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  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Alexander Lukashenko’s “victory” in the election cannot bridge the gap between the president and the modern part of Belarusian society. Turbulent times may lie ahead for Belarus. This will require the West to revise its current approach and invest more in supporting forces that want reforms and the country’s Europeanization.
  • Topic: Reform, Elections, Europeanization, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Belarus
  • 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: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Belarus is undergoing important societal changes – public attitudes are evolving, the private sector is expanding, and the national culture is experiencing a certain revival – but the country’s old command and repressive model of governance shows no signs of change. This widening disjuncture is a race against time. At some point in the future, the societal transformations will require a significant ideational and structural reform in the system of governance. The longer the reform is postponed, the more costly it will be for the country. The end of Alexander Lukashenko’s personalist rule, whenever that happens, is likely to put a succession problem and, possibly, even a question about the country’s political independence on the agenda. A principal aim of the Western policy towards Belarus should be pushing the country’s regime in the direction of market reforms, political liberalization, independent identity-building and all other means that strengthen the country’s resilience.
  • Topic: Governance, Reform, Liberalism, Transition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belarus
  • Author: Toni Alaranta
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Ever since the founding of the Republic in 1923, the idea of making Turkey a European country has been a major component of the nation-building project, although Europe has also been perceived as a threat. The incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) embarked on an EU-inspired reform project at first, but has subsequently taken an increasingly anti-European position. Turkey's EU bid under the AKP government needs to be seen within the context of the domestic power struggle, whose origins can be traced to two opposing modernization alternatives: radical and Islamic. Within the domestic power struggle, the AKP has used the EU process as a tool to de-legitimize the secularist state elite-lite, composed of the armed forces and the judiciary. After having consolidated its hegemony, the AKP abandoned its EU aspirations, and there is currently very little societal pressure from the AKP constituency to continue the EU reforms.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Regime Change, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Samu Kurri
  • Publication Date: 11-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The financial and economic crisis has reinforced the two-layer economic integration structure in the EU. Many of the new rules and structures created during the crisis have focused on a solution to the euro crisis and are thus euro area-specific. There is little evidence, however, that the situation would have dramatically changed compared to the Maastricht EMU. All of the changes are still in line with the basic idea that all EU countries will join the euro when they are ready to do so. One of the key questions in the near future is likely to centre on the contours of the euro area specific decision-making, its relationship to the EU as a whole, and its institutions and procedures. Even if the Euro group remains 'formally informal', it has managed to transform itself into a de facto institution within the EU, and its role and weight is likely to increase rather than decrease.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Monetary Policy, Financial Crisis, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe