CEPS Policy Briefs


181 - 210 of 314
29 June 2007

After 16 years of war, 12 years of failed diplomacy and 4 years of deadlock, the conflict in the Western Sahara is back to square one. Resumed direct negotiations, under UN auspices, between Morocco and the Polisario Front on the basis of the former’s recent proposal are doomed. Besides impeding meaningful cooperation and integration in the Maghreb - to the loss of the nations of the region and even the EU - this ‘forgotten’ conflict, with its 165,000 refugees in desert camps, can take a violent turn at any juncture, with far-reaching implications.

01 June 2007

Early in 2007, the European Commission published its Annual Policy Strategy for 2008 in which it presents its proposals for key initiatives to be taken forward in the next year and assesses their financial and human resource implications. Along with the four strategic objectives of prosperity, solidarity, security and freedom, and a stronger Europe in the world, the Commission identifies three cross-cutting priorities: tackling climate change, pressing ahead with the Lisbon Strategy and managing migration flows to the EU.

01 June 2007

The international community has traditionally looked at Tajikistan through the lenses of conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction, but there is now a significant opportunity for the EU to develop closer ties with that country within the context of its broader efforts to forge a Strategy for the Central Asian region. In this paper by Matteo Fumagalli, Lecturer at University College Dublin, it is argued that it is now time to dispose of this outdated framework and to begin to deal with Tajikistan as a ‘normal country’.

25 May 2007

Recognising that Kazakhstan is favourably placed to be the foremost player in the region, this analysis advocates that the EU should 1) develop an internally-differentiated strategy towards Central Asia with Kazakhstan as a strategic anchor in the region, and 2) prioritise the promotion of democratic reforms and transparency of political and economic processes which can turn Kazakhstan into a more effective and reliable partner of the EU and a positive engine for reform in the broader region.

11 May 2007

The death of President Niyazov in December 2006 has opened a window for engagement between the EU and Turkmenistan. Prior to this, Turkmenistan could fairly be described as a ‘sultanistic regime’ isolated from the wider world. This paper by Dr.

28 March 2007

The German Presidency has taken the initiative to launch a process of rethinking the involvement of the European Union in the five states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, with the intention of producing a new EU Strategy on Central Asia. This paper welcomes this initiative to strengthen the EU’s presence in the region as timely and sorely needed.

22 March 2007

This paper examines the proposal to incorporate parts of the Prüm Treaty into EU law. Particular attention is paid to the issues that were highlighted as problematic in an earlier assessment of the treaty when it first come into operation and comment on how they have been dealt with (see also CEPS working Document No. 234, January 2006).

22 March 2007

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US authorities decided to collect and retain data on individuals coming to the US by air as a measure intended to increase US security. This act, however, which came into force in May 2004, was found to provide inadequate protection of personal data, and the European Court of Justice required the formulation of a new agreement. In October 2006, the European Union and the United States entered into a new agreement regulating the exchange of passenger name records.

21 March 2007

Conceived in 2003 and 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has now had two years of operational experience. This initial experience has seen a sorting out of the partner states, with Action Plans drawn up for five Eastern and seven Southern partner states. This paper distinguishes among these 12 states between the ‘willing’ and the ‘passive’; and among the other partner states without Action Plans between the ‘reluctant’ and the ‘excluded’.

15 March 2007

The context in which the EU’s biggest gas suppliers decided to formalise their cooperation is marked by tensions over energy supplies and politics. The Russian-Algerian rapprochement in the gas industry has been interpreted as a step – a big step – towards the cartelisation of the gas market with potentially damaging economic and geopolitical implications for the EU.

09 February 2007

On 5 January 2007, Elspeth Guild was invited by the European Commission Select Committee of the UK House of Lords to submit written evidence to assist that body in its scrutiny of the European Commission’s annual legislative and work programme.

02 February 2007

Globalisation is being blamed for the squeezing of the middle class and protectionism is being offered as a solution. This paper by Angel Ubide, Director of Global Economics at the Tudor Investment Corporation and an Associate CEPS Fellow, argues that the increase in inequality is a long-term trend resulting from a variety of factors, including the decline in manufacturing, the reduction in the progressivity of taxation and the steady increase in asset prices, and that globalisation has only had a marginal impact. Protectionism will not revert any of these trends.

29 January 2007

Situated in southern Serbia and bordering on Macedonia and Kosovo, Presevo Valley is home to Serbia’s Albanian minority. Although the Valley has been calm in the last few years and the resurgence of armed conflict is unlikely at the moment, the situation is still fragile and continues to pose a potential security threat for the wider region. As the solution to Kosovo’s status is approaching, the problems of Albanians in Presevo Valley deserve serious attention.

28 January 2007

Many experts and practitioners expected the 2004 enlargement to affect both the efficiency and content of policy-making in the EU. In contrast to these expectations, most accounts of decision-making in the Council of Ministers following May 2004 have concluded that the effect has been only moderate. The EU’s most important legislative body is commonly found to function relatively smoothly following the enlargement big bang in 2004. Yet many aspects of the enlargement of the EU institutions have still not been adequately reported or evaluated.

23 January 2007

One of the most controversial issues in the European Union’s ‘energy and climate change vision’, has been the nature of long-term targets, especially for specific sectors such as renewables as a share of electricity generation. The discussion about the need for these additional sectoral targets is likely to continue and come to the fore again in the negotiations in the Energy and Environment Councils in February, to be finally settled in the European Council on 8-9 March 2007.

