CEPS Commentaries


31 - 60 of 416
11 June 2014

At the very moment when Ukraine's territorial integrity is at stake, natural gas could become part of the solution, argue these authors. Due to its massive storage potential, namely one-third that of the EU (or seven-times that of the UK), Ukraine is a natural candidate for an eastern European gas hub. Becoming an integrated part of the European gas market has economic and political merits – both for Ukraine and the EU.

Julian Wieczorkiewicz is a Research Assistant at CEPS, and Fabio Genoese is Research Fellow at CEPS.

06 June 2014

In this new commentary, CEPS Fellow Marco Incerti argues that the so-called technical and legal arguments that are being advanced against the lead candidates’ (Spitzenkandidaten) selection process actually boil down to political choices − choices that are set against the increasingly confrontational climate between the European Council and European Parliament that has characterised their dealings in recent years. 

06 June 2014

Despite the fact that anti-establishment, mostly euro-sceptic parties won about one-fifth of the vote in the European Parliament elections last month, Daniel Gros insists that it is not quite accurate (or fair) to characterise the result as a rejection of Europe. He argues that the deeper roots of the surge of euro-sceptic and other protest parties originate with the general dissatisfaction with the state of the economy and dysfunctional national political systems.

29 May 2014

Following the convincing election of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new President, Michael Emerson puts forward 15 steps with a view to creating a fresh start for Ukraine, the EU and Russia and their neighbourhood policies.

The author is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS.

23 May 2014

Much commentary on the EP elections has followed the line that the European Parliament somehow has less democratic legitimacy because the participation rate is low, and that these elections are taken less seriously because people’s trust in the EU institutions in general and the European Parliament in particular is low. Both arguments lose much of their validity if the numbers are judged in a wider context, however, especially if one compares participation rates in mid-term congressional elections in the United States.

16 May 2014

The recent presidential and early parliamentary elections in Macedonia are only one illustration of the country’s long-term political condition: illiberal democracy. What is needed is a re-think of the instruments and the manner in which major international actors could and should foster constitutional liberalism in Macedonia. While recognising that the primary and essential responsibility lies with Macedonians themselves, the author calls for support to establish the Macedonian state’s capacity for the legitimate exercise of power.

14 May 2014

The EU appears to be out of its depth as a geopolitical actor trying to deal with the crisis in Ukraine. In this new CEPS Commentary, Steven Blockmans and Daniel Gros argue that the EU should concentrate on what really matters now: namely, preventing any further escalation of the conflict by sending a substantial stabilisation force to the areas that have so far remained relatively calm.

Steven Blockmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and Head of the EU Foreign Policy and Daniel Gros is Director at CEPS.

05 May 2014

The tendency within the EU today to blur distinctions between internal and external policies and between hard and soft security demands a more holistic and inclusive approach in tackling challenges and seizing opportunities if the EU is to make good on its foreign policy objectives. In his assessment of the impact of the ‘big bang’ enlargement on EU foreign policy a decade later, Steven Blockmans finds that the experience and expertise of the (by now not so) new member states has been and will continue to be indispensable for the European Union.

02 May 2014

With Ukraine disintegrating before our eyes, Michael Emerson calls for the EU to convene again the Geneva Quad with the utmost urgency, and proposes a peacekeeping operation by a jointly flagged tripartite brigade of Ukrainian, EU and Russian troops and police to clean up the Maidan in Kyiv, moving on into Donetsk and Lugansk. This short-term action should also have long-term consequences for the European order, if it initiated a switch by the EU and Russia into a cooperative mode over their common neighbourhood.

24 April 2014

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the first and currently the only international body to have a monitoring mission deployed in Ukraine. This is as it should be, argues Erwan Fouéré. Today, with EU members making up half the membership of the OSCE, the EU needs to show greater responsibility and far-sightedness in its dealings with the OSCE.

08 April 2014

Notes Regardless of whether Ukraine is ‘lost’, or who lost it, Daniel Gros finds in this new Commentary that the country can still offer an attractive future for all of its citizens if unavoidable economic reforms can be made compatible with regional cohesion. He urges the EU to play an essential role in the process by opening its market and providing funding and technical assistance in crucial areas.

28 March 2014

While the geopolitics of the Ukraine crisis have dominated headlines, little attention has been paid to the potential challenges arising from the movement of people from the region to the EU. Yet recent history should tell us this could be a grave oversight. As we witnessed during the Arab Spring in 2011, political upheaval can result in people fleeing their state in fear of persecution or seeking to leave their state in search of new horizons and economic opportunities.

27 March 2014

The conclusions of the December 2013 European Council on defence sounded like a ‘revise and resubmit’ recommendation for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). That outcome was not too disappointing in itself, because precise technical guidelines were provided to revamp Europe’s defence, with good prospects of real progress. But it was not too ambitious either, as a clear indication of Europe’s future role in global security was in effect postponed until 2015, thus requiring ‘resubmission’ at a later date.

24 March 2014

In assessing the compromise agreement reached on March 20th on how to deal with banks in difficulty in the eurozone, Daniel Gros finds that the Single Resolution Fund represents an awkward step in the right direction in that it leaves as many problems unresolved as it addresses. But the end result is likely to be quite strong, because it establishes a key innovation: a common fund that effectively mutualises much of the risk resulting from bank failures.

21 March 2014

There is no doubt that the prospect of EU accession has had a major impact in promoting much-needed reforms and building stable institutions in the countries of former Yugoslavia. Yet, as reflected in all the internationally recognised indicators, the goal of achieving effective democracy throughout the region remains very much a 'work in progress', especially in Macedonia. In this Commentary, Erwan Fouéré considers whether the main governing party in Macedonia will change its behaviour to enable the country to move forward.

