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  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Teija Tiilikainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The direct implications of Brexit for the EU’s political system will be less significant than the indirect consequences, opening up possibilities for reform. The treaty rules on a qualified majority in the Council might need to be reconsidered due to Brexit, which will also lead to a major reshuffle of the EU’s critical political groups in the European parliament after the 2019 EP elections. The political pressure to consolidate the EMU in terms of strengthening its governance and its own fiscal capacity may grow as a part of the general reform process following on from Brexit. If the treaties are reopened, principled amendments to the institutions and decision-making of the common foreign and security policy as well as further steps within the common security and defence policy are very likely to occur. Any internal reform project shouldn’t compromise the unity and coherence of the EU any further, however, as it is currently highly exposed to both internal and external pressures.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The self-assertive rhetoric of the Russian leadership, in which President Putin's Munich speech marked a shift towards a more aggressive style, has been translated into such demonstrative actions as the resumption of regular patrols by Long Range Aviation and the unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty. Despite new funding and against confident self-assessments, Russia's strategic arsenal continues to shrink, and many key modernization projects, such as the Bulava missile for strategic submarines, have encountered setbacks. The need for brandishing the diminishing capabilities is driven by the desire to deter the perceived threat of a 'coloured revolution' sponsored by the West, the urge to assert a more solid status than just that of an 'energy super-power', and the complicated intrigues surrounding the on-going reconfiguration of the political leadership. Expanding demonstrations of the dilapidated strategic arsenal increase the risks of technical failures but fall far short of initiating a new confrontation of the Cold War type. The most worrisome point in Russia's ambivalent power policy is Georgia, which has been the target of choice for multiple propaganda attacks, but which now faces the challenge of an external intervention in its domestic crises since Moscow has built up usable military instruments in the North Caucasus. Russia's desire to secure higher international status does not amount to malicious revisionism; so over-reaction to its experiments with muscle-flexing could constitute a greater risk to the Western strategy of engagement than underestimating its ambitions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Igor Torbakov
  • Publication Date: 10-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's conduct in the post-Soviet space in general and its policies toward Central Asia in particular should be seen within the context of Russia's post-imperial readjustment. The notion of the sphere of “privileged interests” currently advanced by the Kremlin is a clear indication that Russia's search for a new modus operandi with its ex-Soviet neighbours is a painful and, essentially, an open-ended process. Moscow views Central Asia as an area of great strategic importance as it presents both considerable opportunities (due to the region's rich energy resources) and serious threats (stemming from the region's inherent instability and its proximity to volatile Afghanistan). Russia's key interests in Central Asia appear to be preservation of the region's stability, strengthening control over the region's energy resources, and balancing other major actors that are increasing their presence in the region – the United States and China. The effectiveness of the Kremlin's policies in Central Asia seems to be constrained by the nature of Russia's current socio-political system whose key features are authoritarianism and rent-seeking. The latter prompts Moscow to act as a conservative rather than reformist force in the region. Russia's goal of maintaining strategic pre-eminence in Central Asia underpinned by Moscow's significantly increased economic and political clout may ultimately not be realized. The odds are that, given the rise of China, Russia may prove to be a weaker competitor. The European Union's strategic interests increasingly compel the bloc to engage the Central Asian nations, particularly in the spheres of energy and security. Eventually, Russia's wariness of China's growing economic and political clout might prompt Moscow to seek deeper cooperation with Brussels in Central Asia.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Oil
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Linda Jakobson
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: China has in a very short time span embraced multilateral mechanisms to address a broad range of issues and avoided confrontation with the United States. Both stances have shaped Asian and European views of a rising China. At present, Asian and European leaders take China's word regarding its peaceful intentions as a rising power. However, Asian and European policy-makers tend to refrain from confronting China too strongly on issues sensitive to Beijing (poor implementation of intellectual property rights, disregard for human rights, etc). The more prosperous China grows, the less influence any other country will have over Beijing's policies. A rising China is a challenge to others because of its sheer size, its great need for imported energy, and the environmental degradation it causes due to its ongoing industrialization. The troubled relationship between China and Japan is one of increasing concern and could lead to aggravated tensions in East Asia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the European Union, the link between norms, values and foreign policy seems to be an obvious one. For example, the new constitutional treaty spells out the set of values on which the Union's external action is based on: democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, respect for human dignity, the principles of equality and solidarity, and respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law. In the treaty, the development of relations with third parties is made conditional upon sharing and upholding them.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, International Political Economy, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 01-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: An international transport corridor can be understood as a layout of possible practices that are designed to reinforce proximity rather than remoteness and to create a sense of presence instead of absence. It is, in other words, a perfect example to show how by 'circulating traces' power makes itself felt in space, not as a flow but as an immanent affair that is in constant flux.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Hanna Ojanen
  • Publication Date: 09-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Among the EU research community, the general consensus of opinion is that the Union is an actor in international relations, and that it wields some kind of power over its member states, in some cases even over outsiders, at least in its near abroad, be that power structural (Rynning 2003) or normative (Manners 2002). What is debated, however, is the nature of the Union's identity. Typically, the debate often centres around the EU's external profile being that of a 'civilian power' versus a military one, or something in between.
  • Topic: NATO, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The successive rounds of enlargements are a factor shaping the European Union. The previous enlargements have all resulted in the broadening of the EU's agenda, changes in the institutions and decision-making, as well as shaping the way in which the world external to the Union has perceived the European integration and its different manifestations, be they institutions or policies. There is dialectic at work, where the “shadow of enlargement” forces the European Union and its member states to adapt its own dynamic to meet the changing circumstances. This adaptation – together with the growing geographic exposure to new neighbours and regions – in turn create an opening and a demand for further enlargements, which then start the dialectic anew.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Hanna Ojanen
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the European Union, security and defence integration was for a long time seen as impossible or at least highly unlikely. Theories of European integration leaned complacently on the idea that security and defence policy have a specific character that explains this state of affairs. Yet, recent developments seem seriously to challenge their assumptions: the new joint EU crisis management with military means is bound at least to affect, if not replace, the traditional defence policy of the member states.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, International Organization, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe