerous Council of Europe reports and resolutions, several infringement proceedings and decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), and the unprecedented activation of the so-called Article 7 procedure of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the transformation of the judiciary into relays of political power has continued and accelerated since the Law and Justice Party (PiS) won a new term in 2019 and the reelection of President Andrzej Duda in 2020, pushing Poland to the limits of the European legal order.
  • Topic: Government, European Union, Courts, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: 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: Fredrik Erixon
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: This Policy Brief takes stock of the EU Trade Policy Review – the Commission’s proposed strategy for trade. Despite appearances, the Review doesn’t come close to its billing as a strategy for the new geopolitics of trade. In fact, the Review is weak on key geopolitical developments and rather gives the impression that the EU doesn’t have an ambition to shape outcomes. Obviously, the Review is anchored in Europe’s general economic climate: defensiveness on globalization, competition and digitalization. It follows that Europe is getting increasingly detached from world developments. There are several good parts in the Review. The Commission wants to revive and reform the World Trade Organisation, and it’s clear about what factors that have made the Geneva-based trade body dysfunctional. The Review also acknowledges that the EU will seek a closer alliance with the United States and use that for constructive purposes. Finally, it is welcome that the Commission proposes some new instruments for dealing with market distortions caused by foreign subsidies and protectionism in government procurement. All these initiatives can achieve good outcomes. However, they all require that Europe makes changes in its own policies and positions. The bad parts in the Review are Europe’s weak agenda for getting better market access in the growth regions in the world and its continued passivity on matters related to China. Europe’s main trade-policy challenge in the next decade is to ensure that businesses and consumers in Europe get better integrated with a world-market dynamism that predominantly will come from the Asian region. Absent a realistic and medium-term strategy for dealing with challenges connected to the rise of China, Europe will have difficulties getting the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment approved. Europe needs an actionable agenda for addressing bilateral frictions with China and problems that occur outside bilateral trade. Finally, the ugly part of the trade strategy are all the commercial policies in the EU – with strong effects on trade – that aren’t recognized or only casually mentioned in the Review. The latter category includes the ambition to introduce an autonomous carbon border tax on imports. Such a policy comes at a high political and economic cost, and the measure’s effect on reducing global carbon emissions is at best very negligible.
  • Topic: Globalization, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Geopolitics, Digital Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Joana Purves, William Echikson
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The European Union has built a one-stop-shop for its member state regulators to post product safety notifications – Safety Gate (European Commission 2021d). Constructed on top of the Rapid Alert System for Dangerous Non-Food Products, or RAPEX, the Safety Gate web portal is designed to make public the “quick exchange of information” between 31 European countries and the European Commission “about measures taken against dangerous non-food products.” While Safety Gate represents a significant achievement, our research revealed areas for improvement to increase its utility for manufacturers, marketplaces and consumers. Many product notifications published on the website lack details required to facilitate speedy removals and recalls. The study graded eight essential criteria for a total of 918 Safety Gate notifications published over eight months in 2020. The average notification score was a respectable 70 out of 100, but over 98% of the notifications omitted at least one key criterion. Only 14 notifications included all the information to enable efficient and accurate product identification.
  • Topic: Health, Food, European Union, Regulation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hosuk Lee-Makiyama
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The European Green Deal, the flagship initiative of the incumbent European Commission, aims to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 55% by 2030 (from the current target of cutting 40% of 1990 levels) by overhauling fiscal, trading and regulatory regimes. Brussels is well-placed to deliver the interregional distribution or the minutiae of technical regulations that this challenge calls for. Energy diversification is also central to EU competitiveness and strategic autonomy. But this initiative is not costless: its official impact assessment points to a GDP loss of additional -0.3 to -0.7%, by 2030, relative to the previous level of ambition. The full loss could be up to -2.5%. These costs are also unevenly, and the inability to cushion asymmetrical shocks have nearly torn the Union apart in the past. A carbon-neutral Europe could also make losers out of today’s winners among stakeholders and give the EU a significantly different industrial structure, forcing over-exporting Northern Europe into reforms that are probably overdue. Most importantly, the gap between the financing needed and the financing available is unprecedented. The success of the European Green Deal and a cost-efficient transition hinge on the rapid and effective mobilisation of investments – as the diffusion period for new energy-related technology is 40-50 years. Therefore, a smart climate policy does not just distribute costs and investments between different groups, but also over time: The investments are needed now, if we are to reap their benefits before 2050.
  • Topic: Environment, Industrial Policy, International Political Economy, European Union, Green Technology, Sustainability, Green Deal
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • 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: Dominik P. Jankowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: Over the last decade, energy security has become a permanent element of NATO's strategic thinking, integrated into numerous NATO policies and activities. In fact, restoring the prominence of energy security within the Alliance was not easy, especially as this policy was considered primarily a question of national security in the post-Cold War era. It was only at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that NATO was given a dedicated, yet limited, mandate to work in this field. The mandate--based on a set of principles and guidelines--included information and intelligence sharing, cooperation on consequence management, and support for the protection of critical energy infrastructure.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Energy Policy, European Union, Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Much of Europe’s attention to Asia is currently being captured by China. However, if the European Union and its member states are serious about maintaining a rules-based global order and advancing multilateralism and connectivity, it should increase its work in building partnerships across Asia, particularly in the Indo-Pacific super-region. To save multilateralism, go to the Indo-Pacific. RECOMMENDATIONS: ■ Multilateralism first. Unpack and differentiate where the United States and China support the rules-based order and where not, but also look to new trade deals and security pacts with India and Southeast Asia partners. ■ Targeted connectivity. The EU should continue to offer support to existing regional infrastructure and connectivity initiatives. ■ Work in small groups. EU unanimity on China and Indo-Pacific policy is ideal, but not always necessary to get things done. ■ Asia specialists wanted. Invest in and develop career paths for Asia specialists in foreign and defence ministries and intelligence services.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Emerging Markets, International Organization, Science and Technology, Power Politics, European Union
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • 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: 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: Frances Burwell, Jörn Fleck
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) possess fundamental strengths that uniquely position the region to capitalize on the next wave of digitalization – solid education systems, a large talent pool of “STEM” graduates, widely adopted digitally enabled services, and fewer technology legacies. But, these advantages alone do not mean that Central and Eastern Europe will automatically succeed in this digital transition. One key factor of success will be the ability of these countries— all of them in the European Union—to cooperate in this effort across the region, for both their future economic development and their political influence within Europe and in the transatlantic relationship. In this think piece, Atlantic Council Distinguished Fellow Frances Burwell and Future Europe Initiative Associate Director Jörn Fleck explore how to take forward digitalization in Central and Eastern Europe, especially within the framework of the Three Seas Initiative (3SI).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, European Union, Economy, Business , Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe
  • Author: David Walzer
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: Israel and the European Union (EU) have built a special, strategic relationship over decades, since the 1960s. Following centuries of war, two world wars, tens of millions dead and destruction across the continent, the EU can be declared as the most successful expression of Europeans’ aspiration for peace and prosperity. With a population of 450 million, the EU is not only Israel’s biggest trade partner, it is also the biggest and most generous aid donor to the Palestinian Authority (PA), without which Israel would be forced to allocate extensive budgetary resources for the PA’s preservation and its commitments. Moreover, a large part of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora has its roots in Europe. Many Israelis aspire to the continent’s standards of moral and cultural values and to its political systems. At the same time, many in Europe see Israel and the Israelis as members of the European family. Agreements on economic, trade, science, and other matters of vital value to Israel have been signed over the years within the framework of the special relationship that has developed with the EU.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, European Union, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Mitvim: The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies
  • Abstract: The EU is examining how to respond to a possible Israeli annexation in the West Bank. One of the measures reportedly under consideration is to limit Israel’s participation in the EU’s “Horizon” research and development (R&D) program scheduled for renewal in 2021. This might be a significant blow to Israeli R&D, which has enjoyed substantial EU grants in recent years through the previous phase of the “Horizon” program. This paper provides background about the “Horizon” program and its importance for Israel.
