Highlights

A yes Vote will Truncate the United Kingdom

A yes Vote will Truncate the United Kingdom

Francis Ghilès Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

Are the United Kingdom and Europe sleepwalking into a crisis whose consequences will be far reaching and unpredictable? If Scotland decides to go its own way on September 18th, it would amount to “an utter catastrophe for this country because a fundamental part of our identity will have been killed.” The sense of foreboding expressed by the popular mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is shared by a majority of British people – whether they live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. It is ironic and, in the view of many, a denial of democracy that the electorate consists of EU nationals resident in Scotland, Commonwealth citizens who have a residence permit but not the 750,000 Scots who live in the British Isles outside Scotland. The future of this nation is being decided with no reference to the vast majority of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom.

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Extra-Territorial Voting in Turekey: Lessons Learnt

Extra-Territorial Voting in Turkey: Lessons Learnt

Özge Bilgili Research Fellow, CIDOB

For the first time in history, on 10 August 2014, the president of Turkey has been elected by the citizens rather than by the Members of the Parliament. This means the election results were determined by a pool of more than 55 million voters, about 5 per cent of them were citizens living abroad. This corresponds to near 2.8 million voters. This is a significant number. Firstly because voters could potentially have a substantial influence on the results of the elections. But secondly, because this large number illustrates why extraterritorial voting is a right to be be taken into account. Even if the voting turnout was very low, it was a good exercise to reflect on the challenges of external voting and to discuss the ways to enhance participation in the next elections.

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Gaza: Back to the  Status Quo

Gaza: Back to the Status Quo

Moussa Bourekba, Project Manager, CIDOB

As Ban Ki-moon said, “any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence”. In this regard, the current context in Gaza gives no indication that the recent ceasefire agreed between Israel and Hamas will lead to a genuine long-term truce.

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Will Islamic State save Bashar al-Assad?

Will Islamic State save Bashar al-Assad?

Héctor Sánchez Margalef, Research Assistant, and Eduard Soler i Lecha, Research Coordinator, CIDOB

That’s what Bashar al-Assad himself expects. The brutality of Islamic State (IS), (previously the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)), is contributing to Assad’s appearance, both inside and outside Syria, as a lesser evil and a necessary collaborator in their containment.

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The Consequences of Afghanistan’s 2014 Presidential Election Impasse

The Consequences of Afghanistan’s 2014 Presidential Election Impasse

Malaiz Daud, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

As Afghanistan’s election saga dragged on, the international community was desperate to have the new president in place in time to attend the NATO summit in Wales on September 4th of this year. That did not happen. Because of the inconclusive presidential election, there is uncertainty about the level of presence or complete withdrawal of the international military forces and civilian aid from Afghanistan beyond December 2014.

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 Seven Clues to Interpreting the Presidential Elections in Turkey

Seven Clues to Interpreting the Presidential Elections in Turkey

Eduard Soler i Lecha, Research Coordinator, CIDOB

Turkey is a parliamentary system. The presidential election on the 10th of August 2014 should therefore go unnoticed. But it won't. Not only because one of the candidates, the current prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has an indubitable gift for generating controversy, but also because, thanks to a constitutional modification, for the first time Turks are electing their president by direct suffrage. The importance of these elections and the message the ballot boxes give can be interpreted with the help of seven clues.

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British Exit from Europe is Unlikely

British Exit from Europe is Unlikely

Francis Ghilès, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

Huge efforts at damage limitation quickly followed in the footsteps of the British Prime Minister’s “historic humiliation” -Financial Times dixit– after his failure to stop the appointment of the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean Claude Juncker, to preside the new European Commission.

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 The Tragedy of Flight MH 17: How Far Is Putin Prepared to Go?

The Tragedy of Flight MH 17: How Far Is Putin Prepared to Go?

Carmen Claudín, Associate Senior Researcher and Nicolás de Pedro, Research Fellow, CIDOB

It would seem that Putin has lost control in the Donbass crisis. Time is now against him. It is becoming clearer by the day that the Kremlin has some responsibility in the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 or, at the very least, has failed to cooperate in bringing pressure to bear on pro-Russian rebels – who are the masters on the ground – in order to get them to cooperate with an independent investigation instead of placing obstacles in the way and spoiling evidence in the area where the catastrophe occurred.

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Pakistan: Monitoring the Key Regional Powers. Report 2

Pakistan: Monitoring the Key Regional Powers. Report 2

Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Islamabad

The purpose of this series of quarterly monitoring reports (2014) is to monitor and track the actions as well as public statements of five key STAP RP regional actors (India, Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia) on Pakistan; the development of, and their participation in relevant international and regional discussion meetings, including the Istanbul Process, Heart of Asia, RECCA, SCO; the five key regional actors’ economic decisions and agreements, including, but not limited to, the energy and infrastructure sectors, which have implications for the identified sources of tension in Pakistan with regional implications (see CIDOB STAP RP Mapping Document at www.cidobafpakproject.com).

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Humanitarian Visa: A Possible Gate into Fortress Europe

Humanitarian Visa: A Possible Gate into Fortress Europe

Anna Bardolet Dilmé, Research Assistant, CIDOB

Similarly to the riddle ‘why did the chicken cross the road?’ there are a multitude of reasons why asylum seekers risk their life trying to reach Europe when they have a legitimate right to international protection.

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Afghanistan: Monitoring the Key Regional Powers.2

Afghanistan: Monitoring the Key Regional Powers.2

Malaiz Daud, Associate Researcher, CIDOB

The purpose of this series of quarterly monitoring reports (2014) is to monitor and track the actions, public statements of five key STAP RP regional actors (India, Iran, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia) on Afghanistan; the development of, and their participation in relevant international and regional discussion meetings, including the Istanbul Process, Heart of Asia, RECCA, SCO; the five key regional actors’ economic decisions and agreements, including, but not limited to, the energy and infrastructure sectors, which have implications for the identified sources of tension in Afghanistan with regional implications (see CIDOB STAP RP Mapping Document at www.cidobafpakproject.com).

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The Middle East Maelstrom

The Middle East Maelstrom

Francis Ghilès, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

During the surge of 150,000 US troops into Iraq which George W. Bush’s administration ordered in 2006 to quell the sectarian violence, the then senator Joe Biden argued that the only way to stem the bloodshed was a soft partition of the country into three highly decentralised blocks, Sunni, Shia and Kurd.

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The National Front focus is national politics, not Europe

The National Front Focus is National Politics, not Europe

Francis Ghilès, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

When the National Front came out top with 26% of the vote – a historic score – in the European elections last month, the party’s leader Marine Le Pen could rightly claim a spectacular victory.

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A new Russian Conservatism: Domestic Roots and Repercussions for Europe

A new Russian Conservatism: Domestic Roots and Repercussions for Europe

Andrey Makarychev, University of Tartu, and Alexandra Yatsyk, Kazan Federal University

Russia's reaction to the Maidan revolution in Ukraine and the subsequent critical deterioration of relations between Moscow and the West have reignited the otherwise diminished interest to the whole Eastern Europe all across the world.

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Beyond Smart Cities: It’s Time for Urban Sustainable Development

Beyond Smart Cities: It’s Time for Urban Sustainable Development

Josep Maria Coll, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

Since 2008, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. More than 70% of the global GDP is begotten in cities. Icons of the financial markets, cities attract talent, forge creativity, boost entrepreneurship and witness mass consumption. Fast increasing urbanization has become the flagship of globalization. By 2050, UN estimations picture an eminently urban planet with 75% of citizens worldwide, mainly in developing nations.

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 The Construction and Deconstruction of Pakistan: The Institutional Writ of the State

It is indeed a huge stride forward for Pakistani democracy that, for the first time in its chequered political history, power was transferred from one elected government to another. While this uninterrupted political process is a turning point in Pakistani politics, there is still a long way to go for the struggling democracy to take root.

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A Suggestion for Turkey: Treat your immigrants like your emigrants abroad

Turkey’s migrant integration policies have recently been evaluated, and the results are not so bright. To improve policies on migrant integration, policy makers need to look back to the country´s emigration history and its diaspora engagement policies.

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New president and a fragile progress towards a cease-fire in Ukraine

New President and a Fragile Progress towards a Cease-Fire in Ukraine

Agnieszka Nimark, Associate Researcher, CIDOB

Six months after the beginning of the protests in Kiev’s Maidan Square and three months after Viktor Yanukovych fled the country, Ukraine has a new democratically elected president.

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PAKISTAN: BACK TO THE FUTURE?

Pakistan: Back to the Future?

Emma Hooper, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

At the start of 2014, a number of Pakistan’s leading analysts identified what they saw as the major challenges facing the country: (i) extremism and violence, (ii) weak governance, (iii) the economy, and (iv) the imperative of a changed foreign policy towards the neighbours.

