Contributions were received from Claudia Astarita, Christopher Dugan, Stefano Felician, Miguel Haubrich-Seco, Marta Palombo, Giulio Maria Raffa.
EU external governance : projecting EU rules beyond membership / edited by Sandra Lavenex and Frank Schimmelfennig. - London and New York : Routledge, 2010. - x, 156 p. - (Journal of European public policy series). - ISBN 978-0-415-56750-5
To know what kind of power the European Union is - whether normative, civilian, market or none at all - calls for an assessment of its impact abroad. Lavenex and Schimmelfennig's edited volume based on a special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy aims to provide a toolkit for this ambitious goal and to assess the nature of the beast on select policy issues.
The external governance approach is an appealing and powerful one because its clear and parsimonious theoretical framework makes it possible to broaden analysis of the external role of the EU to those areas which, while not always explicit 'foreign policy', are in fact those in which the EU seems to exert most of its power. Not to take into account these areas, where the EU has been acting almost since the creation of the European Economic Community in 1957, is to ignore most of the EU's external picture.
The second part of the book is composed of different case studies that assess the influence and functioning of EU external governance. The article by Sandra Lavenex, Dirk Lehmkuhl and Nicole Wichmann draws on a broad comparative analysis to conclude that how the EU deals with its partners abroad depends less on the format chosen for their relationship (bilateralism, the neighbourhood policy, the European Economic Area) than on the issue in question and especially the way in which the EU deals with that issue internally. This raises the very relevant question of policy coherence and whether the EU can use different policy formats to pursue a geopolitical strategy. Turned into a positive interpretation, the results of the study can add a less sceptical view to the discussion of whether the EU pursues a wholesale policy towards its neighbourhood.1
The study by Esther Barbé, Oriol Costa, Anna Herranz and Michal Natorski draws interesting conclusions from the analysis of the externalisation of individual CFSP policies. Looking at, among other areas, the involvement of non-EU states in ESDP missions, the authors conclude that in the approximation to EU rules the issue at stake matters more than the policy framework chosen, thereby supporting the findings of the previous article in the area of CFSP as well.
Antoaneta Dimitrova and Rilka Dragneva use EU-Ukranian relations to test how the influence of a competing power - Russia - affects the EU's ability to export its norms and rules abroad. They find that the EU's influence is strongly hampered in policy areas where a strong interdependence (namely energy) exists between the target of the EU's influence and another power.
Using two elaborate quantitative models, Christoph Knill and Jale Tosun assess the degree of adaptation of different states (EU members, accession candidates, possible candidates and those without an accession perspective) to individual EU environment policies. They draw a rather disappointing conclusion for those who believe that the EU, because of its influence in global markets, has the power to have rules adopted. Rule adoption by legal agreement proves to be the only significantly effective governance mechanism, at least in the adoption of environmental regulations.
The two last contributions deal with the matter of EU democracy promotion from different perspectives. While Richard Youngs draws a rather sceptical picture of the EU's effectiveness in promoting democracy. Tina Freyburg, Sandra Lavenex, Frank Schimmelfennig, Tatiana Skripka and Anne Wetzel reach more positive conclusions. They look not at political conditionality, but at the promotion of a more processoriented democratic governance through the sectoral cooperation that mirrors the EU's experience in specific policy sectors. While Youngs finds that democracy promotion is more effective when it can rely on conditionality and hierarchy instead of the often pursued mutual agreement on nonbinding rules, Freyburg et al. see at least a potential for a democratic seed in sectoral cooperation. Both contributions agree on the importance of the domestic conditions of the target country.
The articles collected in this volume provide convincing proof of the potential of the external governance approach proposed by Lavenex and Schimmelfennig, especially because of the strong empirical foundation of the case studies. Both researchers interested in a powerful approach to studying the EU's impact abroad and those looking for an assessment of the EU's influence on the specific areas studied will find this book valuable reading. (Miguel Haubrich-Seco)
1 F. Bicchi, "Our Size Fits All. Normative Power Europe and the Mediterranean", Journal of European Public Policy 13, no. 2 (2006): 286-303.
European Union sanctions and foreign policy : when and why do they work? / Clara Portela. - London and New York : Routledge, 2010. - xvi, 206 p. - (Routledge advances in European politics). - ISBN 978-0-415-55216-5 ; 978-0-203-84751-0 (ebk)
The European Union started imposing sanctions on third countries in the early 1980s and this instrument was more and more frequently used during the last decade, either independently by the EU or in implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. Nevertheless, despite the centrality of sanctions to the EU's role as an international actor, the efficacy of EU sanctions to third countries is a rather neglected topic. This book intends to fill that gap. It is not limited to a simple description of sanctions as a tool of EU foreign policy, but is a study of their efficacy. Clara Portela, already the author of several articles on the subject of sanctions, first presents theoretical hypotheses about the efficacy of EU sanctions, followed by historical data. She then uses case studies to verify the theoretical hypotheses, with the aim of finding the conditions for success of sanctions and the reasons that justify those conditions.
