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  • Author: Juha Jokela, Ilari Aula
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU needs to assume more responsibility in defending its interests and security. Brexit will constitute an additional challenge for the EU in this respect, and has led to calls to strengthen the efficiency of the the Common Foreign and Security Policy, including EU sanctions, which currently form one of the toughest and most increasingly used tools in the EU’s foreign policy toolbox. The UK has been the most active and influential member state in formulating the EU’s sanctions policy. The EU could largely replace the technical expertise provided by the UK, yet the level of ambition of the EU’s sanctions policy is likely to decrease. Even though the UK has taken measures to maintain the sanctions regimes it agreed to as an EU member state, an independent UK sanctions policy could result in divergence. The envisaged coordination mechanisms between EU and UK sanctions policies can mitigate some of the negative implications of Brexit, but they cannot replace the UK’s EU membership.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Sanctions, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Saila Heinikoski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Free movement within the Schengen Area has been challenged in recent years by national measures: from internal border checks after the ‘migration crisis’ to the closure of borders in the Covid-19 crisis. This is the first time in the history of Schengen that member states have categorically refused entry to other EU citizens who are not registered residents or cross-border workers. Seventeen Schengen countries have submitted a notification on reintroducing internal border control due to Covid-19: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland. The use of Schengen provisions was creative: 12 states justified their internal border controls as a case requiring immediate action (Art. 28), France and Denmark expanded their already existing internal border controls (Art. 25), Finland appealed to the ‘foreseeable event’ clause (Art. 25), and Slovakia and Poland introduced ‘healthcare-police measures’ (Art. 23) before launching border controls (Art. 28). The crisis illustrates the need to reform Schengen in order to maintain the legitimacy of commonly agreed rules.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Public Health, Schengen, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, France, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau, Kristiina Silvan
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The pandemic is testing the effectiveness of the Eurasian Economic Union. However, its actions demonstrate the fundamental flaws of this integration project instead.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Asia
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European Union (EU) increasingly uses sanctions in order to respond to breaches of international norms and adverse security developments in its neighbourhood and beyond. This study provides a comprehensive analysis of the current state of EU sanctions and discusses options on how to maintain them as an effective tool. The study identifies the withdrawal of the UK as one of main architects of the instrument and an increasingly unilateral and unpredictable US sanctions policy as key challenges. In addition, the EU’s machinery for planning, deciding, implementing and enforcing sanctions exposes vulnerabilities in an increasingly geopolitical environment. The current shifts in international relations constitute an opportunity to clarify the strategic nature of EU sanctions and to fine-tune the sanctions machinery. EU unity and a joint diplomatic approach to international crises are vital for the success of the policy tool. Consequently, the efforts to improve the instrument need to ensure member states’ ownership of EU sanctions policy. Our economic analysis of Russia sanctions and countermeasures reveals rather minor macroeconomic repercussions for the EU and Finnish economy. The efforts to sharpen EU sanctions policy is important for Finland as one of the smaller and export oriented countries in the EU given the increasingly turbulent world marked by geopolitical competition. This publication is final report of a research project conducted by FIIA and ETLA entitled “Development of EU’s Sanctions Policy: Political and economic implications for Finland”. The project is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research for 2019
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Sanctions, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This Working Paper analyses the main aspects of the European Green Deal proposed by the European Commission in December 2019. It puts the Green Deal into the broader context of EU climate governance in order to assess whether and how it advances the EU’s climate agenda. The paper proposes four broad and interrelated categories to evaluate the Green Deal. Its performance depends on whether it is and will remain a policy priority, despite the Covid-19 emergency and the ensuing economic crisis. Second, successful implementation depends on adequate financial endowment, including the shift of public funding from hydrocarbons to renewables and energy efficiency in post-pandemic economic programmes. The legal competence of EU institutions to coordinate and enforce the implementation of the Green Deal is also essential, as highlighted by ongoing discussions concerning the governance to achieve zero net emissions by 2050. Furthermore, international cooperation with third partners on issues such as border carbon adjustment, technology transfers and green industry will influence both the implementation of the Green Deal in the EU and the contribution of other major emitters to the climate agenda.