Past events at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs (LIIA) – Spring 2016


High-level International Conference on the EU Global Strategy and Central Asia
1 April, 2016, Riga


LIIA1On April 1, the Latvian Institute of International Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organized a high-level international conference “EU Global Strategy and Central Asia: Vision and Instruments”.

With a view towards the new EU Global Strategy, the role of the EU in Central Asia was discussed in three panels – from the point of view of the EU, Central Asia and other countries.

LIIA2The conference was opened by Andris Spruds, the Director of LIIA. Edgars Rinkevics, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, and Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, delivered keynote speeches. One of the speakers of the conference was Peter Burian, EU Special Representative for Central Asia. Among the speakers were representatives from four Central Asian countries (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), as well as from the EU, the United States, Russia and China. The full program is available here.

Public discussion with the Members of the Latvian Parliament on the foreign affairs
29 April 2016, Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava (Latvia)


The Latvian Institute of International Affairs as part of the Latvian Foreign and Security Policy Yearbook 2016 and Latvian foreign Policy Centenary Project throughout the year will organise five discussions where members of the political parties represented in Parliament (Saeima) will meet with the general public. Four of these discussions will take place in Latvia’s four regions, while the fifth will be held in Riga in early January. The first discussion took place on 29 April, at the Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava. The event was dedicated to Latvia’s foreign policy achievements in the last 25 years, and discussed the country’s contemporary challenges and opportunities in the realm of global international affairs.

Expert round table and public discussion: “Riga Dialogue 2016: Building Bridges for Euro-Atlantic Security”
17 May 2016, Riga


On 17 May 2016, LIIA organised the annual Riga Dialogue. The event was supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Nuclear Threat Initiative, German Marshal Fund’s Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, and European Leadership Network, and the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Riga Dialogue 2016: Building Bridges for Euro-Atlantic Security” featured a closed expert roundtable discussion and a public event, which took place on the same day at the joint-stock company “Development Finance Institution Altum”, 4 Dome Square, Riga.

For more information regarding this event, please follow LIIA website.

Recent publications from the Prague Institute of International Relations (IIR) – Spring 2016

Prague Institute of Intl Relations


Petr Kratochvíl, EU Global Strategy Expert Opinion, No. 15, 05 February 2016

IIR Towards an EU global strategyWe present to you a special analysis of the EU Global Strategy by the IIR Director Petr Kratochvíl. Petr Kratochvíl was among the very few top EU experts selected to provide an opinion on the new EU Global Strategy. The European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) – in close cooperation with the Strategic Planning Division of the European External Action Service (EEAS) – has carried out a wide-ranging outreach and consultation process. As part of this process, the EUISS asked 50 well-known analysts and commentators – roughly half of them from inside, and half of them from outside the Union – to give their opinion on the priorities that the forthcoming EU Global Strategy should address and how. The resulting contributions are collectively reproduced in one volume and offer a rich selection of independent views intended to nurture the drafting of the strategy, and we are proud that our director, Petr Kratochvíl, is one of the experts contributing to this volume.

IIR V4 goes global

Patryk Kugiel (ed.), Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň, Rudolf Fürst, Jan Hornát et al., V4 Goes Global: Exploring Opportunities and Obstacles in the Visegrad Countries’ Cooperation with Brazil, India, China and South Africa, The Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) report supported by the International Visegrad Fund, Warsaw, March 2016

The Visegrad Group countries have become more active in pursuing their foreign policy outside Europe, focusing in particular on strengthening their cooperation with the emerging powers – China, India, Brazil and South Africa. When approaching these countries, however, they all have to struggle with similar barriers that result from different potentials and an absence of historical ties. The Visegrad Group can become a useful mechanism in overcoming these obstacles and enhancing relations with the emerging powers, but the four countries have to learn not only to compete, but also to cooperate on the global stage.

Markéta Wittichová, Bordering the Central Mediterranean Search and Rescue Assemblage,  Discussion Paper of the Institute of International Relations Prague, April 2016

Since the beginning of 2015, pieces of news about migrant boat disasters in the Mediterranean Sea have been filling the headlines of major national and international media. Search and rescue operations have been, in many cases, a line between life and death for people travelling to Europe in unsafe dinghies. Using assemblage thinking and Latour´s actor-network theory, this paper by Markéta Wittichová, an IIR Associate Research Fellow, analyses the (non)involvement of various actors in search and rescue operations. It further explores the boundaries of the Search and Rescue assemblage.

Lukáš Tichý and Nikita Odintsov, Can Iran Reduce EU Dependence on Russian Gas?, Middle East Policy, Spring 2016, Volume XXIII

This article written by the IIR Research Fellow Lukáš Tichý and the IIR Associate Research Fellow Nikita Odintsov tries to address the question of whether Iran can indeed decrease the EU’s dependency on imported Russian gas.

Markéta Wittichová and Jan Daniel, Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: Czech Republic, March 2016

Markéta Wittichová and Jan Daniel are the authors of the profile of the Czech Republic as a Peacekeeping Contributor on the server Providing for Peacekeeping. This project of the International Peace Institute, the Elliott School at George Washington University, and the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Queensland contributes up-to-date country profiles. Each profile examines recent trends related to UN and non-UN peacekeeping operations, the given country’s internal decision-making process on whether to contribute uniformed personnel to the UN, the rationales driving its contributions, the major barriers to contributing, current challenges, key domestic champions and opponents of the contributions, major capabilities and caveats, as well as providing sources for further reading. The profiles are available online and in PDF format.

Past events at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) – Spring 2016



FIIA eventsNathalie Tocci, Deputy Director at Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), gave a presentation at a two-day EU Global Strategy seminar on EU’s Strategic Vision for Relations with Russia and the Eastern Neighbourhood. The seminar was organised in cooperation with EUISS and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Photo: Mattias Lehtinen / FIIA


Europe’s New Political Engine: Germany’s role in the EU’s foreign and security policy
15 April 2016, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki


International crises and a leadership vacuum in Europe forced the economically strong Germany to learn how to lead the EU’s foreign and security policy and to become Europe’s new political engine. For example, Germany played a key role in the Western response to the Ukraine conflict. Berlin had to determine how to show more international responsibility, while adhering to its traditional foreign policy tenets. There is an active discussion on Germany’s unfamiliar role as a foreign policy leader and the implications for the EU’s foreign and security policy. How did Germany’s foreign policy and its role in the EU change in recent years? What are the implications for its partners in Europe and the Common Foreign and Security Policy? How can potential global ambitions in German foreign policy be reconciled with its European vocation? These and other questions were discussed in the light of current international political developments.

The seminar marked the publication of the FIIA report “Europe’s New Political Engine: Germany’s role in the EU’s foreign and security policy”, which presents the results of a trans-European research task force. The research project and this seminar have been organized in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
Opening remarks: Teija Tiilikainen, Director, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Elisabeth Bauer, Head of the Office for the Baltic and the Nordic countries, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
Thomas Bagger, Head of Policy Planning, German Federal Foreign Office
Niklas Helwig, Senior Research Fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Lisbeth Aggestam, Associate Professor, University of Gothenburg
Comments: Antti Kaski, Director of Policy Planning and Research, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Chair: Juha Jokela, Programme Director, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs



From EU ”Poster Child” to a Dysfunctional State? Assessing the situation in Moldova
26 April 2016, The Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki


For a considerable period of time Moldova was perceived as a most promising candidate to play the role of a success story in the EU’s policy in the Eastern Neighbourhood. It concluded an Association Agreement with the EU and was the first country in the region to which Brussels granted the visa-free regime. Moreover, at least some hope was seen for an eventual resolution of the conflict in Transnistria. This positive picture, however, shattered when corrupt practices and the in-fighting within the ruling governmental coalition placed the country at risk of an oligarchic state capture and a protracted political crisis – if not a total state failure. The seminar arranged at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs looked into the current political situation in Moldova in order to understand whether and how the European orientation of the country and its reform process could be sustained. Also, the event aimed at assessing what has gone right or wrong in the EU policy towards Moldova.
Speaker: Ryhor Nizhnikau, PhD candidate, the Skytte Institute, University of Tartu
Päivi Peltokoski, Director of Unit for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Kristi Raik, Senior Research Fellow, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Chair: Arkady Moshes, Programme Director, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs

Recent publications from Real Instituto Elcano – Spring 2016



William Chislett, Inside Spain nº125 20th January- 22nd February. 22.02.2016. Spain to contribute €153 million to migration fund for Turkey. Countdown to the investiture of a Socialist Prime Minister. Spain records its worst score in corruption index, Popular Party hit by more scandals. New government, whenever there is one, faces big budget hole. CAF wins £490 million rolling-stock contract in UK.