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MIND THE GAPS - The Political Consequences of the Great Recession in Europe

MIND THE GAPS - The Political Consequences of the Great Recession in Europe

Diego Muro, Assistant Professor, and Guillem Vidal Lorda, Research Assistant, IBEI

The financial crisis that started in 2008 had an unanticipated magnitude. What at first glance appeared as a manageable frailty of the financial sector rapidly derived into a Great Recession with on-going continuity into 2014.

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#EP2014 results: a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans

After a rollercoaster of an election night the estimations are out. The results are like a Harry Potter books’ Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans – the European voters have given us a wide range of tastes, from surprisingly tasty to the outright ordinary but also some really “bogey-flavoured” ones.

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#EP2014: Scenarios and Implications for European Integration

EU citizens from 28 countries elect the new European Parliament between 22 and 25 May, while the European Union is facing an unprecedented economic, financial and political crisis. Lot of attention is devoted to the rise of anti-European forces in some EU member states, such as France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, but these elections are also crucial for the future of the European integration project.

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EU Common Values at Stake: is Article 7 TEU an Effective Protection Mechanism?

EU Common Values at Stake: is Article 7 TEU an Effective Protection Mechanism?

Glòria Budó, Master in European Law, Institut d’Études Européennes, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) sets up a mechanism to guarantee the protection of EU core values, with an early warning system in case of a risk of breaches, and a sanctions mechanism in the event of a serious and persistent breach by a Member State. Regrettably, this article has never been activated and therefore its objectives are far from being achieved.

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Turkey: Tragedy in the Run-up to the Elections

Turkey: Tragedy in the Run-up to the Elections

Eduard Soler i Lecha, Research Coordinator, CIDOB

Turkey is back in the news. Not only because of the Soma mining accident—the worst in the country’s history—but also because of the protests and political controversy it has generated.The tragedy, occurring just a few months before the presidential elections, has accentuated the worrying levels of social and political polarisation in Turkey, which hardly seemed possible.

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NATO at Sixty-Five

NATO at Sixty-Five

Pere Vilanova, Professor of Political Science (UB) and Senior Research Fellow Associate, CIDOB

NATO, the military organization of the Atlantic Alliance, reaches the respectable age of sixty-five years old in 2014, which is no small achievement. Some call this the "third age", others a "second youth", but the truth is more complicated.

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 Ukraine Crisis Could Reframe European Energy Policy

Ukraine Crisis Could Reframe European Energy Policy

Francis Ghilès, Senior Research Fellow Associate, CIDOB

The leading players in the looming disaster that is Ukraine understand too well what the only viable solution can be, however much they might disagree on the details and the timing – elected regional government in a federal state with strong protection for regional interests.

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 Study on Latin America, the Caribbean and Central and Eastern Europe: Potential for Economic Exchange

Study on Latin America, the Caribbean and Central and Eastern Europe: Potential for Economic Exchange

CIDOB; European Community Studies Association (ECSA) and Institute of World Economics (IWE)

The year 2014 marks ten years since the European Union’s (EU) first great eastward expansion. During this time major changes have taken place in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as well as at international level. These have altered the relationships between and perceptions of the protagonists in both regions

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Transition in Afghanistan: Filling the Security Vacuum – The Expansion of Uighur Extremism?

This paper aims to map out as clearly as possible the current threat from Uighur extremist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and ascertainwhether these groups will develop into a regional threat over the next few years.

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The Audacity of Matteo Renzi

The Audacity of Matteo Renzi

Roberto Toscano, Senior Research Fellow Associate, CIDOB

No doubt about it: Italy is a unique country that is full of surprises. After decades of gerontocracy, with an older political class than other European countries and an older President than any other head of state in Europe—if not the world—now Italy has a Prime Minister who is just 39 years old, Matteo Renzi.

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Transnational citizen mobilisation: new forms of political activism

Transnational citizen mobilisation: new forms of political activism

Salvador Martí i Puig and Eduardo Silva (coords.)

How important are citizen protests in domestic and international politics? Can common citizens really influence in geopolitical issues and upset the existing balances in and among sovereign states? Has citizens’ role and power changed in the global world? What is the effect of the growing global interconnection on social movements and on the way they interrelate? These are some of the questions posed by this issue of the Revista CIDOB d’Afers Internacionals, through eight research works that examine cases from Central Africa, South America, Europe, Mesoamerica and Maghreb and the Middle East-

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Implications of the Ukraine Crisis for the Middle East

Implications of the Ukraine Crisis for the Middle East

Eduard Soler i Lecha, Research Coordinator, CIDOB & Eckart Woertz, Senior Research Fellow, CIDOB

On first sight the Middle East seems to be far away from Ukraine and not directly involved in the escalating events around Crimea’s secession and subsequent annexation by Russia. Yet Ukraine crisis is carefully watched in the region. It could have an impact on oil and gas prices, the Middle East’s most important export goods.