21 March 2014

The EU relies to a considerable degree on imports to meet its demand for natural gas. Whereas Norwegian export pipelines are directly connected to the EU gas system, a major share of Russian gas flows through the Ukrainian territory before reaching consumers located other consumers located down in the supply chain (e.g. Slovakia, Hungary or Italy). But is the Ukrainian gas transit route still a risk? Will the construction of the South Stream pipeline further reduce the importance of Ukraine as a transit country? Or is there more at stake here than meets the eye?

19 March 2014

The news from Greece these days has been dominated by the announcement that the government achieved a primary budget surplus in 2013. While acknowledging that this is indeed a highly laudable accomplishment, Daniel Gros points out in a new commentary that a more important news item, which has received much less attention, is the fact that Greece exported less in 2013 than in 2012.

13 March 2014

Documenting the unwelcoming treatment extended by government officials to the poorest EU citizens from other member states, including denying them their EU rights, Elspeth Guild censures these officials for shattering the principle of equality of citizens and of disaggregating Europe into nationals of the member states who can be treated differently simply on the basis of their origins.

Elspeth Guild is Jean Monnet Professor ad personam, Radboud University and Queen Mary London and Associate Senior Research Fellow CEPS.

 

12 March 2014

The EU relies heavily on imports to meet its demand for natural gas. Nearly 23% of the gas burned by the EU member states is produced in Russian gas fields. Ukraine remains one of the main supply routes for Russian gas flowing into Europe. Consequently, mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine concerning the Crimean Peninsula brought back memories of past gas supply disruptions, most notably of 2009. The question today is whether the EU in 2014 is equally vulnerable to potential (forced or voluntary) cuts in Russian gas supplies as it was five years ago.

05 March 2014

By militarily invading and annexing Crimea, Russia has acted in breach of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Yet the Kremlin seems unfazed that it is violating general principles of international law. This seems emblematic for the ‘can’t care less’ attitude of Putin’s Russia. Moscow allows itself to be inconsistent with its own commitments and is reneging on its own words. This has all the trappings of a panicking dictatorship, which crushes dissent at home and portrays confidence in winning a great battle with enemies abroad.

03 March 2014

Despite the rapidly escalating situation in Ukraine, Michael Emerson discerns in this CEPS Commentary a very slim margin of possibility that cooler heads may still prevail in the Crimean peninsula and allow a return to a mundane and peaceful normality.

Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

03 March 2014

Recently, the EU energy debate has been dominated by the discussion on energy prices and the competitiveness of the European industry. According to the latest estimates of the International Energy Agency, gas prices in the US are one-quarter of those in Europe. Moreover, prices of imported gas vary across the EU member states.

28 February 2014

Surveying the landscape following the Swiss referendum on February 9th, Adam Łazowski observes that once Swiss voters are deprived of the benefits of the EU internal market, they may come to appreciate that their days of cherry-picking from among EU policies are over. This might present the EU with a golden opportunity to press for a comprehensive framework agreement with Switzerland that would simplify the existing regime and provide for a uniform institutional set-up.

26 February 2014

Notwithstanding the failure on February 15th of the second round of the Geneva II talks on Syria, Luigi Scazzieri and Steven Blockmans take note in this CEPS commentary of several welcome signs that the international community as a whole is starting to move in a more coordinated manner on the Syrian peace process.

Luigi Scazzieri is an intern at CEPS. Steven Blockmans is CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit. This commentary will also be published as an editorial in the March 2014 issue of European Neighbourhood Watch.

24 February 2014

In surveying the traumatic events of the last week in Kyiv, Michael Emerson reports on the profoundly moving scenes at the Maidan this last weekend, but goes on to offer constructive advice to the EU on its next move there; and the clear message to Russia that its coercive policies towards its most important neighbour do not work and need a big rethink.

Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

18 February 2014

In examining the long-awaited opinion given January 22nd by the CJEU in the case concerning the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), this Commentary argues that the ruling is important for the insights it yields into the modern understanding of the Meroni non-delegation doctrine. The authors, Jacques Pelkmans and Marta Simoncini, aim to extract the potential implications of the ESMA case for the place and significance of the Meroni doctrine in building up the single market.

07 February 2014

In his assessment of the EU proposal on banking structural reform, unveiled on January 29th, Karel Lannoo observes that the Commission must perform a delicate balancing act between preserving the single market and at the same time accommodating existing EU measures covering resolution and trading activities.

Karel Lannoo is Chief Executive Officer and Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

04 February 2014

Following a period when EU-Turkish relations have not been particularly close, the readmission agreement signed in December 2013 by the Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu could help inject some sorely needed goodwill and trust into the relationship. Yet, as pointed out in this commentary, there is always the risk that the challenges faced in the actual implementation of the agreement will aggravate the relationship.

03 February 2014

Surveying the political and economic problems that plague Ukraine today, Michael Emerson warns in this commentary that unless strong and sound fresh governance structures are immediately put into place, the political dynamics will lead to catastrophic radicalisation, chaos and conflict. He calls upon the EU, elected by the Ukrainian street as honorary sponsor of the EuroMaidan, to prepare for this contingency now, observing that emergency situations require emergency measures.

The author is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS.

24 January 2014

To counteract the powerful anti-Europe sentiments swirling throughout the EU today and to motivate EU citizens to vote in a constructive spirit in the upcoming European elections, Karel Lannoo argues in this commentary that the functioning of the EU institutions needs to be openly discussed and proposals need to be aired for improving the decision-making process to render it more transparent and democratic.