The International Spectator, Vol. 50, No. 3, September 2015

Special core on The EU’s Wider Neighbourhood in Turmoil

The US Rebalancing to Asia and Transatlantic Public Opinion Free
Recent Publications Free

Issue: 
50/3
Publication date: 
12/09/2015
The EU’s Wider Neighbourhood in Turmoil
Competitive Multipolarity in the Middle East
Kristina Kausch
The Middle Eastern and North African region is in flux and attempts to identify a new dominant structural logic have been limited so far. For the time being, the new “order” appears to consist in the absence of any one clear-cut organising principle and in overlapping, dynamic, often contradictory geopolitical developments. Among many other features, the geopolitical equation in the Middle East is being altered by a number of larger structural shifts regarding the position and relative weight of specific actors. Notable instances include the relative loss of influence of the United States and Europe; the game-changing regional roles of Russia and China, respectively; the resurgence of Iranian-Saudi rivalry; the emergence of a number of regional ‘swing states’; and the increasing role of non-state actors in shaping regional developments. The complexity of this outlook makes policy choices by regional and external actors ever more difficult.
Keywords: Middle East, North Africa, multipolarity, European Union, United States, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran
Buy this article online
Understanding the Crisis in Yemen: Evaluating Competing Narratives
Maria-Louise Clausen
In 2014, Yemen was referred to as one of the success stories of the Arab Spring. Yet, within months a rebel group, the Huthis, took over the capital and the Yemeni state nearly collapsed. Analyses of the crisis in Yemen have routinely reproduced one of three narratives: the Saudi-Iranian proxy war narrative, the sectarian narrative or the al-Qaeda/failed state narrative. However, a closer look shows that the onset of the crisis, although complex, is mainly driven by local factors and related to the lack of political and economic reforms after the transition in Yemen following the uprising in 2011.
Keywords: Yemen, Arab spring, Saudi Arabia, sectarianism, al-Qaeda
Buy this article online
The EU in the South Caucasus and the Impact of the Russia-Ukraine War
Amanda Paul
Despite hopes that it would act as a transformative tool in the South Caucasus to strengthen democracy, stability, security and regional cooperation, the Eastern Partnership (EaP) has produced limited results, with the region more fragmented today than it was five years ago. Russia’s war against Ukraine has further exacerbated the situation, raising concerns over the extent to which South Caucasus countries can genuinely rely on the West. Today, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have different geostrategic trajectories. While Georgia has stuck to the Euro-Atlantic track, Armenia joined the Russian-led Eurasian Union in January 2015. Meanwhile Azerbaijan has the luxury of choosing not to choose. Developments in the region have demonstrated that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work and a more differentiated policy is required.
Keywords: European Union, Eastern Partnership (EaP), South Caucasus, Russia, Ukraine
Buy this article online
Forward Procrastination? Afghanistan’s Lessons about Europe’s Role as a Security Provider
Nicolas Fescharek
If the St Malo process implicitly carried potential to develop European ‘strategic actorness’ and some European security autonomy, throughout the Afghan experience Europeans have, despite occasional opt-outs, largely converged around a role of complementing the US’ security leadership. With respect to the Europeans’ collective presence in the international security arena, the rhetoric of ‘shaping’ global events seems to have given way to a rather passive-reactive attitude vis-à-vis Europe’s security concerns, and the Afghan case exemplifies this dynamic. The combined lack of ambition and capability in member state and EU security contributions makes one wonder if the Europeans’ security role is really about offering solutions to the fires on their southern and eastern surroundings, or rather about ‘forward procrastination’ and reactive containment.
Keywords: Transatlantic relations, Afghanistan, European security
Buy this article online
Economic Integration and Vulnerability in the Neighbourhood
Dimitris Kallioras and Anna Maria Pinna
In 2004, the EU launched the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), a unified policy framework towards its neighbours in the external EU periphery, aiming at strengthening prosperity, stability and security around its geopolitical borders. However, in-depth empirical analysis provides clear-cut evidence that, while the size and composition of trade flows between the EU and the ENCs may be growing, they are not favourable for the ENCs from the perspective of export diversification, in terms of either products or number of destinations. This condition increases their exposure to volatility in international markets. These results provide valuable insight into economic integration theory and for policymaking.