12 December 2006

In light of the severe crisis afflicting the European Union and the low regard with which the Union’s institutions are held by public opinion, Stefano Micossi and Daniel Gros argue in this Policy Brief that three critical areas stand out in need of clarification and fresh initiative: the common framework for policy coordination, the budget and the democratic deficit in European institutions. The chances of success would be enhanced by tackling these issues in the right order.

27 October 2006

This paper argues that the January 2006 gas cut off in the Ukraine encouraged EU policy-makers and the media to focus on the wrong Russian gas issue. The core issue for the EU is not the threat of a politically motivated gas cut off. Rather it is the prospect of Russia, through lack of investment, not being able to produce enough gas to cover Russian and EU demands. The paper considers the extent of the likely gas deficit and determines that if no action is taken by 2010 the EU may be facing a deficit close to or even beyond its current Russian gas import level.

26 October 2006

Few would think that Russia has ‘soft power’ ambitions, in the sense that the term has come to be associated with the EU’s attempts to achieve change in its wider neighbourhood by means of attraction and incentives rather than through coercion. As revealed in this Policy Brief by CEPS Research Fellow Nicu Popescu, however, the truth is that Russia has begun in earnest to invest in the infrastructure of a soft power.

25 October 2006

On 12 October 2006, the French General Assembly adopted a proposal for a law to penalise the denial of the existence of the Armenian genocide. While the law remains currently submerged in the French decision-making process, and will need the approval of the Senate and the final signature by the President of the Republic before its formal adoption, it has already provoked a cascade of reactions at national and EU level. This policy brief explores the political and legal implications of this Proposition de Loi at EU level.

06 October 2006

There is a tendency in some political discourse now to say that, because the Constitution that was meant to prepare for enlargement failed to be ratified, the enlargement process has now hit a roadblock called ‘absorption capacity’. An alternative narrative is that the Constitution proposed some useful but marginal systemic changes, but its ratification was badly mismanaged by some political leaders. In the meantime, the EU has not experienced gridlock, and its current major political issues have nothing to do with enlargement.

29 September 2006

The unresolved conflict in the Middle East remains poison for the international relations of the region and the world. It is urgent that the EU should follow up on UN Resolution 1701 and the deployment of member states’ troops to Lebanon with a strategic-diplomatic initiative aimed at the fundamental problem, namely the lack of an agreed resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The reasons for this are a mix of old and new; reasons which are rooted in the international, European and Middle Eastern domains.

25 September 2006

The indefinite prorogation of the WTO’s Doha trade talks in July suggests that the global appetite for multilateralism may now be seriously weakened. In this new Policy Brief, CEPS Senior Research Fellow David Kernohan and T. Huw Edwards of Loughborough University look at how a failed or significantly delayed Doha round (say till 2009 at the earliest) could affect the scope and structure of any eventual WTO deal. In particular, if a rise in regionalism in the interim is inevitable, they ask whether the EU should reassess its regional trade policy objectives?

26 July 2006

The recent spate of legal, legislative and other activity on both sides of the Atlantic related to the collection, storage, use and manipulation of personal data highlights the serious political differences that divide the EU and the US regarding the relationship of the individual and the state. This paper by two Professors of Law at Radboud University at Nijmegen asks what is ‘the political life of data’ that has so galvanised EU and US institutions?

20 July 2006

This paper attempts to map Russia’s policies towards the conflicts in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria. The first part discusses Russia’s role in the conflicts during the 1990s and gives some background information on the secessionist conflicts in Georgia and Moldova. The second part discusses policy trends in the Russian Federation that have inspired a new feeling of self-confidence. The third part analyses how the new Russian self-confidence is resulting in new pro-active policies towards the secessionist entities.

07 July 2006

The Doha trade round has reached a critical stage, after five years of stop-start negotiations. Many are pessimistic and feel that the international mood is insufficiently engaged to bring success. Nevertheless, our CEPS Task Force on trade considers that a deal is in fact closer than some might imagine, especially if sufficient political will can be generated at the ongoing WTO negotiations in Geneva and the forthcoming G8 summit in St Petersburg.

21 June 2006

The ongoing negotiations between the EU and Mercosur countries to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) have been overshadowed by the parallel WTO negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Potentially, this agreement could have considerable impact on European agricultural markets. Aside from the outcome of the WTO talks, any change of doctrine within the EU in the direction of placing increased emphasis on bilateral agreements would probably mean that an EU–Mercosur FTA should be concluded before too long.

14 June 2006

Much has been achieved in upgrading and integrating the ‘governance’ of the European financial system in recent years. In parallel with the successful adoption of the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP), the EU managed to reform its regulatory structure, extending what was proposed by the Lamfalussy Committee for securities markets in early 2001 to banking and insurance. This paper by CEPS Chief Executive Karel Lannoo explores what remains to be done.

04 June 2006

This study advocates that the EU support a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder initiative to achieve synergy from regional cooperation in the wider Black Sea area. The background for this initiative is first provided through an overview of the challenges, recent developments and EU interests in this region. Different models of regionalism have been promoted by the EU in the European periphery, and these are schematised with a focus on their respective advantages and disadvantages.

23 May 2006

Acknowledging that the French and Dutch no-votes were a huge blow to the Constitutional Treaty and that there is no plan for putting the Constitution into force, Richard E. Baldwin, Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, asks in this paper: What is the EU’s next step? While conceding that the full answer to this question is unknowable at this point, he asserts that any answer must surely take into account the ‘trail to failure’ – the sequence of events that led up to the Constitution.