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Transculturality and interdisciplinarity. Challenges for research on media, migration and intercultural dialogue

The I Training Workshop on «Methodology for Research on Media, Migration and Intercultural Dialogue» was organised by CIDOB in collaboration with the Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility of United Nations University (UNU-GCM).

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Venezuela in crisis: the Chavista revolution under test

Venezuela in crisis: the Chavista revolution under test

Juan Carlos Triviño Salazar, Researcher at Universitat Pompeu Fabra

The countless images that have circulated in the international media portray Venezuela beleaguered by high inflation, scarcity, large demonstrations and harsh police response. All this suggests that the cycle started by Hugo Chavez in 1998 is languishing.

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 Tunisia, from hope to delivery

Tunisia, from hope to delivery

Francis Ghilès, Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

Tunisians are smiling again. For any regular visitor to Tunis, the change of atmosphere in the capital compared to last autumn, indeed the past two years, is striking. The country’s economic situation has hardly improved however and the fight against terrorism claims regular victims. But the adoption of a new constitution last January which enshrines the equal rights of men and women and the rule of law offers a rare example in the Arab world: a revolt against a dictator ushering in a period of progress, however turbulent and costly in the short term, the respect for the rule of law and, since the appointment of Mehdi Jomâa, a good government.

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The Importance of the European Parliament to Citizens

The Importance of the European Parliament to Citizens

Fernando Guirao, ad personam Jean Monnet Chair of History, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Five years ago, on the occasion of the June 2009 European elections and the planned entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it was explained that the European Parliament would acquire great importance in a supranational Europe. Five years on, we note that since summer 2009 when the international financial crisis became an institutional crisis for the European Union, nearly all EU action has taken place outside the supranational method, with the exclusive protagonism of the European Council, and, therefore, of the heads of state and governments of Member States without the necessary dialogue with the European Commission and Parliament.

Five years ago, on the occasion of the June 2009 European elections and the planned entering into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it was explained that the European Parliament would acquire great importance in a supranational Europe. Five years on, we note that since summer 2009 when the international financial crisis became an institutional crisis for the European Union, nearly all EU action has taken place outside the supranational method, with the exclusive protagonism of the European Council, and, therefore, of the heads of state and governments of Member States without the necessary dialogue with the European Commission and Parliament.

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On the Kremlin’s Disinformation

On the Kremlin’s Disinformation

Carmen Claudín, Senior Research Fellow, CIDOB

This article was published in El País on 9 March 2014. It is translated from Spanish by Tom Hardy, and republished by kind permission.

“Russia, protect us from genocide”, pleads the placard of an elderly woman standing in front of the Crimean parliament. “No to fascism in Ukraine”, proclaims a demonstrator in Moscow. However, not one act of aggression against a Ukrainian citizen for the fact of being a Russian-speaker has been registered since the crisis began. Not even the Russian press has been able to dig up any evidence of one. Thus, if you cannot demonstrate the existence of abuse, you have to create the mass perception that it may well happen and must be avoided. That is what the Kremlin has done among the Russian-speaking population in Crimea and the eastern regions of Ukraine, and it is the argument that it uses when justifying its actions to its own society.

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Ceuta, Melilla y la estrategia de la europeización

Ceuta, Melilla and the Europeanisation Strategy

Elena Sánchez-Montijano, Research Fellow, CIDOB and Eduard Soler i Lecha, Research Coordinator, CIDOB

Spain, similarly to Italy and Greece, wants to Europeanise its border management. These countries insist that the arrival of irregular immigrants to their borders is not a Spanish, Italian or Greek problem but rather a European one. Therefore it calls for a European response. Hence, with regards to the current crisis in Ceuta and Melilla the requests to Brussels have multiplied and there has been an attempt to shift part of the responsibility towards the European institutions. In the Spanish case, the Europeanization strategy has three objectives which are shared with the other southern European countries: first, to increase material and financial aid, second, to share the responsibility of controversial decisions, and third, to obtain support from the public opinion. A Spain-specific objective is to be added to this list: to reaffirm the Spanish sovereignty over the two autonomous cities, insisting that they are EU cities and therefore that their borders are European.

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