The Middle East is once again going through a period of war and upheaval, including mass murder of civilians, state failure, transnational terrorism, sectarian wars, physical and societal destruction, massive arms purchases, use of nonconventional weapons (notably chemical) and a permanent risk of proliferation of WMD. These developments are a threat to the region, but also to the rest of the world and to Europe in particular. The current turmoil should not be underestimated for its potential to trigger an even bigger hot war that could involve other players, if only because of miscalculations by some of the parties involved.
The Belgian defence budget for 2018
increases by a factor of 4.7 in
commitment credits. Not only does this
allow for offsetting the significant
investment shortfalls of the previous
years, it also provides a window of
opportunity for regenerating the Belgian
armed forces with a view to meeting
future challenges. This Security Policy
Brief makes the case that the longawaited
modernisation of the major
weapon systems needs to go hand in
hand with a significant recruitment effort
to address the critical human resources
situation the Ministry of Defence finds
itself in. Yet adding up personnel and
equipment, the 25,000-strong force
structure outlined in the Strategic Vision
still risks being insufficient for meeting
future requirements as they emerge in
De Ruyt, Jean
The EU Treaty objective of establishing ‘an
ever closer Union among the peoples of
Europe’ means that European integration is
a step by step process requiring the use of
supranational institutions. It has never been
popular with nationalists and was strongly
rejected by David Cameron in his quest for
a EU reform deal in 2015-16. However, the
Brexit negotiations demonstrate that
renouncing it will only create harm,
whichever ‘leave’ scenario is retained. Ever
closer union is also required in the field of
Economic and Monetary Union to help the
Euro resist new potential threats. In effect,
Europe has no choice but to integrate
further if it wants to keep its place in an
ever more competitive...
The war in Donbass and the loss of control over part of the country’s strongly industrialised
areas resulted in the significance of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast increasing for Ukraine in both
economic and political terms. This region already accounts for 20% of domestic industrial production.
The fact that the military operation is taking place in neighbouring areas has turned
Dnipropetrovsk Oblast into a direct supply base for the Ukrainian army and a migration target
for many people from the conflict area. Furthermore, the situation in the oblast may serve as
a good case study illustrating Ukraine’s problems on the regional level four years on from the
Revolution of Dignity....
Olszański, Tadeusz A.
January 2018 saw the first celebrations commemorating the centenary of Ukraine’s fight for
independence (1917–1921). The first two of these events, commemorating the declaration of
independence (22 January 1918) and the battle of Kruty (29 January 1918), were surprisingly
small-scale, especially with regard to the participation of Ukraine’s leadership in them. This
may mean that the ruling elite has no concept of how to use the centenary to solidify its political
position, also in the context of the presidential and parliamentary elections planned
for 2019. At the same time, a profound shift in the narrative regarding the fight from a century
ago has been evident in the...
In 2017, Belarus’s GDP went up 2.4%, the first positive result since 2014. This meant an exit
from a two-year recession, further proof of which includes an upward trend in industrial production,
low inflation and a relatively high level of currency reserves. It appears that Belarus
has returned to the path of economic growth, above all as an effect of the improvement of
the situation on the global fuel markets, resulting in increasing income from the sale of petroleum
products, one of its main exports. The fact that the Belarusian-Russian dispute over
the terms of oil and gas supplies from Russia, which had continued for more...
Jakóbowski, Jakub; Popławski, Konrad; Kaczmarski, Marcin
The report discusses the current state and future prospects of rail connections between China and the countries of the European Union. Special emphasis is placed on the role of Central Europe. It presents the goals and the policy adopted by the Chinese side in the process of building rail connections with European countries, compares the current and the planned transport corridors, offers an analysis of the economic potential of the China-Europe rail connections. It also discusses various business models of cooperation with China in rail transport.
The report has been drawn up based on the desk research and interviews with representatives...
The informal EU summit has ended without a breakthrough on the size and details of the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the Union’s multi-year budget from 2021 onwards. This is hardly surprising. We are only at the beginning of a long negotiation process that has always been contentious; more so this time due to the dual pressure of lower contributions - with the exit of the UK, one of the main net payers - and the need to finance the EU’s pressing priorities - migration, internal and external security and possibly new instruments to strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union...
Bamberg, Katharina; De Somer, Marie; Valsells, Marta Llonch
The question of intra-EU solidarity in managing
migration is still a hot topic of debate among
member states, and between different EU
institutions. The most heated discussions concern
relocation quotas and whether these should be
mandatory or voluntary (see Special Focus section).
In the run-up to the EU Council Summit in December,
Donald Tusk, President of the Council, and Dimitris
Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration and
Home Affairs, had a head-to-head confrontation
over the issue. An agreement is unlikely to be
reached any time soon.
At the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit on 24 November 2017, Armenia and the European Union (EU) signed a
new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). It represents a second chance for Armenia to
deepen ties with the EU, after the four-year relationship limbo that followed Armenia's surprise rejection of an
Association Agreement in 2013.
The new agreement is the first example of the EU's new differentiated approach towards the EaP countries, which
takes into consideration the constraints and specific conditions unique to each of them. While the new agreement
excludes free trade provisions, which would contradict Armenia's commitment to the Russia-led Eurasian
Economic Union (EAEU), it creates...
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, has called an informal meeting of EU 27 on 23 February
to discuss the EU's institutions. This will be the first time since 2014 that the leaders dedicate a whole
session to constitutional questions. It is their opportunity to assess the damage that Brexit has done to the
political mission of the Union, and to prepare for some important decisions later in the year about the future
of the European Parliament, the Commission and EU finances. Emmanuel Macron wants to promote "une
Europe souveraine" and has made a number of proposals to this end.
Over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives markets, in particular interest rate derivatives (IRD), have grown
significantly in recent decades and now constitute a systemically important component of financial
services activity. The UK plays a central role in clearing derivatives, both at a global and EU level. It is
the single biggest venue for OTC derivatives activity and is even larger in terms to euro-denominated
IRD contracts clearing. Yet, the fact that a large share of euros is traded, and will be traded after Brexit,
in a non-euro area country raises questions about the regulation and supervision of such markets and
the sustainability of liquidity provision, particularly during a time...
Demarigny, Fabrice; Lannoo, Karel
In its review of the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs), the European Commission is proposing a radical expansion of the competences of the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA), but without changing the final decision-making structure of the ESAs. Such a change of scale, creating important new powers for ESMA in capital markets’ supervisory functions for the EU-27, was not expected by most market participants. With the biggest financial centre soon leaving the EU, the review introduces some provisions on future cooperation with third countries but outside any strategic thinking about the competitiveness and attractiveness of the post-Brexit Capital Markets Union (CMU).
Independent evaluations of the current European Neighbourhood Policy are highly critical, and have not been dissipated by a recent review of the policy. At the same time, however, a new reality has emerged, which might be called the Wider European Economic Area (WEEA). The core area covers the EU, EEA/EFTA states, the Balkans, and the East European states that now have Association Agreements (and DCFTAs) with the EU. This comprehensive map of all of Europe, except for the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, already has a growing and impressive array of common economic instruments at its disposal. A few South Mediterranean...
The European Union faces evolving environmental, social, health, economic, and political challenges, including attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals to which the EU has committed, such as clean water and climate action. Trade policy is an important tool for addressing these challenges, as well as a field in which the EU enjoys exclusive competence and extensive experience. Because many of these challenges require innovative scientific and technological solutions, this article argues that S&I should receive more attention within EU trade policy, and vice versa. In addition to discussing the current neglect in the EU between S&I and bilateral and multilateral...
Davignon, Etienne; Dehousse, Franklin
Núñez Ferrer, Jorge; Simonelli, Felice; Renda, Andrea.; Di Salvo, Mattia; Zarra, Antonella; Bosc, Romain; Bouyon, Sylvain; Rinaldi, David
The Hercule III programme was established by the European Commission to promote activities against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities affecting the financial interests of the Union. In compliance with Article 13 of Regulation (EU) No 250/2014 establishing the Hercule III Programme, the Evaluation Roadmap prepared by OLAF and the Better Regulation Guidelines, CEPS was commissioned to carry out a mid-term evaluation, together with three other institutes, to assess the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency, EU added value and sustainability of the programme. Based on primary data collected from 574 stakeholders and extensive desk research, the study concludes that Hercule...
This paper applies the concepts of hegemony and hybridity as analytical tools to help understand the
structural changes taking place within the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries and beyond. The author points
to the split identities of many post-Soviet societies and the growing appeal of solutions aimed at balancing
Russia’s or the EU’s dominance as important factors shaping EaP dynamics. Against this background, he
explores how the post-Soviet borderlands can find their place in a still hypothetical pan-European space, and
free themselves from the tensions of their competing hegemons. The EaP is divided into those countries that
signed Association Agreements with the EU and those preferring to...
Pisani-Ferry, Jean; Zettelmeyer, Jeromin
Rejecting the critique by Messrs Messori and Micossi of their earlier paper as “fundamentally inaccurate and misleading”, Jean Pisani-Ferry and Jeromin Zettelmeyer offer a succinct rebuttal in this new contribution.
Technological revolutions bring opportunities, but sometimes even greater threats. This ‘paradox of progress’ affects cyberspace today, threatening to undermine the very principle and foundation of the open internet. The global debate on cyber-governance is currently in a stalemate on the norms for global stability of cyberspace and the fight against cybercrime, although the EU is making considerable efforts to strengthen the resilience of cyberspace and the critical information infrastructure. The newly proposed Cybersecurity Act should, however, be supported by additional measures to increase awareness, devise smarter policy and enable effective governance. Too many users and businesses are still failing to...