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  • Author: Flavio Fusco
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Located at the heart of the Middle East, connecting the Levant to the Persian Gulf, Iraq has always been at the centre of regional dynamics. Yet, the country is today reduced to a quasi-failed state fundamentally damaged in its political, social and economic fabric, with long-term consequences that trace a fil rouge from the 2003 US-led invasion to the emergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) and the country’s current structural fragility.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, European Union
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Riccardo Alcaro, Francesca Caruso, Silvia Colombo, Dario Cristiani, Andrea Dessì, Flavio Fusco, Daniela Huber
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Winds of change are blowing in North Africa and the Middle East. They originate from Washington, where the new Biden administration is expected to abandon its predecessor’s zerosum, erratic approach and take steps towards supporting regional balances and cooperation. Effects are visible especially in the Gulf, with the US pondering its options to re-activate nuclear diplomacy with Iran and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates grudgingly agreeing to put their feud with Qatar on ice. One way or another, these winds of change are working their way through the Levant, the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya. Admittedly, they are still feeble and can easily fade out like a morning breeze. Were that to happen, Europeans would be amongst the most affected – aside, of course, from regional populations themselves. It is now high time for the EU and its member states to leave the backseat they have (un)comfortably been sitting in for years, seize the opportunity of a cooperative US administration and work to play a more proactive role in North Africa and the Middle East commensurate with their considerable financial, diplomatic and military resources.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Military Affairs, Finance
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, North Africa, United States of America
  • Author: Flavio Fusco
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Building on emerging debates on the need to develop de-escalation mechanisms for the Middle East, the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Brussels-based Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), with support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, launched a one-year research and outreach project entitled “Fostering a New Security Architecture in the Middle East”. Connected to the research, an expert survey targeting European, US, Russian, Middle Eastern and Chinese experts and practitioners was conducted on key themes, principles and approaches associated with a potential new security architecture for the region. The results of the survey – first published in an edited book volume jointly published by IAI and FEPS in November 2020 – are analysed below, complete with tables and infographics on key themes associated with the research project and the search for new, inclusive mechanisms for dialogue and de-escalation in the Middle East.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Trine Villumsen Berling
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Denmark encountered a number of unforeseen obstacles when negotiating the Nord Stream and Baltic Pipe gas pipelines, and the country ended up standing exposed and alone. A better politics of energy alliances and better strategic preparation are key lessons for small states like Denmark when dealing with the problematic combination of security and energy. RECOMMENDATIONS: Small states should include energy in strategic documents pertaining to foreign and security policies, as energy is a tool in the security toolbox of the great powers. Self-sufficiency in energy does not mean that a country is shielded from the dynamics of international energy. Small states should strive to build enduring political alliances focused on energy. Small states should prioritise sending experts to the NATO Centre of Excellence for Energy Security in order to stay on top of the international security situation concerning energy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Energy Policy, Environment, Oil, Natural Resources, European Union, Gas, Minerals
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark, Baltic States
  • Author: Christine Nissen, Jessica Larsen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The concept of ‘European strategic autonomy’ is girdled by myths and resistance. These common misconceptions can be overcome by member states to strengthen the EU in the face of today’s challenging security environment. RECOMMENDATIONS: Ways forward for the concept of strategic autonomy: Level of ambition: strategic autonomy should not be seen as an end in itself but as a means to protect and promote common values and interests across strategically important EU policy areas. Geography: strategic autonomy should enable the EU to undertake activities, in particular in the immediate European neighbourhood. Policy scope: strategic autonomy should encompass the entire spectrum of foreign and security policy, and not just defence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, International Organization, European Union, Strategic Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Denmark
  • Author: Peer Schouten