  • Topic: Development, European Union, Research, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • 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: 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: Dirk Schoenmaker, Svend E. Hougaard Jensen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Though outside the euro area, Denmark and Sweden could benefit from joining the European Union’s banking union. It would provide protection in case of any need to resolve at national level a large bank with a Scandinavian footprint, and would mark a choice in favour of more cross-border banking. But joining the banking union would also involve some loss of decision-making power.
  • Topic: Markets, European Union, Economy, Banks
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark, Sweden
  • Author: Marek Dabrowski, Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Since the Euromaidan protests (2013-2014), Ukraine has had two presidents and four governments. In a difficult environment of external aggression, they have initiated various reforms aimed at bringing the country closer to the European Union and boosting growth. Progress has been partial and relies on international backing, with limited domestic appetite for reform.
  • Topic: Corruption, Privatization, Foreign Aid, Governance, Reform, European Union, Finance, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • 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: 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: Ben McWilliams, Georg Zachmann
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Commission should not make the implementation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism into a must-have element of its climate policy. There is little in the way of strong empirical evidence that would justify a carbon-adjustment measure. Moreover, significant logistical, legal and political challenges will arise during the design. The EU should instead focus upon the implementation of measures to trigger the development of a competitive low-carbon industry in Europe.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, European Union, Trade Policy, Carbon Tax
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Alienor Cameron, Gregory Claeys, Catarina Midoes, Simone Tagliapietra
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: On 14 January 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism, intended to provide support to territories facing serious socioeconomic challenges related to the transition towards climate neutrality. This brief provides an overview and a critical assessment of the first pillar of this Mechanism, the Just Transition Fund (JTF).
  • Topic: Climate Change, Governance, Budget, European Union, Macroeconomics, Renewable Energy, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marta Dominguez-Jimenez, Niclas Poitiers
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: Most foreign direct investment into Russia originates in the European Union: European investors own between 55 percent and 75 percent of Russian FDI stock. This points to a Russian dependence on European investment, making the EU paramount for Russian medium-term growth. Even if we consider ‘phantom’ FDI that transits through Europe, the EU remains the primary investor in Russia. Most phantom FDI into Russia is believed to originate from Russia itself and thus is by construction not foreign.
  • Topic: Economics, Energy Policy, Foreign Direct Investment, Governance, Sanctions, European Union, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • 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: Alexander Lehmann
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: The European Union’s capital markets union (CMU) plan is in urgent need of a revamp. Because of Brexit, EU capital markets and supervision need to become more integrated. The ongoing deep recession increases the need for equity finance mobilised by capital markets. The eleven EU countries in central and south-eastern Europe which joined the EU in 2004 and after (EU11) are particularly affected by the ongoing consolidation of exchanges, which has diminished liquidity in smaller markets and in the traded securities of mid-sized companies. Corporate funding remains even more bank-dependent in the EU11 than in the rest of the EU. Equity capital, whether in the form of listed shares or directly supplied by investment funds, is particularly underdeveloped. Even though the sustained and superior growth record in the region compared to the rest of the EU should be a magnet for investors, cross-border exposure to traded equity in the region remains very limited. To gain broader acceptance in all EU countries, CMU will need to support more forcefully funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and foster market integration throughout the single market, including outside the euro area. The immediate priorities for the EU should be to revise market regulation and facilitate capital market access by smaller firms. Lighter standards in dedicated SME markets should be widened for newly-listed companies, but should not be available to more mature listed companies. In this way, high standards of transparency and integrity, which have been bolstered by post-financial crisis regulation, will be preserved. The EU11 countries need to embrace corporate governance rules and greater transparency of company financial data, which would facilitate equity finance. They must also attract investors who will seek disclosure of environmental, social and governance performance of issuers. Much could be done to foster liquidity on national exchanges, including by embracing the inevitable further consolidation of exchanges and other infrastructure.
  • Topic: Markets, European Union, Regulation, Finance, Business , Capital, Corporate Governance, Private Equity
  • 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: Jonathan Hackenbroich
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: European countries are increasingly coming under threat of economic coercion from great powers. The European Union and member states have few tools with which to combat the economic coercion waged against them. The EU’s vulnerability threatens its sovereignty and its openness. The EU should move quickly to consider and adopt a suite of tools to protect and enhance European sovereignty in the geo-economic sphere. The mere acquisition of such powers will have a deterrent effect. Such tools are thus necessary to preserve the EU’s economic openness as well as to defend and preserve the rules-based international order. This collection outlines ten such tools that the EU could adopt.
