Editorial Newsletter December 2016

EU-Russia relations: time for a reset?

One of the external threats the EU is confronted with concerns the relationship with Russia. The annexation of Crimea, the interference in Eastern Ukraine and Russia’s bombardments in Syria are examples of Russian activities having a serious impact on security in Europe. As a side effect another frozen conflict – in the Donbas region – has been added to the number of frozen conflicts already existing.

Because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its involvement in Eastern Ukraine, the EU has issued several restrictive measures. They concern, respectively, measures at the diplomatic level, sanctions against individuals and entities (such as rebel groups in Donbas), specific restrictions for Crimea (such as prohibitions for EU investments in that area), measures targeting sectoral cooperation (such as limited access for Russian state-owned financial institutions to the European capital markets) and suspension of new financial cooperation programs in which the European Investment Bank, for example, is involved. In return Russia proclaimed an import ban for agricultural and food products originating from the EU (plus USA, Canada, Australia and Norway).

Certainly, the EU should not (in fact never) recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea. It was an act clearly violating fundamental international law principles such as independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. That being said, most sanctions of the EU concern primarily Russia’s involvement in Eastern Ukraine. They can only be lifted once the so-called Minsk Agreements will be implemented correctly by all parties concerned, Russia included.

In the meantime NATO and also the EU are engaged in reinforcing their defense capabilities. NATO has also developed a new Black Sea Strategy, and the EU ministers of foreign affairs agreed, for example, during their meeting of 14 November 2016 to deepen their defense cooperation in several respects.

Perhaps, however, the moment has come to reflect on the wisdom and feasibility of such a one-sided approach. Instead of putting the focus solely on the building-up of a new military complex we could think at starting, in parallel, a new round of negotiations with Russia in order to find common grounds for new forms of cooperation. In the end Russia is an important neighbor of the EU in several respects: geographically, economically, militarily and politically. The European Union is Russia’s main trading and investment partner, and Russia is the EU’s third. Moreover, the potential for cooperation with that country is huge: the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) of 1997 for example referred to the four common spaces, i.e. i) economy and environment; ii) freedom, security and justice; iii) external security; and iv) research, education and culture.

Moreover, the restrictive measures taken by the EU and Russia mentioned earlier have not blocked all channels of communication and trade. On the contrary, the measures the European Union has issued are specifically targeted and leave, by the way in our own interest as well, sectoral cooperation – energy being an important example – open.

In this context Donald Trump’s election in the US and the designation of ExxonMobil’s boss Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of State – the latter has been presented as a personal friend of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin – should be taken into account. These are circumstances which we cannot simply ignore.

Overall one thing, however, should be clear. Before making new gestures towards Russia and, for example, abolishing the EU sanctions related to the unrest in Eastern Ukraine, that country has to demonstrate its respect for the Minsk Agreements. Russia should also lift its own agricultural sanctions. As to Crimea, apparently more time is needed to find a way out of that crisis.

Of course one should reflect on the question of what we want to achieve in resetting our relationship with Russia. For a long time the creation of an EU-Russia free trade area, as a means of implementation of the 1997 PCA, has been a topic on the agenda. Since Russia has become a WTO member in 2012, that objective indeed seemed to be a feasible one. However, since the start of the functioning of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in 2015 (apart from the Russian Federation, its member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan) it looks as if the EU has to deal with the EEU as a contracting partner. A not that attractive perspective because, on the one hand, the EEU is a customs union of its own and, on the other, because one of the EEU member states – Belarus – is not a WTO member.

Nonetheless, something has to be done. In an era full of external threats and challenges we cannot go on by only creating new obstacles in our relationship with Russia. A more constructive vision, albeit a conditional one, seems to be indicated. Such a new approach can only contribute to (more) stability on our continent, in the interest of both European and Russian citizens. In that respect the turmoil of the last years in the Eastern Partnership region – not only in Ukraine, but also in Georgia and Moldova for example – have illustrated that the European Neighborhood Policy could probably have been better developed with the Russian Federation participating right from the start as an equal partner.


Jaap de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary-General

Study for the European Parliament: “Monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals – The role of the data revolution”, by Neil WEBSTER and Helle Munk RAVNBORG

DEVE SDGTEPSA has recently coordinated a study for the European Parliament’s Committee on Development (DEVE), authored by Neil WEBSTER and Helle Munk RAVNBORG, Senior Researchers at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS).

The study deals with “Monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals – The role of the data revolution” and examines the transition from monitoring the Millennium Development Goals to monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the implications for developing countries, and the support that the data revolution could provide. The indicators agreed for the SDG targets are discussed in terms of data requirements and the different types of data currently collected. The potential for the data revolution to strengthen open data and access to data in terms of connectivity is also explored. The latter is seen as being central to increasing accountability as part of the monitoring process. The authors looked into the areas that the EU might prioritise and how these could contribute to the broader Follow-Up and Review framework proposed by the UN Secretary General for consideration of the UN General Assembly, and offered recommendations for EU support to its development partner countries.

According to the paper, the European Parliament should organise an annual regional review of (i) progress towards the SDGs within the EU, and (ii) the effects of the EU on the progress of developing countries with a specific focus on the need for policy coherence across the full range of EU policies and their implementation with respect to these countries. For its part, the Committee on Development could contribute with specific contributions to the broader EU review process; namely (i) the progress reported by developing countries that are partners to the EU and/or its member governments, (ii) the estimated impact of EU contributions with particular focus on the six fields of EU comparative advantage identified above, (iii) the Committee on Development’s own assessment of the state of policy coherence for development, and (iv) an assessment as to the country and regional focus of the EU’s support for development in the light of progress towards the SDG reported. For each of these four contributions, a clear set of suggestions would be presented to the European Parliament based on the existing and emerging challenges identified within each. In addition to its contributions to the annual regional review, the Committee on Development would organise an annual briefing on developing countries’ progress generally and the contribution made by the EU to this progress.

The full study can be downloaded here.

Recommendations from members of the TEPSA network to the incoming Maltese Presidency, November 2016


On the occasion of the first Maltese EU Council Presidency starting on January 1st 2017, TEPSA held its traditional Pre-Presidency Conference in Valletta on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 November 2016. The Conference, organised in cooperation with and hosted by the Institute for European Studies of the University of Malta, was part of the long-standing tradition of TEPSA’s Pre-Presidency Conferences (PPCs), which take place twice a year in the capital of the country holding the EU Council Presidency prior to the beginning of its mandate.

The PPC brought together academics and researchers from the broad TEPSA network, policy-makers, media and civil society in order to discuss the agenda and challenges of the upcoming Council Presidency. Prior to the event recommendations had been prepared by the following members of the TEPSA network: Iain Begg (LSE, London), Michele Chang (TEPSA Board, College of Europe, Bruges), Brendan Donnelly (Federal Trust, London), Andres Kasekamp (EVI, Tallinn), Lucia Mokrá (TEPSA Board, IESIR, Bratislava) and Mark Rhinard (UI, Stockholm). They do not necessarily represent the view DSC_5714of TEPSA or its member institutes.

The newly elected TEPSA Board Member, Michele Chang, presented the recommendations  to Hon Dr Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry for European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto responsible for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds. Prior to the conference the recommendations had been presented to the Hon Louis Grech MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto.

The full text of the recommendations can be read here below:


The Maltese Presidency comes at a time when the EU has to confront the reality of Brexit, yet also has unfinished business in many of the policy domains that have dominated the EU policy agenda in recent years. For example, even though migration flows into Europe have slowed slightly in recent months, this should not hide a series of blatant failures on the part of European Union member states. Similar difficulties continue to afflict the EU approach to ending the economic crisis, as well as its stance towards Russia. The informal European Council of the 27, held in September, in Bratislava was a first step towards defining a way forward, but also revealed deep divisions. The recommendations which follow are for specific initiatives the Maltese presidency might take to push the EU towards answering some of these challenges.

Follow-up to Bratislava

The Presidency will need to ensure that the ambitions set out in the Bratislava Declaration and Roadmap make tangible progress in the first semester of 2017. A key objective should be to implement the EU Global Strategy in the areas of security and defense, notably by strengthening FRONTEX competences and by accelerating progress on the proposed travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS).

While the economy section of the Bratislava Roadmap highlights initiatives on Capital Markets Union, Digital Union and Energy Union as vital to boost economic growth, the Maltese Presidency should not lose sight of the continued vulnerability of the European banking sector.

The Presidency should do its utmost to strength the banking union by developing the resources of the Single Resolution Mechanism and securing a workable compromise on common deposit insurance.

Delivering on our promises, as stated in the declaration, must be shown to mean more than top-down measures. The Presidency should work towards more effective communication between EU institutions, governments and citizens by experimenting with new forms of dialogue and emphasising open communication.

Mediterranean cooperation and the refugee challenge

The refugee challenge facing Europe has yet to subside, despite nominal decreases in flows and declining public attention of late. Having failed to anticipate the upsurge in migration following years of tumult in the ‘near abroad’, member states were caught out by inadequately boosting administrative capacities for border control and proper asylum procedures – despite years of cajoling and financial support from EU institutions. When those weaknesses were starkly exposed, another failure arose: member states refused to work together to control internal flows, share responsibility and keep internal borders open. None of those failures seems to have been rectified, causing continued problems as migration reverts from the Syria-Turkey-Greece route to the central Mediterranean route. Malta is ideally placed to improve cooperation on all three fronts:

First, the Presidency can work with non-EU Mediterranean countries to improve conditions abroad; this includes general EU efforts to disrupt people smuggling and specific measures to improve economic development, water sustainability and food production, building on the proposals for the PRIMA Initiative.

 Second, the Presidency can encourage further developments to improve safe and legal asylum procedures into the EU, which, despite growing anti-immigrant attitudes across Europe, can help to boost European economies.

 Third, improved care and support for migrants in Europe, including protection of human rights, must be a priority for the EU under the Malta Presidency.


In the light of the difficult, but ultimately successful conclusion of the CETA deal, the Maltese Presidency should seize the opportunity to work with the new US administration either to give a fresh impetus to the TTIP negotiations or to salvage whatever is possible from these negotiations.

Despite regular tweaking of the European semester as an instrument of economic governance, it continues to have only a limited impact. The Maltese Presidency should initiate a high-level review of the semester process with a remit to rethink the approach to economic policy coordination and, if necessary, to ask the Commission and the Council to go back to the drawing-board.

The UK

Assuming Article 50 is, as Theresa May has promised, triggered by the UK no later than the end of March, the Maltese Presidency will play a vital role in setting the tone for the ensuing negotiations. The Presidency should stress to both sides the importance of preventing “lose-lose” outcomes. It should remind the British government that the Union and its member states attach importance to the establishment and maintenance of good relations between the United Kingdom and the Union, if and when the United Kingdom leaves the Union. It should also stress to the British government that the Union and its member states other than the United Kingdom attach at least equal importance to the maintenance of their existing beneficial economic and institutional relations between themselves.


The Maltese Presidency should work to extend the deadline for reviewing sanctions against Russia from six months to one year or more. A longer time frame would buttress European unity, which is prone to be eroded every six months by attempts to divide the EU, and demonstrate the EU’s stance that the rules-based international order is worth preserving. The issue of sanctions would also become less vulnerable to equivocation resulting from electioneering in member states. If Russia fulfils its Minsk commitments, sanctions can always be lifted earlier.

Click here to dowload the PDF version of TEPSA’s recommendations.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial September 2016: “The European Union is in an existential crisis: how to get out?”, Jaap de Zwaan

The European Union was for a long time a stable organisation. She is now under serious threat.

External challenges affect the stability and unity of the Union. To mention a few: the migration crisis, the tensions at our eastern boarders (Russia/Ukraine), the situation in Turkey, the continuing conflicts around the Mediterranean (Syria, Israel/Palestine, Libya) and terrorism. Vigorous and timely responses are needed.

The Union’s cohesion is also challenged from the inside. The economic crisis is not over yet, several Member States are suffering disproportionally from the influx of migrants, populism is progressing in many Member States, governments of some Member States are involved in discussions about the violation of fundamental EU values and principles, and the citizens of the United Kingdom have voted to withdraw from the Union. Wise and effective reactions are asked for to address all these problems.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated in his State of the Union 2016 speech on 14 September before the European Parliament that the “European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis”. He stressed the Commission’s priorities and presented new initiatives. Certainly good suggestions. However, action is what we need.

The Informal Summit of Heads of State and Government in Bratislava of 16 September in its turn proposed a work programme (the ‘Bratislava roadmap’). Essentially good intentions, but that is not enough. Rather concrete plans and time schedules have to be drawn up.

Having said that, the impression is that the available EU instruments and procedures don’t suffice to overcome the crises (plural) mentioned. New approaches are indicated.

One of them is flexibility. Those Member States who want to go forward on the path of integration should be allowed to do so. The original principles, unity and uniformity, reflected by a situation wherein all Member States act jointly at the same moment and with the same speed, are not appropriate anymore. The world where we live in has apparently become too complicated! A recommendation thus would be to simplify the conditions to trigger enhanced cooperation, the treaty concept according to which a forerunner group of Member States can start acting in a given policy domain, whereas the other Member States may follow later. At present the Treaty texts prescribe a formal Commission proposal to be approved by the Council by qualified majority before enhanced cooperation can be established. Instead, a super-majority (i.e., three quarters) of the Member States should be allowed to start such a cooperation without prior permission when, after a reasonable period of time, it is observed that a common solution cannot be reached by the Union as a whole.

One may even go further. One can think at simplified procedures to amend the treaties. According to the present situation the approval and ratification by all 28 Member States is required to have treaty amendments entering into force. Also in this case three quarters of the Member States should be able to move forward once they have ratified the treaty amendments concerned. Member States ratifying later, will be bound only at that later stage. On the contrary, Member States whose parliaments in the end do not approve the amendments shall not be obliged to respect the new engagements. So, no Member State can be bound against its will.

Last, but not least, ideas like the ones mentioned require treaty amendments in order to be realized. Now, certainly politicians these days do not like to make decisions implying treaty amendments. It may therefore be that the suggestions are considered politically less feasible at this juncture. On the other hand, the discussion regarding the future of the Union necessitates that new ideas are put on the table. ‘Muddling through’ is not an alternative anymore.

A wake up call has to be addressed to our political leaders. It is up to them to be creative and to make the right choices in the interest of a well-equipped and stable European Union.

Jaap de Zwaan

TEPSA Secretary-General

Recommendations from members of the TEPSA network to the incoming Slovak Presidency, May 2016

tepsahighThe Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) has the tradition to formulate recommendations to the incoming Council Presidency. These recommendations have been prepared by the following members of the TEPSA network: Iain Begg (TEPSA Board, LSE, London), Katrin Böttger (TEPSA Board, IEP, Berlin), Ilvija Bruģe (LIIA, Riga), Atilla Eralp (CES-METU, Ankara), Diāna Potjomkina (LIIA, Riga), Mark Rhinard (UI, Stockholm), Funda Tekin (CIFE, Berlin) and Guido Tiemann (IHS, Vienna). They do not necessarily represent the view of TEPSA or its member institutes.

Pre-Presidency 2016 BratislavaFunda Tekin presented the recommendations to the incoming Slovak Presidency at the occasion of the TEPSA-IESIR Pre-Presidency Conference on 2 and 3 June 2016 in Bratislava. The conference was organised by the Institute of European Studies and International Relations (IESIR), Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University in Bratislava in cooperation with the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA), and with the support of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the PONT project.

Migration Crisis

TEPSA has urged previous EU presidencies to devise truly collective solutions to the migration crisis. This should be done out of principle as well as common sense – even the most self-interested, rationalist analysis shows that strengthened management of the EU’s common border, distribution of resources to assist with an orderly asylum process at overwhelmed entry points, and greater shared responsibility for hosting refugees will help to end the crisis. Yet state-centric solutions are on the rise, as the Visegrad Four’s refusal to accept refugee relocation and Hungary’s highly restrictive asylum criteria serve to illustrate. To make matters worse, the European Commission seems content to accept these individualistic solutions. The Commission’s proposals on migration reform, from both April and May of this year, allow for harsh treatment of asylum seekers at the external border in exchange for reinstating Schengen (reopening internal borders). TEPSA urges the Slovakian Presidency of the EU to resist this ‘deal with the devil’ and encourage member states to see beyond their short-term impulses in exchange for long-term, collective solutions.

EU-Turkey relations

Slovakia takes over the EU Presidency at a time when EU-Turkey relations are strained, but more vital than ever, not least because of the refugee crisis. The EU has re-discovered Turkey as a “key strategic partner” and restarted accession negotiations and the visa liberalization procedure with Turkey as well as strengthened institutional EU-Turkey relations through biannual EU-Turkey Summits and regular meetings at the highest levels. At the same time there has been backsliding in Turkey’s reform process vis-à-vis the Copenhagen criteria, while the authoritarian drift in Turkey’s political system continues unabated, with power increasingly in the hands of President Erdoğan.

We urge the Slovak Presidency to keep up the close and balanced dialogue and relations with Turkey. At the same time the EU Presidency should not turn a blind eye Turkish breaches of European values. Specifically we believe the Slovak Presidency can play a key role by:

  • Pushing for the EU to take a clear stance on EU-Turkey relations as well as calling on Turkey to accept and act according to the respective conditions and rules. The visa liberalization procedure, for example, should only be finalized if Turkey implements the reforms linked to the procedure including the anti-terror law.
  • Provide external incentives for internal reforms: the next chapters of accession negotiations that should be opened – if any – are Chapters 23 and 24.
  • Ensure full implementation of the EU-Turkey Deal: although contested, the EU-Turkey Deal has caused a decrease in migration to the Greek islands. This deal needs full commitment on both sides. Inside the EU, the Slovak Presidency would provide a strong signal by committing to the resettlement programme as part of the EU-Turkey Deal, because a fair burden-sharing among EU Member States is essential for its success. At the same time “outsourcing” of migration management should not be the EU’s sole strategy: the Slovak presidency needs to ensure that financial and structural support to Greece continues.

In the last decade, increasingly euro-sceptical populism – mainly, but not only, right-wing – has been evident in most member states of the European Union. Populist notions are particularly effective in political domains which are inherently complicated, driven by symbolic politics, and characterised by low levels of public information on many key facets of European integration.

TEPSA calls on the incoming Slovak presidency to recognise, and respond to, three major drivers of populist euro-scepticism:

  • Policy gridlock within and among EU institutions;
  • A lack of popular support and legitimacy;
  • The democratic deficit of the European Union.

We urge the Slovak Presidency to counter the growing negativity by shifting the discourse from one that portrays so many common policies as a zero-sum game played among the member states, to one that emphasises the positive-sum outcomes from well-conceived policies that benefit all member states.

EU-Russia and EU-Ukraine relations

Given its external border with Ukraine, Slovakia has a strong interest in fostering a coherent and effective EU policy towards Russia. Progress towards a resolution of the Ukraine crisis can be advanced by:

  • Continuing the two-track approach of supporting Ukraine and the other Eastern Partnership countries in their transformation processes while at the same time stabilising and diversifying EU-relations with Russia. A key facet of this that the Slovak Presidency should encourage is a more active EU investment policy in Ukraine, in order to decrease the proportion of Russian capital, especially in strategic industries
  • But also acknowledging that the expression “Minsk II is dead” becomes progressively harder to refute in successive meetings of the Normandy format. Since they appear to achieve little or no progress in their negotiations, the Slovakian council presidency should seek alternative ways to overcome this stalemate. If a clearer path is not found by the end of the Slovak presidency, there is substantial danger of the conflict in eastern Ukraine ossifying.

With regards to the reform processes in Russia and the Eastern Partnership countries, the Slovak Presidency should build on the momentum from the ‘Panama Papers’ to work towards EU insistence on greater financial transparency and accountability in these countries. Such an initiative would help to deter repetition of scenarios witnessed in the case of Moldova, where the seemingly pro-European elite was engaged in large-scale corruption, and would be effective as a type of sanctions against Russian officials violating norms of international security and human rights. In particular, increased attention must be paid to suspicious deals involving EU nationals and EaP and Russian partners, especially regarding laundered funds located in the EU. The reform process should aim to achieve the progressive substitution of post-Soviet business norms by Western business ethics. Concerning EU-Russia relations, Slovakia will have the difficult task of negotiating amongst the EU-member states and their differing stances concerning the future development of these relations. In the spirit of not seeking to ‘punish’ societies for the actions of their governments and promoting closer ties between European and Russian societies there should also be attention to positive incentives. These should include new strategies for engaging Russian civil society through such instruments as massively increased students’ and youth exchanges, academic cooperation and track II dialogues with easier Schengen entry procedures for Russian nationals. These exchange opportunities may be not only bilateral (EU-Russia) but also involve Eastern Partnership countries.

The economy

Although the recent improvement in Eurozone growth is encouraging, the recovery from the crisis remains fragile. It is, therefore, a disappointment that the efforts of successive presidencies to revive the Europe 2020 strategy have been ineffectual. An approach going beyond the worthy but limited ambitions of the European Fund for Strategic Investment – the Juncker Plan – is needed to demonstrate to increasingly sceptical publics that the EU can make a difference. The Slovak Presidency should seize the opportunity to give fresh momentum to the Europe 2020 strategy or a successor strategy, focusing relentlessly on jobs and growth. The EU needs a budget fit for the challenges of today rather than the previous century. After the high-level group on own resources, chaired by Mario Monti, presents its report, it will be incumbent on the Slovak Presidency to ensure that its findings are acted upon and not left on the shelf to gather dust. Specifically a clear timetable with binding deadlines should be set for implementing new own resources.

Click here to dowload the PDF version of TEPSA’s recommendations

Study for the European Parliament: “The application of universal jurisdiction in the fight against impunity”, by Luc Reydams



Study universal jurisdiction

TEPSA has recently coordinated a study for the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), authored by Luc Reydams, Professor of Law at the Catholic University of Lublin (Poland) and Associate Professional Specialist at the Department of Political Science of the University of Notre Dame (USA).

The study deals with “The application of universal jurisdiction in the fight against impunity” and argues that most international lawyers and liberal internationalists agree that universal jurisdiction exists, but everyone has a different understanding of what it means. Enormous amounts of time and resources have been expended over the last two decades by learned bodies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to ‘study and clarify’ the principle of universal jurisdiction, writes Luc Reydams. Even more resources have been expended to put it into practice. Yet to this day, less than two dozen trials have been conducted on the basis of universal jurisdiction, all but one in Western Europe. Thus after twenty years of ‘fighting impunity’ for gross human rights violations through universal jurisdiction, the results are meagre at best and far from ‘universal’ in any meaningful sense. This study examines not only what went wrong and why, but also which role, if any, the European Union (EU) can play to improve the principle’s application amongst EU Member States and third countries.

The full study can be downloaded here.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial April 2016: “The European Union and the United Kingdom: Brexit? or United Forward!”

 Can we imagine a European Commission without a British member?
Can we imagine a Council meeting without a British minister?
Can we imagine a European Parliament without British MEPs?
And, can we imagine TEPSA without a full-fledged British member?

The answer to all these questions clearly is: NO.
The European Union is a safe place to discuss and decide about common and global issues, whether related to economics, security or people.
It makes quite a difference to be member of a family or a related member. We all know that from our personal experiences. It is simply not the same.
Of course, dependent of whether there will be sufficient political will on all sides, one can imagine an alternative construction for the UK like EEA membership, a preferred associate status or something similar. However, again, it is not the same.

That, by the way, is the reason why our General Assembly in Bratislava of 2 June will decide about a proposal of the Board, supported by all TEPSA members being present at the last General Assembly in The Hague in November 2015, to broaden the scope of TEPSA membership: from, as the Statutes are worded now, institutes established in ‘Member States of the EU’ to institutes established in ‘European’ countries. Indeed, for European academics dealing with EU studies it is better to be fully involved than to be ‘associated’ to the work of others.

In fact, the European Union is a peace project. We aim at creating conditions of peace, stability and prosperity for all our citizens. It is the old narrative of EU cooperation. Many politicians ask these days for a new narrative, more appealing to younger generations. However, the original one still has its merits. On a daily basis issues appear on our agenda which individual states cannot handle anymore alone. Whether it is trade, the economic crisis, the migration crisis, terrorism or the geopolitical tensions at all our external borders (Russia/Ukraine, the Middle East, and North Africa).

Problems arising during internal EU negotiations have to be solved by elaborating compromises, eventually in the form of formulas of differentiation and flexibility. In fact, to a large extent it is due to the British position in EU cooperation that we have already developed an extensive practice of differentiated approaches (in the domain of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice and the Euro cooperation for example).
Because of the differences with regard to economic and political orientation already existing between the present Member States and, still more evidently, between the present and candidate Member States, differentiated cooperation is the model for the future, whether we like it or not. Moreover, is ‘Unity in Diversity’ not the motto of the European Union? As long as differentiated solutions do not interfere with the basic principles and the core acquis of the Union, they have to be accepted. In that respect the New Settlement elaborated for the United Kingdom by the European Council in its meeting of 18/19 February reflects a careful balance.

Last but not least, sovereignty these days is an illusion. The world has become a global village, our economies have become interdependent and communication is organised through ultra-fast networks.
Therefore, again, we better share responsibilities to cope with common challenges rather than have to deal with them on our own. From such a global perspective, the United States – with its President, Barack Obama, as its best spokesperson – is  the first to agree that the United Kingdom has its place in Europe, in the (perhaps not perfect, but all the same) stable framework of the European Union.

So, let us hope that common sense will prevail on 23 June when the referendum in the United Kingdom will take place. Let us hope for the best result, for Europe and the United Kingdom!

Prof. Jaap de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary-General

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial February 2016: “Schengen has imploded: how to save Schengen?”

The EU and its member states have been completely overtaken by the refugee crisis, more particularly in view of the numbers of migrants and the intensity of the process. We were not sufficiently prepared. Whether we could have foreseen the crisis, is another question.

In theory suitable instruments were available to counter the crisis. In view of the ‘single human space’ (the de facto borderless Schengen area) created after setting up the single market, the accomplishment of some important tasks should have been ensured at the EU external borders: the registration of the claims for asylum or other forms of protection, the identification of the applicants and the examination of the individual applications. Also the return of irregular migrants to their country of origin should have been prepared at our external borders. In this whole process fast procedures should have been applied.

In practice, however, our external borders appeared to be permeable. The weak role of Frontex is certainly an element in this discussion. However, at the time this agency was founded, member states did not want to have a strong European organisation responsible to exercise, as it were autonomously, controls at the external EU borders. On the contrary, member states preferred an organisation with a mandate to merely ‘assist’ them, upon their request. As it turned out, during the crisis individual member states started to develop their own approaches, varying from respectively allowing immediate passage, showing hospitality and openness, to the closing of borders and the construction of fences. Consequently, disorder arose and migrants evidently chose to travel (only) to those member states with an open attitude towards them. In short, a result completely contrary to the principles of solidarity and burden sharing. An approach also far from the common solutions which were so desperately needed.

Who is to blame for the situation that has occurred? Certainly not the European Union or, more particularly, the Commission. Indeed, the Commission has always monitored the situation carefully and tabled suitable proposals to counter the situation. Therefore, the member states are rather to blame. Either they did not implement obligations they had accepted in an earlier stage, or they were not willing to be engaged in a process of solidarity leading to common solutions. Is Europe lacking visionary politicians these days?

What should happen now? As much as possible, we have to try to transform the present chaotic situation into the one which should have been envisaged right from the start of the crisis. That means fast procedures for the registration, identification and examination of the applications for asylum. In view of the huge number of migrants a fair system of relocation across the member states cannot be avoided, also an effective system to return irregular migrants to their country of origin is needed. A supplementary measure could be to implement the ‘humanitarian admission scheme’ with Turkey. According to that scheme, a reduction of irregular inflows into Europe will be coupled with a (voluntary) admission in Europe of (primarily Syrian) migrants who were received in Turkey but are in need of protection. Another idea could be to ‘internationalise’ the problem, and to invite other ‘safe’ third countries to take their responsibility in the crisis and to accept a number of migrants in their respective countries. It is by the way surprising that this question has not been put more explicitly on the international agenda.

At the end of 2015, the Commission presented its proposal regarding the establishment of a European Border and Coast Guard: a good proposal aiming to secure control over the EU’s external borders in the Mediterranean. Indeed, everybody understands that a common, European, organisation is needed to fulfil such a complicated task in difficult and, even, dangerous times. In the given circumstances, the full responsibility to control these borders cannot be left any longer to those member states geographically located in the territory where these borders are drawn. The European Council of 18 February has called for an acceleration of the work with a view to reaching political agreement under the Dutch Presidency. Let’s hope that the competent ministers will do everything possible to restore an effective – and common – Schengen system well before the Dutch Presidency ends.

Prof. Jaap de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary-General

“How serious will the new EU leadership be about climate change targets?”, by Marco Siddi, EXACT alumni

Provocative columnIn January 2014, the European Commission presented a policy framework with proposed EU climate and energy targets for the year 2030. Objectives include a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels, an increase in renewable energy to at least 27 percent of total EU energy consumption and a non-binding commitment to raising energy efficiency by 30 percent. According to the Commission, EU member states would build on the 2020 targets (20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 and 20 percent increase in both renewables and efficiency) and continue to progress towards a low-carbon economy.

Shortly after the 2030 policy framework was presented, environmental organisations such as Greenpeace criticised the Commission for failing to set more ambitious goals. Indeed, a 7 percent increase in the share of renewables over 10 years and the non-binding target for energy efficiency are unimpressive. Now, member states may not even agree upon the modest 2030 objectives. As EU heads of state and government have not yet discussed the Commission’s proposal, the latter remains a working document. The Ukrainian crisis dominated the last EU summits; as a result of tensions between the EU and Russia (Europe’s main energy supplier), discussions in Brussels focused on differentiating imports, building a central purchasing body for gas and using domestic fossil fuel resources.

Last March, EU leaders pledged that a decision on the 2030 framework will be taken no later than October 2014. Hence, only one month is left to respect the deadline that they themselves proposed. If EU leaders do not agree on a credible climate change package – ideally one that is more ambitious than the Commission’s proposal – the EU will have little bargaining power at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, where global targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions should be decided. The EU risks a repetition of the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, when it was sidelined by the US and China and no binding targets were agreed.

Against this background, the first moves of the nascent Juncker Commission are not encouraging. According to the current plan, the Climate Action Directorate will be merged with the Energy Directorate; the Environment and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Directorates will also be lumped together. The Climate Action Directorate was created by the last Barroso Commission to assist with the implementation of the 2020 targets and address climate change issues (previously, climate change was within the competence of DG Environment). The disappearance of a dedicated climate commissioner is hardly a good signal in view of the Paris climate change conference.

Moreover, the proposed new Climate Action and Energy commissioner – former Spanish minister for agriculture, food and the environment Miguel Arias Cañete – is highly controversial. Cañete served as president of two oil companies, Ducar SL and Petrologis Canarias SL, until 2012 and he still holds shares of both companies. According to a statement he made in 2011, the value of these shares exceeds 300,000 euros. Cañete’s brother-in-law became director of Petrologis and Ducar in 2012 and his son is a board member at Ducar. Hence, the proposed commissioner faces a clear conflict of interests. Furthermore, it is hard to believe that a politician who has been deeply involved in the oil industry will take climate change issues at heart.

The appointment of Donald Tusk to the post of President of the European Council compounds negative developments in the Commission concerning climate action. During Tusk’s premiership, Poland was one of the staunchest opponents of measures to fight climate change. The country generates over 95 percent of its electricity from coal and its carbon dioxide emissions per capita continue to rise. The UN Climate Change Conference hosted by Tusk in Warsaw last year produced no results. Significantly, Tusk changed his minister for the environment during the conference, appointing Maciej Grabowski, an advocate of shale gas extraction. Tusk’s proposal for a European Energy Union is no less controversial, as it focuses entirely on fossil fuels and disregards renewables. According to Tusk, the EU should create a central body for the purchase of gas and make full use of its fossil fuel resources, including coal and shale gas. Following the proposal, the EU should import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from as far as the US and Australia, despite the additional transport-related emissions and the risk of accidents that this would entail.

If the EU is serious about its commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions, it should change course and shift its focus and funding towards renewables. The main lesson to be learned from the Ukrainian crisis in terms of energy supplies is that the EU needs to diversify its consumption towards domestic renewables, rather than seeking new exporters of fossil fuels. The 2030 targets should be more ambitious than in the current Commission proposal; the efficiency target should become binding, more drastic emission cuts are necessary and the renewables target should be considerably higher. An agreement among EU leaders must be found quickly, so that the Union can prepare adequately its negotiating position at the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference.

Picture : © Google


Jean Monnet Chair of Prof. Wessels, “One goal, many paths. The promotion of Policy Coherence for Development in EU policy formulation”, by Simon Stroß

Cover BookDr Simon Stroß of the Jean Monnet Chair of Prof. Wessels has published the book “One goal, many paths. The promotion of Policy Coherence for Development in EU policy formulation”. The study analyses the coherence of policy-planning in the EU institutions in the areas fisheries, environment, and development policy. It is available as a pdf and in print.

“The EU needs to reinforce effective multilateralism as its key strategic objective in a multipolar world” By Juha Jokela

456x272_WHO-article-Revive multilateralism or fail global developmentThe return of power politics and collapse of the norms and principles governing European security must serve as a wake-up call for the EU to reinforce its commitment in and instruments to promote world order based on effective multilateralism writes Juha Jokela, the Programme Director of the EU research programme in the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

A world order based on effective multilateralism is one of the key strategic goals of the EU outlined in its first ever security strategy in 2003. At the time, the concept was seen as a response to George W. Bush administration’s unilateralist tendencies, and linked to previous Clinton administration’s multilateralist commitment and policies of first assertive and then deliberative multilateralism. In both sides of the Atlantic, promoting multilateralism has meant support and confidence in international institutions, rules and partnerships. These in turn have been seen central in addressing conflicts, transnational challenges, sharing burden of and securing legitimacy for leadership in world politics, as well as promoting market economy in an interconnected and globalized world. Due to EU’s history and character, multilateralism is argued to be deeply embedded in its identity and thus reflected to its external relations.

Many have however suggested a crisis of multilateralism in world politics. Existing arrangements and institutions are often portrayed as politically weak, bureaucratic and therefore inefficient and unable to reform. At the same time, multipolarity has cast a shadow over the future of multilateralism. The increasing number of powerful global players has made it more difficult to realize common interests and absolute gains, and has highlighted national interests and relative gains. Even if the EU has aimed to utilize its strategic partnership with the US during Obama administration, and ‘multilateralize multipolarity’, effective multilateralism and EU’s global strategy in general seem to be increasingly outdated. Not least because of the sharpened internal divisions within the EU which saw daylight long before the financial and economic crisis that has led to an increasingly differentiated EU.

EU’s aspiration to reach a global and binding multilateral arrangement to tackle climate change has gone in vain. It has not been able to forge consensus to reform the UN Security Council even within its own member states, or advance trade liberalization though the WTO. It has turned defensive within the G20 in light of the increasing political pressure to reform the Bretton Woods institutions, and in doing so address European over-representation. Most recently, the Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s annexation of Crime has cast a long shadow over international law, underpinned by norms and principles cemented in the Helsinki Accord and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, for instance.

The return of power politics and collapse of the norms and principles governing European security must serve as a wake-up call for the EU. As its instruments in playing great power games are weak, the EU must reinvigorate its dedication to effective multilateralism and generate strategic vision and action to shape the world around it, rather than accept to be shaped by it. The current crisis has underlined the need to work through and continue to streamline common European institutions in terms of effective decision-making and coherent external representation. At the same time the EU should not shy away from developing its resources and instruments in order to response events in its neighborhood and beyond, including common security and defense policy, common energy policy as well as soft and hard economic instruments. These are, after all, crucial in promoting and securing a world order favorable for the EU and Europeans.

Picture : © fungglobalinstitute.org

TEPSA Report “The 2014 EP Election Campaign in the Member States: National Debates, European Elections” by Mirte van den Berge

tepsa“This time it will be different” was the slogan of the information campaign for the 2014 European Parliament elections of the European Parliament (EP) itself. While the EP has been directly elected since 1979, its elections are traditionally regarded as second-order elections. The 2014 elections were expected to challenge this fact, marking a shift in the (perceived) importance of the European Union as a whole and the European Parliament in particular. The framework of TEPSA, as a network of 33 think tanks and research institutes focused on EU integration in the EU member states, provides an excellent opportunity to analyse information on the EP election campaign in the member states. The report focuses on the nature of the electoral campaign; the topics discussed; the relevance of any alliance to party groups in the European Parliament in the national debates; and the role the European “Spitzenkandidaten” (the candidates nominated by the pan-European political parties for the post of Commission President) played in the election campaigns in the member states. This paper can be considered an early attempt to explore whether or not the 2014 election campaigns have been substantially ‘different’ compared to before. Read more.

“The EU’s Eastern Partnership project has failed. Would any reedition of the project work?” TEPSA Provocative column by Andras Inotai

Pic provocative columnThe current and deepening crisis in Ukraine revealed the complete inadequacy of the Eastern Partnership project, at least as it had been constructed since 2009. First, it did not support economic restructuring of the countries involved. Just the opposite, as seen in Ukraine, the member countries have been facing with growing economic problems that obviously contributed to the current critical situation. Second, any implementation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement would create an uneven distribution of costs and benefits in favour of the EU, at least in the short and medium term. Due to structural rigidities and lack of competitive commodities (and services) in the EaP region, reciprocal opening of the markets would favour EU exports and most probably exacerbate trade deficit problems. Third, the EaP has never offered a viable economic alternative to the dependence of the member countries on Russia. Reorientation of exports from the Russian to the EU markets is blocked by the (uncompetitive) production pattern focusing on the Russian market, strong business interests or networks, historical ties, geographic location and sometimes temporary or lasting advantages provided by Russia. Even more importantly, the EU is unable to replace (or even lessen) the energy dependence of the EaP countries on Russian energy. In addition, for some EaP countries remittances of workers employed in Russia play a relevant role in foreign exchange revenues. Fourth, the new Russian (economic) policy based on the creation of the Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) proved to be much more attractive to some EaP countries. Belarus became full member of the ECU, while Armenia is likely to join the Russia-led economic union soon. Also, countries more in favour of the EU, such as Georgia or Moldova cannot ignore the potential economic benefits of the Russian project as compared to the economic advantages offered by the EU. Fifth, the only evident advantage of the EaP can be identified in building democratic institutions and societies. However, even in countries where the political leadership is committed to democratic values, most people are hard to be convinced that longer term political benefits are more important than immediate economic gains (or the avoidance of immediate economic losses). Moreover, it is unlikely that democracy-building can remain a sustainable project under conditions of economic hardship.

While it is evident that after the failure of the EaP project a new approach has to be developed and implemented. Still, it is by far not clear whether any such “reedited package” would be able to compensate the Russian offer, make the respective economies more competitive and reduce the critical dependence (both energy and selected influential industrial sectors) on Russia. Any EU-led approach that could count on some success, should contain the following elements: dramatically increased financial support for economic transformation and modernization, immediate and asymmetric market opening for EaP products, including agricultural goods, as well as the urgent starting of comprehensive programs of building a strong civil society.

Beyond the general framework, several special, country-focused treatments can be considered. On the one hand, EU-friendly countries, such as Moldova and Georgia need a special approach. Moldova should be offered the promise of membership in the EU. In fact, the country belonged to the Stability Pact group formed by the Western Balkan countries following the Balkan wars, but, unlike these countries, had been excluded from the Thessaloniki membership offer in 2003. Support to Georgia requires a coordinated strategy between the EU and the USA. On the other hand, a reopening of relations with Belarus is recommended, taking into account the serious impact of the Ukrainian crisis both on the Belarusian economy (being the Ukraine the second largest export market and a substantial trade surplus-generating country) and on the Belarusian society and politics in order to prevent a further increasing unilateral Russian influence. Yet, the future of Ukraine remains the key factor, both in the geopolitical, political and economic context.

“What has been agreed on Banking Union risks reigniting, rather than resolving, the crisis” TEPSA provocative column by Iain Begg

12186892593_0451158400_zAmong the many economic governance initiatives undertaken over the last few years, those intended to achieve deeper financial integration have been widely regarded as crucial and urgent. The financial crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis had revealed a number of flaws in the governance of the euro, and the EU’s leaders have since tried hard to put in place a new framework for economic policy-making which deals with these flaws. However, progress has been slow and has exposed deep differences among the Member States.

After some very tough negotiations, the EU came to an agreement just before Christmas 2013 on the second stage of what has come to be known as banking union.  A single resolution mechanism (SRM) for dealing with failing banks will now be added to the single supervisory mechanism (SSM) which completed its legislative journey in October. A third element originally envisaged for banking union, common deposit insurance, continues to divide EU Member States and has made no tangible progress.

According to Michel Barnier, the Commissioner responsible for financial services, the December deal was ‘a momentous day for banking union. A memorable day for Europe’s financial sector’. But is it and will it prove to be enduring?

Picture: © blu-news.org

Read more.

EP Study on European Economic Governance and Cohesion Policy

EP studyTEPSA Board Member Iain Begg has written a study for the European Parliament’s committee on Regional Development on economic governance and EU cohesion policy. The study was co-authored by LSE colleague Corrado Macchiarelli and John Bachtler, Carlos Mendez and Fiona Wishlade from the European Policies Research Centre of the University of Strathclyde.

The study analyses the interactions between the wide-ranging economic governance reforms undertaken since 2008 and Cohesion Policy. It details the main changes and analyses how the aims of Cohesion Policy are likely to be affected. It also highlights the challenges of assuring legitimacy and of suitable formulation of Cohesion Policy as especially salient issues for the European Parliament, not least because of the expanded roles in economic governance of the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

The study is available for download here.

Editorial: Towards a new constitutional decade

by Jean-Paul Jacqué

tr2For quite some time now, voices have been raised in favour of a new revision of the treaties. In this context, the Spinelli Group has lately proposed a new Fundamental Law. During the last TEPSA Pre-Presidency Conference in Greece, a part of the debates was devoted to the possible revision of the Treaties. Are we now entering a new constitutional decade?

Drawing on the previous constitutional decade, three steps can be identified on the road to a new constitutional treaty.

 1) First all, the developments in the EU institutional structure are often triggered by strong external or internal challenges. People do not fall in love with institutions. The institutions are only means to an end: created to solve concrete problems. The Treaty of Lisbon was an answer to the challenge of enlargement and several Intergovernmental Conferences (IGCs) were convened in order to find a solution. Can we identify such a global challenge now? [Read more…]

TEPSA Annual Activity Report 2012

In 2012 TEPSA has continued on its path by addressing the variety of topics outlined by the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme. TEPSA seized the opportunity to match citizens’ engagement with the current priorities of the EU.

Also in 2012 TEPSA demonstrated its willingsness to organise a wide scope of activities both in Brussels and in national capitals. TEPSA has been especially active in the organisation of conferences, roundtables, workshops, study visits, trainings, summer school, guest lectures etc in the context of the “Europe for Citizens” programme but also via other EU projects TEPSA is also involved in.

Here you can read the entire TEPSA Final Activity Report 2012.

Cooperation with the European Parliament

ep logoOn 15 May TEPSA together with its Member Institutes and external experts submitted a bid in 8 lots to the European Parliament’s tender on Research networks to provide foreign policy expertise” (Contract reference EP/EXPO/B/FWC/2013-08). The outcome will be known soon.

In June 2013 the European Parliament accepted the study on “the Development of a European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB)” prepared by the team of experts composed of: Christian Moelling (SWP Berlin), Valerio Briani and Allessandro Marrone (Instituto Affari Internazionali, Rome), and Tomas Valasek (the Central European Policy Institute in Bratislava). The hearing and workshop took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 May 2013. The study is available here.

On 25 June two Standard Briefings, requested within the Framework Contract, were sent to the European Parliament. Clara Portela, a professor of Political Science at Singapore Management University, wrote a paper titled The Association of Southeast Asian National (ASEAN): Integration, internal dynamics and external relations, and Jonathan Holslag, a professor of international politics at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, delivered an expertise “The future of the EU-ASEAN partnership”. On 18 June a public hearing “Foreign policy considerations in EU relations with ASEAN and Southeast Asia” was organized at the European Parliament. The experts C. Portela and J. Holslag presented the results of their research and took part in a discussion with the Members of the EP’s AFET Committee.

The European Parliament requested from TEPSA organisation of a workshop “The future of the Common Security and Defence Policy”, which was held during the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence on 10 July in Brussels. In the event participated the following experts: Jo Coelmont (Egmont Brussels), Jan Techau (Carnegie Brussels), Antonio Missiroli (EU ISS Paris) and Alessandro Marrone (IAI Rome). The summary of the workshop is available here.

On 11 July TEPSA together with the experts of the Instituto Affari Internazionali: Jean-Pierre Darnis, Nicolò Sartori and Anna Veclani (et.al), delivered the final version of the study “Space, Sovereignty and European Security – Building European capabilities in an advanced institutional framework” (reference EXPO/B/SEDE/2012/21). The study will be available soon.

Study Democratic Control in the Member States of the European Council and the Euro Zone Summits

The studDemocratic control cover websitey on the Democratic Control in the Member States of the European Council and the Euro Zone Summits was written by a group of researchers from TEPSA and Notre Europe following the request from the Directorate General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C: Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament.

The European Council is increasingly central to the governance of the European Union. Even if national parliaments have originally focused their involvement in EU affairs on the ordinary legislative process, most of the chambers have started to develop specific activities, before or after European summits. From ex-ante influence to ex-post accountability, seven different models of control have been identified. Beyond their differences rooted in national democratic systems, they call for twelve recommendations listed in this report.

Authors of the Study: Wolfgang Wessels (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Olivier Rozenberg (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute), Mirte van den Berge (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Claudia Hefftler (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Valentin Kreilinger (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute) and Laura Ventura (Trans European Policy Studies Association) and many TEPSA and OPAL network experts provided an analysis of the democratic control in each Member State. More information on the project are available here.

Policy paper: Democratic Control in the Member States of the European Council and the Euro Zone Summits

Policy paper has been written as synopsis of the main results of the study “Democratic Control in the member states of the European Council and the Euro zone summits” which TEPSA and Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute have written at the request of the European Parliament, Directorate General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C: Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, IP/C/AFCO/IC/2012-012.

Authors of the Policy paper: Wolfgang Wessels (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Olivier Rozenberg (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute), Claudia Hefftler (Trans European Policy Studies Association) and Valentin Kreilinger (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute).

The studDemocratic control cover websitey on the Democratic Control in the Member States of the European Council and the Euro Zone Summits was written by a group of researchers from TEPSA and Notre Europe following the request from the Directorate General for Internal Policies, Policy Department C: Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament.

The European Council is increasingly central to the governance of the European Union. Even if national parliaments have originally focused their involvement in EU affairs on the ordinary legislative process, most of the chambers have started to develop specific activities, before or after European summits. From ex-ante influence to ex-post accountability, seven different models of control have been identified. Beyond their differences rooted in national democratic systems, they call for twelve recommendations listed in this report.

Authors of the Study: Wolfgang Wessels (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Olivier Rozenberg (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute), Mirte van den Berge (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Claudia Hefftler (Trans European Policy Studies Association), Valentin Kreilinger (Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute) and Laura Ventura (Trans European Policy Studies Association) and many TEPSA and OPAL network experts provided an analysis of the democratic control in each Member State. More information on the project are available here.


TEPSA and IAI won a EP’s tender on “Space, Sovereignty and European Security: Building European capabilities in an advanced institutional framework”!

TEPSA_LOGOHaving won the tender, on 21 March 2013 TEPSA signed a contract with the European Parliament on the external study and workshLogo IAIop on “Space, Sovereignty and European Security: Building European capabilities in an advanced institutional framework. The study will be delievered by an excellent team of experienced researchers from the Instituto Affari Internazionali (IAI): Stefano Silvestri, Vincenzo Camporini, Michele Nones, Jean-Pierre Darnis, Anna Clementina Veclani and Nicolo Sartori. The study will be published in summer 2013 and available on TEPSA website.

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“The implementation of the CSDP”, Report for the European Parliament, July 2013

ep logoThe European Parliament within the Framework Contract requested from TEPSA organisation of a workshop “The future of the Common Security and Defence Policy”. It was held during the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Security and Defence on 10 July in Brussels. In the event participated the following experts: Jo Coelmont (Egmont Brussels), Jan Techau (Carnegie Brussels), Antonio Missiroli (EU ISS Paris) and Alessandro Marrone (IAI Rome).

Jo COELMONT shared his six comments on CSDP operations, built up on a question on how to increase the effectiveness of the EU missions. Jan TECHAU observed that the CSDPis in much better condition than its reputation suggests, and that it has created much added value for the EU. Nonetheless, it is simultaneously hugely underperformingwhen judged against the overall strategic needs of the EU. Antonio MISSIROLI presented the EUISS report on ‘Enabling the future. European military capabilities 2013 – 2025: challenges and avenues’. The EU possesses capable and effective armed forces alongside an advanced industrial and scientific base. Yet, in general it suffers from: limited awareness of emerging challenges, basic disinterest in strategic matters, segmented political and institutional landscaperegarding defence and military matters. Alessandro MARRONE addressed four issues related to the current developments of arms industry: a) a necessary clarification on what is a Defence Technological Industrial Base (DTIB), b) the on-going globalisation of national DTIB, c) the feasibility of a European integration of national DTIB and d) the challenges to such Europe an integration process.
In discussion that followed participated i.a. Maria Eleni KOPPA, MEP Rapporteur for CSDP (Greece, S&D) and Arnaud DANJEAN, MEP, Chair of Sub-Committee on Security and Defence (France, EPP).

The Report from the EP workshop on implementation of the CSDP has been published and is available here. It was prepared by Anita Sęk, EXACT Fellow.

OPAL Country Reports

OPAL logoThe OPAL project (Observatory of Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty) has published country reports on all EU national parliaments on its website.

The reports give detailed information on the institutional set-up of each national parliament and the newly introduced procedures to cope with the Lisbon Treaty provisions. The reports are based on the assessments of country experts (filling out an OPAL questionnaire) from all 28 EU member states (including Croatia).

The information provided in the reports gives first insights into the “Palgrave Handbook on National Parliaments and the EU” in which each author contributes with an own country chapter.

Memoires published by TEPSA ‘veteran’ Robert Toulemon

memoiresRobert Toulemon recently published his memoires ‘Souvenirs Européens (1950-2005)’. memoires1

Robert Toulemon is a convinced advocate of European federalism. The book will be of great interest to European historians but also has a relevance to those advocating a federal response to the current crisis. Rober Toulemon is a honorary finances general inspector and was a high official at the European Commission from 1962 to 1973 and worked with Robert Marjolin and Altiero Spinelli. He founded the ‘association française d’étude pour l’Union européenne (AFEUR)’ in 1975, which was in 2004 incorporated in the ‘association ARRI’ (Réalités et relations internationales) as the Club Europe-ARRI-AFEUR of which he is the President. He also taught European economic integration at Sciences Po from 1975 to 1980. He has been one of the founders of the TEPSA network and the book recollects many TEPSA meetings and conferences during the period.

The book (468 p.) can be ordered for € 20 via www.pressefederaliste.eu.

European Parliament’s Study on the Maritime Dimension of CSDP: Geostrategic Maritime Challenges and their Implications for the European Union

Cover websiteThe global maritime security environment is in the midst of an important transformation, driven by a simultaneous intensification of global maritime flows, the growing interconnectedness of maritime regions, the diffusion of maritime power to emerging powers, and the rise of a number of maritime non-state actors. These changes are having a profound impact on the maritime security environment of the EU and its member states and require an upgrading of the maritime dimension of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This study analysis the impact that the changing maritime security context is having on the EU’s maritime neighbourhood and along the EU’s sea lines of communications (SLOCs) and takes stock of the EU’s existing policies and instruments in the maritime security domain. Based on this analysis, the study suggests that the EU requires a comprehensive maritime security strategy that creates synergies between the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy and the maritime dimension of CSDP and that focuses more comprehensively on the security and management of global maritime flows and sea-based activities in the global maritime commons.

Editorial: Brexit?


by Jean-Paul Jacqué

The announcement of the British Prime Minister’s speech has revived speculation about a possible withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The TV channel Arte has even broadcasted a fictional documentary on the subject. After the speech, reactions were more cautious notably because the matter has been postponed until after the next elections. The agreement was reached at least that the British people should decide themselves about their future. [Read more…]

“Britain and the EU: views of members of the TEPSA network”

TEPSA_LOGOThe benefits and costs of Britain’s EU membership are heavily debated across Britain. Britain’s Foreign Secretary launched a review of EU competences in July 2012 and in January 2013 Prime Minister Cameron delivered a speech about his plans for a referendum on British membership of the European Union by the end of 2017. In the debate on Britain’s EU membership the points of view of Britain’s partners need to be heard. In official forums such as the EU institutions, where government representatives are bound by the conventions of diplomacy, it is difficult to discuss the matter frankly; but in the TEPSA network of European policy research institutes ideas and opinions can be exchanged more freely. Members of the TEPSA network were therefore invited to respond to a series of questions concerning: their perception of Britain’s role in the EU; the consequences of Britain’s possible departure from the EU; their advice to the British people concerning relations with the EU.

The report “Britain and the European Union, views of members of the TEPSA network” summarises the ideas and opinions contributed by 13 researchers together with a view from Dublin and a view from London. This report was compiled by Graham Avery (Oxford) with Brendan Donnelly (London), Dáithí O’Ceallaigh (Dublin) and Mirte van den Berge (Brussels), with grateful thanks for contributions from Gianni Bonvicini (Rome), Roderick Pace (Valletta), Jaap de Zwaan (The Hague), Bernardo Pires de Lima & Tiago Moreira de Sá (Lisbon), Gunilla Herolf (Stockholm), Antonis Papagiannidis (Athens), Juha Jokela (Helsinki), Jean-Marie Majerus (Luxembourg), Krisztina Vida (Budapest), Costas Melakopides (Nicosia), Višnja Samardžija (Zagreb), Otmar Höll (Vienna) and Ramūnas Vilpišauskas (Vilnius).

Read the publication: Britain and the EU – views of members of the TEPSA network.

EuroMeSCo Policy Brief “Walking a Thin Line: The Role of Think Tanks in Arab Transitions and Foreign Support”


EuroMeSCo Policy Brief no. 51 “Walking a Thin Line: The Role of Think Tanks in Arab Transitions and Foreign Support” by Pol Morillas has just been published. To read the Brief go to EuroMeSCo portal.

European Parliament workshop’s proceedings on the Role of the European External Action Service in Consular Protection and Services for EU Citizens, January 2013

Cover website role of EEAS on consular protection

By Anita Sęk

The workshop concerning the role of the EEAS in Consular Protection and Services for EU Citizens was organised at the European Parliament in Brussels on 9 January 2013. The workshop was chaired by Elmar BROK, Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the following speakers took part: Pierre VIMONT, Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS); Charles HAY, Director Consular Services at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom; Aurora DÍAZ-RATO, Ambassador, Special Adviser at the State Secretariat for EU Affairs, Spain; and Kristi RAIK, Researcher, Finnish Institute for International Affairs (FIIA). Additional remarks were presented by Chiara ADAMO, Head of Unit Union Citizenship and Free Movement, DG Justice, European Commission; and Edit BAUER, Rapporteur from Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

News from Marco Siddi, EXACT Fellow

Upcoming publications:logo EXACT

Marco Siddi, Russia and the forging of memory and identity in Europe, Egmont Studia Diplomatica (forthcoming January 2013)

Marco Siddi, Italy-Russia relations: politics, energy and other business’, in: Zsuzsa, Ludvig (ed.), What role for Russia?, Eastern European Studies Series, Institute of World Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (forthcoming January 2013)

Conference attendance and paper presentations:

Presentation of a paper on Russia’s role in European collective memory construction at the “Genealogies of Memory” annual conference Regions of memory. A comparative perspective on Eastern Europe (Warsaw, 26-28 November 2012), organized by the European Network Remembrance and Solidarity.

Wolfgang Wessels: The Maastricht Treaty and the European Council: The History of an Institutional Evolution, Journal of European Integration, Volume 34, Number 7, November 2012, pp. 753-767.

Since its creation in 1974 the European Council has turned into the key institution in the institutional architecture of the EU polity. The MaWolfgang Wessels formatastricht Treaty on the European Union was a history-making product of this body of heads of state or government. For the institutional evolution of the European Council itself the Maastricht Treaty confirmed and reinforced trends starting with the Hague summit in 1969. This article covers the pre-history of the European Council as well as the road from the birth of the European Council in Paris, 1974, to the Maastricht Treaty and the next steps via two treaty revisions and the constitutional convention to the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. This article will not only try to satisfy some historical curiosity, but point out fundamental factors, explaining why Union executive leaders have invested time and energy in the labour-intensive and partly frustrating exercise of the making and working of their club: this key institution helped them to emerge as powerful multi-level players in a multi-institutional architecture.



European Parliament’s Study on the EU Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa : A Critical Assessment of Impact and Opportunities, October 2012

Cover website Horn of AfricaAdoption of the Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa should open new opportunities for successful engagement in the region. More coherent action creates the opportunity for the EU to be recognised in the region as an actor in its own right, and with the influence that the scale of its engagement should bring. The appointment of an EUSR for the Horn of Africa should allow the EU to speak more clearly with one voice in the region. Doing so would allow the EU to exploit more fully its comparative advantage in the region: as a bloc, it is one of the most significant sources of assistance and investment into the region and an important trade partner. The EU is clearly active across the region, especially through high profile engagement in Somalia and the Sudans. However, quiet engagement in Ethiopia and Eritrea presents the greatest new opportunity to influence constructive shifts in regional security and economic dynamics. This was true before the recent death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and is even more the case now. Strengthening IGAD will also be essential if the region’s potential and the EU’s goals are to be realised.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial “Euro zone governance and democratic legitimacy”, October 2012

In its interim report “Towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union” of the 12nd October 2012, President Van Rompuy devoted few lines in the end to democratic legitimacy. This paragraph gives the impression of paying lip service to the concept, rather than reflections on its applicability in the ‘genuine’ Economic and Monetary Union. The report does nonetheless clearly outline the subject matter. To the extent the core aspects of the Euro zone governance are fulfilled at intergovernmental level, the democratic oversight of the Euro zone naturally lies within the competency of national parliaments. The European Parliament also has a role to play in the democratic oversight of the Euro zone insofar the governance of the Euro zone is governed by the community method . No need to emphasize on this second point, since it clearly emerges from the treaties.

Regarding the role of the national parliaments however, it is interesting to assess to what extent national parliaments actually play a role in the system. After all, the decisions taken at European level have not only an impact on the power of the national parliaments, but also and most of all, on the life of citizens in the member states. The last years have demonstrated that national political debates focused on EU’s economic and monetary activities. The successive austerity plans imposed on some Euro zone members have also compelled these governments to feed these constraints into national debates. Another implication is that national Heads of State and Government individually bear the consequences of the decisions taken by the European Council in Brussels in their national arena.

A study currently elaborated by TEPSA in collaboration with Notre Europe on the role of national parliaments in oversight of the positions taken by Head of State or Government in the European Council shows a remarkable development in this field. The study demonstrates that nowadays in 17 Member States formal rules exist on the participation of national parliaments in the preparation of the European Councils. These rules can be applied mutatis mutandis to Euro zone summits. They vary between the member states and are more developed in those which have already established a system of oversight on the activity of the Council of the EU. There is a tendency that can be observed in favour of a priori control by providing documents and organising debates before European Council meetings. This a priori oversight consists more often of issuing non-binding recommendations than giving a legally or politically binding mandate. Meanwhile, the practice of debates on the outcome of European Councils is maintained. Insofar the Prime Minister personally takes part to the European Council and a Euro zone summit, his participation in debates in the national parliament is particularly important. The future will tell whether this practice will become widespread.

The trend shows it is no longer only about submitting politically binding positions ex post that can be adopted. Instead it is also about orienting the position of the government during the European Council meeting in question. However, this trend has some limitations. First of all, it faces the still largely informal character of European Council meetings. It is difficult to provide national parliaments with comprehensive information on future conclusions which are still under negotiation. It is neither possible nor desirable for national positions to be fully publicly discussed before the meeting or even subject to a national mandate. This would risk to reduce the bargaining power. National parliaments can only shape general recommendations, which will be subjected to the Prime Minister or the President’s interpretation while acknowledging that if it deviates too much from the mandate given by his parliament it could impact on his/her political responsibility. The above mentioned report will suggest in this sense a set of best practices.

However, considering that the Euro zone governance uses both community and intergovernmental methods, it is deemed essential to ensure that the positions of national parliaments and of the European Parliament are not entirely in conflict, otherwise difficulties of implementation would soon arise. For this particular reason national parliamentary debates should initiate an exchange of views between national parliaments and the European Parliament. Article 13 of the Treaty on Stability, Cooperation and Governance provides for cooperation between the European Parliament and specialised committees of national parliaments. It would be advisable that this cooperation is set-up at an early stage and not only focuses on Euro zone summits’, but also on the work undertaken in the framework of the European Semester. A parliamentary network has already been formed in the field of foreign policy, it is essential that a similar network starts to function on Euro zone issues without delay.

One cannot request efforts from the European citizens unless they have the conviction of being listened to and understood. Solidarity is not born spontaneously from a generous feeling, it must be based on the idea that efforts undertaken by everyone will benefit to all. So far we have not found any better way to achieve this outcome than through a debate between representatives of the people. Democratic legitimacy is therefore part of the responses to the crisis.

“Droit institutionnel de l’Union européenne” by Jean Paul Jacqué, 7e Edition, Cours Dalloz, September 2012

This book focus on the study of institutional law of the European Union as it stands after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. All provisions relating to the EU, its institutions, the decision-making process, the legal order as well as the political and judicial controls are comprehensively addressed.

Students of Law Faculties and Institutes of political studies will find in this book the necessary information in order to prepare their examinations. Practitioners, lawyers and officials involved in European affairs will have a useful tool for their daily work.

To this end, the theoretical developments are illustrated with numerous references to the practices and the changes introduced by the Lisbon Treaty are analyzed in detail and their scope is studied.


Engaging external actors: The EU in the geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by Marco Siddi, September 2012

For the 2012 September Edition of IEP electronic series, Marco Siddi published on “Engaging external actors: The EU in the geopolitics of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict“, IEP Policy Briefs on Enlargement and Neighbourhood, No. 7/2012, Institut für Europäische Politik Berlin.

The electronic series “IEP Policy Briefs on Enlargement and Neighbourhood” is dedicated to case studies of Europeanization evaluating the power the EU has to transform its neighbouring countries to foster stability, peace and prosperity. It covers the enlargement countries as well as the eastern neighbours and the Mediterranean region. In this series, young researchers inter alia from the Kolleg-Forschergruppe (KFG) “The Transformative Power of Europe” and the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) present the results of their analysis in an abbreviated, user friendly form focusing on policy recommendations.

Marco Siddi is a Marie Curie Researcher, at the University of Edinburgh. His main focus is on EU-Russia relations and Russian foreign policy. Previously, he worked at the Trans European Policy Studies Association (Brussels) and at the Institute of World Economics (Budapest). He studied at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna (MA) and the University of Oxford (BA).

Please click here to read the entire brief and feel free to contact Marco Siddi   (siddi•marco©googlemail•com)  to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

‘The Rule of Law in the EU: Understandings, Development and Challenges’ by Leonhard den Hertog, Acta Juridica Hungarica, September 2012

This article examines the development and particular nature of the rule of law in the European Union against the background of the wider legal and political theoretical debate on the principle. It hence analyses the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU and the Treaty revisions on the rule of law. It argues that the principle has developed greatly since the first mention of it in the case law of the Court and contends that the principle has a particular focus in the EU on judicial protection in light of human rights. Nonetheless it is hard to apply the dichotomies running through the debates in legal and political theory to the development of the principle in the EU; an idiosyncratic mix of features seems to emerge. Moreover, this article also takes the case study of the external dimension of migration control to assess the current challenges to the rule of law in the EU. It thereby uncovers ways of working in the EU that are hard to reconcile with the rule of law requirements.

Please find more information on this journal article here.

China in the ‘Great White North’: Explaining China’s politics in the Arctic by Andreas Raspotnik and Malte Humpert, Long-Post European Geostrategy (edited by James Rogers and Luis Simón), August 17, 2012

Today, European Geostrategy publishes its second Long Post, which is co-authored by Malte Humpert and Andreas Raspotnik, who are the Executive Director of the Arctic Institute and a research fellow at the University of Cologne (EXACT Marie Curie ITN), respectively. This Long Post deals with Chinese penetration of the Arctic space, which the authors argue is fuelled less by economic concerns than by geopolitical calculations. They assert that Beijing’s interest in the ‘High North’ – particularly the European dimension – is leading to increased Chinese influence in Northern Europe, the consequences of which are still largely unknown.

Please click here to read the entire article.

European Parliament workshop report on Nagorno-Karabakh by Marco Siddi, July 2012

The workshop on the security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh took place at the European Parliament, in Brussels, on 20 June 2012. The workshop first introduced the Nagorno-Karabakh security situation, discussed the Countries briefing on Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as presented the EU approach and instruments: a role for the EU.

Further Steps Towards a Comprehensive EU Arctic Policy: Is the EU Getting There? by Andreas Raspotnik, Article for The Arctic Institute (co-authored with Kathrin Keil); July 5, 2012

The European Commission and the High Representative have recently issued the EU’s up-to-date Joint Communication on the development of a coherent and comprehensive EU policy towards the Arctic region. The article offers a spot-on analysis of the EU’s northern approach concluding that the EU’s Arctic engagement still lacks substantial consistency.

The article can be downloaded here

Two Boats in the Mediterranean and their Unfortunate Encounters with Europe’s Policies towards People on the Move by Leonhard den Hertog in: CEPS Papers in Liberty and Security in Europe, No. 48, July 2012

 This paper examines two recent events in which people on the move making their way from Libya to Europe across the Mediterranean were either abandoned to die at sea or ‘pushed back’ (Hirsi case). It argues that these two cases are not incidental or isolated but rather part of a broader situation of concern in the Mediterranean. The paper highlights this situation and also connects it to Europe’s response to migratory flows during the Arab Spring. On the basis of independent reports, case law and first-hand accounts, it attributes these tragedies to two fundamental structural deficiencies in Europe’s approach to people on the move in the Mediterranean: 1) a general lack of accountability, among the most salient of which are the lack of legal clarity for SAR (search & rescue) and disembarkation obligations as well as a lack of monitoring of what actually happens in the Mediterranean and 2) a lack of solidarity amongst European states as well as across the Mediterranean. The paper then goes on to propose recommendations to correct those cross-cutting deficiencies.

The paper can be downloaded here.

TEPSA Brief: The issue of solidarity in the European Union, June 2012

by Andreas Raspotnik, Marine Jacob and Laura Ventura

The present paper briefly highlight European solidarity, including its public perceptionregarding three related and interdependent European agendas: 1) financial solidarity 2) asylum and border management solidarity and 3) social solidarity. As an exhaustive synopsis cannot be provided the paper aims to coherently tackle the notion of European solidarity, consequently setting academic and professional thinking.

Please download here below to read the entire brief and feel free to contact Andreas Raspotnik  (andreas•raspotnik©tepsa•eu)  Marine Jacob  (marine•jacob©coleurope•eu)   and Laura Ventura  (laura•ventura©tepsa•eu)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial “About solidarity” June 2012

By Jean-Paul Jacqué

At the last Pre-Presidency Conference in Nicosia, TEPSA members took part in a lively discussion on the topic of solidarity. At this occasion, several participants questioned the legal validity of this principle. This editorial aims at providing some information on this issue.

It is perhaps a commonplace to state that once a society decides to set up frameworks in order to achieve a common goal, solidarity represents the cement of it – regardless of whether it is a fisher’s association or a state. From the beginning of European integration, the concept of solidarity was highlighted by Robert Schuman in his speech in the Salon de l’Horloge which referred to the creation of de facto solidarity. From Westphalia to Rome, we have moved from reciprocity to solidarity. The logic of the Monnet method and the spillover effect are based on this idea; when the challenges are beyond the capacity of a single state, it is necessary to address them jointly and the solidarities already created serve as cement for developing new ones. The concept of subsidiarity, as introduced into EU law by the Treaty of Maastricht, is another aspect of this solidarity. For the fields that can be managed by a single state, national solidarity is enough, however when a transnational link is established, solidarity plays a role at European level.

The concept of solidarity is very present in the treaties since there are six references in the TEU and six others in the TFEU. It is noteworthy that the term of solidarity appears as a mantra precisely in those areas where solidarity is weaker (three times in the CFSP, twice in the asylum and immigration). Article 80 TFEU even uses the term “solidarity principle”. One reference relates to energy, a new policy area introduced by the Treaty of Lisbon, another to the financial assistance as an exception to a bail-out, and also one related to the overseas territories. Finally, the treaty contains a solidarity clause in case of financial disaster or terrorism. This variety expresses an important aspect of the issue: solidarity is expressed in different ways depending on the policy of the Union in question.

The general reference to solidarity is made in the preamble of the TEU (“Desiring to deepen the solidarity between their peoples”), which comes on top to the classic statement of a ever closer Union. The new element is the one contained in Article 2 on values. Solidarity is not mentioned as a value here but as a feature of European society. This solidarity is not qualified. Is it the solidarity between member states or the solidarity among citizens within the EU or within the Member States? All forms of horizontal and vertical solidarity seem to be covered. Social solidarity is addressed more specifically in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. Under these conditions, is solidarity only one element, sometimes even hypocritical, of political discourse or does it have a legal value? The Court does refers to the principle as such, but mainly in infringement procedure cases.

In order for solidarity to be an operating legal principle it would require its content to be sufficiently precise to be legally tested. As noted by the Court in Case C-149/96 “a general principle of law cannot be derived from programmatic provisions that do not contain a specific obligation.” But the concept of solidarity is programmatic. This does not mean that the recourse to solidarity is stripped of any legal significance.

Solidarity is a constitutional principle inherent in the Union as stated in Article 2 TEU, but it is also a constitutional objective. The Union is based on solidarity and aims at amplifying it. The implications are twofold:

1. During the elaboration of the Charter, there were long discussions on the difference between principles and rights. The result of this is that rights are directly justiciable whereas principles are only justiciable through measures to implement them. Once a policy aims at strengthening solidarity, any attack on it is thus justiciable.

2. If a Union act goes directly against a principle or prevents its achievement, it is invalid (ECJ, 6 and 11/69). In this case, the Court stated that the establishment of preferential discount rates for exports constituted an infringement because it was opposed to the principle of solidarity, based on the community system in its whole.

Under these circumstances, the obligation or the objective of solidarity plays a key role when it materializes through positive or negative measures of implementation. It takes two forms: solidarity between member states and solidarity between citizens of the Union.

I. Solidarity between Member States

Without going into detail on all aspects of solidarity in Union’s policies, it suffices to take some examples such as the institutional solidarity and the financial solidarity.

A. Institutional solidarity

This solidarity is primarily expressed in the principle of loyal cooperation between member states and institutions enshrined in Article 3 TEU. This principle of loyalty is the natural outcome of solidarity since there is no solidarity without mutual trust in the compliance with all of its obligations. This aspect of solidarity is the translation of the rule Pacta sunt servanda in an institutionalized context familiar to lawyers in international law. Within the logic of integration, this rule is not left to the discretion of the individual subject to reciprocity. The rule is controlled by institutions and sanctioned by the infringement procedure. The Court does not say anything else in Case 39-72 where it finds that the non-respect by Italy regarding milk quota affects the balance between benefits and costs of the Common Agricultural Policy, calling into question the equality of Member States and therefore constitutes a breach of the principle of solidarity..

The principle of loyal cooperation takes three forms for member states: to take all appropriate measures to ensure the fulfillment of the treaty obligations, to facilitate the achievement of the Union’s tasks and to refrain from breaching the treaty. This latter requirement is not subject to a restrictive interpretation. In case 6 and 11/69 (aforementioned), France argued that contested measures did not fall under Community competence. The Court replied that the principle of solidarity requires that member states refrain from using their own competences to prevent the compliance with the Treaty. This will lead to important case law that subordinates the use of member states’ competencies in respect to the Treaty, on the basis of solidarity.

Similarly, when it comes to facilitating the achievement of the Union’s tasks, the Court considers it appropriate that member states should refrain from taking any measure which could jeopardise the achievement of the Union’s objectives. Consequently, in the case 266/03, Luxembourg was condemned for having concluded negotiations within the framework of a joint agreement while the Community itself had already opened negotiations.

Thereby, the solidarity principle under the form of loyal cooperation nourishes all the implementation mechanisms of EU law.

B. Financial solidarity

Leaving aside the economic and monetary solidarity which are subject of intense debates, the financial solidarity is one of the pillars of the Union. Budgetary solidarity is evident. Unlike the traditional international organisations, the Union’s budget does not cover merely the functioning of the organisation, but also policies that benefit member states in different degrees, particularly with regard to cohesion.

Union’s policies are based on a redistribution which is, by default, a form of solidarity. The extent of redistribution is certainly subject to constant controversies like witnessed by the claims of “net contributors” and the invocation of the principle of “juste retour”. But even in the British case, there is a place to solidarity as the rebate only covers 66% of the amount by which UK payments into the EU exceed EU expenditure returning to the UK.

The extent of solidarity is a political choice to be made at the time of discussing the EU’s own resources in connection with the Multiannual Financial Framework. But once a decision has been made, solidarity fully plays its role as noted by the Court in the case C-239/05 on the duty-free import of military equipment by Italy. The latter invoked Article 296 EC and the necessity to ensure its external security. According to the Court, this argument is not sufficient to evade from “the obligations imposed by financial solidarity as regard the community budget” at the expenses of other states.

Institutional solidarity is not the only one that has to be taken into account by the treaties. The solidarity between citizens plays an increasing role in the European Union.

II. The development of interpersonal solidarity

This type of solidarity finds its main scope of application within social policy. One could find applications in other fields such as the internal market. Yet in the social field, the development of citizenship shows an emphasis of solidarity at the Union level which may undermine the national solidarity.

A. European citizenship, a support for solidarity

European citizenship is reflected in a set of rights and duties both vis-à-vis the political authority and vis-à-vis the citizens. Of course, the first impact has been political (voting rights, consular protection abroad …), but the essential impact, and perhaps unexpected, comes from the combination of citizenship, freedom of movement and non-discrimination.

Freedom of movement gives access to social and health benefits in the host country. This situation was originally restricted to workers and has been extended to other citizens by law. But this extension was multiplied by the Court of Justice when it indicated that “citizenship is the fundamental status of member states to allow those among them, that are in the same situation to enjoy regardless of their nationality … the same legal treatment “(Martinez Sala, C-85/96). The Court’s jurisprudence will become more extensive, allowing family members of a citizen to benefit in some cases from advantages that are normally restricted to citizens when they are not citizens themselves.

European citizenship provides access to national solidarity in the name of European solidarity, but wouldn’t it in some situations represent a risk to undermine national solidarity?

B. Preservation of national solidarity

National solidarity is now the essential element of national identity. Each member state has developed its own system of redistribution citizens rely on. European solidarity complements these systems and does not challenge them. For this particular reason the treaty contains a number of safeguards designed to protect national solidarity. This is the case of the ‘brake’ clause on social security of migrant workers which allow the possibility to refer an act which would affect important aspects of national security system “regarding the scope, the cost or the financial framework, or would affect the financial balance of that system” to the European Council.

Similarly, Article 14 TFEU recognises the role of services of general interest in social cohesion and requires the legislator to take measures to enable them to accomplish their mission.

The jurisprudence of the Court has also expressed the will to preserve national solidarity. It is willing to do so by requiring the existence of a genuine link with the state of residence to receive certain benefits or by restricting the access to health services by the imposition of a permit from the state of origin to benefit from the reimbursement of certain hospital services delivered in another member state. Or by agreeing that one could limit the enrollment of students from another member state if the recruitment for a profession or the system’s financial balance is put into question.

There is a balance that requires an appreciation of solidarity. But one could question whether it is the judge should make that assessment, or whether the legislator should intervene.


Solidarity is a founding principle that nourishes the entire system. It is a source of rights in many policies, but has direct effect essentially only through its various implementations.

Please click here to read the entire editorial as well as June 2012 Newsletter.

European Parliament’s Study on CSDP Missions and Operations – Lessons Learned Processes, June 2012

The first Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission was launched in 2003. Since then the EU has launched 24 civilian missions and military operations. Despite the tendency of military operations to attract more attention, the majority of CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) interventions have been civilian missions. Since the beginning the actors involved in CSDP recognised the need to learn from the different aspects of missions and operations. The tools and methodologies to guarantee a successful learning process have evolved over time together with the evolution of CSDP. This study represents a first stock-taking exercise of the lessons learned processes at the EU level. The study is divided in three major components. The first component looks at the available literature on the subject of knowledge management with regard to CSDP missions and operations. The study then draws upon short case-studies from the 21 missions and operations to-date with a specific focus on the lessons identified and (possibly) learned in practice. The study concludes with a number of recommendations targeted at how the lessons learning processes could be improved including specific recommendations on the role of the European Parliament.

European Parliament workshop’s proceedings on the EU and China: strategic partners or global rivals?, June 2012

Cover website EU-China EP workshopAt the request of the European Parliament Committee’s on Foreign Affairs which is preparing an own-initiative report on ‘EU-China relations’, the Policy Department of DG External Policies has organised a workshop on ‘The EU and China: strategic partners or global rivals?’ on 21 June 2012. The workshop goal was to analyse in the context of growing interdependence between the two sides, the impact of China’s policies, on bilateral relations and on EU interests. Its main objective is to provide a clearer picture of the current state of play of China-EU relations and their future.

Il nuovo Trattato di riforma UE e la Politica estera e di sicurezza europea: cosa cambia?

by Michele Comelli, in Contributions from specialised Research Institutes, n. 78, October 2007, Service of Affari Internazionali, Senate of Italian Republic.

Reflections on the Schuman Declaration by Jean Paul Jacqué, May 2012

9 May 1950 – 9 May 2010

On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Schuman Declaration Professor Jean Paul Jacqué, Secretary General of TEPSA, has analysed the Schuman Declaration and its significance both to the process of European integration over the past sixty years as well as to the way ahead for the further development of EU’s institutional structure.

Please click here to download the publication.

TEPSA Brief: Libya: A wakeup call for CSDP?, March 2012

By Nicole Koenig

In the past couple of years, there has been recurrent talk of ‘CSDP fatigue’. In the wake of the Libyan crisis, some even declared the death of the CSDP. Current developments indicate that the CSDP is not dead, although the Libyan crisis highlighted some of its existing flaws. These flaws include the lengthy and cumbersome planning process, the continued reticence of the Member States to use the EU’s rapid reaction instruments, internal coordination problems and military capability gaps. The on-going lessons learnt processes should be seen as an opportunity to tackle some of these weaknesses and to circumvent existing obstacles. This brief proposes measures to:

(1) increase the EU’s capacity for comprehensive, timely, and rapid planning;
(2) encourage a more proactive use of the EU’s rapid reaction instruments;
(3) learn the lessons for internal coordination; and
(4) ‘get real’ about pooling and sharing military capabilities.

If the EU misses this opportunity, there is a real risk that the CSDP will go back to sleep.

Please feel free to contact Nicole Koenig  (nicole•koenig©coleurope•eu)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

TEPSA Brief: Options for EU engagement in post-conflict Libya, March 2012

By Marlene Gottwald

The EU’s response to the Libyan crisis has been weak and divided. The EU failed to speak with one voice and to get its act together in the field of military crisis management. While the UN and NATO have been the main players in the first months of the Libyan civil war, the EU is expected to step up to the plate for civilian support to a post-conflict reconstruction. This policy brief analyses the most serious medium- and long-term challenges for the (re-)building of a functioning Libyan state. On this basis it examines options for EU engagement in the area of security sector reform taking into account lessons learned from previous CSDP missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The policy brief concludes that the establishment of a civilian CSDP mission providing training mainly outside Libya will be the most feasible option.

Please feel free to contact Marlene Gottwald  (Marlene•Gottwald©tepsa•be)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

European Parliament workshop report on the Responsibility to Protect, March 2012

Cover website Responsiblity to ProtectBy Marlene Gottwald

Since its endorsement in the UN World Summit Outcome Document in 2005, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ (R2P) principle remains rather weakly defined in international law. However it has made some political and institutional progress within the United Nations (UN) system. Most recently, it has been applied in practice with regards to the military operation in Libya.


European Parliament’s study on Towards a More Comprehensive, Strategic and Cost-effective EU Foreign Policy : The Role of National Parliaments and the European Parliament, March 2012

Cover website cost-effective foreign policyThis study explores the powers of the EP and six selected national parliaments (the British, Danish, French, Irish, Italian and Polish) in setting, amending and scrutinising budgets. It then considers European engagement in three conflict regions – Libya, Palestine and Afghanistan – assessing how the selected parliaments have overseen various aspects of foreign policy, including finance for core activities and responses to sudden crises, and considers whether there are possible synergies between national and European budgets in foreign policy broadly defined.

TEPSA Brief: Time for a new generation of Trade Agreements?, February 2012

by James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

For the past 9 years, the European Union (EU) has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with economic blocs of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The aim has been to ensure that trading with the region is compatible with rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and to promote regional integration among the ACP states as a means to integrate them into the global economy.

Although there has been some progress, the states of negotiations are far below expectation. Almost a decade of preparations and negotiations has resulted in the conclusion of only one regional EPA – the EU-CARIFORUM EPA adopted in October 2008. There remain six regional negotiations which have been stalled for the past 111 months due to unambiguous disagreements on several issues. Despite the efforts of the EU to push the negotiations ahead, there is still little hope for the conclusion of the regional EPAs in their existing forms any time soon. It is therefore recommended that the EU reconsiders the currently deep and comprehensive EPAs in favour of specific sector agreements. The EU could recognize its now WTO-compatible trade relations with the ACP region and faction specific Special Trade Agreements as a stepping stone towards a new generation of comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the region in the future, but only when the conditions are ripe.

Please feel free to contact James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh   (James•Nyomakwa-Obimpeh©tepsa•be)  to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

Two final commentaries on the reform of the EU courts

The reform of the EU courts
Texte EN - JV avec en-tête TEPSA

Last year, the Court of Justice has proposed to add twelve new judges (and cabinets) to the General Court, to eliminate its growing backlog. This is the first implementation of the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, which has submitted most of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union to the ordinary legislative procedure. The TEPSA/EGMONT comment aims at observing the next context of judicial activities at the EU level and at analyzing the available options and the various possibilities to reduce the growth of costs in the EU courts’ system.

Different contributions will be made in that context. The first ones come from Franklin Dehousse and Jean-Victor Louis. Franklin Dehousse is Professor of European Law (in abeyance) and Judge at the General Court since October 2003. This publication is written on his personal title and does not represent the views of the General Court. Jean-Victor Louis is Emeritus Professor of European Law at the University of Bruxelles and former Secretary General of TEPSA.


Two commentaries on the reform of the EU courts, December 2011

In 2011, the Court of Justice has proposed this year to add twelve new judges (and cabinets) to the General Court, to eliminate its growing backlog. This is the first implementation of the new provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, which has submitted most of the Statute of the Court of Justice of the European Union to the ordinary legislative procedure. The TEPSA/EGMONT comment aims at observing the next context of judicial activities at the EU level and at analyzing the available options and the various possibilities to reduce the growth of costs in the EU courts’ system.

Different contributions will be made in that context. The first ones come from Franklin Dehousse and Jean-Victor Louis. Franklin Dehousse is Professor of European Law (in abeyance) and Judge at the General Court since October 2003. This publication is written on his personal title and does not represent the views of the General Court. Jean-Victor Louis is Emeritus Professor of European Law at the University of Bruxelles and former Secretary General of TEPSA.

Please read here the commentary of Franklin Dehousse

The reform of the EU courts
and here the commentary of Jean-Victor Louis

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “Towards a two-speed Europe?”, December 2011

by Jean Paul Jacqué

The last summits of the Eurogroup and the European Council of 9-10 December paved the way for a new start in the debate on a two-speed Europe. Both President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel envisaged the settling of a Europe composed of a core group around the eurozone within a Europe of twenty-seven. The meeting ended up with the decision to conclude an intergovernmental agreement in which the United Kingdom will not take part. In an article published on 4 November 2011 entitled “Save Europe, divide Europe,” the former legal counsel of the Council Jean-Claude Piris, favored openly a two-speed Europe. It would be set up either in a smooth manner with the use of exemption clauses offered by the treaties, or with the conclusion of a treaty compatible with the Lisbon Treaty in which eurozone members would set up a closer cooperation managed by specific institutions with a separate executive commission and a parliamentary assembly representing national parliaments.

Please click here to read the entire editorial as well as the December Newsletter 2011.

European Parliament’s study on Space and Security : The Use of Space in the Context of the CSDP, November 2011

Cover website space and securitySpace applications are best suited for dealing with an increasingly expanding concept of security. If, on the one hand, traditional customers are military users, on the other, a wider security and civilian community benefits from space services which are being developed in Europe in line with the evolution of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) civilian and military missions. The study includes a twofold analysis. First, an analysis of CSDP missions and their operational context to be matched with the main space-based applications. Of course, the EU flagship programmes GMES and Galileo are taken into consideration. Second, an overview of the state-of-the-art of the different space programmes in Europe based on their compatibility with CSDP missions is provided. Building on this analysis, conclusions on the use of space in the context CSDP are drawn, focusing on strengths and weaknesses emerged. Finally, some recommendations addressed to the European Parliament are provided.

Authors: Jean-Pierre Darnis and Anna Veclani, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)

European Parliament’s Study on The EU Foreign Policy towards the BRICS and other Emerging powers: objectives and strategies, October 2011

Cover website BRICS and other emerging powersFive years after the launch of the ‘BRIC’ acronym, Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2006 started a process of political dialogue, with South Africa being admitted as a new member in 2011 – leading to the transformation of ‘BRIC’ into ‘BRICS’. This study demonstrates that the BRICS countries are not acting systematically as a coherent bloc in the UN and other international forums. However, their coordination within the BRICS framework as well as within other forums such as the G20 have an impact upon international negotiations – leading to negative effects for the EU’s ability to pursue its interests. This also points to the major failure of the EU’s ’strategic partnerships‘ with the individual BRICS countries. The strategic partnership concept has been mainly important in rhetorical terms. The EU has not been able to use these partnerships to substantially upgrade its relations with the BRICS countries or to prepare itself to the shifting balance of power to the South and the Asian-Pacific region. This study presents several options for the EU to further develop the strategic partnerships and with policy recommendations to engage more actively with new and emerging powers.

Authors: researchers from the University of Leuven, Belgium and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki

European Parliament’s Study on the Galileo Programme : Management and Financial Lessons Learned for Future Space Systems Paid Out of the EU Budget, October 2011

Cover website Galileo programmeGalileo is the first large space programme and system managed and owned by the European Union (EU). Its strategic value rests on the political, operational, industrial and technological independence that it will guarantee in the field of global navigation and positioning. Although Galileo represents a priority for the European space policy, more than ten years on the declaration of its feasibility, the programme is still far from completion. Galileo has experienced a slow and problematic development due to concurrent and different factors, among which the failure of the envisaged public-private partnership (PPP) approach to financing, the ever increasing costs, the diverging opinions among EU Member States (MS) and within EU institutions, governance problems, and complex international negotiations still ongoing. Given the new shared competence of the EU in space matters established by the Treaty of Lisbon, which paves the way for new EU space activities, the purpose of the study is first to examine specific and characterizing issues related to the management and financing of the Galileo programme, then to draw lessons learnt for future space systems funded out of the budget of the EU.

Authors: Anna C. Veclani, Jean-Pierre Darnis and Valérie V. Miranda

TEPSA Brief: The review of the European Neighbourhood Policy: Increasing the coherence and coordination of EU external action?, July 2011

By Simon Stroß,

The recent events in the Arab world triggered a call for more democracy in the Southern Neighbourhood and, together with the stagnating reforms in some of its Eastern neighbours, forced the European Union (EU) to thoroughly review its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Criticised for focusing on the political stability of neighbouring countries rather than on the promotion of democracy, the EU acknowledged that its former approach “has met with limited results”. The newly established European External Action Service (EEAS), which brings together officials and diplomats from the Commission, the Council and the member states and directly serves its head Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission (HR/VP), was supposed to play a key role in the review process. Ashton and her EEAS officials repeatedly stated that the ENP review is among the top three priorities of the service in its first year. In this context the question arises if the EU will use the chance to achieve one of the major objectives of the Lisbon Treaty, namely increasing the coherence of its external action. This concerns both how coherent ENP policy formulation is carried out in the EU system and to what extent the output of the review is coherent.

Please click here to read the entire brief and feel free to contact Simon Stroß  (simon•stross©tepsa•be)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “The European Union and the constitutional identity of its member states”, June 2011

by Jean Paul Jacqué

Debates on the relationship between EU law and national constitutional law have been around since the beginning of community integration. Throughout history, member states wanted to preserve principles that they considered as the foundation of their national identity. For this particular reason, even with the primacy of EU law over national legislation recognized by all national courts, this primacy over national constitutions has always been left open. Certainly, it is often said that “the wisdom of judges” both European and national, have prevented the conflict from degenerating and eventually undermining the whole community construction.

Please click here to read the entire editorial as well as June Newsletter.

TEPSA Brief: EU energy security – the Russia factor and future prospects for the Southern Corridor, May 2011

By Marco Siddi

In the wake of both the uprisings that have destabilized Northern Africa and the nuclear disaster in Japan, future prospects for EU energy security look less and less promising. The rapidly growing public opposition to nuclear power and the current insecurity concerning energy supplies from Northern Africa are only the two latest elements of a series of factors that seriously challenge the European Union’s objectives in the energy field. EU domestic production of all fossil fuels has been decreasing for more than a decade. At the current rate of extraction, oil reserves will be depleted within eight years, which will make the Union more dependent on its Russian, Middle Eastern, Norwegian and North African suppliers. Domestic production of natural gas has been decreasing since 1996, while demand increased greatly in the last 15 years. Dependency on gas imports will increase further to reach an estimated 73-79% of consumption by 2020 and 81-89% by 2030, mostly due to the depletion of indigenous resources. Prospects look bleak also for nuclear power, particularly after the Fukushima accident in Japan has led some of the largest EU countries, notably Germany and Italy, to reconsider their policies in this respect.

Please click here to read the entire brief and feel free to contact Marco Siddi  (marco•siddi©tepsa•eu)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

European Parliament’s Study on the impact of the financial crisis on European defence, May 2011

Cover website the impact of the financial crisis on the European defenceThe financial crisis may pose a risk as well as offer an opportunity for the European defence sector: on the one hand, it sounds plausible that shrinking budgets increase the pressure on member states to cooperate and thus overcome the EU’s problems related to capability development and restructuring of the defence industries and markets. On the other hand, national prerogatives still dominate despite a decade of rhetoric and initiatives for more cooperation and less state in EU defence. If this national focus continues to dominate under current financial circumstances, EU member states run the risk to implement cuts in their Armed Forces in an uncoordinated way. As a result, member states might end up with potentially even bigger capability gaps than they have today and hence even less opportunities to implement the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This study provides a comprehensive and detailed overview on the ongoing impact of the financial crisis on EU Member States defence spending. In addition, it examines the potential of overcoming the need to cut defence spending by greater cooperation in the framework of the European Union and by drawing upon the innovations in the Lisbon Treaty. The study highlights the need to address the challenges of the economic crisis, a growing number of initiatives by various EU countries as well as the opportunities the Lisbon Treaty offers for pursuing an effective defence sector strategy that goes beyond the current incremental approach. The study has been requested to provide Members of the European Parliament, broader defence policy community and European public a first comprehensive overview of the impact of the financial crisis on European defence and at the EU level, as well as its wider impact on the future of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It includes recommendations to be developed by the European Parliament and decision makers at the national and EU level in order to address the economic crisis whilst ensuring Europe retains defence capabilities to respond to future security challenges.

Authors: Christian Mölling and Sophie-Charlotte Brune, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik – German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany

European Parliament’s study on Impact of sanctions and isolation measures with North Korea, Burma/Myanmar, Iran and Zimbabwe as case studies, May 2011

Cover website impact of sanctionsThe present study explores how the introduction of targeted sanctions has transformed the practice of international organisations, looking at the examples of North Korea, Burma/Myanmar, Iran and Zimbabwe. Although the ultimate effectiveness of the individual sanctions measures can hardly be ascertained, not least due to their co-existence with unilateral sanctions proactively enforced by the US, the analysis demonstrates that the character of sanctions measures, and the changing nature of the international system, has put the use of sanctions and isolation measures in different terms than was the case just a couple of decades ago. While it is beyond the scope of this study to reframe the scholarly and policy controversies on the use of sanctions, it is posited that such debate should shift from the “whether” sanctions should be used to the “how” sanctions should be employed, and that the quality of the public debate would benefit from enhanced public awareness of the EU’s policies in this regard. Finally, the study concludes that despite the absence of formal decision making powers over EU sanctions policies, the European Parliament can play a decisive role in their formulation building up on its proactive record in the scrutiny of EU foreign policy. It should enhance its contribution by requesting from the Council to report regularly on the design of sanctions, their use in negotiations with the target, their role in supporting reformists within the elites and the position of democratic forces, their conformity with human rights and their ultimate political efficacy.

A series of short essays with fresh thinking on the European Union: What the European Union Did Next

“What the European Union Did Next” addresses the intrinsic quality of European cooperation and it finds reason to be cheerful. Each of the essays collected identifies one undervalued quality of the EU’s modus operandi and shows how that quality could revitalise the Union. By reference to a whole range of policy areas, from foreign policy to social exclusion to constitutional policy, the eleven contributions make the case for the EU’s strengths – and its limitations. Edited by Almut Möller and Roderick Parkes, it includes the following contributions on The Involuntary Union: European Economic Governance and the Union State by Cornelius Adebahr; The Strategic Union: Rising to the Multipolar Challenge by Thomas Renard & Sven Biscop; The Unromantic Union: Give and Take in EU Home Affairs by Roderick Parkes; The Learning Union: EU Social Inclusion Policy, Lessons from Eastern Europe by Irena Cerovic; The Flexible Union: Rethinking Constitutional Affairs by Almut Möller; The Democratic Union: Strengthening Democracy in the Wider Europe by Deniz Devrim & Jordi Vaquer; The Substantial Union: Recasting the EU’s Middle East Policies by Timo Behr; From Inspiring to Declining Union? Europe at the Tipping Point and the Turkish Solution by Nora Fisher Onar; The Delivery Union: How the 27 Strengths of the EU Can Lead to Better Regulation by Mirte van den Berge; The Sustainable Union: Towards a European Energy Community for the 21st Century by Sami Andoura; and The Restrained Union: Has EU Counter-Terrorism Policy Become More About Having an EU Policy Than About Countering Terrorism? by Toby Archer.


European Parliament’s Study on Cybersecurity and Cyberpower: Concepts, Conditions and Capabilities for Cooperation for Action within the EU, April 2011

Cover website Cybersecurity and Cyber powerThe study analyses policy options for strengthening cybersecurity within the EU and examining potential points-of-entry, including within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The study provides an overview of the principle concepts and definitions of cyber security and cyber war, drawing attention to the complexity and cross-jurisdictional nature of the field. In addition to examining current cyber threats to the EU, the study also analyses the capacity of the EU to address more sophisticated cyber-attacks within a common framework. In this respect the study offers important insights into the political, operational and structural challenges that need to be addressed in order to protect the EU and its citizens as well and to exercise “cyberpower” on the international stage. The study takes-stock of the existing NATO and EU capabilities related to cyber security and highlights the added value of the EU in applying a diverse range of policies that can help enable it to comprehensively tackle the increasing range of cyber threats. The study has been requested to introduce Members of the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Security and Defence (SEDE) to the current issues in cyber security and cyber warfare, as well as to provide a selection of policy recommendations, including within the CSDP context. The study also provides innovative conceptual understanding on what might constitute EU “cyberpower”.

Authors: Alexander Klimburg (Austrian Institute for International Afffairs – OIIP, Austria) and Heli Tirmaa-Klaar (Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, Estonia)

European Parliament’s Study on the Role of Private Security Companies (PSCs) in CSDP Missions and Operations, April 2011

Cover website the role of private security companiesWhile the hiring of Private Security Companies (PSCs) such as Blackwater by the United States (US) has been the most widely reported and debated, the European Union (EU) and its member states are increasingly relying on private contractors in multilateral operations. Among others, the EU has employed private security guards to protect the EUPOL headquarters in Afghanistan, to secure the premises of the EULEX mission in Kosovo and to guard the EUPOL mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Due to the growing roles of PSCs in Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations, the EU and its member states urgently need to consider the possible impact that armed and unarmed security contractors can have on missions and the achievement of mission objectives. This report demonstrates that potential negative effects range from decreased democratic accountability and governmental control to the perceptions of contractor impunity and insecurity among the civilian populations of host states. There is no catch-all solution to these problems, and for many governments the advantages of hiring private security contractors, such as the ability to fill urgent capability and personnel gaps, cost-efficiency and specialist expertise, outweigh the disadvantages. Given the current financial and personnel constraints in Europe, it is likely that the use of PSCs will further increase. It is therefore imperative to develop appropriate mechanisms to address the possible problems of such use before they occur. This report develops five specific recommendations for EU action that would help address risks associated with the increasing use of Private Military and Security Companies.

Authors: Elke Krahmann (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt – PRIF, Germany and University of Bristol, UK) and Cornelius Friesendorf (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main / Peace Research Institute Frankfurt – PRIF/HSFK, Germany)

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial “Descartes revisited:The Reflections on the Method”, April 2011

by Jean Paul Jacqué

Since the Treaty of Lisbon has entered into force, one witnesses the revival of the classical debate between the Community method and the intergovernmental method. The establishment of the European Council as institution of the Union is certainly a change largely symbolic, nevertheless the innovation of the creation of the fixed Presidency of the European Council seems to have changed the situation to the disadvantage of the Commission. Member States show greater confidence in their President than in the President of the Commission. The Council is in charge of study tasks and proposals which, in the time of the Delors Commission, were entrusted to the Commission President.

Please read the April 2011 Newsletter.

European Parliament’s study on The EU as a Global Actor : Its Evolving Role in Multilateral Organizations, March 2011

Cover website multilateral organisationsThis study explores ways through which the EU could meet ifs full potential as a global actor and, specifically how it can act more effective in the multilateral organizations and forums. The main obstacle for the EU is the fragmented and divergent positions among the member states that occasionally arise over major international issues, and prevent the Union from acting with speed and determination required in international affairs. The departure point of this analysis is a thorough assessment of the Lisbon Treaty. The latter provides the EU with legal personality and with new tools and competences that, if there was enough political will, could enable it to maximize its current capacity to act. Assessed against the division of competences between the EU and its Member States enshrined in the Treaty, the study looks at the current status of the EU in the most important multilateral organizations that form the central nucleus of the world governance, both in the political, defense and economic realms. For each of those organizations, the report proposes ways and means to enhance the membership status and influence of the Union. At the same time, it is recognized that the international architecture is clearly imperfect and unsuitable for global governance, often reflecting the old order and powers that emerged from World War II. Therefore, this report also provides suggestions on how to reform the system for global governance if it is to be more representative and efficient while allowing a more adequate insertion of the EU.

Authors: Vicente Palacio (Fundación Alternativas), Manuel V. De La Rocha (Fundación Alternativas), José Luis Escario (Fundación Alternativas) and Doménec Ruiz (Fundación Alternativas)

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “The state of play of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI): the birth of participatory democracy”, February 2011

By Jean Paul Jacqué

Under the Belgian Presidency, the European Parliament and the Council reached agreement in first reading on the modalities of the citizens’ initiative. This new initiative allows, under Article 11, paragraph 4, TEU, a million citizens “citizen of a significant number of Member States” to invite the Commission to bring forward legislative proposals in areas where the Commission has the power to do so. With this vagueness in the Treaty, descretion was left to the legislator to determine what exact percentage of the Member States represent a significant number of Member States.

Please click here to read the entire editorial as well as the February newsletter.

TEPSA Brief: Obstacles to overcome in EU’s accession to the European Convention of Human Rights – December 2010

by Agathe Fadier

The Lisbon Treaty entailed important evolution in the field of Human Rights protection in the EU. In addition to the establishment of a legally binding EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the treaty commits the EU to accede to the European Convention of Human Rights.

While the negotiations are currently ongoing, this TEPSA brief provides an analysis of the issues raised by the EU accession to the ECHR. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the accession process enters in the final phase of a process that began thirty years ago. However, while there is a political consensus concerning the necessity of the accession, numerous legal, institutional and technical questions need to be clarified. It concludes that the outcome of the negotiations will be decisive for the representation of the EU in the international system as a new legal entity.

Please click here to read the entire brief and feel free to contact Agathe Fadier  (agathe•fadier©gmail•com)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “Enhanced cooperation”, December 2010

By Jean Paul Jacqué

Enhanced cooperation was introduced by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997 and responded to the request of many politicians who, pointing out that the continuous EU enlargement would make more and more difficult the step forward on integration, wished to create a special arrangements to enable a group of Member States to move forward without being prevented from doing so by the absence of interest or the hostility of other Member States. Some expressed the idea of a “core group” pre-composed of Member States which would constitute a kind of European avant-garde.

Please click here to read the entire editorial as well as the December newsletter 2010

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “The role of the European Council on the future of the CFSP”, September 2010

By Jean Paul Jacqué

Since the beginning of his mandate, the President of the European Council had pointed out that foreign policy is one of the fields the European Council would give priority to work on. He was determined to put fully into practice article 22 TEU which entrusts the European Council to determine the strategic objectives of the Union in the context of the CFSP to the same extent as the Community external policies. The economic crisis had delayed the prioritisation of this matter. It has henceforth been done since the European Council of 16 September 2010.

Please read the September newsletter 2010.

Please read the conclusions of the European Council of the 16th of September and the remarks made by Herman Van Rompuy at the press conference following the meeting of Heads of State or Governments.

TEPSA Brief: European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – September 2010

by Laura Ventura

The Treaty of the EU introduced a new dimension of participatory democracy for European citizens. With its proposal, the European commission aims at enhancing citizens’ right to participate in the democratic life of the Union by enabling them to bring forward their concerns at the EU level.

This TEPSA brief intends to provide a description of this ongoing initiative while comparing it to initiatives at national level and assessing its democratic power.

Please click here to read the entire brief and feel free to contact Laura Ventura  (laura•ventura©tepsa•be)   to discuss and to learn more on the future developments about this issue.

European Parliament’s Briefing on Impact of EU policies on the High North, August 2010

The EU has an increased interest towards the Arctic. Whether the EU is a relevant actor in this respect, and how this role should be developed in future, is still under political debate. Against this background, the present paper outlines the general external competences of the EU in the field of climate change and fisheries, taking into consideration the specific relationship between the EU and the Arctic states – characterized by its externality in legal and geographical terms – as well as the relevance of EU climate change and fisheries activities towards this region. From these findings, options for EU activities concerning climate change, fish capture and trade in relation to the Arctic are then developed.

Authors : Antje Neumann, LL.M. and Dr. Bettina Rudloff – Associates, EU-External Relations Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin

Please download the briefing Impact of EU policies on the High North.

European Parliament’s Briefing on Geopolitical assessment of existing data on natural resources, August 2010

The paper assesses the importance of Arctic resources from geopolitical, economic and legal perspectives. It examines estimates of oil and gas deposits; the outlook for exploitation; jurisdictional and maritime claims; questions of governance, and the potential for geopolitical friction. While the Arctic is estimated to contain about 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30% of its gas, the extraction viability – in the foreseeable future – is questionable. This applies especially to gas because of the shale gas “revolution” and high development and production costs. Overlapping territorial claims do not require urgent solutions; they are more likely to postpone resource development than to create inter-state conflicts. There is, however, ambivalence about governance due to the absence of a UN enforcement mechanism to resolve disputes; the Arctic Council’s lack of political influence; and uncertainty over whether the meetings of the Arctic Ocean states will be turned into an institutionalized decision-making venue. This ambiguity – when coupled with increased pressure by actors, such as the European Union and China, for increased internationalization of the Arctic – could produce friction among the Arctic states and between them and non-Arctic states and organizations. Thus, while the Arctic is currently a low tension area, the long-term geopolitical conflict risks are much greater.

Author : Valur Ingimundarson, University of Iceland

Please download the briefing Geopolitical assessment of existing data on natural resources.

European Parliament’s briefing on Opening of new Arctic shipping routes, August 2010

Neither the Northwest nor the Northeast Passage has so far become important in international shipping. Nevertheless, the prospects should be re-assessed in light of new circumstances in the Arctic, especially the changing ice situation which makes it possible to envisage a future with drastically increased shipping activity. This paper argues, however, that developments on the two sea routes in question today are not straight forward. In the case of the Northwest Passage, ice problems are expected to remain a major limiting factor for many years and the Canadian authorities are not actively promoting international usage of the route, something which is partly related to legal controversies over the status of the passage. In the case of the Northeast Passage, Russia actively advertises its Northern Sea Route, seeing rapidly improving ice conditions. However, the commercial conditions remain uncertain and necessary investments in icebreakers and infrastructure are so far missing. The Northern Sea Route may, besides its regional usage, especially in the western part, have the potential for limited transits in the most favourable season. The Russian vision of year-round transit traffic seems quite unrealistic within the perspective of this decade.

Authors : Arild Moe and Øystein Jensen, Fridtjof Nansen Institute

Please download the briefing Opening of new shipping routes.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “The European External Action Service”, July 2010

By Jean Paul Jacqué

With only two months delay from the original schedule, the European External Action Service (EEAS) has just been established. This delay is due essentially to the negotiations with the European Parliament (EP). The latter linked its consultative opinion on the service to the proposals on the needed adjustments of the Financial Regulation and the staff status, for which it possessed codecision power. This allowed the EP to check all the texts.

Please click here to read the entire editorial as well as the July newsletter 2010.

Please read the Council Decision.

Liber Amicorum Professor Jacqué

We congratulate warmly Professor Jean-Paul Jacqué who received the Liber Amicorum on Monday 14th June, “Chemins d’Europe – mélanges en l’honneur de J.P. Jacqué”.

The first hommage was written by Jean-Claude Piris, Director General of the Legal service of the Council of the EU who emphasizes Jean Paul Jacqué’s successful academic career, his valuable contributions notably to the Council as well as his human qualities.

Other authors are Olivier De Schutter, Loïc Azoulai, Ami Barav, Florence Benoît-Rohmer, Frédérique Berrod, Roland Bieber, Thérèse Blanchet, Claude Blumann, Laurence Burgorgue-Larsen, Florence Chaltiel, Jean Charpentier, Vlad Constantinesco, Jacqueline Dutheil de la Rochère, Jean-François Flauss, Jean-Claude Gautron, Constance Grewe, Joël Rideau, Robert Hertzog, Robert Kovar, Hans Christian Krüger, Marie-Françoise Labouz, Koen Lenaerts, Jean-Victor Louis, Alfonso Mattera, Valérie Michel, Dietmar Nickel, Fabrice Picod, Dominique Ritleng, Patrice Rolland, Allan Rosas, Lucia Serena Rossi, Jürgen Schwarze, Antonio Tizzano, Bruno Gencarelli, Françoise Tulkens, Stefano Piedimonte, Georges Vandersanden, Blanca Vila, Patrick Wachsmann, Jean Waline, Joseph H.H. Weiler, Wolfgang Wessels, Jacques Ziller.

Recommendations to the Belgian Presidency, May 2010

During the Belgian Pre-Presidency conference organised in cooperation with the EGE network on 20-21st May 2010, TEPSA Network presented the Recommendations to the Belgian Presidency.

These recommendations were drafted by representatives from TEPSA member institutes: Iain Begg (LSE, London), Christian Franck (Catholic University of Louvain, Jean Monnet Chair), András Innotai (IWE HAS, Budapest), Mathias Jopp (IEP, Bonn), Ignacio Molina (Elcano, Madrid), Višnja Samardjija (IMO, Zagreb), Marjan Svetlicic (CIR, Ljubljana), Fabrizio Tassinari (DIIS, Copenhagen).

European Parliament’s Briefing on consolidating the EU’s Crisis Management Structures: Civil-Military Coordination and the Future of the EU OHQ, May 2010

The performed move from ESDP to CSDP in the Lisbon Treaty is desirable for an increase of coherence in EU’s external action, including its crisis management efforts. The coherence is further reinforced by its institutional innovations, namely the double-hatted High Commissioner and the European External Action Service which is uniquely positioned to play the role of a principal agency in the field of crisis management. EU’s use of the concept of crisis management is underdeveloped and overused simultaneously. Several key trends in this field are discerned and they all indicate that the EU has been moving in the direction towards more complex and hybrid operations for which comprehensive planning and conduct strategies need to be used. The need for more intensive intra-EU coordination as well as external cooperation of the EU with other actors involved in crisis management is recognised.

Author: Nik Hynek, Institute of International Relations (IIR)

European Parliament’s Briefing on Strengthening the EU’s external representation: the role of the European external action service, May 2010

This report examines areas that require further consideration in the development of the European External Action Service (EEAS). The report considers six key challenges and explores the extent to which these have been adequately addressed by the October 2009 Presidency report on the EEAS. The first of these is the creation of a distinctive institutional identity that needs to overcome the challenges of integration and inter-institutional competition. The EEAS also needs to address two sets of putative tasks if it is to be effective: those of internal co-ordination and external representation. Further key areas to which consideration need to be given are the composition of the service, including the role of EU delegations and the EU’s Special Representatives. Finally, the report explores the relationship between the responsibilities of the Parliament and the EEAS.

Author: Richard G. Whitman, University of Bath

European Parliament’s Briefing on Global challenges: navigating a way for the EU as a Global Actor, May 2010

We live in an age of deep transformation of both the global and human condition. The driving forces are essentially technological, but they have profound ecological and social consequences. (See for instance Toffler, Dickens, Friedman in the attached list of select literature.) On the deepest level, the post-industrial revolutions in science and technology are further multiplying our power to manipulate our physical environment, both by increasing our understanding of the world about us, and by giving us ever more powerful technological and economic This can be either good or bad, depending upon how we use our increased power. Here the record from the industrial age is mixed and depends upon one’s perspective. Socially some 15% of the world’s population – including the EU – have reached historically unparalleled standards of living, while almost all other societies in the world have had their traditional forms of livelihood disrupted and some 20% are now helplessly uprooted. Ecologically the legacy of the industrial revolution is disastrous, but it has also led to advances in science and technology that enable us to address our current problems. Humanity – or the elite portion of humanity to which the EU belongs – is empowered as never before.

Author: Tomas Ries

TEPSA Brief on the Recommendations to the Czech Presidency, December 2008

TEPSA has a long tradition in offering recommendations to future Presidencies. TEPSA Brief No. 4 thus presents the recommendations from TEPSA Board members Iain Begg (LSE, London), Nikos Frangakis (EKEME, Athens), Gunilla Herolf (SIPRI, Stockholm) and Hanna Ojanen (UPI-FIIA, Helsinki) to the Czech Presidency.

Editorial TEPSA Newsletter December 2015: “Status Quo of TEPSA”, by Prof. Wolfgang Wessels, Chairperson of the Board, and Prof. Jaap de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary General

After the difficulties we encountered in 2014, let us share our positive assessment about the future of TEPSA.  In the past months TEPSA was able – because of the help of the whole network – to continue its well established work including the Pre-Presidential Conferences in Riga 2014, Luxembourg 2015 and The Hague 2015. Our special thanks go to the TEPSA member institutes in Riga (Latvian Institute of International Affairs), Luxembourg (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Européennes Robert Schuman) and The Hague (Clingendael) for the excellent organisation and cooperation.

Three renowned organisations applied for membership, and after a careful scrutiny by the TEPSA Board and presentations on their work, the General Assembly in The Hague welcomed them with an unanimous vote: the Department of European Studies and International Relations of the University of Nicosia, Cyprus; the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo; and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Montenegro, Podgorica.

TEPSA also succeeded to get the ERASMUS+ Jean Monnet PONT project with which we will pursue a highly promising set of activities in the interest of our member institutes – especially in view of the annual professional skills training for young academics/young professionals. TEPSA is also partner in a major Horizon 2020 project on the EU and Turkey relations (FEUTURE), which offers TEPSA extended opportunities to participate in the policy formulation on this highly relevant topic for the EU. Plans for the TEPSA Pre-Presidential Conferences in Bratislava (2-3 June 2016) and Malta (November/December 2016) are well on their way.

On this firm and consolidated basis we can in 2016 plan for even more worthwhile activities in the years to come. During the General Assembly in The Hague we had a separate brainstorming session on TEPSA’s future vision and mission. We will take up the new ideas and continue to adapt the association to the needs of its member institutes and current EU realities. Given the current positive outlook for the association, the upcoming election for the new TEPSA Board, would be a good opportunity for a shift of responsibilities to a younger generation within the TEPSA network. We are very open for your suggestions and proposals in this regard. As to the procedure the present Board will come up with suggestions before the Bratislava PPC.

TEPSA  looks forward to even more cooperation in the near future, in the PONT and the FEUTURE projects and beyond.

Wolfgang Wessels, Chairperson of the Board

Jaap W. de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary-General

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on the EU’s accession to the European Convention of Human Rights, ‘Still one more effort, comrades…’, April 2012

by Jean Paul Jacqué

The endless saga of the EU’s accession to the European Convention of Human Rights seemed to have come to an end. The expert group in charge of preparing a draft agreement seemed to have achieved its goals and had transmitted its text to the Steering Committee of Human Rights of the Council of Europe. Yet, the aforementioned Committee has faced some difficulties mainly coming from EU member states. Being unable to tackle them, the issue was transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. However, the United Kingdom holding the biannual presidency of the Committee of Ministers didn’t seem eager to address the issue. Instead, the UK favored focusing on a reform of the Strasbourg Court in a narrower sense as part of a conference to be held in Brighton. It is true that at the Council of the EU thanks to the Commission, negotiations continue in order to cope with this issue.

Please read the April Newsletter.

The European Neighbourhood Policy. Challenges and Prospects.

by Graham Avery and Yvonne Nasshoven (eds.), Trans European Policy Studies, Brussels, December 2008

The publication represents a collection of TEPSA’s briefings for the European Parliament’s AFET Committee.

If you want to order a printed copy of the book please contact us.

TEPSA Policy Paper by Hanna Ojanen “Nordic Defence Cooperation – inspiration for the EU or a lesson in matching expectations?”

Tepsa logoThe idea of deepening defence cooperation among the Nordic countries may still come as a surprise to many, all the more so as these countries now seem to be leaders in this field. Not only do they have practically daily concrete examples of cooperation – such as the 3-week training exercise in joint air surveillance in the Icelandic airspace in February 2014 – but also a recently-adopted political vision for the future development of this cooperation.

You can read the policy paper here.


TEPSA Brief is a monthly policy brief, which informs concisely about current and ongoing policies and developments in the European Union.

Editorial TEPSA Newsletter July 2014: “TEPSA: new opportunities in spite of setback”, by Prof. Jaap de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary General

tepsaYou may have learnt already that the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) has recently received the news that its application for a 2014-2017 operating grant under the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Commission was not selected. This development has come as a great surprise and disappointment for all involved, since TEPSA is a unique network organisation doing excellent work in promoting knowledge and discussion on EU matters in all member states of the European Union and other interested countries.

TEPSA is unique because it is composed of European Studies Institutes in all the member states of the EU and candidate member states. It also includes a number of associate members that are of pan-European nature. TEPSA organises a variety of activities, joint activities in a broad range of EU policy domains such as the Pre-Presidency Conferences –conferences in the capital of the incoming Presidency of the Council of the EU- and joint projects of all kind. The aim being to stimulate discussion on EU policies, to conduct research on topical subject matters and to stimulate interactions among researchers, policy makers and other interested persons. TEPSA also pays special attention to training young people, future researchers and policy makers. Many young people have benefitted from the TEPSA experience, either by participating in various TEPSA activities such as summer schools, professional skills trainings and seminars. Moreover, cooperation in a bilateral context, between TEPSA member institutes, takes place on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, as a non-profit organization and in view of the multitude of activities, TEPSA cannot function without financial support from external sources. In fact, TEPSA has been able to profit for a long time from a structural support by the European Union. Now, imagine that such a precious network would disappear from the stage. It would be a terrible loss, not only for the member institutes but also, I dare to say, for the member states and, even, for the European Union as such. Indeed, in practice TEPSA really fulfils a crucial role to bring EU cooperation closer to the ordinary citizen and in translating national policy debates to the EU scene.

Therefore there are enough reasons to do our utmost to allow TEPSA to continue its activities. We all must act now, the Board, the Brussels based staff and the partner institutes themselves. The Board has already discussed a variety of options. TEPSA’s member institutes in the capitals will reflect about possibilities to intervene at the political level in their country and to inform relevant partners. Also options are in the making to actively look for alternative financial resources for TEPSA, for example by outsourcing tasks from TEPSA members to the TEPSA office in Brussels. Apart from these ideas the Board would welcome initiatives taken by others aiming to allow TEPSA to continue working.

While trying to obtain the needed support, TEPSA will continue its flagship activities like the TEPSA Pre-Presidency Conferences and its bi-monthly Newsletter (TEPSA’s Pre-Presidency Conference in Riga will take place on 4 and 5 December and the Pre-Presidency Conference in Luxembourg in the first week of June 2015). The situation furthermore allows TEPSA to reflect about its core objectives and added value. In doing so, it is TEPSA’s ambition to open new horizons for its future.

Editorial TEPSA Newsletter July 2015:”The Greek people deserve our support”, by Prof. Jaap de Zwaan, TEPSA Secretary General

EditorialThe Greek referendum which was held on 5 July has been severely criticised. The question put to the people was not well drafted, the reference to an agreement reached with creditors in Brussels was not correct, etc. etc.

In the meantime the outcome of the referendum is known, it is a clear ‘no’. At the time of writing of this Editorial nobody exactly knows what the follow-up will be.

Now, whatever the consequences will be for the continuation of the negotiations in Brussels respectively for Greece’s position as a Euro zone country, so much is clear that a lot has to be achieved in order to make the Greek economy healthy again.

Certainly, the Greek government bears the main responsibility here. It has to introduce reforms and budgetary restrictions, to carry through privatisations, to amend several social policies and to combat corruption as well as tax and capital evasion.

However, the European Union as well as its Member States also bear a responsibility for what has happened. Indeed, we have accepted Greece as a Euro zone member. We have allowed each Member State to develop its own policy in all vital domains of the economy, such as employment, social security, income, taxation and pensions. All this, without a degree of surveillance being exercised. It was only when the crisis broke out, that efforts to coordinate national policies have been undertaken. In short, the European Union – in practice its Member States – have failed to implement the ‘E’ of the EMU, so the Economic Union.

The European Union and its Members States must therefore help to overcome this crisis. In the past Member States have always adopted rigorous measures when national sectors – agriculture, coal mines, textiles, shipyards etc. – were put at risk. We also have actively contributed to overcome the situation of backwardness of the economies of most new Members States of Central and Eastern Europe. Indeed, our public authorities as well as our business people have made massive investments in these countries, the outcome of which has resulted in a ‘win-win’ situation. So, why not help Greece?

Again, the Greek government bears a crucial responsibility here. The government also has to provide for political stability in the country and confidence on the market so that foreign investors will be tempted to effectively spend their money in Greece. That said, other Member States can – and should- -do more. We should not accept that the Greek economy – and in the end the Greek society as a whole – will be disrupted.

A serious factor here certainly is related to the geographic and strategic position of Greece in the Mediterranean. Think at the security tensions between Russia and Ukraine, and the consequences of this conflict for NATO. Think also at the dramatic influx of refugees coming from Africa, Syria and Asia who try to reach the European coasts, among others in Greece. However, a perhaps more important factor concerns the principle of solidarity. Indeed, it is high time to feel at one with the Greek population, so the ordinary citizens in that country.

Jaap W. de Zwaan

Assessing the Common Spaces between the European Union and Russia

by Krassimir Nikolov (ed.), BECSA in cooperation with TEPSA, Sofia, February 2009.

Analyses in this volume are based on research assigned for the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP) by the Policy Department of the EP’s General Secretariat.

TEPSA Policy Paper by Gunilla Herolf “Security and Defence – an Issue for the European Citizen?” by Gunilla Herolf

TEPSA_LOGODuring the last few years financial issues have tended to dominate in Europe. However, two new challenges – the recent Russian policy towards Ukraine and the upcoming European Parliament elections – have, each in its own way, made it clear that European citizens must address and engage in discussions over a wider field, prominent among which are discussions about security and defence. This task is neither easy nor without potential pitfalls but it is necessary in order to ascertain that the values that lay behind the forming of the European Union will prevail.

You can download the policy paper here.

TEPSA Policy Paper “Croatia’s First Year of EU Membership : Have the Expectations been Fulfilled?” by Visnja Samardzija

tepsaThe first anniversary of Croatia’s membership in the European Union revealed the experiences of the first country from a new wave of EU enlargement which joined the Union in economically different circumstances and passed through a more demanding negotiation process. In contrast to the EU 2004/2007 enlargements, Croatia acceded to the EU as a single country and the accession did not cause stronger impact on the EU institutions or policies, due to the fact that Croatia is a small state with some 4.3 million citizens and some 56,600 square km land area. One year of the EU membership is too short period for a thorough evaluation of its impacts. Still this initial experience could be considered as a lessons learned for the political elites, citizens and the countries of the Western Balkan region who might be next in line for EU accession. These are the main issues covered by this paper.

The Policy Paper is available for download here.

Enlarging the European Union: Effects on the new member states and on the EU

by Graham Avery, Anne Faber, Anne Schmidt (eds.) Trans European Policy Studies Association, Brussels, August 2009

The publication represents a collection of contributions from TEPSA’s conference on “Effects of EU enlargement”.

If you want to order a printed copy of the book please contact us.

Recommendations to the Spanish Presidency, November 2009

On the occasion of its Pre-Presidency Conference on 24-25 November 2009 at the Spanish Senate, organized by TEPSA’s Spanish member Elcano, again recommendations to the Spanish Presidency were presented. These were elaborated by Michele Comelli (IAI, Rome), Gunilla Herolf (SIPRI, Stockholm), Visnja Samardzija (IMO, Zagreb), Krisztina Vida (IWE, Budapest) and Jaap de Zwaan (Clingendael, The Hague).

Recommendations to the Spanish Presidency can be found here.

Background Paper for THESEUS Conference “A Political Union: clear concept or constructive ambiguity?” by Laura Ventura

logoLaura Ventura, Project Officer at TEPSA, wrote a background paper “A Political Union: clear concept or constructive ambiguity?” for the THESEUS Conference “A vision for post-crisis Europe: Towards what kind of political union?”, organised on 17-18 October in Vienna.
The topic of political Union has remained a fundamental question since the early debates on the European Political Community in 1950s and the Fouchet Plan in 1960s. Nowadays while coping with the crisis, the need to set-up a political Union has become a priority. A post-crisis Europe ‘era’ and a political Union are closely interlinked. Yet the visions of head of states and governments differ  largely on the degree of sovereignty they agree to give up and thus to transfer to the EU level. Although vague, the concept as such is not new but its meaning has evolved over time. Before the crisis in the 1990s, the concept of political Union encompassed a set of various policies. The crisis and post-crisis period urged EU leaders and head of state of governments to complete an Economic and Monetary Union. The  concept of political Union has thus shifted to focus on the coordination of economic policies, although not only.
The crisis has shown the limits of the Lisbon Treaty to provide an adequate coordinated economic response. In order to enhance further integration, although the Treaty offers some possible developments to establish a political Union, discussions on a new Convention to install a federal economic government for a fiscal union and a new Treaty have already started and will be further debated at the occasion of the next European elections.
This paper will discuss to what extent a political Union represents a clear concept or a constructive ambiguity, from its origins to what kind and how to enhance its achievement.

Joint publication from TEPSA and the Egmont Institute: “The reform of the EU courts (II). Abandoning the management approach by doubling the General Court” By Franklin Dehousse

tepsahighTheEgmont Institute 2011 proposal of the European Court of Justice aiming to increase the number of judges of the General Court has mutated after four years into a complete change of the EU judicial system. This long legislative debate was the first implementation of the Lisbon Treaty in the judicial domain. It has revealed different problems – formal and substantial – of the approach of public service reform in the European institutions. In this paper, Franklin Dehousse analyses and compares the 2011 proposal, the 2013 compromise, the 2014 proposal and draws lessons for judicial management and the exercise of the Court’s legislative power.

Franklin Dehousse is professor (on sabbatical in abeyance) at the University of Liège, and judge at the General Court. The paper is written in collaboration with Benedetta Marsicola, who is legal assistant in the General Court. This article is written in a strictly personal capacity.

The paper can be downloaded here.

TEPSA Newsletter Editorial on “The Architects in the Kingdom, governance of the euro zone”, February 2012

by Jean Paul Jacqué

The Lisbon Treaty has attempted to establish mechanisms for the euro area governance, but the resistance of member states not sharing the common currency had greatly limited the progress in this field. It left a trace in the Protocol No. 14 that foresees informal meetings of euro zone ministers (Euro Group) chaired by an elected president. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Junker has taken up this responsibility. The difficulties of managing the crisis demonstrated this structure to be insufficient. Tensions notably rose between the President of the Euro Group and the Heads of State and Government concerning the competent authority in charge of the economic management. Indeed, the direct intervention by the Heads of State or Government of the euro zone, meeting in special bodies, has been hardly approved by some finance ministers. Some have suggested creating a finance minister of the Union, yet this wouldn’t solve the problem. It was deemed necessary to restructure the system.

Please read the February Newsletter 2012.

Human Rights in Europe

Speech by Mr. Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, given on 10th March to TEPSA friends.

TEPSA Policy Paper ‘Time to hit the reset button: “The Eastern Partnership after the Vilnius Summit and the Role of Russia”‘ by Katrin Böttger

TEPSA_LOGODespite the fact that Georgia and Moldova initialled their Association Agreements (AA) at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit on 28/29 November 2013, the summit and its aftermath have to be rated as a low point in the Eastern Partnership. Not only did then President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych refuse to sign the Association Agreement for Ukraine, favouring instead a loan and a reduction in gas prices from Russia. This refusal to sign the Association Agreement initially resulted in frustration and protests at the end of 2013. Later on it led to the mobilisation of extreme right wing forces civil unrest and in February 2014 to numerous deaths on the streets of Kyiv.

The Policy Paper is available for download here.

Editorial TEPSA Newsletter April 2015: “The tragedies in the Mediterranean and the European Neighbourhood Policy”, by Secretary General, Jaap W. de Zwaan

334px-EU_European_Neighbourhood_Policy_states.svgThe human tragedies taking place in the Mediterranean shock the world. Recently new forms of barbarism, where immigrants were kept imprisoned in non-seaworthy boats and drowned after capsizing, came to light. Immediate reactions and actions are expected, more particularly from the European Union.

EU Ministers of Foreign and Home Affairs have adopted a ten-point plan in their meeting of 20 April. This plan has been confirmed at a special meeting of the European Council on Thursday 23 April. One of the agreed measures relates to cooperation with third countries, in particular Libya, where many people trying to flee to Europe often start their travel.

When referring to cooperation with third countries, the question arises whether explicit mention should not be made more generally, of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Indeed, ENP covers all states surrounding the Mediterranean (and Eastern Europe). In this case, however, the reference obviously is to the ENP countries of the Mediterranean: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

The EU has for a long time – itself being preoccupied by the economic crisis – somewhat neglected its relations with the Mediterranean countries concerned, several of them being former colonies of Member States. For a long time we have underestimated the relevance of good relations with that neighbourhood for our own stability and security.

Now, measures to cope with the influx of immigrants coming from Africa (and Asia) could be integrated in a comprehensive and integral policy regarding these Mediterranean ENP countries. Here we may think – in the first place – of rescue operations and measures to combat international crime (human trafficking, corruption, fraud, blackmail and the like), but also of measures how to prevent people to leave their homes, region and country (by rendering assistance in the process of reconstruction after conflict, other forms of development aid, making of investments and the like). Neighbourhood countries may also help by creating ‘safe havens’ on their own territory, where immigrants can submit their applications for asylum or, in the case in question, a residence permit, meanwhile profiting from protection provided by the host country.

Of course we must realize that nearly all Mediterranean countries involved suffer from the consequences of the Arab Spring, now better to be referred to as an Arab Winter. Indeed, many of those countries are politically unstable and find themselves in a vehement process of transformation. However, after a long period of neglect they anyhow require more attention from our side that has happened in the past.

So, there are enough reasons to integrate a discussion and, more importantly, concrete actions on – how to cope with the tragedies in the Mediterranean and the underlying problems in the countries of origin – in the broader context of the EU Neighbourhood Policy. In that framework all sorts of relevant measures may be discussed and adopted in a comprehensive manner: on the one hand assistance for a better system of governance/democracy and trade arrangements/privileges for the ENP countries concerned, on the other hand common actions to combat human trafficking and other forms of international crime.

An adequate implementation of all intentions mentioned will not only provide useful contributions to solve the tragedies at stake, they will also serve our own interests: safety and security in Europe. Furthermore such a more active approach can revitalize a policy domain – ENP – which was only modestly developed during the last couple of years. Last but not least, it will position the European Union as a credible global player in that other part of the world, our neighbourhood.

It is up to the Commission to take first steps in this area. There is no time to lose.

Jaap W. de Zwaan

Secretary-General TEPSA