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The Horn of Africa and the Sahel are among the most fragile regions in the world: poor, lacking basic infrastructure and state presence across much of their respective territories, and both form hotbeds of conflict and political instability compounded by climate change. This DIIS Working Paper focuses on identifying evolving notions of fragility that could strengthen Danish stabilisation efforts in the Horn and Sahel. It foregrounds notions of fragility that move away from a focus on strong state institutions towards the adaptive capacities of populations in the hinterlands of the Horn and the Sahel to deal with conflict and climate variability. The paper gives an overview of this rapidly evolving field and distils key insights, challenges and future options by exploring the question, how can we support people in the Sahel and Horn to re-establish their responsibility for their respective territories and the management of their natural resources? The paper addresses this question by exploring the implications of recent climate change and livelihoods research on how we approach fragility and, by extension, stabilisation. On the basis of such research, the Working Paper advocates a move away from a sector-based understanding of fragility towards a way of working that is more in line with contextual realities, alongside the ‘comprehensive approach’ to stabilisation that Denmark promotes. The key message is that, programmatically, Danish stabilisation efforts across both regions could benefit from a more explicit focus on supporting the variability that dominant livelihood strategies require and that need to be considered if sustainable security and development outcomes are to be achieved. Failing to do this will only serve to marginalise key communities and may drive them further into the arms of radical groups.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Climate Change, Democratization, Development, Environment, Radicalization, Fragile States, Violence, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Denmark, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Gabriella Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: The upcoming EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling 2021-2025, like its predecessor, suggests that the prevention of and the fight against migrant smuggling will continue to be at the centre of a strong and comprehensive European approach to migration management. However, to be effective, the Action Plan must rely on the growing evidence-base concerning the structure and organization of migrant smuggling, as well as rethink the way smuggling research and analysis is produced. Doing otherwise may seriously impact the Action Plan’s implementation and outcomes. Recommendations: Demand that gender, race and class perspectives are present in smuggling and counter-smuggling research and analyses in ways that identify the wider impact of EU actions on communities in countries of origin, transit and destination and within the EU. Include the perspectives of third-country, junior and female researchers, scholars and policy analysts, and involve stakeholders and informants beyond those typically reached out to during research, policy making or knowledge generating processes. Create an open access database that includes examples of smuggling caselaw and legislation that showcase the impact of EU law enforcement agencies’ counter-smuggling efforts in transit, destination and origin countries and within the EU to demonstrate clear efforts towards transparency and accountability.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Development, Migration, Borders, Risk
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Dennis Ross
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A reimagined approach to Iran nuclear talks could extend the country’s breakout time, preserve U.S. negotiating leverage, and strengthen American alliances in Europe and across the Middle East. In the first in a series of TRANSITION 2021 memos examining policy challenges across the Middle East, esteemed diplomat and policymaker Dennis Ross provides an innovative approach to reengaging Iran in nuclear diplomacy. His ideas have the potential to extend Iran’s breakout time, preserve U.S. negotiating leverage, and strengthen U.S. alliances in Europe and across the Middle East. Ross explains: “If regime change is not a realistic or advisable goal, the objective must be one of changing the Islamic Republic’s behavior. While this would be difficult, history shows that the regime will make tactical adjustments with strategic consequences when it considers the price of its policies to be too high.” In the coming weeks, TRANSITION 2021 memos by Washington Institute experts will address the broad array of issues facing the Biden-Harris administration in the Middle East. These range from thematic issues, such as the region’s strategic position in the context of Great Power competition and how to most effectively elevate human rights and democracy in Middle East policy, to more discrete topics, from Arab-Israel peace diplomacy to Red Sea security to challenges and opportunities in northwest Africa. Taken as a whole, this series of memos will present a comprehensive approach for advancing U.S. interests in security and peace in this vital but volatile region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Power, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Salome Minesashvili
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Georgia`s foreign policy, especially the implementation of international agreements, is best understood in the context of domestic contestation among alternative foreign policy views. • Nativist views exert increasing influence on the Georgian public. Georgia’s European partners should engage the Georgian public through civil society support and people-to-people contacts, to build trust and facilitate open debate. • The exclusive character of differing foreign policy positions further fuels the extreme political polarization. The government and opposition should be encouraged to come together over shared democratic values, instead of playing up the differences. • Pluralism and tolerance should be encouraged in the public and media debate.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Treaties and Agreements, Public Opinion, Europeanization, Polarization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: France uses the idea of EU strategic autonomy as a tool in its own foreign policy. France’s aim is to redefine the Union’s partnership with the U.S. and NATO. Hence, the activity of President Emmanuel Macron in emphasising the differences between the positions of the U.S. and the EU, especially in relations with China and Russia. Macron’s rhetoric worries other European countries and hides the real problems in EU security policy, such as insufficient financing of the Common Security and Defence Policy as well as the lack of a clear definition of strategic autonomy.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, European Union, Strategic Autonomy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, France, United States of America