  • Topic: International Relations, Sovereignty, European Union, Economy, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Andrew Wilson
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union was largely on the sidelines when the Belarusian regime rigged the 2020 presidential election, but upcoming votes in Georgia and Moldova pose a different challenge. The EU should make use of its significant leverage in Georgia and Moldova to counter their ruling parties’ extensive repertoire of electoral dirty tricks. The bloc will need to account for the obstacles created by the coronavirus crisis, not least the difficulty of conducting large-scale monitoring missions. The EU will also need to adjust to the ruling parties’ use of pandemic assistance for political gain, and their efforts to prevent citizens abroad from voting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Elections, European Union, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus
  • Author: 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: Gustav Gressel, Nicu Popescu
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The European Union and its member states have yet to start upgrading EU policies to their declared ambitions of a more geopolitical and strategically sovereign EU. The EU spends more on support for Eastern Partnership countries than the United States does, but Washington has long taken care of security sector reform and capacity building there. If the EU is to be more geopolitically influential in its own neighbourhood, it needs to start developing strategic security partnerships with key neighbours to the east and the south. The bloc should do so by creating a security compact for the Eastern Partnership, comprising targeted support for intelligence services, cyber security institutions, and armed forces. In exchange, Eastern Partnership countries should conduct anticorruption and rule of law reforms in the security sector. The EU should treat this compact as a pilot project that it will implement with important partners in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Majda Ruge
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: A quarter of a century after the Dayton agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoys peace. But, in the last 15 years, the EU and US have failed to press for reform in the country, a neglect that has enabled ethno-political leaders to capture the state. Reformist political actors have carved out space for economic and governance reforms in scattered municipalities. For such initiatives to expand, however, change in the governing modus operandi is needed at higher levels of government. Restoring independence to the judiciary and strengthening the rule of law are key to the country’s future stability and success, including boosting its economy and stemming emigration. Organised crime and corruption are already worries for EU capitals – and the new Biden administration appears to share this concern. Concerted EU-US action and judicious use of sanctions can jumpstart reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • Topic: Corruption, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Sanctions, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern 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: Chris Raggett
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: European governments have failed to prevent corrupt actors from laundering hundreds of billions of dollars through the international financial system and their own economies. This breakdown in the rule of law empowers kleptocratic regimes across the globe, which capitalise on the political culture underpinning Europe’s approach to globalisation. Western governments create a negative feedback loop that hinders their foreign policy initiatives when they treat corruption in other countries as an inherent part of the local culture. European policymakers should aim to catch up with, and overtake, their US counterparts on anti-money laundering regulation and enforcement. European countries should create national institutions – and an international coalition of Western states – that are dedicated to countering kleptocrats.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Corruption, European Union, Rule of Law, Financial Crimes, Impunity
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dumitru Minzarari, Vadim Pistrinciuc
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The EU’s Eastern Partnership policy is set to receive an update rather than an upgrade consummate with current geopolitical pressures. The Eastern Partnership’s central flaw is its design, which allows local political elites to build ‘facade democracy’. Core to democratic transformation are genuine rule of law reform and strong security against external threats. Adopting a new ‘shared sovereignty’ model would allow the EU into Eastern Partnership states to push through reform, guarantee the rule of law, and expose evasive local elites. Failure to strengthen Eastern Partnership states in this way could strengthen Russia and allow authoritarianism to diffuse westward into the EU. The EU should make shared sovereignty the basis for future Eastern Partnership relations, building on the momentum of the new accession process secured by France.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, European Union, Partnerships, Democracy, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Beáta Huszka
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Aspiring EU members must resolve outstanding disputes as part of the membership process. This has proved a powerful tool over the years. Resolving bilateral problems, including border disputes, is especially crucial in the Western Balkans, where they are numerous. France’s October 2019 veto of accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania has already weakened Western Balkans publics’ trust in the EU. Should the EU’s influence wane, nationalist leaders will exacerbate tensions with neighbouring countries. The future of North Macedonia’s Prespa Agreement with Greece is under threat, and the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and Montenegro could also prove a potential flashpoint. The EU should demonstrate its commitment to the Western Balkans by encouraging countries there to resolve their outstanding disputes, both to make them better candidates and to strengthen security in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, European Union
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Danielle Piatkiewicz, Miroslava Pisklová
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: After already enduring a 4-year term under United States’ President Trump, the future of the transatlantic relationship is at a critical junction. The US faces an upcoming election where the next administration can either further deteriorate relations or seek to rebuild and strengthen them. No matter the outcome, the future path will be intrinsically tied to how the transatlantic partners cope with the political, economic and security fallout of the global pandemic. Will the US return to the fold of multilateralism and restore an equitable world order in cooperation with the EU, or does the EU stand alone and will have to rapidly grow into a more influential geopolitical player? Or will relations continue their downward trajectories current and spur an accelerated retreat towards isolationist policies, creating space for external challengers like China and Russia to reassert their global positions and challenge the established order? This analysis will examine the current and upcoming challenges on the transatlantic horizon in regard to post-COVID economic recovery. Each region has proposed policies to tackle the current and upcoming economic aftermath of the pandemic, but as Europe outlines strong policies, the Trump administration’s approach has had dire consequences. The Biden campaign’s approach, on the other hand, shows similarities to that of Europe, evoking hope for a more harmonized approach that has proven successful in the past. This analysis will examine the US and EU’s diverging approaches to global issues, challenges and external challengers, such as Russia and China. As demonstrated by the Trump administration, the US is retreating on many of its multilateral and international commitments – how will the Transatlantic relationship look like if there is a second Trump term as opposed to if Biden takes over? Is the relationship irreparably damaged or can it be repaired? Finally, this paper will examine the future of transatlantic security under the framework of NATO’s 2030 reflection process and appraise how the new security landscape will look like post-COVID, especially as external threats mount and impact the Central and Eastern European front.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Multilateralism, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: Ih his latest brief, our Vít Havelka discusses the topic of limits of the COVID-19 EU response and the subsidiarity principle. The subsidiarity principle is an often-debated topic among Czech Eurosceptic politicians. They usually argue that the European Union does not need more responsibility as the EU Member States can sufficiently substitute a joint EU approach, or that the new competences might threaten the national sovereignty. Paradoxically, Eurosceptics often accuse the EU of incompetence once a problem emerges that the EU has next to no power to tackle.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sovereignty, European Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Kvorning Lassen
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, our Christian Kvorning Lassen outlines the image of the European Union's actions during the COVID-19 outbreak, which are often misinterpreted or forgotten by Member States, with a focus on the Czech Republic. As a preface, it must be noted that this is not intended to be a critique of the Czech COVID-19 measures, which have been timely and so far reasonably efficient, nor is it an absolution of EU’s actions during the crisis. The old adage of “everything you do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything you did will seem inadequate afterwards” holds as much true to the EU as it does to Member States. However, once the crisis ends, the political struggle for the future of Europe and European democracy will erupt, which in turn will affect all citizens. The COVID-19 pandemic is already shaping up to become a deeper crisis of democracy, and the European Union. Some V4 leaders were swift to suggest sacrificing the European Green Deal and thereby future generations’ existential living conditions in the name of short-term economic recovery. Domestically, V4 political elites show no qualms about deceiving the public by claiming credit at home for EU initiatives or misrepresenting them, while at the same time decrying the EU as inactive and dysfunctional, conveniently forgetting to mention the numerous initiatives that the EU is launching within its competencies.
