Sunday, 13 November 2011

In times of Crisis, Bring on the Technocrats

This article first appeared on the Globe and Mail

Is the European Union’s supposed “democratic deficit” now spreading to individual European countries in the wake of the sovereign-debt crisis? The rise of unelected technocrats to political power in Greece and Italy suggests, at least superficially, that the old taboo against technocratic governments pursuing an EU-dictated agenda has been shattered.

Consider Italy. Most Italians breathed a collective sigh of relief that three-time Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is being replaced by a technocrat par excellence, former European Commissioner Mario Monti, a respected economist. Greece, too, is turning over the reigns of government to an unelected, and supposedly apolitical, technocrat, Lucas Papademos, a former vice president of the European Central Bank.

Of course, there are many things wrong with the EU nowadays, but a widening of its so-called “democratic deficit” is not one of them. Indeed, that perceived deficit is something of a politically convenient canard. Scholars such as Princeton University’s Andrew Moravcsik have long argued that the EU’s legitimacy comes not from the ballot box, but from its ability to provide concrete benefits to citizens. What the EU achieves through integrating markets – or even eliminating passport controls – underscores the benefits of its “delegated democracy.”

Indeed, it is precisely the Eurocrats’ detachment from everyday politics that has enabled the EU to deliver. Contrary to the ranting of Euroskeptic politicians in Britain and, increasingly, in eurozone member countries, the growing disenchantment of voters with politics reflects the distance that has grown between promises and results, not the distance between EU officials and member states’ citizens.

According to an alarming poll published recently by the leading Italian newspaper La Repubblica, more than 22% of Italians find no great differences between an authoritarian and a democratic system of government. Another 10% believe that an authoritarian regime is better and more effective than a democratic political system.

This disturbing decline of faith in democracy, which is not confined to Italy, brings us back to the powerful rationale underlying Europeans’ growing reliance on technocratic governance: security. From the end of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union, what brought Europeans closer together was not the dream of a Europe-wide, democratic polity, but, above all, their desire to be safe and secure.

Throughout the post-war years, the narrative of European integration almost always focused on the quest for political, social, and economic security. With violent demonstrations in the streets of Athens, Madrid, and Rome, it is not hard to understand why some people may once again choose to give priority to their security, particularly their economic security.

Europe’s technocrats worked in the service of security ahead of the EU’s enlargement in 2004 to the former communist states of Central Europe. The EU’s bureaucracy played a key part in helping those countries to navigate the complex transition from socialist autocracy to capitalist democracy. At the time, few people acknowledged this, because Eurocrats rarely make headlines. But their success in applying technical standards to countries seeking EU membership earned them huge legitimacy.

The unwritten rule in Europe seems to be that, the more depoliticized the process, the more legitimacy technocrats can earn. Conversely, whenever politics gets in the way of a decision, bureaucrats lose credibility.

One objection to delegating political authority to technocrats is that such appointments amount to a humiliating constraint on sovereignty. In normal times, that is unacceptable to most citizens. But in times of crisis, the voice of the neutral technocrat gains greater legitimacy.

Monti, for example, was among the first to sound the alarm about Italy’s dire finances. But, attesting to the technocrat’s neutrality, back in August he also warned about the implications of demands by non-elected international institutions (in this case, the European Central Bank) for particular policies in exchange for support of Italian bonds in international markets. Monti called this podestà forestiero, something of a foreign overlordship based in Brussels, Washington, and Frankfurt, as well as Berlin and Paris.

The EU is a voluntary pooling of national sovereignty, but the demands now being made of Italy (and Greece) are the diktat of other sovereign nations. A national-unity government run by a technocrat in place of an administration run by elected politicians does not qualitatively change the fact that outsiders are demanding reforms. But voters in a time of crisis may be wiser than most politicians: for the past two decades, Italy’s most popular statesman has consistently been Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, a former central banker called in to run an emergency interim government in the mid-1990’s.

Of course, a technocratic government is an anomaly to the extent that it constitutes a damning verdict on the performance of a country’s entire political class. But voters in the battered lands of the eurozone seem to have reached their own damning conclusions about their elected leaders months ago.

Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, wrote that “a leader is best when people barely know he exists.” With Europe’s crisis-stricken governments increasingly turning to unelected technocrats, one can almost see citizens nodding in agreement.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tunisia's Evolutionary Revolution

This article, co-written with Rasmus Boserup, appeared on

Ten months after the collapse of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s authoritarian regime, Tunisia has produced a remarkable balancing act between the revolutionary urge for change and a pragmatic need for continuity. With elections for a constitutional assembly due to take place on October 23, the country that ignited the “Arab Awakening” is emerging as a regional paradigm for a stable democratic transition.

A number of preconditions have smoothed Tunisia’s path. Whereas Egypt struggles with the need to assert civilian control over the military, the Tunisian army has stayed out of politics. And, in contrast to Libya, the Tunisian population never took up arms during the protests. The economy does not run on hydrocarbons. And, notwithstanding serious inequalities between Tunisia’s littoral and inland areas, this small country of 10 million people is, according to the World Bank, an upper-middle-income economy.

Above all, civil institutions have proven to be resilient. A “Higher Council,” made up of notables of different backgrounds and political orientations, has been established to steer the transition. For all of the previous regime’s misdeeds, Tunisians are proud of their country’s liberal institutions, such as women’s rights and a progressive family code, adopted in 1956. Betraying some nostalgia, senior members of the administration speak privately of a “remarkable continuity” in the Tunisian transition.

But overall stability has not prevented cracks from emerging in more contentious areas. The security sector remains largely unreformed. The rough, transitional justice that often follows a change of regime has not taken place, at least not yet. In what is arguably the most striking change since the fall of Ben Ali, Tunisia has witnessed the swift rise of an Islamist movement that was banned from the country for decades.

The ascent of Nahda (Renaissance), the leading Islamist party, is less a reflection of latent ideological support among a newly liberated people than it is a testament to the party’s remarkable ability to fill the post-revolutionary political vacuum. Since January, Nahda has opened more than 200 offices. Scores of volunteers are deployed in electoral campaigning at a grassroots, door-to-door level. The party’s imposing headquarters in the suburbs of Tunis symbolize its position as the most effective political operation in the country by far.

While opponents ominously recall the involvement of party cadres in the deadly bombings of tourist targets in 1991, Nahda has gone to some lengths to appease its critics. Its electoral program calls for constitutionalism, separation of powers, citizenship-based rights, and the protection of women’s rights. Adherence to such tenets would place Nahda in the same league of moderate Islamist parties as the Turkey’s Justice and Development Party and its Moroccan counterpart.

Much like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Nahda will have to marginalize the more militant fringes of Islamist politics, such as the salafis – and is likely to lose some of its supporters in the process. But Nahda’s ambition to win over – and, ultimately, stably occupy – the mainstream of Tunisia’s democratic politics requires nothing less.

There is no silver bullet to democratization. In Algeria in 1991, it was civil-society activists who called for a military intervention against the Islamists; in Tunisia in 2011, all political actors seem to accept that the Islamists’ democratic credentials must be tested through elections, and that the outcome must be respected. If Islamists are to be brought into the democratic fold and encouraged to move towards the political mainstream by getting their hands dirty in the give-and-take of day-to-day politics, then Tunisia may be the right place to try it.

Moreover, if there is such a thing as a Tunisian “model” of democratic revolution, its distinctiveness consists in its evolutionary character: the state administration has continued to function, and a cross-party consensus has emerged around basic social and economic policies. The middle class has taken charge, while a long-repressed Islamist contender has entered the fray of electoral politics.

Once a corrupt regime is removed, the road ahead often proves bumpy, as has been true in all of the countries affected by the Arab Awakening. But in Tunisia, what has also emerged is a lively nascent democracy that deserves the West’s support.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Tunisia: wasn't this what we were hoping for?

This article, co-written with Rasmus Boserup, appeared on openDemocracy

John Maynard Keynes once wrote that: “It is not sufficient that the state of affairs which we seek to promote should be better than the state of affairs which preceded it; it must be sufficiently better to make up for the evils of the transition”. The people of Tunisia have been doggedly focused on their quest for a better 'state of affairs' since January, when they ousted the regime of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. As elections for a constitutional assembly take place on 23 October, Tunisia’s institutions, parties and society have proven keenly aware of the 'evils of transition'. The result is a remarkable balancing act between the revolutionary urge for change and a pragmatic need for continuity.

The nation that ushered in this year’s 'Arab Spring' has experienced a process that distinguishes itself markedly from its Egyptian and Libyan neighbours. Whereas Egypt struggles with finding an adequate role for the military, the Tunisian army has kept out of politics. In contrast to Libya, the Tunisian population never took up arms during the protests. While facing a number of serious challenges, including how to include the country’s re-emerging Islamist contenders, westerners can be forgiven for hoping that Tunisia will represent a much longed-for role model of a stable and peaceful transition.

Remarkable continuity
Is there a silver bullet to democratization? The experience of this corner on the northern tip of Africa is that a smooth transition process requires a number of preconditions. Unusual for the regional context, Tunisia does not run on hydrocarbons. Notwithstanding serious inequalities between the littoral areas and the inland, this country of 10 million inhabitants is relatively wealthy and qualifies, according to the World Bank, as an upper-middle-income economy.

Above all, civil institutions have proven to be resilient: The Higher Council for the Achievements of the Goals of the Revolution, a transitional representative body made up of notables of different backgrounds and political orientation, has steered the transitional process. One of the Council’s key achievements is arguably the compromise on Tunisia’s constitutional system, which will shift from presidential to prime ministerial in order to limit concentration of power in the executive branch. Betraying nostalgia for Tunisia’s regime of Habib Bourguiba (1956-1987), senior members of the administration speak openly of “remarkable continuity” in the Tunisian transition.

Behind this resilience of the state is a culture of moderation and pragmatism that is frequently presented as a uniquely Tunisian quality. Even for those social and political forces calling for a radical break with the past, 'change' often amounts to wiping out the corruption that was endemic amongst the high echelons of Ben Ali’s clan. Other than that, there is a broad consensus on the economic and social challenges facing the nation. Unemployment and disparities among the country’s different regions require a degree of redistribution. Yet, as a small and resource-poor country, Tunisia has thrived on trade and openness, which does not require the visible, intrusive hand of the state. In an echo of continental Europe’s welfare model, political operators, including those of an Islamist persuasion, speak of Tunisia as a 'social market economy'.

Dignity and disruption
For all the flowers sold as souvenirs on Avenue Bourguiba, Tunis’ central thoroughfare, nobody in Tunisia speaks of a Jasmine Revolution, as the western press have dubbed it. Tunisians rather savour the reach and depth of social mobilization around the fundamental quest for social justice. The first real indignados of 2011 were not those who hit the streets of Madrid and Athens, but those who ousted Ben Ali’s calcified autocracy. Its political forces have maintained a remarkably united front. Tunisia’s was above all a 'revolution of dignity'.

This consensus, however, has not prevented cracks from emerging in other, more contentious areas of governance. The transition surrounding security and justice is a case in point. While the army has played no role in the transition (itself another unusual feature of the Tunisian revolution) the security sector remains largely unreformed. Transitional justice that follows a regime change, of the kind experienced in Central Europe or South Africa, has simply not taken place in Tunisia. Another issue that caused disruption, and eventually a deadlock in the transitional Higher Council, was the proposal to regulate party financing, with leading parties refusing to disclose their resources.

For all the misdeeds of the previous regimes, Tunisians are proud of their liberal institutions: freedom of women and a progressive family code, adopted in 1956. Yet, in the run-up to the elections, the debate concerning morals has become particularly heated. Senior members of Nahda, the leading Islamist party, are accused of being ambiguous on the matter of polygamy. Some secular politicians are being singled out for their alleged consumption of alcohol. The growing attrition around the discourse on values underscores what is arguably the most complex challenge facing the fledgling Tunisian democracy.

Islamist renaissance
The most obvious disruptive element in the Tunisian transition concerns the role played by the quickly expanding, but young and unknown, Islamist movement. Weakened by decades of intense state repression orchestrated by Ben Ali’s notorious Ministry of Interior, Tunisia’s Islamists were largely spectators at the toppling of the president. Much has changed since then: after the return of Rachid Ghannouchi, the historic leader of Hizb al-Nahda (or 'Renaissance Party'), after twenty years in exile, the Islamists have displayed a remarkable ability to rebuild their organization and affirm their presence in Tunisia’s political and social realm. Different independent polls point to an electoral outcome in October in which Ghannouchi’s party will dominate parliament with up to 25% of the votes cast, almost twice as many as its nearest contenders from the secular-leaning liberal and socialist parties.

The swift rise of Nahda is less the story of default ideological support by a newly liberated electorate, than it is one of remarkable ability to fill the post-revolutionary political vacuum. Since the fall of Ben Ali’s regime, Nahda has opened more than 200 offices in Tunisia. Scores of volunteers are deployed in electoral campaigning at a grassroots, door-to-door level. The party’s imposing headquarters in the suburbs of Tunis symbolises its position as the most effective political operation in the country.

Nahda has gone to some lengths to appease its critics. Opponents recall Ghannouchi’s celebratory speeches about the Iranian revolution in 1979 (from which he later distanced himself) and the involvement of some party cadres in the deadly bombings of tourist targets in 1991. But today Nahda’s electoral program spells constitutionalism, separation of powers, citizenship-based rights and the preservation of women’s rights. Such tenets arguably place Nahda in the same league as moderate Islamist counterparts such as the Moroccan Justice and Development Party and Turkey’s AK Party.

Will it last?
There is more to Nahda’s success than sheer organizational capacity and political wits. In the light of its uncompromising opposition to Ben Ali, for large segments of the Tunisian electorate the party also embodies the clearest and cleanest alternative to the survivors of the old regime. But what might be perceived as a strong advantage in the short run, could potentially turn into a serious challenge to the party’s long-term cohesion.

At present there seems to exist at least three sociological groups inside the Nahda. There are the political activists who, like Ghannouchi, fled the repression in the late 1980s and have just returned from exile. Then there are the tens of thousands of political prisoners who spent much of the past two decades in detention. Finally, there is a less homogeneous '1980s generation' whose members stayed silent in Tunisia during Ben Ali’s regime. It remains to be seen whether Nahda will be able to reconcile these different experiences and networks, or whether the party will split into several competing parties as has recently happened with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The recent ousting from Nahda of the respected Islamic thinker and co-founder of the party, Abdelfattah Mourou, underscored the relevance of such speculation.

Not unrelated is Nahda’s relation with the more radical and conservative elements of the Islamist movement. Much like the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, the party is under pressure from a small increasingly active Salafi movement, whose rise is generally attributed to the influence of Saudi Arabia’s satellite TV-preachers and labour migration. While lack of interest in electoral participation makes its political appeal limited for now, the Salafi tendency has been known to exist in Tunisia for a while, and its presence is being increasingly felt in public life. Locals recall gloomily an episode from July this year, when salafi activists physically prevented a cinema in central Tunis from screening “Neither Allah, Nor Master”, a documentary film that they had deemed 'immoral'.

Much like the Muslim Brothers in Egypt, Nahda will have to distance itself from the more radical fringes such as the salafis. In doing so, the party is likely to lose some of its supporters. But Nahda’s ambition to win over, and ultimately stably occupy the mainstream of Tunisia’s democratic politics, requires nothing less.

A great Tunisian evolution
Before this year’s Arab awakening, Islamists offering a strategic and ideological counterweight to secular autocracies proved to be a recipe for ruthless repression. Today, the tables have turned and it is rather Islamists who respond and reject the liberal-secular dogma. Ominously, a controversy over whether the full-faced veil can be worn in Tunisian universities led last weekend to violent clashes between salafis and the police.
But the fact that Nahda promptly condemned these and other recent protests sustains a broader point: if Islamist movements are to be brought into the democratic fold, encouraged to move towards the centre of the political spectrum, and get their hands dirty in the endless bargaining that is day-to-day politics, then Tunisia may be the right place to try it. In Algeria in 1991, several civil society activists called for a military intervention against the Islamists; in 2011 Tunisia, the political forces seem to accept that the Islamists’ democratic credentials must be tested through elections.

With a somewhat more daring leap of faith, the pragmatism characterizing the Tunisian transition can be taken a step further. Tunisians are surprisingly indulgent about the realpolitk behind the decades-long engagement of European governments with corrupted autocracies in the region; “we blame them,” a top operator told us, “but we understand them.” On the other hand, the transition so far is remarkably aligned with the objectives of longer-term, and lower-profile, policies that institutions such as the European Union have been carrying out for the past twenty years. In this sense, if there is such a thing as a Tunisian 'model', it lies in its evolutionary as much as its revolutionary character: the state administration has continued to run, the middle class has taken charge, and a cross-party consensus has emerged around basic social and economic policies - at the same time as a long repressed Islamist contender has entered the fray of democratic politics.

As for the other countries involved in the Arab awakening, once the top layers of a corrupt regime have been removed, the road ahead is nevertheless destined to be bumpy and uphill for some time to come. But in Tunisia, what has emerged is also a body politic that deserves the west’s unreserved support.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Arab Summer and Europe's Umpteenth Hour

This article, co-written with Pawel Swieboda, appeared on E!Sharp

As the Arab spring turns into a politically hot, Indian summer of transition, Europeans interrogate themselves on what kind of support they will be able to provide. For better or for worse, territorial vicinity and a long history of relations have already marked the response to these multiple crises in a uniquely European way. The EU has much to offer to the brave peoples that toppled corrupt regimes or are pushing them to reform all across the region: from institution building to civil society support and everything in between. Yet, the uprisings have exposed severe constraints on the vision of a genuine European foreign policy.

The upheaval took place over one year after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty reforming the EU, whose principal innovation was indeed the creation of an EU foreign minister in everything but name, in the person of Catherine Ashton, and of a putative diplomatic corps. Yet, leadership on Libya has come from two national capitals, London and Paris, while the Brussels establishment was often prominently absent from the decision-making process. European governments were united in not seeing a role for the EU’s fledgling defense policy. In the cases of the Egyptian and Syrian uprisings, France, Britain and Germany have displayed more convergent responses; yet, their joint statements calling for transition barely made a reference to their common EU allegiance.