Keywords: EU, ENP, integration, trade, diversification, vulnerability
Buy this article online
EU Immigrant Integration Policies and Returns on Human Capital
Raul Ramos, Alessia Matano and Sandra Nieto
In order to address skill shortages and the demographic challenges facing the EU, member states have to attract (and retain) the more skilled migrants. Nevertheless, foreign residents generally find a significant wage gap with respect to native-born workers when arriving in a host country. Favourable integration policies seem to improve the relative performance of immigrants in the labour market. Indeed, analysis of the role of favourable or unfavourable policies in supporting labour market mobility of recently arrived immigrants shows that wage discrimination between immigrants and natives is lower in those countries with more favourable policies and that this lower gap is associated with higher returns on experience and schooling.
Keywords: Migration policy, labour market integration, immigrants, returns on human capital
Buy this article online
Evidence-Based Policy Research to Inform the ENP: Five Recommendations for Europe and its Neighbours
Tanja Sinozic, Edward M. Bergman and Nuala Moran
Motivated by neoliberal normativism, the ENP drew on a now outdated mix of political and economic reasoning that does not reflect recent scientific evidence on regional development, and is compromised by having been formulated at arms-length from implementing contexts. An expansion of the ENP discourse that builds upon research findings and sustained feedback with field experts in neighbourhood countries is thought to increase the probability of long-term policy success. Rather than trade liberalisation as the primary stimulant, the results specifically suggest innovation support as the default strategy, and migration policy structures to back labour and capital flows.
Keywords: European Neighbourhood Policy, ENP, evidence-based policy, EU innovation policy, EU migration policy
Buy this article online
***
The US Rebalancing to Asia and Transatlantic Public Opinion
Linda Basile and Pierangelo Isernia
The US policy of ‘rebalancing to Asia’ is likely to have major implications for transatlantic relations as well as for the role of rising powers, such as China. US public opinion and leaders are largely aware of this eastward shift in attention and this awareness can be considered, albeit in a somewhat indirect way, an indicator of support for the policy. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, Europeans seem to be less aware of the fact that the Far East is becoming the main chessboard of international relations in a multipolar global order. Nevertheless, when objectively informed about China, people on both sides of the Atlantic are less in favour of a shift in interests toward Asia and their negative perceptions of China are significantly correlated to a hesitancy in supporting a rebalancing policy. Moreover, if people perceive Beijing as a threat, especially an economic threat, they are even less likely to support a shift of interests to the Far East, the only exception being American elites, who tend to increase their support for the rebalancing strategy in the presence of a Chinese economic threat.
Keywords: pivot to Asia, rebalancing, China, transatlantic, public opinion
View this article online       go to Routledge

Opinions
China’s Rebalancing towards Europe
Nicola Casarini
Chinese leaders tend to think strategically about Europe. By following the process of European integration closely in the last decades, they have succeeded in identifying at different historical junctures those European integration initiatives that would serve China’s national security and foreign policy objectives. EU policymakers, instead, appear unable to think strategically about China as EU member states tend to focus on bilateral relations with Beijing, thus undermining Brussels’ capacity to fashion a clear and coherent China policy. There is thus a glaring disparity between Beijing and Brussels when it comes to strategic thinking. With China’s economic and political rebalancing towards Europe underway, there has never been more need for an adequate response from the Union.
Keywords: China, Europe, rebalancing, strategic thinking
Buy this article online

Book Reviews
Economic Growth at the Expense of Freedom
Edoardo Quadri
Review of: Democracy in retreat: the revolt of the middle class and the worldwide decline of representative government, by Joshua Kurlantzick, Yale University Press, 2013
Buy this article online
Recent Publications
View this article online       go to Routledge

Contents

Research area

Tag