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  • Author: Simona Autolitano, Agnieszka Pawlowska
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: There is currently much discussion about “digital sovereignty” in Europe. While the term encompasses very diverse connotations, it refers to a broad concept involving data, technological, regulatory and political elements. Cloud computing represents one example of the concrete materialisation of the European Union’s quest for “digital sovereignty” – especially through the development of its GAIA-X project. It is too early to assess whether or not GAIA-X will definitively help the Union to achieve this much-desired goal; however, some challenges have already emerged along the way. Looking to the future, if the EU wants to achieve “digital sovereignty”, a different strategy to the one currently under discussion will be needed.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Sovereignty, European Union, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: Europe, France, Germany
  • Author: Alessandro Marrone, Karolina Muti
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe’s missile defence is structurally linked to NATO deterrence and defence architecture, and it has to face both a worsened international security environment and an accelerating, worldwide technological innovation. Russia and China are heavily investing in new hypersonic systems which dramatically decrease the time needed to reach the target by flying mostly within the atmosphere. The US remains a global leader in the development and deployment of missile defence capabilities, including the Aegis systems which represent the cornerstone of NATO integrate air and missile defence covering the Old Continent. European countries are increasingly collaborating within the EU framework on the related capability development, primarily via the TWISTER project under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PeSCo). Being exposed to missile threats from Middle East and North Africa and participating to allied nuclear sharing, Italy has a primary interest in upgrading its military capabilities through PeSCo, maintaining them fully integrated within NATO, and involving the national defence industry in cutting-edge procurement programmes.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Science and Technology, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, France, Poland, Germany, Italy, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Francesca Ghiretti
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The debate on technological development and the unfolding fourth technological revolution tends to neglect the role of the EU, relegating it to follower status. The leadership positions are occupied by the US and China, who compete with one another for technological supremacy. Yet, despite lagging behind in some areas, the EU is better placed than is often assumed and still stands a chance of guaranteeing the delivery of a technological revolution that is not only environmentally but also socially sustainable. This is critical in proposing a model of technological development alternative to that of China, in particular, and especially in such sectors as artificial intelligence, supercomputing and digital skills.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, European Union
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Luca Franza
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Hydrogen is the most promising vector for harnessing North Africa’s largely untapped renewable energy potential. Low-carbon hydrogen produced in North Africa can play an important role in enabling the European Union and Italy to reach their increasingly ambitious decarbonisation targets as a complement to electrification and locally produced renewables. It is estimated that the EU could achieve cost savings by producing at least part of its future renewable energy needs in neighbouring high-yield regions. Italy is set to play a particularly important function as both a gateway and a catalyst for North African hydrogen exports. In turn, North Africa stands to benefit from hydrogen both as a source of revenues and as an instrument of diversification, industrialisation and local economic development. This would in turn improve social resilience, increase political stability, reduce the risk of radicalisation and limit migration flows. Italy has a particularly strong strategic interest in all of these areas, given its geographic location in the Central Mediterranean and marked exposure to social, political and security developments in North Africa. North African hydrogen could also create profitable business opportunities for several Italian companies. In sum, hydrogen can contribute to fighting climate change while preserving positive trade interdependence across the Mediterranean. Strong coordination between the private sector and policy-makers is going to be key to abate costs along the hydrogen value chain and launch successful international hydrogen trade schemes.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, European Union, Trade, Imports, Hydrogen
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Italy, Mediterranean
  • Author: Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Historically speaking, the European Community and then the European Union have always reacted with paradigm changes in their foreign policies to watershed moments in the Middle East. In response to the two Arab-Israeli wars in 1967 and 1973, the European Community actually set up its own foreign policy in the first place and initiated the Euro-Arab Dialogue. After the Camp David Accords, the nine foreign ministers came out with the Venice Declaration in 1980 which reminded its partners in Washington and Tel Aviv that the Palestine question had been ignored and set the parameters for diplomacy in the 1990s. After the Cold War, however, the European Union became absorbed into the so-called Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), resulting in less independent EU agency on Israel/Palestine. This trend has become particularly obvious over the past four years of the Trump presidency, during which time the EU seemed almost paralyzed. While Europeans are now counting on the incoming Biden administration, during the election campaign Joe Biden stated that he will leave the US embassy in Jerusalem and that he is also favourable of the normalization deals between Israel and certain Arab states which President Trump had pushed for. At the same time, the Biden team seems hesitant to return to negotiations.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Human Rights, Territorial Disputes, European Union, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has turned into a global economic crisis with severe social effects in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa. Pre-existing challenges related to widespread poverty, demographic growth, food insecurity and governance issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While migration remains one of the key elements of the partnership agenda between Africa and the European Union, the aggravating socioeconomic situation in the African continent due to the impact of COVID-19 and its implications for migration dynamics requires going beyond business-as-usual approaches. The renewed scenario calls for a more comprehensive and development-oriented approach to migration, requiring new policy initiatives addressing the wider set of conditions that, beyond constituting developmental challenges in their own right, also drive migration in North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, European Union, Mobility, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Tsio Tadesse Abebe, Ottilia Anna Maunganidze
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the current state and prospects of partnership between the East African countries and the European Union on migration and forced displacement. The pandemic has exacerbated the root causes of migration and forced displacement. This is manifested by the continuation of irregular arrivals in Europe including from East Africa, after a brief decline in the initial phase of the COVID-19 response. The strong economic impact of the pandemic on the region has also disrupted the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees that aspires to address forced displacement challenges through facilitating refugees’ self-reliance. These challenges require East African countries and the EU to work towards establishing a better migration governance system with a people-centred approach and with a view to addressing the root causes of migration. East African states should drive their migration and forced displacement policies in ways that benefit their citizens. This should include devising ways of engaging the EU in line with its proposed talent partnerships in its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The EU should work towards easing the economic burden of countries in East Africa including through providing additional development support and debt cancellation.