To be fair, some of the growing criticisms of Europe’s foreign policy ineffectiveness lack perspective. It is not plausible that a larger number of bureaucrats fielded on the ground will fundamentally alter Europe’s position in any reshaping of the world order. Her generous shuttle diplomacy notwithstanding, it is not realistic to expect that the number of miles covered by Lady Ashton will arrest Europe’s relative decline.

Even so, the reasons why Europe has so far punched below its weight are real and profound. As a consensus-based organization, the EU is typically slow in reacting to crises. Moreover, while Brussels may have earned some legitimacy on the basis of the policies that it implements, its largely technocratic apparatus lacks the kind of ‘input legitimacy’ that a democratic selection of political representatives can provide. The disconnect between a slow-moving bureaucracy and the higher profile role of key governments is mutually detrimental and hinders the great many things that the EU already does on the ground. The deepening crisis of the Euro and much-feared waves of migrants further exacerbate European introspection.

The Arab spring may yet turn into another “hour of Europe”, where, as in the Balkans in the 1990s, the EU fails to grasp challenges occurring in its backyard. It can equally well turn into a formative experience pushing the EU to display a greater sense of responsibility for its immediate neighbourhood. The EU’s foreign policy will remain the lowest common denominator of what European governments already agree upon—or let the EU do. But Europe’s collective responses must be viewed as a kind of variable geometry, with some things done by Brussels, others done by groupings of selected European countries, some issues best being tackled multilaterally, and others being left to bilateral negotiation.

The EU orthodoxy tends to see such trends as a sign of fragmentation, but there is nothing wrong in delegating decision-making to the actors and mechanisms that are best suited to address individual issues, as long as someone in Europe actually does take charge.
A case in point is offered by Poland. As the largest of the new member states that entered the EU in 2004, Warsaw is the current holder of the rotating EU presidency and an increasingly influential player. Also, it is the only European country to have escaped the recession since 2008. Holding the rotating presidency, it must now invest more in teamwork rather than its individual clout in the field of foreign policy.

Yet, Poland has made a point in using its first-ever presidency to provide leadership in the EU’s external affairs. As the Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski put it, he is acting as a ‘loyal deputy’ to Lady Ashton, a phrase that it would be hard to imagine coming from the lips of any of his counterparts from larger European countries.

More than that, Poland is using its own recent history, untainted by colonial ties and characterised by a successful transition to democracy, to present the European case in North Africa and the Middle East. Senior Solidarnosc personalities, including former President Lech Wałęsa, headed Polish government delegations in Tunis and Cairo. Sikorski was the first Western minister to visit Benghazi. In cooperation with Al-Jazeera, Warsaw has in store a programme to recount the Polish experience of democratisation. It is too early to tell whether this approach will bear fruit. At the same time, by being bold about what Europe can deliver and realistic about what it cannot, the Polish experience may point the way towards the kind of enlightened self-interest which Europe sorely needs.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

La strage che infrange l’utopia scandinava

Questo articolo è apparso su AffariInternazionali

“Non credere di essere più speciale degli altri o che tu sia migliore di noi”. In Scandinavia, diverse versioni di questo principio sono comunemente note come “la legge di Jante”: un modello di condotta sociale secondo il quale successi e conquiste sociali sono raggiungibili solo dalla collettività e qualsiasi individualismo è visto con sospetto. La “legge” è qualcosa di cui gli scandinavi vanno particolarmente fieri, ma non fornisce alcuna spiegazione agli attacchi terroristici in Norvegia, che venerdì scorso sono costati la vita ad oltre 70 persone. Allo stesso tempo, offre il quadro di riferimento di un cambiamento piuttosto radicale in corso in questi paesi. Così come sarebbe profondamente fuorviante stabilire una causalità diretta fra gli orrendi crimini di Oslo e il tono del dibattito pubblico, è altrettanto difficile ignorare l'aumento dell’intolleranza sociale e politica nell’Europa settentrionale.

Apertura e coraggio
Originariamente, Jante si riferisce alla storia di una cittadina creata nel 1933 dalla penna del romanziere danese-norvegese Aksel Sandemose. In quel paese immaginario furono codificate, in vena satirica, le regole ispirate all’onestà, al contegno e all’uguaglianza che definiscono la vita civile della Scandinavia moderna. Nei decenni successivi, la regione si è distinta per l’applicazione di queste regole, se non nella lettera quantomeno nello spirito: uno stato sociale efficiente e generoso che si è posto come obiettivo la riduzione delle diseguaglianze economiche, una statura internazionale imperniata sulla neutralità e il pacifismo.

Dopo il crollo del muro di Berlino, invece di rimanere appollaiati in cima all’Europa in splendido isolamento, gli scandinavi si sono lanciati a capofitto nella globalizzazione. Hanno aperto le loro economie e il mercato del lavoro, hanno prodotto innovazione e creato alcuni dei marchi più popolari dell’ultimo ventennio - dall’Ikea alla Nokia. Senza mai perdere di vista la sostenibilità del modello di sviluppo e il mondo che verrà lasciato alle prossime generazioni. E, soprattutto, senza mai perdere d’occhio quella combinazione di modestia ed efficienza che ha continuato a costituire la stella polare del successo nordico. La maggioranza silenziosa dei danesi, norvegesi, svedesi e finlandesi non ammetterà mai di essere “più speciale” o “migliore” degli altri, anche se da fuori sembrerebbe un’osservazione perfettamente giustificabile. Ma anche grazie a quest’atteggiamento, i paesi scandinavi sono riusciti a trasformarsi e a prosperare.

Multiculturalismo e integrazione
Negli ultimi anni, questa preziosa eredità è andata pericolosamente erodendosi. I segnali sono molteplici: molti istituti di credito hanno alimentato bolle speculative o si sono esposti ad operazioni finanziare azzardate, in modo non dissimile ad alcuni dei paesi più colpiti dalla crisi. L’individualismo, non poco influenzato da format televisivi identici al resto dell’Europa, è andato gradualmente crescendo. Ma soprattutto, come altrove in Europa occidentale, queste società etnicamente omogenee incontrano difficoltà ad accettare un multiculturalismo disordinato e spesso fuori controllo.

Da questo punto di vista, la peculiarità di paesi come Danimarca, Norvegia e Finlandia sta forse nel modo in cui i partiti della destra populista riescono a condizionare il dibattito politico. Programmi elettorali che promettono ripristino di frontiere e sovranità nazionale hanno fruttato in anni recenti risultati non inferiori al 15% (e quasi un quarto dell’elettorato in Norvegia). I governi vengono poi incalzati al punto di dover accettare alcune delle richieste più estreme della destra.

La recente esperienza in Danimarca è illuminante al riguardo. Il Partito popolare danese, formazione di destra che ha assicurato sostegno esterno al governo liberal-conservatore per oltre un decennio, ha ottenuto due mesi fa la reintroduzione delle dogane alle frontiere per contrastare il crimine transfrontaliero. A nulla sono serviti studi indipendenti che evidenziano la scarsa incidenza del ripristino delle dogane sulla lotta alla criminalità. Men che meno sono state ascoltate le veementi proteste europee, e tedesche in particolare, sulla possibile infrazione danese del trattato di Schengen. Il governo aveva bisogno di voti per approvare la riforma delle pensioni, ed ha ceduto alla destra populista sulle frontiere senza batter ciglio.

Risveglio amaro
Gestire i flussi migratori o superare la congiuntura economica sono sfide che tutto l’Occidente deve affrontare. E si potrà obiettare che, in entrambi i casi, i paesi scandinavi abbiano mostrato eccessi che devono essere in qualche modo riequilibrati. Riequilibrare, però, significa per questa regione anche e soprattutto preservare istituzioni che hanno servito egregiamente i cittadini, costituendo un modello per tanti altri paesi. L’ironia amara di retorica e prassi della destra populista è che la soluzione alla crisi deve ricercarsi in strategie spesso opposte a quelle che hanno funzionato finora: bisogna difendersi, chiudersi, proteggersi, anche a costo di essere meno tolleranti. È improprio e semplicistico definire la strage di Oslo come il sintomo di un male più profondo ed oscuro. Ma è un segnale forte e positivo il fatto che, dal giorno della tragedia, la maggioranza silenziosa degli scandinavi non discuta d’altro.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Unraveling of Europe's Peace

This article first appeared on Project Syndicate

The European Commission recently unveiled long-awaited measures to bring neighboring countries in the Mediterranean and the former Soviet Union closer to Europe. On the same day, another department of the same Commission presented proposals aimed at curbing visa-waiver programs for some non-European nationals. Few missed the irony of formulating two plans that pointed in opposite directions.

Attracting neighbors has long been a noble aspiration – and something of a European specialty. The European Union’s embrace of post-communist republics in Central Europe represented a most powerful symbol of the reach of Western liberal democracy.

In today’s neighborhood, where EU expansion is not in the cards, Europe hopes to shore up its presence by opening its huge internal market and increasing assistance. Crucially, the Commission’s recent proposals include the creation of “mobility partnerships” with Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt, aimed at facilitating travel for local students and businesspeople.
By contrast, the proposed restrictions on the visa-waiver program include “safeguard clauses” that would temporarily suspend access to Europe’s Schengen area, most likely for those from Balkan countries. This is controversial enough: the decision is motivated by a large influx of asylum-seekers, often offering frivolous reasons, originating from Serbia. But visa liberalization has been the main concrete signal of Europe’s goodwill towards this neglected backyard, which dreams of joining the EU. Whatever this plan’s impact in practice, the political message is clear: when in doubt, Europe is better off sealing its borders.