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Environment, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden has a history that far predates the most recent ‘reignition’ of 2014, and is now deeper than at any time in the past. In 2020, Sweden and Finland can contribute to each other’s defence in an integrated and planned fashion; but any plans are best viewed as being supplementary to national preparations. While the security interests of Finland and Sweden have overlapped historically, cooperation has often been limited due to a combination of domestic drivers and foreign pressures, as well as the nature of the international security system. Yet these same variables are currently permitting even deeper cooperation. Four future paths of cooperation are identifiable, with the most likely being a continuation of bilateral deepening, with added trilateral cooperation with Norway and the United States.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Sweden, Scandinavia
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In view of the pervasiveness of the Covid-19 crisis, Germany has rightly announced that its presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2020 will be a ‘Corona presidency’. However, it will also have to address other immediate issues as well as further longer-term priorities of the EU. The initial phase of the pandemic was characterised by largely uncoordinated member state action. The issues and instruments now on the table, particularly concerning economic recovery, are closer to the core of the EU’s authority, underlining the importance of a successful presidency. Somewhat surprisingly, the Covid crisis has moulded European politics in a way that may facilitate the work of the German presidency. The positions of the member states appear less fixed, whereas the German government itself has more domestic leeway than before the crisis. The political situation in the EU and in Germany remains highly volatile and the presidency’s success depends on factors that are partly out of Berlin’s control: the development of the pandemic, the depth of the economic slump and the public perception of the EU’s and Germany’s crisis management measures.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: This Working Paper analyzes the current debate on EU strategic autonomy among European policymakers and think-tankers and evaluates it against the backdrop of the EU’s progress as a global actor in recent years. To bring more clarity to the debate, the paper distinguishes between a conventional and a global perspective on strategic autonomy. While conventional strategic autonomy focuses narrowly on the EU’s dependencies on the US as a security provider, global strategic autonomy highlights the EU’s ability to advance a range of international policies based on its distinct values and interests. The paper proposes three dimensions within which the capacity for EU strategic autonomy should be evaluated: institutional, material, and political. The EU has made progress in the development of its institutional framework and has also started to invest in its material resources. However, without advances in political autonomy – particularly concerning the convergence of European strategic cultures – the sovereign EU in global affairs project will be difficult to achieve.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kristiina Silvan
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has embarked on a moderate reform programme that aims to achieve socio-economic growth without undoing the country’s authoritarian political system. The programme has implications beyond Uzbekistan’s borders because it has changed the way Uzbekistani foreign policy is formulated and implemented. Uzbekistan’s former isolationist stance has shifted to a foreign policy opening, which is most noticeable in the improvement of its relations with its neighbours. This Working Paper analyzes “good neighbourliness”, the key concept of Uzbekistan’s new Central Asia policy. It details the amendment of Uzbekistan’s bilateral relations with its neighbours and points to the positive reception of Uzbekistan’s new regional policy in Russia, China, and the West. The paper argues that while “good neighbourliness” is a pragmatic strategy rooted in economic rationality, the policy’s regional implications are substantial. It is laying the necessary foundation for sustainable Central Asian co-operation from within in a way that is acceptable to the Central Asian states and big non-regional actors alike.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Reform, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, Asia, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Teemu Tammikko
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The EU Commission has proposed that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, known as Frontex, should have a standing corps of 10,000 operational staff, who could be deployed anywhere in the world to willing host countries. Frontex would emphasize its focus on migration management and returns, and expands its tasks to countering terrorism.The reform would increase Frontex’s operational capabilities, but decrease the role of the member states by centralizing decision-making within the Commission. A partial overlap with the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) instruments, especially with civilian crisis management, could have an impact on the external action of the EU. Since the member states have diverging views on how to improve border security and the role that the Council should have in the decision-making, it is likely that the proposal will face some changes before it can be accepted by the Council and the European Parliament. To this end, the planned timeframe seems unrealistic.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, European Parliament, Centralization
  • Political Geography: Europe