  • Topic: Public Opinion, European Union, Democracy, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Vít Havelka
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, Vít Havelka writes about the Eurozone ministers first agreement on the response against the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. After several Eurogroup meetings, the finance ministers of the EU19 finally managed to agree on their first COVID-19-crisis response. They sign up to a package worth of 540 billion €, consisting of 200 billion € loans from the European Investment Bank, 240 billion € from the European Stability Mechanism, and 100 billion € kurzarbeit package proposed by the European Commission. The coronabonds fiercely wanted by Italy, Spain and Portugal have not been approved, leaving the discussion to EU leaders who are due to convene on the 24th April.
  • Topic: European Union, Finance, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Jiří Lacina
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In his brief, Jiří Lacina explores the impact of COVID-19 on the future development of European integration and the role of Czechia in this development. The EU, its institutions and the Member States are working together to withstand the current pandemic and prepare for the economic crisis to follow. Simultaneously, ideas on the future arrangement of the EU are appearing. Two emerged on 9 April: one of monetary and the other of environmental nature – and both dealing with region’s economic recovery. For now, the Czech Republic is not engaging in any of them, and once again risks being left behind.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Czech Republic
  • Author: Danielle Piatkiewicz
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Europeum Institute for European Policy
  • Abstract: In her brief, Danielle Piatkiewicz writes about the need of multilateral and international cooperation when the COVID-19 crisis ends. If the COVID-19 crisis will teach us anything, is that today’s society has never been more interconnected. The need for multilateral and international cooperation has proven to be vital for the communication and exchange of information, support and resources.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, World Health Organization, European Union, Multilateralism, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America, Global Markets
  • Author: Cristina Gherasimov
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The EU is set to adopt a new Eastern Partnership (EaP) policy at a summit in June. This is strategically important for it and for its eastern neighborhood, where other powers like Russia and China pursue competing interests. As the policymaking process stands and given the tight deadline, however, the EU will only update and not upgrade the EaP framework due to EU states’ diverging interests. Brussels and Berlin will need to keep the EaP on the agenda after the summit to safeguard the EU’s transformative power in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, European Union, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Daniela Schwarzer, Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting severe economic disruptions, can only be effectively tackled with a European and global response. The degree of integration and interdependence between member states – economically, politically and socially – means that in dealing with the virus and its economic effects, the EU is only as strong as its weakest part. Governments have to devise a more forward-looking, collective response. Hesitation and the failure to tackle the problem collectively will increase the losses – in terms of lives, economic wellbeing, political stability and EU unity.
  • Topic: European Union, Economy, Political stability, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Cristina Gherasimov
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: While the magnitude of the current pandemic is still unknown, Eastern Europe might be facing a major regional catastrophe. The six countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) have dysfunctional health-care systems and lack resources and protective equipment for their doctors and hospitals. The European Commission’s offer of immediate assistance is good news. However, much more will be needed to help the EU’s eastern partners fight the coronavirus and mitigate the socioeconomic impact of this crisis.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Partnerships, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, Pandemic
  • Political Geography: Europe, Brussels
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: While the ECB has already taken bold steps, the EU member states need to support its efforts by committing to underwrite together some of the fiscal costs of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The best option would be to launch a Corona Fund with the power to mobilize 1 trillion EUR—support for such a fund need not be unanimous.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Economy, Recovery, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Mölling, Torben Schütz, Sophia Becker
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe is headed for a recession that will dwarf the economic downturn after the 2008 financial crisis. The impact on national defense sectors could be devastating. But as crisis and responses are still in the early stage, governments can still take measures to mitigate the effect on defense. To safeguard political and defense priorities, EU and NATO States need to act jointly and decisively.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, European Union, Deterrence, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: András Rácz, Cristina Gherasimov, Milan Nič
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As protests continue to galvanize Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko is consolidating his grip on power. Volatile domestic dynamics – and Russia’s reactions to them – will shape the discredited regime’s future. This paper outlines four possible scenarios for Belarus up to one year from now. They include options for Russia and the EU, whose strategic objectives differ, but whose short-term interests align: preventing bloodshed, avoiding open geopolitical conflict, and preparing for a post-Lukashenko transition.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, European Union, Geopolitics, Protests, Transition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Jacopo Maria Pepe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: As the coronavirus pandemic fuels technological and geopolitical competition among the great powers, Europe’s relations with China and Russia are facing new challenges and risks. Still, the reconfiguration of power in Eurasia also brings unexpected opportunities for European actors in the area of connectivity. To seize them, the EU needs to reconcile its aspiration to be a globally accepted “normative-regulatory” power with both its limited financial means and its more assertive attitude to geopolitics.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Geopolitics, Strategic Competition, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Shahin Vallée
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The Beirut Port blast (BPB) has revealed the fundamental failure of the Lebanese political system, but deep democratic reforms will take time and are fraught with risks. Given the US withdrawal and the extreme tensions in the region, the EU has a critical role to play in addressing the short-term humanitarian crisis, responding to the economic and financial situation, and providing a forum for civil society empowerment. If it fails to do so, the price is further geopolitical destabilization.