The same Janus-faced approach is evident in Europe’s response to the Arab Spring. After a lukewarm reaction to the uprisings, Europe was eager to show its support for democratic movements in the region. At the same time, with boatloads of migrants arriving from Tunisia, some rather drastic measures have been adopted. A recent dispute between Italy (the main port of arrival) and France (the principal final destination) ended with the French reintroducing border controls.

In an unrelated move, Denmark did the same, ostensibly to prevent cross-border crime. To its credit, the European Commission also issued strong calls to member states for better legislation and practices concerning migration. But there is a clear correlation between unrest at the EU’s doorstep and Europe’s irresistible instinct to keep trouble at arm’s length.

For once, the rot is not in Brussels, but rather in a growing number of European capitals. The case of Italy is instructive: “human tsunami” is the unfortunate phrase used by senior policymakers to warn against the possible flood of migrants. But, almost six months into the North African upheavals, the number of arrivals on the southern island of Lampedusa has reached roughly 30,000. By comparison, Sweden, with one-sixth the population of Italy, accepted the same number of asylum-seekers in 2009. Italian officials privately confirm that the current figures are not unmanageable.

The problem for Italian officials, as for the other governments concerned by the recent migration flows, is the pressure of right-wing populist parties, which no longer need to be on the defensive. The case for openness, inclusion, and diversity in European societies has become much harder to make. Not coincidentally, mainstream leaders, from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to British Prime Minister David Cameron, have caught up with the current mood by deeming European multiculturalism a failure.

This turn of events comes at a price. The genius of modern Europe has consisted in linking long-term stability to the pursuit of ever-deeper economic and political integration. For the past half-century, this has represented Europe’s revolutionary recipe for peace, and has served as something of a microcosm of globalization. The ever-freer and faster flow of capital, labor, goods, and ideas found in the EU a model and a forerunner. Free movement of people within Europe constitutes this visionary project’s most tangible feat.

One unintended effect of the Arab revolutions is that the link between security and integration that forms Europe’s foundation is decoupling. The advantages of pooling sovereignty and resources ring increasingly hollow to ordinary Europeans. Governments find it more politically rewarding to pursue security by erecting administrative or physical barriers.

As election campaigns beckon in some of the countries that are now debating immigration controls, this trend is unlikely to be reversed any time soon. But Europeans should make no mistake about the consequences. Opposing Europe now means not only standing up to an unelected behemoth in Brussels, as Euro-skeptics would have it. Nor is it merely about questioning the sources of Europe’s influence in a fast-changing world. Unraveling the nexus between security and integration means nothing less than rejecting the formula of Europe’s peace.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Taming Libya's Mad Dog

This article co-written with Daniel Korski, appeared on the website of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Each new protest in the Middle East has confronted the West with a different kind of challenge. Tunisia was primarily a test for the former colonial power, France, which had cosied up to Ben Ali's regime, in part to avoid sea-borne migration. Egypt, meanwhile, challenged the United States and its fifty year-old policy of backing the region's strongmen in exchange for policy agreements - for example on Israel and Iran. The protests in Yemen, Al Qaeda’s ancestral home, threw up problems for Britain in its fight against Islamist terrorism.

Now, protests and an unusually violent crackdown in Libya has presented an altogether new test for the West. In some ways it is easier, in some ways harder. Ever since he gave up Libya's WMD program in 2003 and claimed to end support for terrorism, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has played the West largely by his own rules. Sitting on vast reserves of untapped oil has enabled him to cultivate ever closer relations with Western powers.

Newly-declassified documents show that British officials advised the previous government that they should "work actively but discreetly" for Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi's release in a deal thought to have included commercial motivations. Libya is the 11th largest exporter of goods into the EU, a higher place than Canada and Taiwan. Its most notable exports are of petroleum and petroleum products - Libya accounts for 6.9% of EU energy imports, just behind Norway and Russia on the list. No doubt with these figures in mind, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, Libya's former colonial power, said of the ongoing repression that he did not wish to "disturb" Gaddafi.

The close European-Libyan cooperation has not, however, prevented the Tripoli regime from making mischievous threats to Europe, most recently that of flooding the continent with sub-saharan migrants. If the regime does not cooperate in stopping illegal migrants from crossing the Mediterranean Sea and reaching Europe, the numbers could surge to some 40,000 would-be migrants a year from a current annual rate of 7,300.

This goes to show that unlike the United States, geography represents a defining factor of the European reaction to this crisis. Only last week, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini wrote in the Financial Times that 'this "arc of crisis" will lead to more illegal immigration, terrorism and Islamic radicalism.' A failed state in the horn of Africa looks less threatening than one the opposite shore of the Mediterranean. Especially one with lengthy historical links to Europe.
The economic and political embrace of Libya has made it considerably more difficult for some European leaders to extricate themselves from Gaddafi's script while his "mad dog" reputation allowed them to shrug their shoulders over his cartoonish antics. But the recent events mean European leaders can no longer look the other way. In trying to re-establish control, the Gaddafi regime have plunged to depths not seen elsewhere in the region.

Security forces have fired on protesters with high-velocity sniper rifles, machine guns and even anti-aircraft artillery. Rumours swirl that mercenaries have been recruited. Women and children were seen jumping off the Giuliana Bridge in Benghazi to get away. Many of them were killed by the impact of hitting the water, while others were drowned. Human Rights Watch reports numbers of deaths in the hundreds, since the unrest began spreading from the eastern provinces.

Yet, the fact that few conditions were attached to the post-2003 rapprochement gives the West more room for manoeuvring. In the case of Libya, which does not have a treaty with the EU, this should include the prospect of new sanctions. Inevitably, any talk of penalties will be associated with the complex historical legacies of European oppression and colonisation. But should it come to that, sanctions would not equal isolation. It was a combination of sanctions and intense dialogue with the regime that led Gaddafi's to renounce the WMD programme.

Moreover, the EU has demonstrated the ability to move rapidly into a tougher mode than a month ago in the case of Belarus. Two years of engagement with Belarus, which included substantial European investments, did not prevent EU leaders from re-imposing a visa ban on Lukashenko's regime in response to a crackdown on the opposition. As repression begins to look like carnage, the Libyan case should be treated no differently.

As a first step, the EU should impose an immediate travel ban on all key Libyan officials. At the same time, preparations should be put in place for a freeze of Libyan assets held in Europe. European governments should put forward a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council condemning Libya’s actions. To ensure that Europe’s southern flank is able to deal with a wave of migrants unleashed by a scornful regime, planning should commence for FRONTEX, the EU’s border agency, to help the states most likely to receive the flow of migrants.

If there ever was a need and an opportunity for Europe to show its muscles, Colonel Gaddafi is providing one.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Calling Europe's Bluff in North Africa

This article first appeared in openDemocracy

An old Moroccan legend has it that the people of Andalusia, in Southern Spain, once complained to king Alexander of Macedonia about the continuing pillaging at the hands of the north African Berbers. The king ordered his best engineers to dig a huge channel between Spain and Africa. The Strait of Gibraltar thus came to be and the Andalusians lived in security happily ever after.

In the face of the momentous popular upheaval shaking north Africa, Europe is still living the fairy tale. At a meeting on 31 January, EU foreign ministers reached out to the new authorities in post-Ben Ali Tunisia and expressed their support for an "orderly transition" in Egypt. But the message during recent years has been something strikingly different: Europe has neither encouraged democratic transformation nor prioritised reforms in the region. Much like the Andalusians, the paramount objective has been to keep north Africa at arm's length from Europe.

Two sets of reasons - one socio-economic, the other socio-political - have underpinned such an attitude. The socio-economic pressures include unemployment, which stands at double-digit rates in most countries in north Africa. Moreover, the demographic time-bomb has not been defused: the population of north Africa and the middle east is expected to grow from the present 280 million to nearly equal that of Europe with some 400-450 million inhabitants by 2020.

This latter figure forms the background to the socio-political challenge. The primary concern here is Europe's angst about immigration. The dehydrated boat people stranded on the beaches of southern Europe account for a minimal fraction of the migrants entering the EU every year. Yet, the Mediterranean has become the main testing ground for Europe's stance on immigration, because scenes there strike at the feeling of discord within multicultural Europe. Then there is that which the oft-quoted Arab Human Development Report has called the "freedom deficit" of the region - corrupt regimes coupled with severe restrictions of political rights and civil liberties - which is now challenged by events from Cairo to Sanaa in Yemen.

Faced with these challenges, Brussels has ended up accepting the standard alibi made by Arab autocrats, whereby opening the political system would pave the way for takeovers by Islamic extremists. The EU has thus favoured economic cooperation in the hope that more widespread prosperity would eventually spill over to political reforms. To be fair, Europe is not the only culprit here. EU countries are north Africa's largest trading partner, so economic cooperation makes good sense. Financial assistance and macro-economic programs in the Mediterranean have been co-financed by the International Monetary Fund and follow standards set by the World Bank. Still, the charge that economic support should accompany-and not precede-political reforms on the receiving end pertains to the EU, no less than to international financial institutions.

The main trouble with the EU has been in the gap between political rhetoric and operational reality. For all the European declarations, north Africa observers never had many illusions about the prospect of trade liberalization with the EU. Far more concrete has been European protectionism on, most notably, agricultural products and textiles. Add to that the bilateral oil and gas deals that continue to flow between some European countries and the likes of Libya or Algeria, and Europe's arbitrariness towards the region becomes dramatically apparent.

With events still unfolding on the Arab street, what should Europe do now? As we have argued in a recent policy brief, the EU's policy toolbox is comprehensive and detailed enough to ensure strong support for the reform process. While a more effective EU policy is deeply desirable, the guiding principles of governance reform are all enshrined in the existing policy framework and contain the right incentive structure. These standards are applicable to any new reform-minded government sitting in Tunis or Cairo.

At the same time, the EU will have to be smarter and stricter in how its policy instruments are implemented. Any talk of penalties or sanctions is associated with the complex historical legacies of European oppression and colonisation. However, these punitive conditions are crucial to send a signal to governments moving away from their commitments.

Above all, the dramatic events in north Africa should elicit a profound reflection inside Europe about how the EU portrays itself on the world stage, and how it is perceived by its counterparts. This is not about repeating the inward-looking exercise that characterised the EU institutional debate of the past half-decade. The reflection should be primarily about the priorities and values that the EU aims to promote, and about how these should be promoted. The ongoing review process of the EU's ailing Neighbourhood Policy is the best place to start.

At the height of America's occupation of Iraq, European diplomats were quite keen to privately remark that their more modest framework was still wiser than "regime change." It has introduced a regional praxis of dialogue and consultation where previously there was none. The north African states have not followed Iran on a theocratic path. All this is true, except that the original plan was not damage-limitation. Europe aimed at inspiring comprehensive political and economic reforms; its stated ambition was region-building, widespread stability and prosperity.
None of this has happened and the revolutions in north Africa have called Europe's bluff.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Berlusconi's Private Diplomacy

This article, co-written with Arnold Cassola, first appeared on Project Syndicate

ROME – On the Web site of the Italian Foreign Ministry, Tunisia is praised for its “ideal features” and “political and social stability.” After the popular upheaval that ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power, the peril of supporting Arab autocrats in exchange for flimsy stability should have once again become apparent to Western powers. In Italy, however, the Tunisian uprising is also a painful reminder of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s tangle of conflicting private and public interests.

Many Italians remember that Ben Ali – whose rise to the presidency was directly supported by Italy – provided refuge to Bettino Craxi, the former Italian prime minister (and Berlusconi’s political mentor), who fled the country in 1994 to avoid conviction on corruption charges. Craxi died and is buried in the Tunisian holiday resort of Hammamet.

More recently, the Tunisian connection has come up in relation to one of the murkiest dossiers associated with Berlusconi’s foreign policy: Libya. In September 2009, The Guardian published an article about a company, Quinta Communications SA, owned by a Tunisian-born entrepreneur and long-time business associate of Berlusconi, Tarak Ben Ammar. The article alleged that Quinta is partly controlled by a company owned by the Berlusconi family’s investment vehicle and partly by a holding company controlled by the Gaddafi family’s investment arm. The implication that Berlusconi and Gaddafi indirectly co-own Quinta has not been refuted.

Were Berlusconi only a tycoon, such reports would not raise many eyebrows. After all, Libyan financial institutions have been investing in Italy for decades. Were Berlusconi only a statesman, one could argue that realpolitik is a justifiable prerogative of a sovereign state: strategic considerations often trump the pursuit of more noble goals, such as promotion of human rights. As Berlusconi bluntly put it, closer relations with Libya are about “fewer illegal immigrants and more oil.”

The trouble with Berlusconi is that the corporate empire that he owns, which ranges from media and publishing to insurance and advertising, can conceivably affect key foreign-policy issues. And when sensitive questions like immigration and energy security are in play, his government’s foreign policy can have an impact on other countries’ citizens, too.

Indeed, a rather straightforward pattern emerges from the American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks so far. American diplomats, it turns out, also have reservations about Berlusconi’s relations with Russia. They express concern at the “frequently non-transparent” business dealings between the two countries, and allege that many of Berlusconi’s “business cronies” are deeply involved in Russia’s energy strategy. The United States Ambassador at the time is repeatedly quoted as suggesting that Berlusconi has a “financially enriching relationship” with the Kremlin.

Such allegations can of course be disputed, and Berlusconi was quick to laugh them off. But the underlying question, whether Italy is trustworthy or not, cannot be dismissed so easily.
Just as US diplomats have done, the rest of the international community has a right to speculate about the Berlusconi family business’s international priorities; about whether these priorities are influencing Italy's foreign policy; and about how Berlusconi can show that they are not. Berlusconi’s undisputed survival skills, and the acrobatics of his personal life, have relegated the outside world from the attention of most Italians. But rarely has a Western country’s foreign policy been so exposed to its prime minister’s private interests.

Italy’s conflict of interest could damage more than the trust of its allies. It could undermine the credibility of Europe’s stated emphasis on the promotion of the rule of law and strengthen the charge of double standards that is so often leveled against Western policies. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was reported to have quipped when confronted with routine European criticism on corruption and organized crime, “Mafia is not a Russian word.”

Anyone with access to YouTube can view the 1986 footage of Berlusconi being interviewed in one of his network’s studios by veteran journalist (and later vocal opponent) Enzo Biagi. Beneath a map of Cold War Europe, the then-entrepreneur boasts about the successes of his companies. In closing the interview, he asserts that the expansion of his television channels abroad will be pivotal to the unification of Europe.

Even if this plan has not been realized, the rationale behind it should be of no little concern to Italy’s international partners.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

How to Tempt Russia's Modernizers

The article first appeared in OpenDemocracy.

As European Union and Russian leaders meet tomorrow, Tuesday, for a bilateral summit, they find their checkered relationship in the midst of yet another reversal. After the early post-Soviet chaos and the belligerent posture under President Vladimir Putin, the buzzword these days is modernization.

In June this year, the EU and Russia launched a “Partnership for Modernization”, aimed at “advancing economies” and “bringing citizens closer together”. At the summit this week, Russia is set to receive European backing on a prize that has eluded Moscow for almost two decades: membership in the World Trade Organization, which is now in sight for 2011.

Beneath the headlines, however, Europeans have good reasons to be cautious about Russia’s modernization. At home, President Dmitry Medvedev’s many fine sounding words have not materialized into much action. Attempts at economic reform have largely been limited to the launch of much maligned “innovation projects".

The problem may well be that Medvedev’s liberal agenda lacks a power base beyond his loyal inner circle. Medvedev is widely regarded as the junior partner of a political partnership with Prime Minister Putin. The economic crisis has also to a certain extent worked against him, strengthening the more hard-nosed segments of the Russian ruling elite, together with their fondness for state capitalism. The populist tone of Medvedev’s state-of-the nation address last week would appear to confirm the weakness of his position.

There is no denying, however, that the Westpolitik of the Medvedev-Putin ‘tandem’ represents a more nuanced balancing act. The reset with the United States is real and has resulted in a more cooperative posture with Washington on a whole range of issues from Iran to Afghanistan. Russia has now agreed to cooperate, albeit somewhat grudgingly, on the missile defense shield in Europe.

Moscow has also reconciled with some of its European neighbors, most notably Poland. Just a few days ago, the Russian Duma voted a bill acknowledging Stalin’s responsibilities in the 1940 massacre of some 20,000 Polish officers in Katyn.

In truth, then, Europe has failed to grasp the foreign policy potential of Russia’s modernization. Ill-conceived as it may have been, Medvedev’s call for a new security architecture in Europe was motivated by the inadequacy of existing frameworks. Yet the Europeans referred the Russian proposal to the OSCE—one of the very frameworks that need reform—and in so doing effectively brushed it aside. Moreover, despite the prospective green light on the WTO, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected recent suggestions for a free trade area between the EU and Russia.
"The EU remains Russia’s largest trade partner and the main importer of its hydrocarbons. No matter Moscow’s posture, this interdependence constitutes a huge leverage"

Despite such difficulties, however, the prospective WTO deal offers a very direct clue as to how Brussels can and should pursue broader objectives in its Russia policy.

Back in 2004, the EU gave a resolute push to Russia’s WTO membership through another bilateral deal in which, among other things, dropped demands the liberalization of Russia’s gas monopoly, Gazprom. A surprising development followed a couple of months later, when Russia — after a period of long opposition — unexpectedly ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Russia’s ratification was decisive in obtaining quorum for the treaty. In other words, in exchange for a European concession on trade, Moscow made a significant contribution to one of Europe’s key foreign policy priorities.

This kind of log-rolling between unconnected issues can be replicated to advance relations in a whole host of dossiers: from climate negotiations, which are again in a quandary, to more contentious aspects of energy cooperation. This, at least is what EU officials privately hope.
Clearly, the “Europeanization” of Russia — assuming it ever started — is now long over. At the same time, the EU remains Russia’s largest trade partner and the main importer of its hydrocarbons. No matter Moscow’s posture, this interdependence constitutes a huge leverage.

The EU can do business with Russia without selling short the values upon which it was founded. Pragmatism is what the Kremlin has always demanded of Brussels. And it is only with a heavy dose of pragmatism, that Europe can hope to entice Russia to some of its cherished goals.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Europe's Butterfly Effect

This article first appeared on openDemocracy.