Portela considers 'sanctions' both those included in the EU's common foreign and security policy (CFSP) and the more general withdrawals of privileges, with the condition that they are EU independent and unilateral measures. She claims that the distinction between formal and informal sanctions is only legal, and does not affect considerations about their efficacy. The structure of the book moves from a general framework of the theories and practice of sanctions to a focus on relevant data. After a lengthy definition and classification of sanctions, also describing their historical evolution and the progress made by IR scholars on the subject, the attention is narrowed down to sanctions imposed without a mandate from the UN Security Council. Following this, the analysis of different variables and methodologies tries to identify the factors that determine the success of EU sanctions. The book then separately considers different kinds of sanctions: those imposed under the framework of the CFSP; informal sanctions, that is measures adopted without a CFSP act or a bilateral framework; aid suspensions in the framework of the Partnership Agreements; withdrawal of trade privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences. For each of them, some select cases are presented, and finally, conclusions are drawn.
Portela's analysis is interesting in many respects. The attempt is to make a thorough investigation of the reasons and efficacy of sanctions, considering and isolating many aspects with the aim of overcoming the difficulties generally found in evaluating sanctions. Yet, the result does not seem to offer a solution: the risk with analysing so many aspects in depth is that the reader finds it hard to follow the thread of the study and distinguish a clear pattern. Moreover, the conclusions mainly confirm some assessments already widely known, such as the greater efficacy of economic sanctions with respect to political ones, or the danger of measures affecting the population and therefore working against the objectives pursued. Key factors for the success of sanctions are confirmed to be international support for EU measures, the target country's isolation and need for whatever is being withheld, the target's cooperative attitude or desire to maintain privileges and prestige. Very interesting are the comparison of the efficacy of different kinds of sanctions, and the critique of the European decision-making process, the rigidity of which often makes the right timing and consistent management of sanctions impossible. (Marta Palombo)
A new approach to innovation policy in the European Union : innovation policy : boosting EU competitiveness in a global economy : CEPS Task Force report / chair : Maria Anvret ; rapporteurs : Massimiliano Granieri, Andrea Renda. - Brussels : Centre for European Policy Studies, c2010. - ii, 88 p. - ISBN 978-94-6138-039-5
The main thesis of this report, drafted by the Center for European Policy Studies, is that there is a gap between the EU and its competitors, namely the US, in knowledge-related fields. The gap is due to the fragmentation of the EU's internal market, poor use of private capital, complex policies for obtaining patents and for small and medium-size enterprises (SME) to enter the market, and poor communications between bloated EU institutions. How to close the gap is outlined in the EU2020 initiative and requires innovative businesses in a knowledge- focused market. However, businesses require a well oiled internal market without the contradictory and cumbersome policies currently in place. A general recipe for success is limiting EU governance, supporting private ventures and, if and when the EU must intervene in innovation, doing so in a universal and streamlined fashion.
The report points out the many deficiencies and contradictions within the EU. However, after describing and discussing the issues, the report in some cases fails to actually recommend what the EU should do. For instance, it continuously blames the EU for not being coordinated and for curbing SME growth. However, it simply states that coordination is an issue and never further elaborates on what exactly and practically should be done. A case in point is the discussion of R&D business startup. One of the requirements is seed money, and the report lists EU financial institutions such as the European Investment Fund (EIF) or the European Investment Bank (EIB) as providing loans. "This can be done by creating an integrated venture capital market in Europe and expanding risk sharing products of the EIB (34). Organizations like the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) also need to bolster and be further supporting. But exactly how should they do this?" (34).
The report is structured into four distinct sections that recommend specific changes to EU policies. The policies under discussion are the EU approaches to innovation policies, patents, technology transfers, and standardisation policy. Each section is then divided into a list of issues, facts and solutions for EU policymakers to consider. The bulleted points are organised by first identifying the problem or goal and then explaining how the EU should act. With intra-paragraph fluidity sometimes lacking, the reports' thesis can be blurry at times. Inter-paragraph organisation, however, is excellent. The bulleted format of the report makes the material much easier to comprehend. Concise arguments also greatly facilitate comprehension. An excellent job is done of keeping each point focused and not letting it get mired in statistical or judiciary facts. Unfortunately, the section on patents is not bulleted and organised like the rest of the report. The report's simple, concise nature should be appealing to anyone wishing to grasp the problems of the EU's deficits and efficiencies with regard to innovation in the EU. (Christopher Dugan)
Security and defence
Due pacifisti e un generale / Ritanna Armeni, Emanuele Giordana a colloquio con Vincenzo Camporini. - Roma : Ediesse, 2010. - 118 p. - (Materiali). - ISBN 978-88-230-1522-7
This short book fills a gap on Italian bookshelves: indeed, its publication represents a novelty or even an oddity in Italy. For the first time, two well-known pacifist journalists, Ritanna Armeni and Emanuele Giordana, converse, but never clash, with Vincenzo Camporini, former Italian Chief of Defence Staff. In a very civil and never simplistic manner, these three authoritative representatives of two opposite worlds - the 'pacifists' on one side and the 'soldier' on the other - seek to fill the mutual 'gap' of suspicion, fear and distrust that still divides them. This book, therefore, is meant to be a 'bridge' between the military and pacifists: in pursuing this aim, the two journalists and the general deal with some issues that have always been considered taboo in Italian public discourse. These include the connections between peace, war and the Italian Constitution, relations between the army and the media, the cost of the defence budget, Italy's contribution to international missions, and the major transformations that have characterised the Italian armed forces since the end of the Cold War.
The purpose of the book is twofold: on the one hand, it aims to show the extent to which dialogue between civilians and the military would be useful for the country and its policymakers; on the other, it seeks to reconsider frankly, albeit from very different perspectives, some major foreign policy decisions taken by Italian governments in the last twenty years, namely the interventions in the Balkans, in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, among the numerous issues touched upon in these pages, the most important one, according to Camporini, is the 'revolution' undergone by Italian armed forces since 1989. Although not fully perceived by the Italian public, which seems to lack an in-depth knowledge of the paradigms guiding Italy's foreign and defence policy, this revolution has been marked by a number of milestones. The most important are the end to conscription and the transition to a professional army, the entry of women into the armed forces, the restructuring of the vertices of 'defence' and the development and deployment of new civilian and military capabilities.
Also of particular interest is the 'Italian approach' to military missions abroad. Going far beyond the common and wellknown stereotype about Italians being 'good people', Camporini clearly and concisely explains the "distinctive Italian feature". The "Italian approach" is characterised by an "instinctive" respect for the culture and traditions of those populations in whose territory Italian soldiers operate and also by an attempt to increase the synergies between civilians and the military. Unfortunately, such an Italian approach, although well considered by both local populations and allied countries, has not yet been included in any sort of field manual so as to represent a point of reference for armies around the world. In addition, the merits of the Italian armed forces in the field of 'traditional' expertise emerge clearly: just to mention a few examples, while the Italian Alpini seem to be able to tackle the harsh condition in the Afghan mountains better than any other ally, the Italian Carabinieri are highly appreciated for their unique capabilities as military police, especially in their activities of training and guidance.
In conclusion, although primarily addressed to a non-expert audience, this book should be read by politicians, soldiers and scholars alike. The book's strength is that it poses brilliant questions and delivers important insights. At the same time, however, it does not delve quite enough into the variety of issues upon which it touches. It would therefore be highly recommended to explore these important issues further and make them known to the wider public. (Giulio Maria Raffa)
Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation : towards a nuclear-weapon-free world? / Sverre Lodgaard. - London and New York : Routledge, 2010. - x, 263 p. - (Routledge global security studies ; 20). - ISBN 978-0-415-49129-7 ; 978-0-203-85058-9 (ebk)
The last atomic tests in North Korea (2006, 2009), the spectre of nuclear terrorism and the debate on Iran have brought the issue of nuclear weapons and their potential proliferation back to the global political agenda. In a discussion often influenced by ideological or political prejudices or stereotypes, this book by Sverre Lodgaard, Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, is a preeminent and objective contribution on the current nuclear challenges.
The book is composed of four parts that investigate, with scientific accuracy, the relationship between power and nuclear weapons ("power shift and nuclear weapons"), the evolution of "nuclear history" from the Cold War until today ("the legacies of nuclear history and the requirement of a new consensus on non proliferation and disarmament"), some open questions ("proliferation problem and the role of nuclear disarmament") and, finally, a future without nuclear weapons ("towards a nuclear weapon-free world"). In the end, the book provides some rich and extensive critical arguments.