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, European Union, Refugees, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Amer Al-Hussein
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict entered its eleventh year on 15 March 2021, bringing this “living nightmare” back to our minds.[1] This ominous anniversary should remind the world of the importance of addressing the bleak reality inside Syria. While the new US administration provides a glimmer of hope for a return to diplomacy, multilateralism and an end to the mercantilism of the past years, Europe would be wrong to simply wait for the US lead on Syria.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Sanctions, European Union, Institutions, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Camellia Mahjoubi
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since 2011 the Libyan crisis has never stopped posing questions to the Italian political class and public opinion, showing all its relevance for the definition of the external action – either at the multilateral or bilateral level – of our country. From political mediation to the use of force, from the terrorist threat to the current COVID-19 crisis, from the management of irregular migration to the issue of human rights, Libya continues to represent an important test for Italy’s foreign policy. In recent months, the Libyan conflict has undergone important changes. International mediation under the lead of the United Nations and with the involvement of the regional actors seems to have lost steam and a new intensification of military operations has produced rapid changes in the balance of power on the ground. What have been Italy’s responses to the crisis? What are the objectives and the tools put in place? What lessons can we learn about the strengths and weaknesses of our foreign policy?
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, Italy, North America
  • Author: Nicola Bilotta, Alissa Siara
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The economic ramifications of COVID-19 will accentuate the technological innovation gap between Latin America and the rest of the world. In a region already suffering from chronic underinvestment in research and development, the strain placed on government budgets by the pandemic-induced economic crisis will push innovation further back down the agenda. The region has compensated for a lack of domestic resources with foreign capital and technology imports from China and the United States. As the US–China relationship becomes more adversarial in the face of COVID, however, Latin America will emerge as a geopolitical battleground whose countries may be forced to choose sides and potentially lose out on capital inflows or technology imports. Navigating this potential storm will involve the region in a search for other options. Public–private partnerships with European Union firms represent one valuable possibility, but Europe and Latin America should first align their innovation agendas.
  • Topic: International Relations, Science and Technology, Sovereignty, Foreign Direct Investment, European Union, Institutions, Coronavirus, Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: China, South America, Latin America, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Asli Selin Okyay, Luca Barana
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Europe’s institutional landscape and political context have evolved considerably over the past year, with implications spanning numerous policy domains, including migration. The formation of the new European Commission, its commitment to deliver a New Pact on Migration and Asylum and the negotiations for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) have set the stage for much needed reforms in the migration field, a policy area still largely driven by the emergency mindset inherited from the 2015–16 “crisis”.
  • Topic: Migration, Reform, European Union, Refugees, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kari M. Osland, Henriette U. Erstad
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: On 23 September 2020, the EU launched its new Pact on Migration and Asylum. In a refreshingly blunt press-release accompanying the Pact one could read: “The current system no longer works. And for the past five years, the EU has not been able to fix it”. The stated aim of the Pact is a fairer sharing of responsibility and solidarity between member states while providing certainty for individual asylum applicants. This is intended to rebuild trust between EU members as well as improve the capacity to better manage migration. However, whether the Pact will be implemented and have an effect on EU external migration policy in the Sahel remains to be seen.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Roderick Parkes, Mark McQuay
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: When the October 2020 summit between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) was postponed, leaders blamed the pandemic. Yet, there was a sense that the issue went deeper. Both sides still resent the other’s handling of what Europeans refer to as the “migration crisis” of 2015. AU officials complain about the EU’s divide-and-rule approach to managing migration, while their European counterparts allege that AU officials encouraged African states to leverage migration flows to extort cash. Yet migration remains an area where the EU and AU policy agendas are in fact broadly aligned, on paper and in political rhetoric at least. The AU has adopted a free movement protocol and is looking at mobility to strengthen the continental labour market and promote intra-African capital flows. The EU has lent its support to the project, keen to build bridges with Africa on a traditionally divisive issue.