Amid an increasingly competitive global environment where Europe's future aspirations on the world stage have been questioned, Fabrizio Tassinari argues that focusing on the finer issues could help Europe to colour the bigger picture.

According to chaos theory, the butterfly effect refers to those tiny events leading to major, long-term variations in a system. The metaphor provides a moderately optimistic outlook for Europe’s influence in the 21st century world: any lasting advance in Europe’s global reach is unlikely to be executed through a grand plan; it will at best happen through some key, imperceptible, developments that may produce broader, though not entirely planned, consequences.

Strategists, always fascinated by the big picture, have rarely looked at the matter this way. During the first half of the noughties, many an observer exuded unbound confidence in Europe’s global ambitions. The introduction of the Euro and the accession of ten new member states from Europe’s east were to crown the EU as an unstoppable force in global affairs. A thinly-veiled shadenfreude for the quagmire that America was making for itself in Iraq did not hurt the cause.

The sources of Europe’s might were apparent. As multinational corporations contravening the Union’s competition rules well know, the EU is arguably the world's leading regulator. In order to sell their products in the European market, producers worldwide comply with the precautionary principle on environmental or health-related risks. Europhiles were also keen to point out that the world was being modeled on the image of Europe through the emergence of regional groupings such as the African Union and ASEAN in Southeast Asia.

Over the past couple of years, on the contrary, not a week has gone by without an irrevocable post-mortem being pronounced on Europe’s aspirations. According to the Lisbon Treaty, the new key posts of EU president and foreign policy supremo are meant to strengthen the EU’s image on the world stage. Yet, leaders of the EU member states were accused of choosing compromise figures that could not overshadow them. At the Copenhagen Climate summit in December last year, the EU performed miserably and was marginalized in the negotiations by China and the United States. The slow response to the Greek tragedy has shown that political integration lags dangerously behind the economic one.

Lisbon Treaty celebration, Portugal. Vlad Sokhin/Demotix. All rights reserved.

For all the present gloom, the truth is as always somewhere in the middle. The EU was never meant to take the world by a storm; but it is not a delusional conclave of old countries either. From sub-Saharan Africa to the Palestinian authority, the EU remains the largest donor in many parts of the globe. For all the troubles of Turkey's EU bid, the prospective accession of the Balkan countries within the next decade will constitute an accomplishment of historic proportions, especially in light of the European blunders of the 1990s.

Above all, and typically for the European integration project, the EU global power will have to be found in the myriad technical measures that nobody really notices, and that will spill over into other fields, gradually and almost accidentally amounting to a strategic vision.

An example makes the point. A couple of months ago, a group of wise persons headed by former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales, and on which these pages have commented extensively, released a set of recommendations on the future of Europe for the next 20 years. One foreign policy priority focused on the introduction of a common visa policy and a consular service within the EU’s nascent diplomatic service.

Why such an emphasis on something so technical which most western citizens will most probably never even hear about? Because at the moment, EU visa application for third country nationals can be a cumbersome, arbitrary and often humiliating process. Many of the younger and better educated migrants craved by Europe give up and continue to opt for the US’s east coast or Silicon Valley instead. The release of visas concerns what kind of immigrants Europe receives and how it welcomes them. So what is at stake is the future of Europe’s aging populations and of its anemic labor markets. A more integrated bureaucracy is only a minor piece in the intricate puzzle of Europe’s troubled immigration policy. Immigration itself is not the most obvious foreign policy priority. But as in much of the history of the EU, the domestic and foreign realms often coalesce and bureaucracy might just be the only place available to start making change.

The ongoing global disorder has determined an increasingly competitive environment. The fault lines between conflict and cooperation among a plethora of different world actors are going to get fuzzier. Europe is not equipped to react swiftly and boldly. It will stand a chance if it identifies small niches where it tries to perform better. To be sure, even the smallest of measures needs serious political backing in order to fly. The hope is that the European butterfly flapping its wings in some remote corner of the world will eventually produce major, tangible effects elsewhere; starting from the non-smoking rooms of many European capitals.

Friday, 2 July 2010


Concluding remarks to the online debate on the EU-Balkans relations at Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso.
Proseguo da dove ho terminato l’intervento iniziale: meno chiacchiere e più fatti. È un’osservazione sulla quale la maggior parte dei molti spunti interessanti emersi in questo dibattito non dovrebbe aver difficoltà a convergere. Eppure, cosa vuol dire concretamente ?

Una cosa che in questa fase si può chiedere all’Ue e ai governi dei Balcani occidentali é di “portarsi avanti” con il lavoro. Ci sono diverse cose che devono essere fatte prima di avviare il processo di adesione vero e proprio. Prima fra tutte, il cosiddetto “screening’”: ovvero un’analisi complessiva, ministero per ministero, dello status quo in termini di riforme compiute e/o delle inadempienze tecnico-amministrative dei Paesi aspiranti all’adesione. Sulla base di questa analisi, la Commissione deve poi produrre un “parere” sul livello di riforme raggiunto dai singoli Stati. Procedure queste, che normalmente portano via un anno, se non più.
Non entro nei dettagli: chi fosse interessato può leggere un eccellente rapporto pubblicato dal European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR) che spiega il meccanismo. La sostanza è la seguente: in un momento di crisi economica e “fatica da allargamento”, il segnale più concreto della nostra volontà di far avvicinare i Balcani all’Europa è di cominciare quel lavoro che dovremo fare comunque per negoziare l’adesione.
Nel 2005, quando la Commissione presieduta da Giuliano Amato produsse il suo rapporto, l’Ue emergeva dall’allargamento ad Est, dall’introduzione dell’Euro e si confrontava con i fallimenti degli Stati Uniti in Iraq. Era un’Europa ambiziosa e fiduciosa, e anch’io apprezzai quella presa di posizione così esplicita e forte. A prescindere dall’opportunità o meno di dare scadenze, su cui mi sono espresso nel precedente intervento, il rapporto della Commissione ricevette giustamente plausi, perché la caratura ed il peso dei membri di quel gruppo segnalavano uno slancio politico significativo.
A cinque anni di distanza, le cose si sono complicate. O meglio, quella tesi potrebbe e dovrebbe essere difesa da quegli uomini di governo (in Europa pochi, al momento) che sostengono il processo di allargamento; l’osservatore si limita a leggere ed interpretare Il clima circostante, che purtroppo non si presta a slanci.
Detto questo, l’osservatore non è mai perfettamente neutrale. Quindi per riprendere la frase di un lettore, se dovessi scommettere i fatidici 10 euro, spererei nell’adesione dell’ultimo Paese dei Balcani occidentali all’Unione europea entro il 2020.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Friday, 23 April 2010

Hidden values

First appeared on Global Europe

By Fabrizio Tassinari and Julie Herschend Christoffersen

Much has been said of the choice of the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy; probably too much has been said about her initial performance. Yet, analysis on the institutional tools at Catherine Ashton’s disposal has been scant — or at least as ungenerous as the coverage of her first months in office. The EU’s External Action Service (EAS) is the case in point par excellence. In recent weeks, the mentions of the EAS in the international media have often been conflated to the ongoing bickering over the establishment of the service. But the substance, let alone the potential, of this fundamental, post-Lisbon innovation remains understudied.

With 136 delegations and some 6000 diplomats and employees spread across the globe, the EU will be represented by a foreign service roughly of the size of Germany’s. The newly obtained mandate to represent the CFSP grants EU delegations power to handle EU policies jointly — including trade, development, environment and foreign and security policies.

To be sure, the ongoing power struggle on the service underpins issues of real substance. The Commission’s desire to maintain its influence over the delegations applies to policy-areas traditionally managed from Brussels. Development, trade and EU enlargement are still included in the administration of the Commission, but the EAS will have desks covering these areas. Beneath the turf war between the Council and the Commission over staffing is a genuine anxiety about the clash of culture between national and EU diplomats. Ashton has asked the experienced Danish diplomat Poul Skytte Christoffersen to help her solve some of these problems — a move that underlines the need for the High Representative to appoint powerful deputies.

As it often happens, however, the brouhaha over institutions overshadows the hidden value of EU initiatives. Once fully in operation, the EAS will represent EU foreign policies around the world and around the clock. As an old Commission hand told one of the authors of this article, the EAS: ”will think about Europe, and it will do it all the time”.

The EAS may give smaller member states a say and a face in corners of the globe where they could never afford to be represented. Big European countries which still project geopolitical clout and strive to retain it could see this presence as a nuisance. For them, the EAS will rather have to carve a niche out of member states’ policy and representation gaps, especially at a time when a number of national ministries face budget constraints.

Above all, there is the issue of how the EAS will represent the EU, and more generally of Europe’s ability to project power globally. Severe blows to the Union’s alleged ”soft power” — most recently the marginal role played by the EU at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen — will require the EU to implement and communicate more effectively the great deal of things that it already does in the world. This includes the not-negligible “hard power” that the EU already musters in the field of civilian and military crisis management. Strategically, the ability to deliver in this sphere constitutes a most formidable task for the forthcoming service.

In the best of scenarios, the EAS will equip EU foreign policy with the degree of coordination, responsiveness, and — yes — unity, that Lady Ashton’s chimerical “red phone” was never quite meant to provide. It will take time, and the intra-institutional battles in Brussels are far from over. But if one is in search of improvements in post-Lisbon EU foreign policy, it eventually might be that getting a line to one of the delegations’ switchboards will do the trick.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ghosts at the Borders

This interview on my book, by Laura Delsere, first appeared in English and Italian on the
Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso portal.

According to Tim Judah "every EU foreign minister should immediately read this book". In Why Europe Fears its Neighbors, Fabrizio Tassinari talks of the EU’s anxiety about those just beyond its borders. We interviewed him

“This is the book which all EU foreign ministers should read immediately”: Tim Judah, the Balkan correspondent for the British weekly, The Economist. The book, Why Europe Fears its Neighbors, (published by Praeger Security International and coming out in Italy soon), portrays Europe’s demographic and identity crisis and the challenges of globalisation and multiculturalism. The author, Fabrizio Tassinari, is director of the Foreign Policy and EU Studies Unit at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). In order to achieve its ambition for global power, the EU should confront the spectres located exactly on its borders. The book explores the EU’s relationship with the East and the Mediterranean, but we have asked the author to talk primarily on the challenges posed by the EU’s long eastern border.

Why this book now?

This book results from five years of work. I started by observing the “enlargement fatigue” and released the book to coincide with the new momentum from the Lisbon Treaty. First, the neighbourhood is not the same for everyone: for a Pole, the neighbour is Russia, certainly not Libya. Nevertheless, many EU members share the siege mentality: at the borders, we see migration, drug trafficking, and energy insecurity. This, however, is the moment for a new approach: rather than agonize over how to limit the enlargement, the EU should focus on practical and gradual integration of its neighbors. Enlargement, far from being a threat, has so far supported development and democracy.

Why is it important that the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Lady Ashton, chose to make her first official visits to Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Pristina?

Despite the unkind comments about Ashton’s inexperience in foreign affairs, she made an important choice to first visit the Balkans. She could have started with Ankara or Tel Aviv, but, in the medium term, the Balkans will be the test for the European Union’s credibility in international forums. By landing in Sarajevo, Ashton played a modest card in view of global scenarios, but which has the merit of being pragmatic, of having achievable goals. In addition, Ashton leads the creation of the first European External Action Service (EEAS) that will have permanent EU delegations in 136 countries of the world. We will see the results over the next decade.

Bosnia and Kosovo are two tests for the EU, where the EU invested considerable resources, not without considerable waste, with modest results so far. What are the major errors and what are their consequences?

Bosnia, in the coming months, rather than a return to violence, has an objective risk of secession. As described by the former Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, the EU has to aim for “electroshock treatment” and “political demining”, which will prevent the internal infighting in Bosnia. My thesis is that the prospect of EU membership does not warm hearts without new developments in the life of citizens, such as visa liberalization. With her visit to Kosovo, Ashton sent a strong message to some European capitals, such as Spain, current holder of the EU rotating presidency and among the EU member states that do not recognise Pristina. In reality, a divided institution now supervises the independence of the new state. In addition to bureaucratic contradictions with the unjustifiable result of funding going to the wrong hands, political issues also make Kosovo a thorn in the side.

Does the EU exert sufficient pressure in the fight against corruption in Bosnia and Kosovo? The elections occur in an opaque institutional and social reality.

The pressure on Kosovo, as previously on Serbia, Macedonia, and Croatia, has not been sufficiently firm. There were reasons for greater flexibility after the arrests of Gotovina and Karadzic, but that sends the signal that the non-member governments actually pull the strings. Good governance and less bureaucracy could have avoided these errors, and it could have demanded, through incentives, or suspension of funding, progress in public administration reform, hence reducing the mix of private interests and government.

You have written that energy security, crime, and migration, are the EU’s fears vis-à-vis the East. In view of these fears, could it be helpful for all the Western Balkan countries to enter into the EU by 2014, the 100th anniversary of World War I, which started in Sarajevo?

This is not a new debate, but the so-called “regatta” model for Central Europe in 2004, that is, all together in the EU, through a process of internal competition, which rewards the best, was based on conditions now missing in the Western Balkans. Croatia, which is bound to enter in 2012, is the only certain case, whereas in the other Balkan countries, the compliance with EU standards is more dubious and unclear in the long term. Thus, I do not agree with Amato’s proposal “everyone at the same time”. It seems populist. A second hypothesis, entry into the EU with varying arrangements would mean to create accessions of Type B, for example with one country being an EU member state but its citizens not having the freedom of movement in the Union. This model is more appropriate for Turkey, not the Balkans where it would open ethnic conflict. Better to move, step by step, when the countries are ready. However, if we look at the number of these new states and their national dimensions, the Balkans is not an insurmountable challenge for the EU.

Is Turkey the major challenge?

The EU above all fears the size of the country and the cost of entry. An estimate of the annual cost in terms of EU funds necessary for Ankara’s accession amounts to 0.20 % of the EU’s GDP. If we think that the EU’s budget now is 1.35 % of its GDP, it is a substantial amount. With its 70 million people, Turkey will change the balance between the big EU states. The framework for the EU-Turkey accords already contains possible restrictions to Ankara’s full membership in sectors such as free movement of people, structural policies, and agriculture. Hence, through the mode of the varying arrangements, the Turkish request to the EU has already radically changed the mechanisms of European integration. Even though a privileged partnership does not have the same attraction as EU membership, it is good for breaking the impasse and concentrating on the potential benefits. Otherwise, the process of accession would lose ground before the ever more intense politicisation of the debate on whether or not Turkey is Europe.

Will the economic crisis stop enlargement?

It would certainly influence it. The economic crisis will contribute to creating an EU with several faces when it comes to enlargement. The issue will come on the agenda in countries such as the Netherlands in the next national elections. The fear from enlargement will always weigh more in countries with stronger migration from the Balkans, such as Sweden and Switzerland. Switzerland reacted with the anti-minaret referendum. Enlargement will suffer in the next decade but there is the need to overcome this. Different types of partnership with Brussels need to be given time and space.

Looking at the EU’s eastern partnership with the Caucasus, what levers of soft power could the EU possibly use with respect to Russia’s activity in the spheres of geopolitics and energy, and Russia’s offer to local governments guarantee the status quo as opposed to the democratic progress requested by the EU?

In the Caucasus, Moscow challenges the EU at a geopolitical level and at the level of normative influence. Reform and the rule of law should be emphasised even though local heads of states do not favour it. Specific changes in the life of citizens are preferred: but the EU struggles to give visas while Russia distributes passports with both hands. The energy issue is also critical: the EU seeks market integration, whereas Moscow divides the EU through bilateral deals. In the realpolitik of the pipelines, as in the war in Georgia in 2008, Europe lost.

In addition to the South Caucasus, the North Caucasus is more unstable and yet has great expectations from the EU. What benefits can it count on?

The eastern partnership is primarily bilateral, with funding, which is in reality small, and today it deals with the waning enthusiasm for the coloured revolutions. For the North Caucasus, the funding goes primarily for cross-border cooperation, that is, to the regions, which have more legitimacy with the people than the central governments. It is complicated to include the Russians in this process. In response to the tense political and diplomatic climate with individual countries, such as Poland and Estonia, Moscow has reportedly allocated over 200 million Euros only for cross-border cooperation from the Caucasus to the Baltic republics. Cross-border cooperation can help where cooperation with states in not possible: for example, by restarting the economy of the border areas by building roads, doing a peer-review of the funds in view of the endemic corruption. For example, Kaliningrad represented a successful case, for the Polish, Lithuanian, and Russian reality, thanks to the regional funds. It was a step ahead in the reduction of the greyest area in the Russian enclave in the EU.

You have defined the eastern partnership as an “ambiguous mix”. What are the ingredients?

From the Balkans to the Caucasus, the EU risks repeating the mistakes made in Ukraine. Why did we lose it? The Orange Revolution meant free elections. Ten years ago, this was not a done deal. However, the EU was less rigorous on strategic issues, such as the energy market or corruption, which are most obvious for the citizens. And, it remained ambiguous on the issue of accession, with the door neither opened nor closed.

Why is gradual integration a guarantee against internal fragmentation of the EU?

These countries will always be our neighbours. If we ignore them, in the long run, we will have problems with internal cohesion, and as in our Russian relations, the EU will be ever more divided. We will be weaker if we do not pay attention to our borders.

Where should the EU end?

I am in favour of the Balkans, Turkey, and, in the future, also Moldova, Belarus, and Ukraine. I do not think it is possible to include the Caucasus, both for geopolitical reasons as well as reasons of domestic interest. I wouldn’t say that Azerbaijan feels attracted to the EU in the same way as Moldova.

Monday, 29 March 2010

First book review!

"[Tassinari's] writing style is robust, colourful and well spiced with cultural and historical references. If the result ends up somewhere between academic prose and quality journalism, the factual underpinning and referencing leaving nothing wanting" from Alyson Bailes' book review in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs 23:1, March 2010.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Europe's role in losing Ukraine

First appeared on openDemocracy

On the eve of the crucial run-off in Ukraine's presidential election, Fabrizio Tassinari argues that enlargement fatigue in the EU has meant that since the Orange Revolution Ukraine has been offered no real prospect of joining Europe

”It’s so good that you hold free elections now. But why so often?” The joke, making the rounds these days in Kiev, encapsulates the past five years of western disenchantment towards Ukraine. However, closer scrutiny has much to tell us about what has gone so badly wrong in Europe's policy towards its large neighbour, with its population of 46 million.