  • Topic: Civil Society, European Union, Geopolitics, Finance, Economy, Political stability, Crisis Management, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Jens Bastian
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Coordinated Covid-19 crisis management among EU member states took weeks to develop. The initial response was slow, at times contradictory, frequently displaying nation-state unilateralism and obviously divisive. An unprecedented architecture of fiscal and monetary partnership is now building in Europe. The ECB is taking the lead in this construction process, with national governments asserting their political prerogatives while the Commission in Brussels is careful not to overstep the national sovereignty of its member states. As the crisis response to Covid-19 has highlighted manifest fault lines among EU member states, these divisions could morph into bigger controversies during uncoordinated exit strategies. Once the cessation of economic activity can start to unwind, the debate across Europe will accelerate over budget rules, further relief programmes and the demand for debt forbearance.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: The recent crisis in Evros brought back to the fore the issue of immigration and Turkey’s role in its instrumentalization. The EU-Turkey Statement has not had the expected outcomes. Rather it showed that prevention policies and the outsourcing of migration management strengthens transit countries such as Turkey, without resulting in a a steady reduction in flows. Greece remains a country that bears a disproportionate burden of responsibility due to its geographical location. At the same time, it has delayed in the planning of a holistic immigration policy, which should aim, among other things, to ensure human living conditions, substantial access to asylum and result in the integration of those who will remain in the country. COVID 19 will bring about significant socioeconomic changes globally as well as impact human rights. Practices of the past do not necessarily fit for the new reality and this is the biggest challenge for Greece and the EU; a willingness to move forward by investing on migration within Europe and beyond. It will not be easy, and it will come at a high financial (and likely political) cost. The pandemic makes any long-term commitments seem impossible, however the alternative scenario, of deterrence and outsourcing is already proving insufficient. Balancing the scales is a challenge which the EU cannot afford to lose.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Migration, European Union, Refugees, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Greece, Mediterranean
  • Author: George Tzogopoulos
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: This essay analyses China’s health policies before and after the outbreak of COVID-19. It discusses how the problem broke out with emphasis on mistakes made by Wuhan authorities and sketches out the subsequent response of the Chinese government to stop the contagion and share practices. The essay also presents different narratives used by China, the US and the EU in dealing with the pandemic and considers multilateralism a key to address world problems. In so doing, it attempts to explore whether Sino-European partnerships could emerge in a period of rising uncertainty. Local authorities in Wuhan can be criticized for not providing information about the virus on time and for failing to block the exit of citizens from the city before the lockdown. But measures adopted subsequently by the Chinese government have been rather efficient and useful for other countries. The Sino-American antagonism overshadows the need of deeper international cooperation in dealing with COVID-19. China, the US and the EU have each attempted to shape the narrative about COVID-19. The hostility of the Trump administration towards multilateralism opens opportunities for new synergies between China and the EU on health governance. China’s Health Silk Road reflects continuity as it was first proposed in 2016. The post-COVID-19 landscape might portend both risks and opportunities to China.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, European Union, Multilateralism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: On the occasion of the World Refugee Day, 20th of June, ELIAMEP publishes a Policy Brief on the forthcoming New Pact on Migration and Asylum, by Dr. Angeliki Dimitriadi, Senior Research Fellow and Head of ELIAMEP’s Migration Programme. COVID-19 has affected access to asylum. Border closures have prevented in many cases asylum seekers from reaching safety, or made them face prolonged delays in their asylum application. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum is expected to be announced by the end of June. It is one of the biggest challenges facing the current European Commission, which is called upon to submit proposals that will be accepted by the Member States with different perspectives but also asylum and immigration needs. The biggest challenge, however, is to ensure that the right and access to asylum is fully preserved and will be a priority for the Union for years to come. In the midst of ongoing conflicts, extreme poverty and increasingly restrictive practices at the external border, it is perhaps the last chance to ground a common migration and asylum policy on the the principles of humanity and solidarity, between Member States and towards asylum seekers. The New Pact for Asylum and Migration will seek to bridge the differences between Member States on the solidarity, burden-sharing and common asylum processes. Southern member states have tabled a detailed proposal on the way forward grounded on mandatory solidarity. Forced movement will continue and likely be exacerbated due to the impact of COVID-19 in critical regions like Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • Topic: Migration, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Refugees, Borders, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Christina Kattami
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: The policy brief* outlines the agenda of the new Commission before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and aims to analyse the ways in which the crisis has reinforced and strengthened key points of that agenda. It further outlines the Commission’s Recovery Plan proposal, and examines its links to the aspiring green and digital transition. Finally, it showcases the legal base and timeline of the Recovery Plan proposal and highlights the main points of agreement and contention across the Member States, outlining the July deal of the European Council and the ensuing resolution of the European Parliament. It overall argues for the need of a holistic recovery, that takes into account the unprecedented policy window brought by public and private funding, and ensures that the eventual indebtedness of the next generation is at least compatible with the aspirations and goals of an economy and society of the future.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, European Union, Economic Growth, Institutions, Coronavirus, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Angeliki Dimitriadi
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: Dr Angeliki Dimitriadi, Senior Research Fellow; Head of ELIAMEP Migration Programme, discusses some first thoughts about the New Pact on Migration and Asylum of the European Commission, which was presented this week. The Pact promotes a future where Europe looks inward. Proposal is based on an integrated vision for returns but not for reception. Mandatory flexible solidarity is the new way forward. The Pact introduces critical changes to Dublin but responsibility remains with first country of arrival. Deterrence remains the norm.
  • Topic: Migration, Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sofia López Piqueres, Sara Viitanen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: As the European Commission launches its long-awaited Strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, EU and national efforts to continue the transition to sustainable mobility will ensue. However, the green transition often overshadows and, at times, even comes at the expense of the most affected and vulnerable groups of society. The precarious, the elderly, people with disabilities and rural residents still face unfair conditions and access to mobility. Green alternatives are often scarce and far away, if they exist at all. Sofía López Piqueres and Sara Viitanen highlight the lack of inclusiveness in and the omittance of rural areas from European mobility systems and outline 11 recommendations which would ensure distributional justice, procedural justice and recognition justice. The carrots and sticks that are used to incentivise people to adopt more sustainable mobility options must be carefully studied. Moreover, process matters. Achieving buy-in for the transition requires considering the varying needs of people and placing special focus on vulnerable groups with limited mobility options, who may end up carrying a disproportionate cost of the transition without seeing the immediate benefits. It is time to accelerate the transition towards a climate-neutral economy and society with mobility systems that are both environmentally friendly and socially just.
