Recent publications by the Italian International Affairs Institute

The EU’s Constructions of the Mediterranean (2003-2017), by Münevver Cebeci and Tobias Schumacher, (MedReset Papers 3), Roma, IAI, April, 2017, 29 p.

This report offers a critical discourse analysis of the EU’s conception of the Mediterranean since 2003. It attempts to display how the EU’s discourse on the region can be read as a boundary-drawing exercise; and how it produces and reproduces European and Southern Mediterranean identities and constructs the ideal European self against its imperfect Southern Mediterranean others. It also claims that the EU’s approach towards the Mediterranean is rather securitized, depoliticizing and technocratic. The report first looks into the shifts in the EU’s construction of the Mediterranean in terms of its region-building and boundary-drawing exercises. Second, it analyses how the EU securitizes the Mediterranean space and how this becomes an identity-construction exercise. Third, it inquires into the interplay between the EU’s norms and interests on the one hand and the European and Mediterranean identities that it constructs on the other. Finally, it attempts to demonstrate how the EU’s technocratic and depoliticizing policies on the Southern Mediterranean produce and reproduce subject and objects.



The EU’s Framing of the Mediterranean (1990-2002): Building a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, by Pol Morillas and Eduard Soler i Lecha, (MedReset Papers 2), Roma, IAI, April, 2017, 29 p.

This paper looks into what was a defining phase for Euro-Mediterranean relations. In the 1990s the Mediterranean was presented as a source of threat, but also as a need for engagement due to proximity and interdependence. The Mediterranean was also seen as an opportunity and a responsibility. Through its engagement with the Mediterranean the EU emphasized its identity as a transformative actor, linking trade liberalization and political transformation. This contributed to a gradual de-politicization and, above all, the technocratization of Euro-Mediterranean practice. Another constant feature of this period was securitization, particularly after the attacks of September 11. The seeds of existing debates on how the EU should deal with its Southern Neighbourhood were planted in this period. By looking at the institutional, political and intellectual debates of the 1990s, we can trace back some of the conceptualizations that still shape the European vision of the Mediterranean but also of itself.




The European Community Framing of the Mediterranean (1970-1990), by Sally Khalifa Isaac and Haidi Esmat Kares, (MedReset Papers 2), Roma, IAI, April, 2017, 23 p.

This paper examines the early phase of European construction of the Mediterranean during the 1970s and 1980s. It seeks to analyse how the European Community (EC) discursively constructed itself against the Mediterranean as a neighbouring space, and how it mapped the Mediterranean accordingly. It concludes that early attempts towards European construction of the Mediterranean were mainly triggered by the EC’s economic interests and necessitated by its recurring enlargement processes. The EC did not perceive the Mediterranean as a coherent region, and a clear distinction was made between its various geographical components. The analysis also shows that most of the Community’s initiatives for political cooperation with many Mediterranean countries did not succeed. It demonstrates how most Europeans perceived Middle East politics as a domain of US active diplomacy, even while the EC perceived itself as the most powerful actor capable of constructing the Mediterranean as a zone of economic prosperity.



One Year On: An Assessment of the EU-Turkey Statement on Refugees, by Ilke Toygür and Bianca Benvenuti, (IAI Working Papers 17|14) March 2017, 16 p.

In 2015 the EU faced one of the most severe crises in its entire history. The refugee flows from the Aegean Sea caused a humanitarian drama that required a rapid response. While one particular member state, Greece, has been the most affected, another transit country, Turkey, has played a crucial role. A candidate country and also a long-term economic partner, Turkey was there to keep refugees out, as the guardian of Europe’s borders. Externalizing the issue seemed like the best option for European leaders after the many inconclusive attempts of the European Commission to relocate asylum seekers among EU member states. Following an unexpected revitalization of relations, Turkey and the EU concluded a deal to halt these irregular migration flows to Europe. The EU-Turkey statement was signed on 18 March with the proviso of certain concessions be made to Turkey, such as opening chapters in its accession negotiations, 3 (plus 3) billion euros and, most importantly, visa-free travel for its citizens. Nevertheless, the deal was immediately subject to criticism from many sectors. One year on, an honest assessment is very much needed since the EU is considering new deals with other transit countries. In the meantime, both Turkey and key countries of the EU, such as the Netherlands, France and Germany, are facing very critical electoral challenges of their own. For this reason, internal politics and foreign policy decisions are highly interwoven. The authors assess the first year of the EU-Turkey statement on refugees, providing an analysis of current situation developments.



The European ‘Other’ in Poland’s Conservative Identity Project, by Molly O’Neal, in The International Spectator, Vol. 52, Issue 1, 2017, p. 28-45

Since taking office in November 2015, Poland’s conservative government has pressed for a sweeping reinterpretation of the past, and a re-envisioning of the future, of the political community. This conservative identity project idealises the allegedly fully sovereign Poland of the interwar period and repudiates the normative commitments underpinning Poland’s accession to the European Union. The worldview of the conservative government’s liberal critics, by contrast, represents a fusion of the inclusive nationalism asserted in opposition to communist rule with the affirmation of a European identity. The reawakening of historically resonant debates about the nature of Poland’s European-ness, emphasizing the centrality of the (Western) European ‘other’ in Poland’s national idea, carries significant implications for its relations within the international environment.



More Than a Trading Power. Europe’s Political Added Value for Security and Trust Building in Northeast Asia, by Nicola Casarini, (IAI Working Papers 17|12) March 2017, 19 p.

Northeast Asia is today one of the world’s most dynamic economic areas, contributing almost half of global growth. The region has reached a level of economic interdependence similar, if not superior, to that of Europe. However, the worsening political climate in China, Japan and South Korea continues to hinder deeper cooperation and the elimination of the root causes of conflict. Moreover, North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes represent a threat to regional peace, while China’s rise takes place outside – and in potential opposition to – the US system of alliances that has thus far been a factor of stability. There is therefore a need to devise an effective regional, multilateral security framework that could also facilitate the resumption of talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The new US administration of Donald Trump is showing contempt for multilateralism and institutions, preferring bilateral bargaining and power relations. This leaves the European Union as the only global actor that continues to support initiatives towards regional cooperation and trust building. Europe does not have binding military alliances in the area, and is a neutral actor vis-à-vis the region’s outstanding territorial and maritime disputes. New capabilities have been added to the EU’s foreign-policy toolbox in recent years, making it possible for Brussels to engage with Northeast Asian nations across the board, including the resumption of talks on North Korea’s nuclear dossier. The EU thus has political “added value”, which Northeast Asia’s policymakers should seize upon in order to manage current tensions and avoid conflict.



Energy Union Watch, No. 7, By Nicolò Sartori and Lorenzo Colantoni, December 2016-February 2017, 19 p.


The road to implementation

Foreword | Nicolò Sartori and Lorenzo Colantoni

Five Guiding Dimensions – Details of the evaluation

  1. Security of Supply: 9/12
  2. Energy Market: 3/12
  3. Energy Efficiency: 3/12
  4. Decarbonisation: 6/12
  5. Research: 3/12

Public debate: Bruegel, CEPS, E3G, Climate Analytics

Interview | Christoph Frei

Roadmap for the Energy Union



Differentiated Integration and the EU: A Variable Geometry Legitimacy, by Yves Bertoncini, (EU60 Papers 7) March 2017, 16 p.

Since the member states and peoples of the EU are “united in diversity”, it seems natural for the European construction to use patterns of differentiated integration, so as to be able to act in an effective manner while taking this diversity into account. However, the promoters of differentiated integration should focus not only on effectiveness, but also on legitimacy issues, which are key for the EU’s functioning and success, at a time when it is confronted by global challenges but also fragmented along several divides between states and peoples. This contribution explores the philosophical, political and institutional conditions which must be met to allow a legitimate deepening of differentiation within the EU, and highlights the importance of a differentiation based on sound political foundations, which is then able to serve the interests of the European peoples, for example as regards collective security issues and the Economic and Monetary Union.



The Refugee Debate in Central and Eastern Europe: Can the EU-Turkey Deal Survive Without Intra EU Convergence on Relocation and Resettlement?, by Bianca Benvenuti (Documenti IAI 17|05) March 2017, 6 p.

The Global Turkey in Europe (GTE) project aims at establishing a platform to discuss and analyse the rapid transformation of Turkey in a European and global context. In this phase, the project focuses on the refugee crisis and its impact on EU-Turkey relations, as well as on the EU’s migration and asylum policies. Public discourse on the issue is polarized and often confused: GTE aims to provide a forum for people with different professional backgrounds, experiences and opinions to meet and discuss various facets of the refugee crisis, alongside field trips designed to better inform the dialogue between participants. The fourth event in this series took place in Budapest on 23-24 February 2017. The workshop focused on the refugee debate in Central and Eastern Europe and in particular on the Visegrad countries’ resistance to the relocation and resettlement schemes put forward by the European Commission.

Report from the field trip and seminar held in Budapest on 23-24 February 2017 and organized by Stiftung Mercator, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), and Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) within the framework of the project “Turkey, Europe and the World: Political, Economic and Foreign Policy Dimensions of Turkey’s Evolving Relationship with the EU” (Global Turkey in Europe).



EU-India Defence Cooperation: A European Perspective, by Stefania Benaglia, Alessandro Riccardo Ungaro (Documenti IAI 16|35) December 2016, 17 p.

When looking at the European Defence and Technological Industrial Base (EDTIB) from India – where competition among global defence suppliers is fierce – there is a clear need to step up European coordination and integration. There are a number of mechanisms the European Union can put in place to stimulate a fruitful competition amongst its defence providers and prove the value of EDTIB as a whole. Additionally, EU-India security dialogue can be enhanced by boosting coordination among EU Member States. This paper provides recommendations on how industrial cooperation in the defence sector can serve as a driver to enhance EU-India defence and security cooperation.