There is a reason why the “Orange revolution” that spectacularly swept President Viktor Yushchenko to power has faded away. It is because Ukraine has proved to be ungovernable. The presidential elections that ushered in the revolution took place in 2004-2005; parliamentary elections were called in 2006; then early parliamentary elections were held in 2007. This plethora of elections is telling.

On Sunday 7 February, the run-off presidential election will tell us whether Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko or former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovic will make it to the highest post. We can only hope for a clear outcome. The alternative will be further chaos.

Either way, Kiev is still marred by what British scholar Andrew Wilson calls “virtual politics:” Free and fair election do take place regularly now, and this is by no means a small feat. Yet, from the ability of the government to implement policies, to the quality of the public services and the level of corruption, Ukraine’s record remains disappointing. According to the World Bank’s Governance Indicators, Kiev’s performance on these issues has been worse than that of some North African autocracies.

As it happens, improving Ukraine’s governance standards was supposed to be the paramount objective of European policy.

At the time of the Orange Revolution, EU High Representative Javier Solana and the then presidents of Poland and Lithuania proved highly reactive when it came to defusing the brewing crisis. Their engagement helped broker an agreement that led to the presidential election being re-run, and then to the highpoint of this bloodless upheaval.

The troubles for Brussels came after those outstanding events. All that the EU was able to offer in the immediate aftermath of the revolution was a ten-point update to a technical “Action Plan” that had been negotiated by Yushchenko’s predecessor. Since then, the EU has stepped up its assistance; it has launched new initiatives and offered more money. But it has not properly accounted for the fact that the Orange revolutionaries have plunged the country into utter disarray.

Part of the problem is that the EU watered down its conditions. Europe's principal mechanism by way of supporting a partner country’s domestic transformation has been a rigorous set of penalties and incentives. However, in the case of Ukraine, the EU has not suspended agreements or cut off funding when Kiev strayed from its commitments.

On the other hand, Brussels has been vague about what Ukraine can aspire to if it complies with EU rules. Crucially, the EU has always stopped short of offering the one thing most Ukrainians yearn for: the prospect of membership in the EU.

Make no mistake about it: the squabbling of its politicians and the cosy relationship between business and government are problems of Ukraine’s own making. Brussels cannot be blamed. Yet the two most significant reasons behind Europe's ambiguous policy on Ukraine have remarkably little to do with that country.

The first concerns Europe’s enlargement “fatigue”. The 2004 expansion of the EU into Central Europe generated worries about the Union’s decision-making processes and its legitimacy. In 2010 we may no longer hear European policy makers claiming that bringing Ukraine into the EU would be like the United States taking in Mexico, as then Commissioner Günther Verheugen put it. Even so, the EU has not moved away from its vague formulas, which basically tell Kiev that the door is neither open nor shut.

The second reason, which is not unrelated, is Russia, of course. European engagement has never really been about replacing Russia, whose ties to Ukraine are historical and cultural, as much as they are economic and political. However, some European countries have been concerned by the aftershocks of Ukraine’s European aspirations.

The 2008 war between Russia and Georgia provided the most blatant example of possible aftershocks. In Ukraine’s case, the consequences have most notably concerned energy politics. The disruption of gas deliveries from Russia first hit news in January 2006, when supplies to Europe plunged by a third in one day. Ever since then, Ukraine—through which about 80% of Russian gas exports to Europe pass—has been at the centre of endless squabbles with Moscow over energy transit.

Between pipeline geopolitics and obscure middlemen, energy has never been an easy target for reform in Eastern Europe. But Europe has moved slowly and without much coordination over such a strategically crucial issue,.

Above all, Europe’s failure has been tangible for those in Ukraine who most deserve to benefit from closer ties to the EU: the men and women in the street.

European angst about the economy and immigration has undermined the millions of Euros thrown at improving the welfare of this and other large neighbours.

The point is illustrated by a little story that appeared in the European media a couple of years ago. It was about twenty kids from the Ukrainian countryside who braved the freezing winter and travelled 500 kilometers to Kiev at their own expense to apply for EU visas. There they were asked to sing outside the consulate buildings in order to prove that they really were a folk choir invited to a European festival, as they claimed.

The episode may be crude, but only as crude as the moral of these past five years: As long as Europeans continue to look inward, as long as those just outside it feel as if they have been left behind, whatever the EU does beyond its borders risks being pointless. Worse still, it may end up being counterproductive.

Fabrizio Tassinari, is Head of Foreign Policy and EU studies at the Danish Institute for International Studies

Friday, 11 December 2009

A decisive year

First appeared on Global Europe

By Fabrizio Tassinari

As the EU foreign policy adage goes, it all still depends on how the expectations that many observers had raised on the new EU foreign policy architecture will match with the actual capabilities at Catherine Ahston’s disposal.

The new High Representative will be endowed of significantly enhanced institutional tools, such as a large bureaucracy and a seat in the European Commission. But this does not mean that the EU will automatically acquire a single voice on foreign policy. Despite some additional procedural innovations provided by the Lisbon treaty, national voices, especially from larger member states, will remain far louder—and and their actions weightier—than those of the EU. On relatively less sensible issues, Lady Ashton will probably have better chances to hammer her points on behalf of the EU. But in the most important foreign policy dossiers—whether Russia or the Middle East—the ball is bound to remain in the courts of the Member States. The extent to which the High Representative will appreciate these limitations will also determine her ability to shape a role for her office.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) will provide a more visible face on the ground. Ironically, one may go as far as arguing that if the EU will indeed have the proverbial, single telephone number, it will be also to the extent that selected partners will perceive the enhanced EU delegations in their countries as responsive, useful and visible to answer basic questions about the EU and its policies. On this particular point, the year 2010 will be key. The actual composition and functioning of the EEAS will say much about the EU’s presence in the world and Lady Ashton’s leadership potential.

One last point: Would have a charismatic , “traffic-stopping” politician been a better choice for the EU foreign policy chief representative? Do personalities matter? Yes and no. On the visibility side, the EU could have used a recognizable face to put in front of both successes and failures. But one needs to be realistic in that the job of the High Representative will be about coordinating national foreign policies positions as much as (if not more than) representing a common foreign policy. For this, the EU will need a consensus-builder rather than a crowd-puller and Lady Ashton’s performance will be also judged on that basis.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

A lesson for Nord Stream from the Arctic

First appeared in European Voice

By Pertti Joenniemi and Fabrizio Tassinari

To ease tensions in the Baltic, consider lessons learned from the race for the High North.

The EU and Russia met this week at a time when Russia's efforts to establish a new, northern pipeline through which to transport gas to Germany are making rapid progress. In the space of a few weeks, Danish, Finnish and Swedish governments have all given the green light for the Nord Stream pipeline to be laid along the bed of the Baltic Sea. All three of them seem to have reached the conclusion that the numerous security-related and environmental questions raised do not justify giving the project the red light.

But energy politics continues to divide northern Europe. Poland, the Baltic states and some sections of the public in other countries remain unconvinced about Nord Stream's rationale and about Moscow's intentions. Vladimir Putin, Russia's prime minister, did not ease their concerns when, in 2006, he said that Russia would use its Baltic fleet “to resolve ecological, economic and technical tasks” in the Baltic Sea. And, although the Baltic Sea Strategy, adopted by the EU last month, is being promoted as a ‘model' of co-operation, it does little to change the terms of the debate about energy in the region, which remains frozen by the perception of a Russian threat.

There is no easy way to change that perception. However, recent developments in the Arctic suggest one way to civilise the debate. When Russia laid claim to the North Pole in August 2007 by planting its flag on its seabed, an unregulated militarisation of the Arctic and a race for its unexplored riches seemed in the offing. Canada hinted that it might establish two new stations near the North Pole; Denmark sent expeditions to the area; and the US started worrying about its own thin presence in the region, as well as its lack of ice-breakers. Logistical strength – and, possibly, military might – seemed destined to determine who would emerge victorious in the competition for the High North.

Yet, in August 2008, representatives of those four countries, plus Norway, met in Greenland and agreed that issues such as navigation rights and delineation of the outer limits of the continental shelf should be settled through existing international structures. They reaffirmed that the Arctic area needs no specific legal regime. By issuing a joint statement, the Ilulissat Declaration, they chose to pre-empt any further escalation.

The terms of the debate in the Baltic may have passed the point of pre-emption, given that Germany's and Russia's decision not to involve Poland in decisions about Nord Stream has been likened to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact under which, in 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union carved up Poland. Even so, the region should consider emulating the Arctic's littoral states.

Given that the region's governments meet regularly in various formats – most notably the Council of the Baltic Sea States – it would not be difficult to choreograph a joint initiative by all nine coastal states. This could produce a political declaration to the effect that any inter-state controversy related to the pipeline would be resolved by civilian – as opposed to military – means. As in the Ilulissat Declaration, the signatories would declare themselves committed to existing legal regimes and to the “orderly settlement” of conflicting claims.

Such a move might not dispel the fears of some, but it might help to tone down the rhetoric. In a region where relations are strained, that would be a valuable improvement.

Pertti Joenniemi and Fabrizio Tassinari are senior researchers at the Danish Institute for International Studies.