  • Topic: European Union, Mobility, African Union, Freedom of Movement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Lucia Bird
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic set the backdrop to the EU’s new framework for addressing irregular migration. Yet, this emergency mindset should not dictate that future responses to human smuggling remain focussed on border control, as they have done during the pandemic. We are at a pivotal moment in EU policy-making, following the release of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum[1] and preceding the publication of additional plans for legal migration and improved responses to human smuggling. This is therefore a key time to take stock of how state responses to the pandemic have impacted human smuggling dynamics, in order to build sustainable and humane response frameworks going forward.
  • Topic: Migration, European Union, Smuggling, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Tamirace Fakhoury
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Prior to 2011, Lebanon was no traditional gatekeeper in managing migrant and refugee flows to the EU. Following mass refugee influx from Syria, the small Middle Eastern state acquired key importance in the EU’s architecture of externalisation, alternatively framed as the set of norms and practices that the EU crafts to govern migration from a distance. Lebanon currently hosts more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees and since 2012 the EU has been the key funding power seeking to help the refugee-hosting state cope with the spillover effects that mass displacement brought about on the country. The EU’s recently published New Pact on Migration and Asylum reiterates support to refugees and refugee-hosting countries – including those in Syria’s neighbourhood – as one of the central elements of cooperation with third countries on migration and displacement. After nearly a decade of cooperation between the EU and Lebanon in this area, and ahead of the EU’s new budgetary and policy-planning cycle (2021–27), now is a key moment to critically assess EU-Lebanon cooperation on displacement from Syria.
  • Topic: Government, Foreign Aid, European Union, Refugees, Economy, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Lebanon, Syria
  • Author: Martin Ruhs
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The European Commission’s recently published “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” calls on EU member states to increase legal labour migration pathways, including for lower-skilled workers. To help achieve this goal, the Pact proposes greater and more effective cooperation with non-EU countries through so-called “Talent Partnerships”. These proposals are not new. The idea of partnerships with non-EU countries that include expanded labour migration programmes was at the heart of the EU’s “Global Approach to Migration” launched in 2005, and this approach has been further discussed and developed over the past 15 years. These ideas, however, have never led to a significant opening of European labour markets to lower-skilled non-EU workers. An obvious question therefore arises: Will this time be different? Will EU member states (which have primary competence in regulating labour immigration from outside the EU) engage with non-EU countries to develop new policies that expand legal labour migration opportunities in meaningful ways? Will these opportunities be inclusive of low- and medium-skilled workers?
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, Labor Issues, European Union, Institutions, Asylum
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Giuseppe Martinico
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Asymmetry has frequently been experimented within federalising processes, especially in those federal or quasi-federal contexts characterised by the coexistence of different legal and cultural backgrounds (Canada, for instance). By adopting a comparative approach, this paper offers a reflection on asymmetry as an instrument of differentiated integration in the current phase of the EU integration process. It aims to show the potential of the concept and some of the risks connected to its use.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, Culture, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-73-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Enrico Calossi
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Although much progress has been achieved in the last sixty years, the European Union still lacks a unique electoral system and a proper party system. Recently some changes have been proposed or introduced in order to homogenise the national electoral systems of the EP and to strengthen political parties at the EU level. Andrew Duff’s proposal for a transnational party list; the establishment of European political foundations in 2007; the updating of the Statute of the European political parties in 2014; the designation of the Spitzekandidaten by Europarties were all useful attempts. More could be done. National democracies can become sources of inspiration for new proposals. Some suggestions may require new formal regulations. Others are more informal or political, and would give political actors new opportunities on voluntary bases.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-72-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Daniele Ciani, Paolo Finaldi Russo, Valerio Vacca
  • Publication Date: 12-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper describes the main features of European SMEs’ financial behaviour and the policies recently put in place to support their funding. European SMEs are structurally more leveraged and charged with higher interest rates than large firms. Moreover, the crisis has deeply affected their fund-raising capacity, as banks reduced credit supply while non-bank funding was unavailable to most SMEs. Against this background, EU has focussed its policies on long-term investment and on a more favourable environment for SMEs financing, including through the launch of the Capital Markets Union. At the national level, most governments have provided guarantees and enhanced the role of national development banks. Nevertheless, key issues are still outstanding, such as the funding of innovative firms and the improvement of transparency and of the legal and regulatory frameworks.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-71-2