  • Topic: Climate Change, European Union, Green Technology, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Simona Guagliardo
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: As the Juncker Presidency hands over its mandate baton to Ursula von der Leyen, all eyes are on the energised new President and her ambitions bestowed upon her cabinet. Despite some progress, more efforts to improve Europe’s health policy is still needed if it is to tackle unprecedented challenges like demographic changes, environmental degradation and the rapidly changing world of work. Newly-appointed Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has been entrusted with a considerable portfolio, indicating an arduous yet promising five years ahead of her. In this Policy Brief, policy analyst Simona Guagliardo argues that von der Leyen’s agenda for a “Union that strives for more” offers a unique opportunity to build a strong case for placing health and well-being at the centre of her policy triad: economic growth fuelled by technological innovation and environmental protection. The EU and its member states must recognise the centrality of people’s health and well-being vis-à-vis economic growth; ensure that health is a constant factor in all policymaking; and deliver on their promises of social fairness, equality and inclusion.
  • Topic: Environment, Health, Science and Technology, European Union, Economic Growth
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Petra Bendel, Janina Stürner, Christiane Heimann, Hannes Schammann
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: European cities and towns deserve to have a bigger say in developing migration and integration policies at the national and EU level. European cities and towns are at the forefront of the reception and integration of refugees and migrants. Their expertise and knowledge are crucial in crafting workable solutions for new arrivals and their host communities. Luckily, EU institutions and a growing number of member states are starting to recognise municipal actors as essential players in integration governance. However, moving away from ad hoc exchanges on integration towards more structural forms of cooperation, and opening up migration policy debates to local input remains challenging. Building on an analysis of the benefits of proactive cooperation between local authorities and EU institutions, this Policy Brief presents recommendations to (i) strengthen the local impact on supranational policymaking; (ii) link migration and integration policies through the inclusion of municipalities; and (iii) mitigate the urban-rural divide.
  • Topic: Migration, European Union, Refugees, Integration
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Sofia López Piqueres
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: Reforms to corporate governance and EU company law could support the Union’s recovery efforts and promote a sustainable economy at the same time. This Policy Brief assesses two instruments in the EU corporate governance toolbox: the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), which requires large companies to disclose information about how they are run and how their activities impact the environment and human rights, and the Shareholder Rights Directive II (SRDII), which aims to strengthen the position of shareholders and reduce short-termism and excessive risk-taking by companies. It also covers the principle of shareholder primacy – the idea that shareholder interests should take precedence over all else – and executive remuneration.
  • Topic: Governance, Law, Reform, European Union, Business , Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Claire Dhéret, Simona Guagliardo
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Policy Centre
  • Abstract: he COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the unpreparedness of European health systems to absorb a health crisis of this magnitude. In order to fix these existing structural weaknesses and effectively deal with the health challenges brought on by the current pandemic, we need to build a ‘Europe of Health’; an EU public health policy that works across borders and lives up to its citizens’ expectations. Following on from the Franco-German initiative for European recovery from the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Claire Dhéret and Simona Guagliardo outline a twofold strategy to foster ‘EU health sovereignty’ and reinforce the EU’s international leadership in health at a time when multilateralism is seriously jeopardised: Foster EU health crisis management capabilities by empowering existing structures, prepare a European stockpile of strategic medical products and equipment, and make better use of the Single Market in the area of health. Strengthen the resilience of national health systems by promoting modern, innovative and patient-centred care, and encourage the creation and use of a common, EU-wide evaluation framework for health care.
  • Topic: Health, European Union, Crisis Management, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristi Raik, Josef Janning
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: This policy paper examines Estonia’s partners in the European Union with the aim of identifying ways to enhance its influence on policy-making. Effective coalition-building is also important for the EU as a whole, since it can improve the Union’s capacity to take decisions and act. The paper highlights that: Estonia has a relatively strong position in the EU, considering its small size and limited resources. It is particularly well-connected with the Nordic-Baltic partners and should seek ways to use this grouping more effectively as a means to reach out to larger member states and shape decisions in the Union. The main challenge is to build stronger links with France and Germany, something that has become all the more important due to Brexit. Teaming up with other countries that are better connected to Berlin and Paris, such as Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium, is one way to pursue this goal. It is too early to draw conclusions about the impact of the latest change of government in Estonia on the country’s influence and image among partners in the EU. However, the research interviews show some indications of a weakened position. Estonia should avoid losing its reputation as a results-oriented member state that takes into consideration the priorities of others while pursuing its own interests in a constructive manner.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Estonia
  • Author: Aliyyah Ahad, Monica Andriescu
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
  • Abstract: Just weeks after the United Kingdom’s formal departure from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe with full force. The outbreak drew public and political attention away from the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, while also straining many public administrations, including agencies responsible for residency applications. With the clock ticking down on the transition period, set to end on December 31, 2020, many EU countries have yet to announce the details of the systems that will govern the future status and rights of their UK-national residents. The United Kingdom is further along, having rolled out its pilot EU Settlement Scheme to resident EU nationals in 2019. But of the 26 EU countries with responsibilities for citizens’ rights, only Italy, Malta, and the Netherlands had launched registration schemes before the pandemic began. And even where implementation had begun, many systems faced setbacks as in-person government services were suspended by lockdown measures. This has created considerable uncertainty for UK nationals in EU countries, and EU nationals in the United Kingdom—as well as their families—who will have six months after the transition period ends to acquire a new post-Brexit status. As this policy brief details, the pandemic has put some in an even more precarious position, including families with third-country-national members that have been separated by travel restrictions, and the newly unemployed, who may no longer meet the conditions of the EU Free Movement Directive (the foundation of the withdrawal agreement). This brief sets out steps governments on both sides of the Channel can take in the coming months to “pandemic-proof” their implementation plans. These include: investing in smart outreach to would-be applicants, streamlining status-adjustment processes, and supporting civil-society groups that can help applicants through the process.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, European Union, Economy, Brexit, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Emmanuel Sales
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Europe has an excess of savings and its companies lack equity capital. This diagnosis was made a long time ago and the crises the continent has been going through over the last 10 years have accentuated this gap. European growth companies are rapidly falling prey to large non-European firms that benefit from a deep and liquid stock market. Thus, despite the existing arrangements, Europe is unable to impose world champions that would allow it to build its sovereignty against the United States and China. The creation of a new category of UCITS funds open to all EU savers, the European Sovereign Funds, would help us respond to this challenge by providing medium-sized companies with the fresh capital they need to ensure their development and independence.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis, European Union, Economic Growth, Capital
