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  • Author: Anna Bocharnikova
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Cato Journal
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: This article investigates the dynamics of individual economic well‐​being in Estonia and Finland over three periods: (1) 1923–1938, when both countries were similarly situated; (2) 1960–1988, during which Estonia was under Soviet control; and (3) 1992–2018, after Estonian independence. Economic well‐​being is calculated using the purchasing power of wages in terms of the affordability of a minimal food basket. The results show that, in 1938, the purchasing power of wages in Estonia was 4 percent lower than in Finland; in 1988, it was 42 percent lower; and, by 2018, the gap had fallen to 17 percent. Consequently, as measured by the purchasing power of wages, well‐​being in Estonia and Finland was similar before the Soviet occupation, widely diverged during Soviet rule, and converged after Estonian independence, with the transition from plan to market.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Politics, History, Culture
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Estonia
  • 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: 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: 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: Veronika Jóźwiak
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: For the first time in 12 years, the ruling Fidesz and the opposition have even chances of winning the parliamentary elections in April 2022. Unification of the opposition gives it strength, however, the institutional and financial advantages of the ruling party will be difficult to overcome. The government may be weakened by the effects of the pandemic and the loss of membership in the European People’s Party (EPP). The authorities aim to get funds from the new EU budget before the elections. As a partnership with the European extreme right will not contribute to this goal, the formation of a new grouping in the European Parliament (EP) by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is unlikely for now.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, European Union, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary, Central Europe
  • Author: Adam S. Czartoryski
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: No other neighbour is as closely connected to Austria as Germany. For years, bilateral relations have been based on deep economic connection and mutual understanding of interests. However, Austria under Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is more and more often and more decisively able to express a different opinion from Germany on important issues in European politics.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Austria
  • Author: Christopher Houtkamp, Kars de Bruijne
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This Clingendael policy brief seeks to explain visible manifestations of Turkish politics in European cities. Why does Turkish politics lead to unrest in Rotterdam and Berlin and what institutional mechanisms facilitate this? The brief highlights various drivers, institutional manifestations and historical changes, but also points out that there are a number of uncertainties and questions about the motivations for, and modus operandi of, Turkey’s influence in European societies. These questions are all the more relevant as European policy-makers increasingly seek to take measures in order to curb this. The main argument developed in this brief is that effective policy ‘at home’ (in Europe) will require better knowledge of socio-political developments ‘abroad’ (in Turkey). The first and second parts of this brief, therefore, show how the drivers of Turkish influence on the diaspora have changed over time. The third section highlights how present-day diaspora politics is institutionally anchored in Western Europe. Most of the practical examples in this brief are drawn from the Dutch context, but the dynamics will be familiar to those observing this phenomenon in other Western European countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Diaspora, Institutions
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Lars Hauch
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This policy brief examines the EU’s engagement and relationship with Syria’s main political opposition umbrella, the Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Etilaf), which was founded in late 2012. It discusses the EU’s engagement strategies with the Etilaf and their impact on its development in the context of the Syrian conflict. The brief highlights that the EU did not substantiate the international legitimacy it granted the organisation early on during the conflict with policies that would have allowed it to expand its domestic legitimacy and capabilities. This policy contributed to developments in which the Etilaf rapidly lost its original potential. While the Etilaf today faces a range of structural and operational challenges that need to be addressed, the brief nevertheless recommends EU institutions and Member States to increase their support for the Etilaf and the Interim Government linked with it, if a number of conditions can be met. Such support will help maintain and develop these bodies into a viable centre of political opposition to the Assad regime. Practically speaking, this objective can be pursued by piloting conditional EU support to areas of northwestern and northern Syria that are nominally under the control of the Interim Government. It also requires building a partnership with Turkey to jointly support local Syrian administration(s) in the same areas.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Conflict, Syrian War, Bashar al-Assad, Opposition
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Alessia Amighini, Yukon Huang, Tyson Barker, Eduardo Missoni, Giulia Sciorati, Haihong Gao, Elisa Sales, Maximilian Kärnfelt, Paola Magri
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic that has rocked China since December 2019 has posed a gruelling test for the resilience of the country’s national economy. Now, as China emerges from its Covid-induced "recession", it feels like the worst is behind it. How did China manage to come out almost unscathed from the worst crisis in over a century? This Report examines how China designed and implemented its post-Covid recovery strategy, focussing on both the internal and external challenges the country had to face over the short- and medium-run. The book offers a comprehensive argument suggesting that, despite China having lost economic and political capital during the crisis, Beijing seems to have been strengthened by the “pandemic test”, thus becoming an even more challenging “partner, competitor and rival” for Western countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Science and Technology, Economy, Resilience, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Ottilia Anna Maunganidze, Alia Fakhry, Victoria Rietig
  • Publication Date: 09-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: South Africa’s migration policy and practice mirror developments in other countries of destination for migrants: South Africa faces increased immigration and growing anti-migrant sentiments, leading policymakers to adopt policies that prefer deterrence over inclusivity. Just like other major migration magnets, South Africa is open to free movement in principle, but is wary of the impact it would have on its domestic job market. Since all these challenges are familiar to European policymakers, they should look more closely at the migration successes (and failures) of their “other” African neighbor.
  • Topic: Migration, Politics, Labor Issues, Borders
  • Political Geography: Europe, South Africa, Africa