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Foreign affairs

ESPAS Report 2019 : Global Trends to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, April 5, 2019
Abstract in English: 
For something as unknown as the future, it appears to have become surprisingly predictable. A Google search of ‘future 2030’ yields more than 97 million results, all more or less claiming similar things: that 2030 will see a more connected, yet fragmented world, with hazardous shifts in demography and energy, and dangerous changes in technology, environment, and politics.
The future, while overall negative, appears to be a rather certain place.
This illusion of definitiveness is created by two dynamics: first, the pessimistic tone that runs through the vast majority of foresight reports. This is a common feature when it comes to future thinking, with one study showing that all studies undertaken on the future over the last 70 years have one thing in common; pessimism. The reason for this is simple: although both optimism and pessimism are natural human dispositions, the latter is more prevalent by far. Humans are, genetically speaking, biased towards the negative – some studies even indicate that this is particularly the case for Europeans. Second, pessimism in foresight is encouraged by the grave air that surrounds it: in general, negative statements are given more attention than positive ones. That said, more pessimism in foresight does not equal greater accuracy, as one study shows.
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52
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Unexpected Developments in International Politics. Foresight Contributions 2018

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Abstract in English: 
How might we have to imagine the Middle East if there were a political thaw between Iran and Saudi Arabia? Could Turkey leave NATO in the near future? What would happen if security-related EU databases were successfully hacked; if South Korea were to arm itself with nuclear weapons; or if an American woman were to head the United Nations? Of course, these situations, as explored in the SWP’s latest Foresight research paper, are only hypothetical. Why address them? Because unexpected events have abounded in international politics in recent years. Brexit; the election of Donald Trump as US President; and Russia’s annexation of Crimea are only the most striking examples. Science and politics should therefore ready themselves for likely future surprises. The Foresight research paper aims to assist with this. We cannot and do not want to predict the future. However, with the help of systematic foresight we can better prepare for unplanned situations. This means improving our view of conceivable – albeit unlikely – developments that would seriously impact on German and European foreign and security policy. It also includes reviewing previous expectations – as this research paper likewise tackles. What actually happened to the battery revolution that was supposed to secure our power supply? Did the negotiation process on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU unfold as experts had anticipated? Such reviews are instructive, and can be used to gain insights for the future.
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50
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Munich Security Report 2019: "The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?"

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, February 15, 2019
Abstract in English: 
This year's report analyses the reshuffling of core pieces of the international order. Besides looking at major powers like the United States, China and Russia, the report also highlights actors of the "second row": liberal democracies such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. In addition, the report assesses current security policy developments in selected regions such as in the Western Balkans, in the Sahel region and in the Middle East. It examines the global challenge to arms control against the background of the recently suspended INF Treaty and emerging technologies such as hypersonic weapons. Other global issues covered are the security policy implications of current developments in the areas of international trade, transnational organized crime and artificial intelligence.
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102
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What if....? Scanning the horizon: 12 scenarios for 2021

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, January 25, 2019
Abstract in English: 
Foresight is about choice, decision and action – and not, as is repeated time and again, predicting the future and getting it wrong.
This Chaillot Paper aims to alert decision-makers to potential developments with significant strategic impact while they can still prepare for, or even avoid them. This is done using two methods combined: horizon-scanning as well as single scenario-building. Taken together, they produce plausible events set in 2021 – with strategic ramifications well beyond that. All 12 scenarios in this Chaillot Paper reflect the expertise and imagination of the researchers who wrote them: some explore potential conflicts, while others look at disruptive political developments, or indeed at crises with significant ramifications.
That said, all are designed in the hope of drawing attention to foreign and security policy aspects which are potentially overlooked, and all are extrapolated from ongoing and recent developments.
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74
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North Korea IN FOCUS: Towards a More Effective EU Policy

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, September 7, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The EU has an important role to play in the management of the threat posed by North Korea. Indeed, Brussels already has a policy of ‘critical engagement’ towards Pyongyang which combines diplomatic and economic carrots with a number of sticks. This policy, however, is in need of an update to attend to two recent developments on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea’s status as a de facto nuclear power and the flurry of engagement and diplomacy involving North Korea—including top-level meetings with the US, South Korea and China.
In this context, the EU should support its partners, South Korea and the US, as they launch a process that could lead to sustainable engagement with North Korea, denuclearisation, and, as a result, a more stable Korean Peninsula. Working with its partners, Europe should creatively use its power of engagement and cooperation to change behaviour. This will enhance the position of the EU as a constructive actor in Asian affairs, support efforts by the US and South Korea to engage North Korea and, ultimately, offer a better opportunity for the EU to achieve its goals.
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20
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Putin’s fourth term - The twilight begins?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 19, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The Russian electoral cycle began with parliamentary and partial local elections in September 2016, continued with presidential elections in March 2018, and ended with a series of regional elections in September 2018. The incumbent United Russia (UR) party boosted the number of seats it controls in the lower house of parliament, the Duma, by 105 compared to 2011, and despite a few local defeats in 2018, remained the dominant political force across the country.
Moreover, President Putin not only avoided any weakening of his own position but, on the contrary, arguably grew stronger as he was re-elected by almost 10 million more votes than in 2012.2 There are no serious potential challengers on the horizon and he remains the sole person who takes important domestic and foreign policy decisions. Nevertheless, several factors are gradually undercutting his standing, a process which, in turn, is likely to have future knock-on effects for Russia’s entire political edifice. What vulnerabilities does President Putin face in his fourth term in office? What are the drivers behind them? And how might these play out in the future?
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8
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Strategic autonomy: towards ‘European sovereignty’ in defence?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 30, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Strategic autonomy. Two familiar words that are yet again in vogue in Europe but which cause confusion and, in some quarters, even alarm. The last time strategic autonomy stirred controversy was in 2003 during the run-up to the Iraq War, but perhaps the most well-known instance followed the Balkan crisis of the 1990s.
The objective of this Brief is to better comprehend how the EU conceives of strategic autonomy, rather than dwell on a broader focus on ‘Europe’ or ‘NATO Europe’. To this end, the Brief compares the range of defence initiatives that have been developed by the EU since 2016 against three different conceptual visions of strategic autonomy: autonomy as responsibility, autonomy as hedging and autonomy as emancipation. Each of these forms of autonomy have implications for transatlantic burden sharing and the EU’s level of ambition on security and defence.
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8
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More European, More Connected, More Capable: Building the European Armed Forces of the Future

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Europe’s security environment has deteriorated in the last few years. New threats include a more aggressive Russia, instability in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and cyberthreats from hostile governments and nonstate actors.
The United States is sending mixed signals about continuing the high level of military support it has provided for Europe in the past decades.
Adding to the challenge, Europe’s defense capabilities have declined. Equipment inventories have been reduced to critical levels across most weapons categories, and many systems are outdated. Austerity and an increase in missions abroad have reduced the readiness of Europe’s forces; in many countries, up to half of military equipment, from infantry vehicles to helicopters, is not available at any one time.
Europe’s fragmented approach to defense exacerbates the situation: Europe has six times more types of major weapon systems than the US. In many European defense projects, countries put the interests of their national industries ahead of European capability building, military cooperation, and interoperability.
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48
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Crossing Borders: How the Migration Crisis Transformed Europe’s External Policy

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Between 2014 and 2017, Europe saw its largest influx of migrants in decades, with 1.9 million arrivals to the continent (and thousands of lives lost at sea during the dangerous crossings of the Mediterranean Sea) and 3.6 million first-time asylum applicants across the 28 EU member states. The European Union and its member states have struggled to absorb this large influx of migrants and refugees and to manage the European Union’s external borders. As migration management has remained principally a national mandate, a delicate balance had to be found between the European Union and its member states to process asylum seekers, manage borders, and address the drivers of migration and instability in Europe’s neighborhood through policy and funding. This led to what is now called the “European migration crisis” of 2015 and 2016.
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81
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The Long March Towards the EU: Candidates, Neighbours and the Prospects for Enlargement

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Abstract in English: 
Seven consecutive enlargements, spanning over half a century, have provided geopolitical stability in Europe and facilitated trade and economic growth. Currently, the EU is considering further expansion towards the Western Balkans and Turkey. In this process, the EU is weighing fundamental values against security concerns, public scepticism in some member states and past experience of letting in countries that were not prepared.In addition the economic, security and refugee crises are making the EU more cautious about enlarging further. The present paper considers options for further EU enlargement, including ending enlargement altogether, offering a reduced membership status (‘membership minus’) and keeping enlargement alive under strict conditions.It argues for the third option, under which the EU institutions must make sure that candidate countries not only align their legislation with that of the community but also respect fundamental EU values in the economic, political and legal spheres. Giving a viable prospect for membership is vital to enabling the candidates to maintain reform momentum and their attachment to the West. It is also in the interests of the EU and its member states.
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78
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