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to campaign for the UK to stay in the EU in the incoming in-or-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership, but only if London succeeds in recalibrating its relationship with the Union. As the EU’s fourth largest country, Italy will play a crucial role in the negotiation. The challenge for Rome is to balance its long-standing commitment to strengthening European integration with the interest in keeping a country the size and influence of the UK in the EU. Matteo Renzi’s government should be supportive of British proposals about competitiveness, pragmatic as far as sovereignty issues are concerned, constructive but cautious regarding economic governance, and understanding of British concerns but also firm about immigration.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-70-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Daniela Huber, Maria Cristina Paciello
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: As the EU is reviewing its European Neighbourhood Policy, this paper calls for an entirely new approach that would give the EU a stake in the region by responding more effectively to key needs on both sides of the Mediterranean. It first outlines three strategic policy options for the EU – defensive, power-projecting and reflexive approaches – and analyses EU policies accordingly. After observing that EU policies in the Mediterranean since the Arab uprisings have oscillated between a defensive and a power-projecting approach, this paper discusses how EU policies could become more inclusive of key actors, more responsive to key challenges and more flexible on both the multilateral and the bilateral level.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Power Politics, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-59-0
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Never before was the lack of a single European government, or at least of a strong and effective European governance, as acutely felt as in these days. With wars and failed states in the neighbourhood, and an unstoppable exodus crossing Europe, the continent appears at once more interdependent and more fragmented than ever. A coherent model of governance, competent and cohesive, but above all empowered by a full democratic investiture, would be needed everyday, to cope with daily emergencies while painstakingly devising and developing a long-term strategy where such emergency responses would be framed. Instead, in spite of the remarkable efforts of creative leadership made by the Commission, we are “governed” (but the term sounds like a gross overstatement) by subsequent extraordinary summits, each summoned to remedy the failures of the previous one. What can thus be expected and what should be asked, in such dire circumstances, to the next of these ad hoc European Council meeting, scheduled on Wednesday 23 September?
  • Topic: Migration, War, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-58-3
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Lisanne Groen
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: At the 15th UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, the European Union (EU) failed to achieve most of its objectives. In 2011, at the 17th COP meeting in Durban, the EU was crucial in bringing about a deal on a roadmap towards a new global climate change agreement, to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st COP meeting in Paris. This paper examines the lessons the EU has learned and can learn from its experience in Copenhagen in the run-up to Paris. It considers, first, the EU’s relative bargaining power; second, the relative position of its objectives/interests mapped against those of other negotiating parties; and third, how the EU can leverage its relative power through strategic action in pursuit of its objectives. The paper recommends that the EU focus on building a broad alliance with other progressive negotiating parties on mitigation in order to avoid a lowest common denominator outcome.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Diplomacy, Industrial Policy, Treaties and Agreements, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-57-6
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Stefano Volpicelli
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Human mobility has changed profoundly since the onset of globalisation, with old patterns of south-north movement of male economic migrants being replaced by mixed flows of people moving because of a variety of needs and motivations. In Europe these changes have gone largely unnoticed and the discourse on migration has been conducted in a confused and contradictory way. Policies have swung between two poles: on one end the view of migrants as a problem rather than as an opportunity; on the other, the view of migrants as vulnerable people escaping poverty or persecution. Through the analysis of policies, juridical terminology, concepts and stereotypes, this paper proposes a three-step approach for a different narrative of migration to curb the political manipulation that, labelling migrants as a threat, is dangerously fuelling racism and discrimination towards “aliens”.
  • Topic: Globalization, Migration, Political Economy, Poverty, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-56-9
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maria Giulia Amadio Viceré
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Under certain conditions, such as security crises, an integrated external EU counter-terrorism policy can emerge without leading to the supra-nationalisation of policy-making. This paper analyses the role of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy with the objective of assessing the influence that such figure can have on the governance of EU counter-terrorism policies. It does so by assessing the EU’s response to three security crises, namely: the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent bombings in Madrid (2004) and London (2005); the Arab Spring and the following destabilisation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); and the emergence and spread of Da’esh.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Terrorism, Counterinsurgency, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-53-8
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI