Living In An Unequal World: Tackling with Economic Concerns and Financial Crises

Living In An Unequal World: Tackling with Economic Concerns and Financial Crises

By Dilara Shayegan&Fernando Javier Barrientos (European Studies MA students, EUF)

Introduction

Being called the “rockstar of economics” by many authorities should be a moral obligation, even if not everybody is not satisfied with the figures and outcomes that Thomas Piketty, the author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, has presented. By any means, combining economic concerns, mainly related to inequality, with a wide historical perspective is something that either did not attract economists because it was too historical or was too economy-concentrated to attract historians. Furthermore, Piketty’s work is not limited to one country but includes several countries, as the United States, France, Britain, Sweden and many more. Additionally, he did not forget to give key strategies after reviewing the issue of inequality.

As the last section, the Conclusion part, will present the author’s conclusion.

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EU-Russia Gas Relations: Challenges and Possible Solutions.

EU-Russia Gas Relations: Challenges and Possible Solutions.

By Ekaterina Ananyeva (M.A. Peace and Conflict Studies student, Philipps University Marburg)

 

Focus of this work is on Gazprom, the biggest gas company in Russia and main trade partner of the EU. The main question is: are EU-Gazprom gas relations politicised and by how far? Working with the empirical data proved that EU-Gazprom trade relations are politicised due to the decisive role the Kremlin has in this energy company. The way it works on the internal market as well as its relations with foreign investors to major Russian production fields allows speaking of general behavioural trends that ought to be taken into account.

The problem of politicised relations with Gazprom and a need to find a way to negotiate for more liberal and market-oriented relations urges either to look for other trade partners, or to resolve existing disagreements with Gazprom and the Kremlin.

As gas and oil production in the EU reduces, imports from other countries, and Russia above all, tend to have a greater role. Statistically speaking, energy usage has risen on about 60% from 1988, while energy production has fallen on the same percentage to the 2010 level. Moreover, in order to reduce CO2 and avoid Fukushima`s tragedy in Europe, it was decided to turn to renewable sources of energy. [1] Gas became a transitional solution, given the mentioned circumstances. Due to its being a “regional commodity” for the EU, it is the aim of Brussels to secure possibly a high number of providers with as numerous chains of supply as possible.

Gas disputes between Russia and transit-countries (especially Ukraine) are becoming more and more frequent, thus raising EU attention to the problem of energy security. Recent events in Ukraine (the Maidan uprising, annexation of Crimea, and the war in eastern Ukraine) antagonized the situation and triggered the discussion around future Russian gas exports to Europe.

This work is aimed to answer the question if the EU is still highly dependent on Russian exports, and if yes, is there any way to change it? The hypothesis answers both these questions positively and argues for demonopolization of the energy market. In order to prove this necessity, the biggest Russian exporting organization, Gazprom, is analyzed. The focus is given to its internal organization and value on the Russian energy market.

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EU Member-States and Sanctions against Russia

EU Member-States and Sanctions against Russia

By Ivan Krupskyi (European Studies MA student, EUF)

Abstract

Imposing sanctions on Russia has been a hot topic in the EU. While some member-states were extremely keen to punish Moscow for breaking international law and destabilizing the region, others opposed sanctions and offered dialogue with the Kremlin as a more suitable alternative. This paper analyses the positions of four EU member-states (Lithuania, Latvia and Poland on the one side and Greece on the other) with the help of theoretical tools provided by realism, liberalism and constructivism. The work demonstrates that realism is successful at explaining the cases of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, while liberalism provides a viable explanation of the Greek position. This contradiction is solved by the constructivist approach: it shows that positions of the states are heavily depended on countries’ perception and understanding of the Russian behaviour, which has roots in geopolitical experiences with the Kremlin and dominant intra-state discourses (‘realist’ or ‘liberal’).

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Constitutional Moments Through Accountability: An Analysis Of How The Citizens Initiative And The Right2Water Campaign is a step toward The European Social Peace Narrative

Constitutional Moments Through Accountability:

An Analysis Of How The Citizens Initiative And The Right2Water Campaign is a step toward

The European Social Peace Narrative

By Marita McGrory, (European Studies MA student, EUF)

Abstract

The European Union as an entity is comprised of many institutions, systems and cultures. Analysing aspects of the European Union necessitates a predefined spectrum of perception. This paper will take the social comparison (White, 2012) approach in exploring the development of a constitutional moment within the European Union. In reviewing treaty developments within the European Union, the focus will be on economic and social constitutions, but showing how the political functions in facilitating accountability. The mounting pressure on governance through accountability, this paper argues is contributing to the development of a constitutional moment. This moment will be explained through the active participation of EU citizens in realizing and exercising their rights. The case at hand is that of the “right2water” initiative that successfully made it to a hearing in the European Parliament in February 2014. The result of which, contributes to an increasing interaction, this paper argues and that this constitutional moment is indicative of a social constitutional development within the EU that this paper calls Toward a European Social Peace Narrative.

Terms: constitutional moment, democracy, constitutions, accountability, responsiveness, interconnectedness

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EU Conflict Management Policies in Africa: the Case of Piracy in Somalia

EU Conflict Management Policies in Africa: the Case of Piracy in Somalia

By Zdravko Veljanov (European Studies MA student, EUF)

 

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to critically and analytically examine the conflict management policies of the European Union in Africa, and especially focus on Somalia. The question guiding this paper is how effective is EU’s foreign policy (conflict management policy) with regard to the Somali piracy issue. In addition, if it is effective where did the initiative come from, from the EU itself or the member states? Somalia’s coast has been severely under violent attacks from pirates. The model established by the Somali pirates is unique, which asks for equally singular measures from all-important international actors, including the EU. The paper analyzes the situation in Somalia from EU’s conflict management perspective.

                Somalia is a modern example of a collapsed state, with powerful local level organization (clan structures) and very weak central state, which is unable to implement reforms or set up an institutional structure. Even though, the piracy issue attracts global attention in Somalia, the underlying problem of the country is the inability to establish an agreement on how to arrange the political system. Hence, the need for EU support, not on just tackling the piracy problem, but also on establishing (democratic) political system, which transcends the local level. EU’s effort in the shape of EU Naval Force should also be supplemented with land and transitional assistance. Finally, this work should try to settle the Somali problem within the EU conflict management policy framework and look into which measures has EU adopted and enforced.

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Evolving models of EU-ACP preferential agreements: an impact analysis

Evolving models of EU-ACP preferential agreements: an impact analysis

 By Divine Swerwzie Agbleke (European Studies MA student, EUF)

 

 Abstract

Recent attempts to complete differentiated preferential agreements between African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union (EU) has yielded limited outcomes. Among the many reasons being promulgated for the lack of success in concluding and implementing a new partnership agreement between both parties include general awareness of the impact of such agreements on recipient countries and the rise of other global players such as China. It is worth mentioning that contrary to the EU’s approach to international trade and socioeconomic development engagement with developing countries that entails the dissemination of norms and values, these normative preconditions play little or no role in the foreign economic policy decision making of countries such as China. As a result, China has become an attractive trade and socioeconomic development partner for many developing country governments, thereby eroding the leverage enjoyed by the EU in securing lopsided development partnership agreements with many developing countries.

In this regard and within the framework of the forthcoming conference on the ‘EU’s responses to global challenges’, the following paper assessed the impact of preferential agreements on trade and socioeconomic partnership between the EU and ACP countries. The paper concludes that the partnership between both regions has promoted export trade in low value commodities from ACP countries, but with limited improvement in the socioeconomic welfare of especially, the sub-Sahara African block of ACP countries.

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European Union – United in Nationalism (again)?

European Union – United in Nationalism (again)?

by Sabrina Proschmann (European Studies, EUF 2015)

Abstract:
The European Elections 2014 revealed a phenomenon that had until then been more or less ignored: the so called renationalisation of  some countries in the European Union. Nationalist parties gained votes in comparison to the previous elections. This paper analyses nationalism before the World War I and today and shows that the nationalism before WWI was directed at other ‘different’ nation states and today’s nationalism is mainly attacking European integration and focuses on immigration. The intensity of nationalism varied before WWI and nowadays.


1. Introduction

The European Elections 2014 revealed a phenomenon that had until then been more or less ignored: the so called renationalisation of  some countries in the European Union. Nationalist parties gained votes in comparison to the previous elections[1].

It is recognizable that the countries of the European Union share despite all diversity common characteristics when it comes to renationalisation. An equal situation can be found in history: Before the First World War (WWI), in most of today’s countries of the European Union, the people supported nationalist paradigms (Kunze, 2005 p. 29). One can ask whether the countries of the European Union are united in nationalism once again and whether it is the same kind of nationalism.

The main argument of this paper is: While the nationalism before WWI was directed at other ‘different’ nation states, today’s nationalism is mainly attacking European integration and focuses on immigration. The intensity of nationalism varied before WWI and nowadays.

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