Since the second half of the twentieth century, nuclear weapons have become variables of the strategic and geopolitical scenario: in particular the Cold War - or "first nuclear era" - left many legacies. Some features of the nuclear weapons of that time are still present, like the possession of devices for deterrence purposes; others have lost their importance, such as the number of warheads. After the end of the Cold War, "the arsenals were significantly scaled back", due to the end of the West- East confrontation and to treaties like START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) or SORT (Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty). At that time, the US and the USSR had the largest arsenals. Today, the possession of these arms is no longer the exclusive privilege of the US and Russia, nor of the other states authorised by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), namely France, the UK and China. Other states like India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel have acquired nuclear military capabilities. The availability of these devices has led to the development of specific strategic doctrines, and it is the most important of these that the author examines.
The author offers a careful examination of the current challenges reagarding nuclear weapons, starting with the so-called "three state problem", the case of India, Israel and Pakistan, which have not joined the NPT. A specific chapter is entitled "How to Understand North Korea", not only because of the country's special geopolitical context, but also because it is the only member of the NPT that signed it (1985) and then withdrew (2003). Similarly, there is a focus on Iran ("challenge from within"), member of NPT but repeatedly suspected of pursuing nuclear weapon programmes. Lodgaard lingers, by contrast, on the longer list of nations that have refused nuclear weapons or abandoned them; they represent the "rollback experiences" which include the recent cases of Iraq, Libya and Syria.
The book ends with a reflection on a future without nuclear weapons, as announced in Prague by US President Barack Obama (2009). But rather than offering dreamlike rhetoric and utopian solutions, here the author prefers to investigate the current situation, focusing on some issues (doctrines, control of fissile materials, missile defence, disarmament) that continue to influence the ongoing debate. A concrete proposal could be "a protocol to ban the use of nuclear weapons", similar to the ban on the use of chemical and biological weapons.
The book should surely interest students and practitioners of international relations, disarmament and nuclear issues, as it provides a clear and broad view of the subject. However, due to the profundity of the topic, Lodgaard's work is more likely to be appreciated by those already familiar with it. This is the only cloud that can be found in this book. (Stefano Felician)
China and India in Central Asia : a new "great game"? / edited by Marlène Laruelle … [et al.]. - New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. - xiii, 254 p. - (Sciences PO series in international relations and political economy). - ISBN 978-0-230-10356-6
With the emergence of Central Asia as a region full of economic promise as well as a bridge between the Near and Far East, this area has become a playing field for the competing interests of India and China. Accordingly, this book investigates how China's and India's growing interests in Central Asia disrupt the traditional Russia-US 'great game', assessing the effects of current regional and global trends on international relations and the global economy.
In the years to come, both Asian powers are likely to redeploy their rivalry in the Central Asian and Afghan theatres at the geopolitical, but also political and economic levels. With the help of fifteen experts on the region, the book explores the various aspects of the two countries' interests in Central Asia, as well as possibilities for conflict and cooperation. Considering that the two Asian giants in urgent need of natural resources to sustain their growth both border on Central Asian countries, which are among the richest in minerals, oil and gas, it seems realistic to forecast that they will not be interested in coordinating their strategic approach towards Central Asia. At the same time, recalling that the region is also at the heart of the contemporary 'great game' because of the Afghan war and the spread of Islamism, two causes of concern for both Beijing and New Delhi, it is also possible that some form of cooperation will improve their bilateral relationship.
The first part of the book examines the geopolitical projections of power in Central Asia, stressing the reasons why Moscow, Delhi and Beijing interpret domestic and external security issues in different ways and project their knowledge on Central Asia. This depends on their specific historical and contemporary backgrounds, as well as their complex relationships with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second part introduces Central Asia as a place where cooperation, parallelism and competition between India and China can be analysed, clarifying that normalisation of relations does not necessarily mean the emergence of a genuine strategic partnership. The third part of the book elaborates on the economic realities of the Indian and Chinese presence in the region: the divergent economic presence of the two players and their specific market niches, participation in the exploration of Caspian resources, as well as the issue of reconstruction in Afghanistan. The last part, re-enacting historical memories and myths related to the Central Asian space in India, the issue of Uyghur Islam in Xinjiang and its links to the post-Soviet world, and the growing influence of Indo-Pakistani religious movements in Central Asia, clarify the way in which culture, history and national narratives are fully associated to national geopolitical priorities.
The book is essential reading for those wishing to understand the specifics of contemporary dynamics in this vital and changing region. It argues that in the long term, the geopolitical orientation of Beijing toward the West and of New Delhi toward the North is likely to evolve, but for now the latter remains modest. Nevertheless, although India continues to be unable to compete with the Chinese presence in post-Soviet Central Asia, New Delhi is well established in Afghanistan and has begun to cast an eye more markedly toward the shores of the Caspian Sea. (Claudia Astarita, also in Italian)