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Danièle Hervieu-Léger
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The European Union is one of the main promoters of free trade agreements (FTAs). This position is not new: since the mid-2000s, and even more so in the decade now ending, the Commission, supported by the Council and the European Parliament, has constantly sought to negotiate and conclude new trade agreements. This strategy has paid off. In 2018, almost a third of trade between Europe and the rest of the world was covered by the preferential provisions of an FTA, a figure that is expected to increase significantly in 2020, following the entry into force of the agreement with Vietnam, and to rise in the coming years to more than 40% if the agreements currently being negotiated with Mercosur, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and possibly the United Kingdom come into force.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance, European Union, Free Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christian Lequesne
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on 31 January 2020 following the signing of the exit agreement. This departure went hand in hand with the opening of a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which the rules of the internal market continue to govern relations between the two sides. However, negotiations have not yet been completed, since the framework for the future relationship between the United Kingdom – which has now become a third country – and the 27 Member States of the European Union has yet to be established. The joint political declaration of 30 January 2020 accompanying the exit Agreement provides for : "an ambitious, broad, deep, flexible partnership in trade and economic cooperation – with a comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement at its centre –, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign, security and defence policy, as well as broader areas of cooperation"[1]. Initiated in February 2020 the negotiations on the future Agreement have been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The 27 Member States decided that the defence of their positions would, as with the exit Agreement, be entrusted to the European Commission represented by a single negotiator, the Frenchman Michel Barnier. On the British side, former diplomat, David Frost, is in charge of defending the positions of the British government led by Boris Johnson, however the former will be called to another post as Government Adviser for National Security from September 2020. Although face-to-face negotiations resumed in Brussels at the end of June 2020, in substance they have made very modest progress. Hence a legitimate question: can an agreement on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union be reached by 31 December 2020, while Boris Johnson's government has refused to make use of the possibility offered of extending the transition period and thus the negotiations until 30 June 2020? Is there a risk of ending the year 2020 without a no deal and to have economic relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union governed by the common law of the World Trade Organisation?
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Trade
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Bernard Bourget
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will enter the next decade relieved by Brexit of its fiercest opponent but weakened by the external pressures to which it has been subjected, and disrupted by the enlargement of the European Union. In the 2020s, it will have to take full account, in conjunction with the European Commission's Green Deal, of the environmental and climate issues that are so important for agriculture. It will also have to improve the management of climate, health and market risks, which global warming could aggravate, and strengthen the negotiating capacity of producer organisations with their powerful buyers in the food industry and supermarkets. Budgetary pressure may lead the European Union to distribute direct payments, (which account for three quarters of CAP expenditure), more fairly by placing the burden rather more on large farms, in order to spare the medium-sized family farms, which are still numerous in the western part of the continent. Finally, the CAP should be coordinated with other European policies, particularly trade policy.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Climate Change, Budget, European Union, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Yves Bertoncini
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: Now more than ever, the fight against coronavirus encourages an analysis of the foundations and limits of solidarity between the Member States of the European Union, just as the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, often cited for its call for "concrete achievements that first create a de facto solidarity".
  • Topic: Development, European Union, Solidarity, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pierre Mirel, Xavier Mirel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: “What we do at home will affect our place in the world and shape relationships with our strategic partners and competitors. That is why we must be a Geopolitical Commission”. To achieve this, "the internal and external dimensions of our work should be harmonised (...) to ensure that our external action becomes more strategic and coherent". This is the essence of the mission entrusted by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on 10 September 2019, to Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The free movement of people is a cornerstone of an open and integrated Europe. Yet the labor migration of Europeans from lower-income countries in southern and eastern Europe to higher-income countries in northern and western Europe has had significant impact on the workforce—including the loss of skilled health professionals in their most productive years. Indeed, since 1989, hundreds of thousands of European health professionals have left their countries of origin for more promising opportunities in the west and north. Denied opportunities for decent work at home, and recruited by countries facing their own labor shortages, their mobility is a byproduct of a failure throughout Europe to develop health workforces in an evidence-based and strategic way. Ultimately, this failure threatens the human right to health. This brief offers policymakers six key insights, drawn from a literature review and interviews with European experts, on the migration and mobility of health professionals. These insights are offered within a framework that prioritizes human rights, gender equality, and worker solidarity.
  • Topic: Migration, Labor Issues, Health Care Policy, European Union, Economic Mobility, Migrant Workers
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Matthias Bauer
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: The EU’s Mobility Package 1 legislative proposal was once intended to improve the working conditions of truck and small-van drivers in the EU. Initially, the European Commission also aimed at securing a smooth and non-discriminatory functioning of the Single Market. Some provisions of the current package may indeed have a positive impact on drivers’ working conditions, e.g. limits on working time and obligatory rest periods. However, over the past three years, the legislative procedure towards the current draft of the Mobility Package 1 was hijacked by the protectionist agenda of Western Europe’s haulage and logistics businesses. Spearheaded by the French government, some national governments and Members of the European Parliament called for tighter freight cabotage and return-to-home provisions to shield Western European transport markets against competition from other EU Member States. The proposed restrictions to cross-border trade in the European Single Market are up for a vote in the European Parliament in mid-2020. Learnings from the Covid-19 situation in the Single Market: In its response to Covid-19 border measures, the European Commission called on EU governments “to act immediately to temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory (weekend bans, night bans, sectoral bans, etc.) for road freight transport and for the necessary free movement of transport workers.” These actions are step in the right direction and should continue even once the Covid-19 crisis is over, yet they are the exception not the rule in the EU. The rise of protectionist measures to Member States’ national transport markets vividly demonstrates the need to abolish freight cabotage restrictions in defence of the Single Market. For the sake of a greener, more inclusive and better functioning of the European Single Market, lawmakers need to abandon all existing restrictions on freight cabotage services in the EU27 and vote against new restrictions such as cooling-off periods and return-to-home policies. Maintaining legal restrictions on the freedom to provide transport services in the EU’s Single Market would increase tensions between economically