Miguel Otero-Iglesias, How to strengthen the G20: Spain’s multilateral perspective. 25.02.2016. In the context of slow growth, destabilizing capital flows and currency wars, the G20 must develop joint solutions to overcome common problems. The threats faced are protracted rather than punctual and not easy to explain, which has dampened the sensation of urgency. The resulting inactivity has fed two intertwined dangers: the return of protectionist and nationalist policies and the formation of rivaling blocs

Miguel Otero-Iglesias, Sebastián Royo and Federico Steinberg, The Spanish financial crisis: Lessons for the European Banking Union. 01.03.2016. This report examines the Spanish banking crisis and uses it to extract valuable lessons for the construction of the European Banking Union (EBU), which is a complex process that resembles in some respects the variety of actors and preferences encountered in the Spanish case.

Jessica Almqvist, ‘Even war has rules’: a call for global action to protect civilians. 02.03.2016. There is an urgent need to address in a comprehensive manner the problem of systematic and flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human-rights law in ongoing conflicts, including its sources and implications. More specifically, possible lines of action to counter the growing importance of non-state armed actors and the use of explosives in populated areas must be discussed. A Global Action Plan on how to prevent, repress and redress serious violations of international law in armed conflict, taking into account the present and future role of UN peace missions, is a must.

Salvador Llaudes and Ignacio Molina, Spain’s stance on Cameron’s negotiations. 02.03.2016. Spain is finalising its stance on the negotiations being conducted by the European institutions to restrict the chances of a so-called ‘Brexit’. Some parts of the offer put forward by the President of the European Council are of concern from an integrationist perspective, but the proposal provides a good basis for arriving at a position that is agreeable to the 28. It is in the strategic interest of the EU in general, and of Spain in particular, to avoid ‘Brexit’. Therefore, so long as none of the red lines set in the various sections of the negotiations are breached, Spain will not raise objections when it comes to forming a consensus. The special circumstances surrounding these negotiations, particularly on the domestic Spanish stage, raise a series of procedural issues that shall also be briefly addressed here.

Youssef Amrani, Morocco: a singular path in a troubled region. 03.03.2016. Since 2011 the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been grappling with many hotbeds of instability, internal strife and an existential struggle against extremist terrorism. Yet the Moroccan global approach is different, unique, in that it capitalises on four elements: stability, vision, effective transformation and internationally-gained trust. These make Morocco’s democratic path unique and successful.

William Chislett, Spain moves towards fresh elections to break deadlock. 07.03.2016. Spain took a step toward fresh elections when Pedro Sánchez, the Socialist Party (PSOE) leader, twice failed to secure sufficient backing in Parliament to become Prime Minister. If no political leader obtains the required support by 2 May King Felipe will dissolve Parliament and call a new ballot, probably to be held on 26 June, which could produce another stalemate.

Carmen González Enríquez, Schengen: a collective asset no one stands up for. 09.03.2016. Schengen is the main collective asset that the EU has produced, along with the euro and the common market, but it is currently in grave jeopardy of disappearing as the closing of borders continues to spread.  


İlke Toygür and Melih Özsöz, Stormy months on the Aegean: the refugee deal and its impact on Turkey-EU relations. 15.03.2016. The refugee deal of 2015, followed by the opening up of a negotiation chapter, has revitalised the relations between Turkey and the EU; however, there are crucial points to bear in mind for future relations to be sustained, such as the lack of transparency and of a long-term plan.

Alfredo Arahuetes and Federico Steinberg, The interdependence of the British economy: a contribution to the Brexit debate. 17.03.2016. This paper analyses the interdependence of the British economy, both in terms of trade and direct investment, in order to assess the economic justification of a hypothetical Brexit. It concludes that it is difficult to justify the UK’s leaving the EU on the basis of economic arguments. The British economy has extremely close economic ties with the other countries in the EU, which would be jeopardised if Brexit were to go ahead.

Salvador Llaudes, Limited but non negligible consequences of Cameron’s agreement for Spain. With the exception of the section of the agreement regarding competitiveness, which is more ambiguous and imprecise, the rest (economic governance, sovereignty and social benefits) will bring about some changes regarding the relationship between the EU and UK, and will have certain effects on Spain. Though undesirable for a country so firmly pro-European, these effects do not have to be particularly dramatic, especially if they do not entail a cascade of petitions to obtain a singular status from other countries.

Miguel Otero-Iglesias and Erik Jones, What Europe needs is not an end to the euro, but better leadership. 22.03.2016. If there is a consensus, it is that the eurozone should integrate further. But politicians have failed to translate this into action. The time has come for European policymakers to advocate an economic policy prescription that promotes growth and employment while also restarting the flow of capital from the core to the periphery.

Fernando Reinares, Brussels attacks: Challenge to Security and Coexistence. 28.03.2016. The attacks in Brussels, as in Paris, are an attempt to instil fear in the hearts of European citizens, forcing them to change their behaviour and to shape the decisions of their governments. We have to avoid the spread of Islamophobia without losing sight of the challenge that both the Jihadists with their terrorist outrages and the Salafists with their anti-democratic preaching pose to open societies.

William Chislett, Inside Spain nº126 22nd February- 28th March. 28.03.2016. Spain to join International Syria Support Group. Socialist Sánchez fails in PM bid, Popular Party and Podemos still refusing support. Close to half of Spaniards say corruption is the country’s second largest problem. European Commission urges Spain to reduce budget deficit. Ferrovial wins £300 million contract to maintain 370kms of highways in UK.

Charles Powell, EU Global Strategy 45: Expert Opinion. 31.03.2016. Royal Institute Elcano’s contribution to the European Union Global Strategy project.

Patricia Lisa, The EU-Turkey Agreement: a turning point in the EU’s policy approach to the refugee crisis but with the devil lurking in the detail. 08.04.2016. Is the agreement the right way to manage the refugee crisis? Or are we misinterpreting the signs once more and not understanding that structural, non-transitory challenges cannot be overcome with exceptional, transitory actions, however difficult they may be to implement?

Leonard Seabrooke and Duncan Wigan, Panama Leaks and the Tide of Tax Reform. 13.04.2016. The leak of the ‘Panama Papers’ has created an enormous scandal and, more importantly, a great deal of political momentum for the international tax reform agenda.


Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- European prose for David Cameron: not much changes. 23.02.2016

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- Middle classes cut down to size. 01.03.2016

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- Globalisation: factors of unity or division, depending on the circumstances. 08.03.2016

Lara Lázaro Touza, Climate change and Big Data. 09.03.2016.

Fernando Reinares, The terrorist threat in the EU: expect the unexpected.14.03.2016.

Antonio Rubio Plo, Kennan’s ‘long telegram’: reflections from the past and the present. 14.03.2016

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- Europe: too many crises for so little leadership. 15.03.2016

Gonzalo Escribano, Libya: finding a way out of the labyrinth must be by way of the oil terminals. 15.03.2016

Antonio Rubio Plo, Contrasts between the realism of Kennan and Obama. 17.03.2016

Iliana Olivié, Is India the new China? 21.03.2016.

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- China viewed from Japan: weakness with stability. 22.03.2016

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- Brexit: possible political disasters. 29.03.2016

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- An odd Dutch referendum on the Ukraine: another European crisis on the horizon? 05.04.2016

William Chislett, Spain’s failure yet again to meet budget deficit target strains relations with Brussels. 06.04.2016

Andrés Ortega, Global Spectator- Tax evasion and avoidance: a global problem. 12.04.2016

Clara Pérez Bocanegra, Ukraine, Russia and the sanctions: ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’. 15.04.2016