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Politics

Rebalancing the Euro Area: A proposal for Future Reform

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Under a monetary union, fiscal and monetary discipline have to go hand in hand if macroeconomic stability is to be maintained. The question is how to set up the right institutions to achieve this stability in a credible manner. This policy brief proposes a new institutional arrangement for the euro area to restore fiscal discipline. It places the responsibility for compliance entirely on the shoulders of the member states. It also provides for the mutualisation of 30% of the member states’ debt-to-GDP ratio.
This would help to maintain a stable currency and to limit the risk of contagion should another crisis occur in the future. However, this comes at a cost. Under the fiscal scheme proposed, member states, which would be fully fiscally sovereign, would need to run long-term sound fiscal policies to benefit from euro membership.
In addition, this brief proposes a reform of Target2 under which overspending economies would have to pay the financial cost of accessing extra euros, which would deter the accumulation of internal imbalances within the euro area. All this is expected to change the current fragility of the architecture of the euro, provide member states with the right incentives to abide by sounder economic principles and make them fully responsible for the policies they adopt.
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20
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25 Years of Spitzenkandidaten: What Does the Future Hold?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
This paper critically reflects on the development and implications of the Spitzenkandidaten system. It makes three claims. First, it argues that, despite the assertions of many commentators, this system did not appear out of the blue in 2014 but has a much longer history. Since the Maastricht Treaty, a series of steps have been taken that have clearly led the way to this outcome and, in fact, may even lead beyond it. These steps, including the role of the European People’s Party, are explained here as they cast a different light on the whole process, without which the success of the Spitzenkandidaten system cannot be properly understood.
Second, the paper claims that, from a political–institutional point of view, the system implicitly promotes the parliamentarisation of the EU architecture and might eventually lead to a stronger EU executive and a weaker European Parliament, as is the case in most national parliamentary systems. This would be the opposite of what many of its supporters would like to see. Third, the paper concludes that, in order to avoid this unintended consequence and fulfil the democratic potential of the Spitzenkandidaten system, the current procedure must be understood as an intermediate step on the road to the direct election of the president of the EU. This, however, requires its success and consolidation in 2019. The paper thus ends with some recommendations that will help to make this happen.
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16
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Is the Internet Eroding Europe’s Middle Ground?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, December 17, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Within Europe, public debate has become increasingly concerned with issues of identity, belonging and threats associated with ‘out-groups’ (such as immigrants and refugees). These issues are the focus of many insurgent populist parties, which are shaping debates in many countries across Europe.
When asked to identify the most important issue facing Europe, survey respondents in 2017 gave the highest rankings to terrorism and immigration – two issues that provoke public debate on the threat of minority ‘out-groups’ to majority ‘in-groups’.
Polarisation is reflected in deeper divisions and distrust between opposing groups. There are many indicators of increasing polarisation in European societies (though no agreed measure or major comparative study).
The issues around which polarisation is taking place are especially related to national identity, culture and inclusion, between people who espouse cosmopolitan values and people who espouse traditional cultural and nationalist values.
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26
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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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Reflecting on the future of the European Union - The view from local and regional authorities

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Abstract in English: 
If there is one thing that everybody seems to agree on, it is that the European Union is at a juncture. What started as a relatively small scale dream after the Second World War is now a largely mature political system of half a billion citizens, spanning much of the continent that it is named after and with competences in a wide range of policies. What emerged as an elite driven process now belongs to citizens who are increasingly demanding about the levels of democracy, transparency, and accountability of the political system which determines or influences so many of their rights and duties. What once seemed unanimous and generic is now open to the traditional debates of all decision making processes, with rife disagreements on conceptions of regulation, solidarity, and efficiency, as well as competition for ideas and power between various people, various parties.
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63
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The Future of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Context of the Rise of China

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Abstract in English: 
There are numerous analyses about China and its future, as well as about Chinese engagement with Latin America. This report examines, in detail, how the growth of China, with its power and role in the global economy, is likely to transform Latin America and the Caribbean through economic, political, and other forms of engagement with the region. The report considers multiple scenarios regarding the future of China, the resolution of its security challenges, and possible departures from its current trajectory. It focuses primarily on the question of what Latin America and the Caribbean will look like if China succeeds in its ongoing economic and political engagement in the region.
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42
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Toward Long-Term Solidarity with Syrian Refugees? - Turkey’s Policy Response and Challenges

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Abstract in English: 
For several years, Turkey has been hosting the world’s largest refugee population. This report, “Toward Long-Term Solidarity with Syrian Refugees? Turkey’s Policy Response and Challenges,” takes a comprehensive look at the policies, actors and issues that have characterized Turkey’s approach to Syrian refugees since 2011. In this age of mass refugee flows, Turkey distinguishes itself from other countries for demonstrating both financial and organizational capacities, as well as a strong political will to welcome refugees. Open door, camps and temporary protection have been at the core of Turkey’s approach. But an uninterrupted inflow of refugees, as well as a complicated foreign and domestic political environment, has put some limitations on Turkey’s welcome. And Turkey’s praised policy put in place in 2014-2015 has been slowly dismantled over time (with the sidelining of camps, the closing of the border, the limitation on freedom of movement for Syrians, early returns, possible push backs, etc.), and a new sense of direction now needs to be put in place.
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Number of pages: 
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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Global Trends to 2030: Shaping the future in a fast-changing world

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Global power shifts, pressure on liberal democracies, challenges to global governance, the transformation of economic models and of the very fabric of societies, new uses and misuses of technology, humanity’s growing ecological footprint: the world may be on the cusp of a new geopolitical, geo-economic and geotechnological order. Against this backdrop, how can the European Union ensure that it holds its destiny in its own hands? What must it do to better prepare and shape the future, tackling emerging challenges and seizing the opportunities that will arise?
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72
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Partnerships for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - Transformative, Inclusive and Accountable?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Abstract in English: 
The United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development defines Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships (MSPs) as an essential tool for realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were adopted along-side the Agenda. However, prior experience of such partnerships between state and non-state actors (from the private sector and/or civil society) has shown mixed results: significant successes have been marred by too many failures. To what extent do policymakers and other relevant actors integrate these insights into multi-stakeholder partnerships – especially as regards the relevant conditions for success – when calling for and fostering new partnerships for the SDGs? This study presents inter alia the results of a series of interviews with selected international actors – from (1) the United Nations, (2) donors and funders, (3) gov-ernments and (4) private initiatives.
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28
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