less-developed countries in Central and Eastern Europe and more developed Western European countries – economically, mentally and politically. Discrimination on the basis of EU passport: Cabotage restrictions infringe upon the fundamental values stipulated in the Lisbon Treaty. Furthermore, data on transport flows and employment demonstrate that cabotage regulations disproportionately discriminate against Eastern European companies and citizens. Available data shows that Polish (4,574 enterprises), Romanian (1,864), Lithuanian (519), Hungarian (398), Slovakian (347), and Dutch (309) haulage companies are disproportionately affected by current EU-imposed cabotage restrictions. By contrast, only a very small number of French freight transport companies (an estimated number of 70 enterprises) directly depend on intra-EU cabotage services. In France, only about 800 workers employed in road freight transport services are directly affected by the restrictions. The numbers are substantially higher for other, particularly Central and Eastern European, countries: 20,100 persons in Poland, 9,800 in Romania, 6,300 in Lithuania, 3,400 in the Netherlands, 2,300 in Portugal, 2,200 in Hungary, and 2,100 in Germany. Exclusion from economic opportunity: Freight cabotage restrictions increase the administrative burden for internationally operating haulage companies across the EU. Industry assessments indicate that additional limitations on international freight transport services within Europe’s Single Market would raise the prices of transporting goods in Western Europe. Negative impacts are estimated for employment, wage growth and the process of economic convergence in Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to the EU’s existing freight cabotage restrictions, new limits on cross-border freight transport in the EU – such as EU law-imposed return-to-home trips and EU-mandated cooling-off periods – would deprive many Eastern European households of economic opportunities and impede the process of economic convergence and converging standards of living in the EU. Environmental harm: The return-to-home policies proposed in the latest Mobility Package 1 would require companies to send drivers back to operational centres or the driver’s place of residence. Return-to-home provisions would substantially increase the number of empty trailers on European roads. Accordingly, and adding to the adverse environmental impacts caused by existing freight cabotage restrictions, new EU-imposed return-to-home obligations would deteriorate Member States’ carbon emission footprints. The highest increases would take place in the EU’s major transit countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. While this is recognised by the European Commission, the majority of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee is still pushing for such policies to be implemented as the EU law. How to save the EU’s fundamental values and the freedoms of the Single Market – lessons from aviation: In 1993, the EU completed the EU’s internal aviation market for passenger cabotage. Guided by the European Commission, EU lawmakers should follow the same rationale for freight cabotage services to render the Single Market more single and less discriminatory. In the process towards a real, more inclusive Single Market, EU lawmakers must abstain from catering Western European companies’ vested commercial interests, which stifle economic opportunity across the EU and stand in opposition to the EU’s fundamental principles for international trade and a competitive and social market economy.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Law, European Union, Global Markets, Legislation, Shipping, Protectionism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Christofer Fjellner
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE)
  • Abstract: For some years now, tobacco-free nicotine pouches – a tobacco-free version of pre-portioned snus – have been available on the Swedish market. Although the use of the product is increasing and is marketed outside Europe, nicotine pouches are not subject to any specific product regulation – neither in Europe nor elsewhere, but we will most certainly see new regulation adopted in all important markets in the coming years. The interest in harm reduction as an approach to tobacco prevention and the concern about nicotine dependence will be two decisive factors for how legislators decide to regulate nicotine pouches. Sweden and Norway will most likely be the first countries with specific product regulations for nicotine pouches. They can also influence how other European governments will shape the regulation. The EU will most probably regulate nicotine pouches under the scope of the TPD. However, this will not happen in the near future. An indication of how the European Commission views nicotine pouches can probably be found in the implementation report for the TPD that is to be presented in May 2021. How the EU chooses to regulate nicotine pouches is influenced by at least three factors: Whether EU Member States calls on the EU to ban nicotine pouches, due to concern about the use of the product in Member States (which was the reason for the EU ban on snus). Whether there are already specific product regulations or national bans in individual Member States that new European legislation may be in conflict with. The number of users of nicotine pouches, and thus a public opinion critical to a new restrictive legislation or ban. This was one of the reasons e-cigarettes were not banned in the 2014 TPD revision. Action taken by manufacturers will influence how legislators will react. Strict self-regulation and dialogue with authorities can reduce the desire among some to opt for very hard regulations. Irresponsible marketing or sales can quickly raise demands for bans. The way the EU regulated e-cigarettes in 2014 may give an indication of how the EU will regulate nicotine pouches in the future. This would indicate a focus on warning texts and introducing a strict maximum nicotine level. Future regulation of nicotine pouches in the EU may leave considerable room for further regulation by Member States, and even national bans. This is true today for both traditional tobacco products and e-cigarettes in the EU.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, European Union, Regulation, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Japan’s absence from frontline diplomacy on the North Korea crisis is undermining inter-national efforts to bring about a lasting peace. A close alliance with Tokyo is essential for American and European interests in East Asia. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ The European Union should consider playing a larger role as a mediator in the North Korean crisis. ■The United States can use its diplomatic weight to help Japan solve the abductee issue with North Korea. ■In the face of their shared security threat, Japan should take steps to ease current tensions with South Korea.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Power Politics, European Union, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Hans Lucht, Luca Raineri
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Though the four-by-fours with migrants still leave regularly for Libya, there’s little doubt that EU driven anti-migration efforts in the Agadez region of Niger has been a blow to the local cross-border economy. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ■ EU interventions in Niger have had an unintended negative effect on the safety of migrants. It’s therefore important to maintain focus on rescue missions in the desert. ■ Europe must ensure that conflict and context sensitivity remain paramount as well as promoting alternative development opportunities and good governance. ■ National, local and traditional authorities should continue to avoid conflicts linked to natural resources, including gold, uranium, pasturelands and water, by promoting transparency and participatory decision-making.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Migration, Poverty, Border Control, European Union, Inequality, Fragile States, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa, Niger
  • Author: Jeromin Zettelmeyer
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Peterson Institute for International Economics
  • Abstract: ermany’s new National Industrial Strategy 2030, unveiled by Economy Minister Peter Altmaier in February 2019, advocates an aggressive industrial policy. Although it stays clear of the virulent economic nationalism of the 1930s and the protectionism of President Donald Trump, its tone and much of its content are unmistakably nationalist. Zettelmeyer concludes that three of Altmaier’s five proposals—attempting to further raise the German share of manufacturing, restricting non-EU imports of intermediate goods, and promoting national champions in Germany and the European Union—are bad policies. The two remaining ideas—preventing some foreign takeovers and ramping up state support for certain technologies—are somewhat easier to justify, based on either market failures or the risk of technological dependence on foreign companies susceptible to political interference. But even in these areas, the specific policies proposed may well do more harm than good.
  • Topic: Economics, Nationalism, European Union, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany