The Politicization of EU Corruption: Where Does It Lead?
Programmes
19 May 2024

The Politicization of EU Corruption: Where Does It Lead?

“I appeal to you to resist the temptation to exploit this moment for political gain.”   A statement made in December 2022 by Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament (EP), in response to one of the bloc’s biggest corruption scandals, reveals a larger story about the politicization of corruption in European politics.
Macron’s War Rhetoric and his Desperate Quest for Prestige
Programmes
10 Mar 2024

Macron’s War Rhetoric and his Desperate Quest for Prestige

“Nothing should be ruled out” said French President Emmanuel Macron when asked about possibilities of sending troops to Ukraine. By speaking about going to war, Macron may have aimed to dispel a long-standing joke about the French always surrendering. However, both French and NATO leaders have publicly rejected the idea of sending European or alliance troops to Ukraine. Prominent figures such as U.S. President Joseph Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and others have asserted that such action is not on the table. The widespread domestic and regional opposition implies that even if Macron was genuinely considering sending troops to Ukraine, he would not receive the necessary support for such a radical decision.
How Europe Alienated Farmers and Revived Populism
Programmes
5 Mar 2024

How Europe Alienated Farmers and Revived Populism

This article was originally published on Ahram Online on Mar. 4, 2024.   Farming and food have become two of Europe’s most emotionally charged issues. The farmers protests that have been erupting across the EU this year are finally getting much sought after attention. But farmers have been expressing their discontent with EU policies for years and now, with a broader cost-of-living crisis, the discontent is spreading as European’s socio-economic anxieties rise. From favouring corporate interests to mishandling crises, European policies have presented populist and far-right forces with a new opportunity to pull in more voters —and it’s proving successful.
Can the EU Endure Escalation in the Middle East?
Programmes
12 Feb 2024

Can the EU Endure Escalation in the Middle East?

The global economy has been struggling to recover since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had significant repercussions worldwide. The European Union (EU) has been particularly affected by the Russia-Ukraine war due to its reliance on Russian energy. Following this conflict, the EU is gradually moving toward recovery, with an anticipated mild growth rate in 2024. However, the ongoing Middle East conflict and concerns about its potential escalation raise doubts about whether the EU can withstand the challenges posed by such an escalation.
Between Grain and AK-47s: Russian Influence in Africa
Programmes
11 Apr 2023

Between Grain and AK-47s: Russian Influence in Africa

The Russian presence in Africa has recently increased after a decline of nearly three decades since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the nineties of the last century. Russian-African relations are part of Russia's new strategy to enhance its international influence. This strategy conforms to Russia's situation in international affairs, including its support for countries that contradict Western policies. Moscow has focused its influence on the West African region, taking advantage of Western policy mistakes, the mounting anti-European sentiment, and the long-standing failure of international and domestic actors to address the root causes of the regional instability. The first Russian-African summit in Sochi in October 2019 concluded contracts with more than 30 African countries for the supply of weapons and military equipment. It thus opened the door for state-backed companies to invest heavily in the security and technology sectors and industries that extract natural resources such as oil, gas, gold and other minerals.   On the other hand, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict did not impede this rapprochement but rather contributed to developing the partnership between the two parties to take the form of a strategic alliance. This was apparent in the speeches and statements of President Vladimir Putin, the most prominent of which was the speech he delivered at the International Parliament Conference "Russia - Africa in a Multipolar World", which was held in Moscow in March of this year on the sidelines of Saint Petersburg preparations for the second coming Russian – African summit to be held in July 2023. Putin reiterated that cooperation between Moscow and African countries was and will always be one of the top fixed priorities of Russia's foreign policy, declaring Russia's fulfilment of all its obligations, including supply of food, fertilisers, fuel and other essential products to the countries of the continent, which helps ensure food and energy security.   In light of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this analysis aims to shed more light on the motivations and characteristics of the Russian strategy in Africa. It also seeks to highlight the challenges to Russian influence expansion as well as the prospects for Russian-African relations in the future.
Sports Diplomacy: How Do Sports Events Enhance the Reputation of Countries?
Programmes
29 Mar 2023

Sports Diplomacy: How Do Sports Events Enhance the Reputation of Countries?

The FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar garnered more attention from the international community due to Qatar's ability to change perceptions of it as a nation capable of hosting the biggest sporting events. Many countries have recently sought to host international sports events in an effort to enhance their posture diplomatically, improve their reputation as well as shore up their position within the international community. To that end, “Sports Diplomacy” has been used to achieve understanding and peace among nations and promote the countries’ political and ideological goals. On the other hand, countries exploited sports as an approach aiming at asserting the superiority and strength of the state; for instance, the 1936 Olympic Games were held in Germany, and the 1934 FIFA World Cup was held in Mussolini’s Italy. In other cases, sports played a more constructive role in the 1990s, representing an opportunity for South Africa to surpass the apartheid era and look forward to a better future. For China, sports have played a role in introducing an open policy and a more influential economy.   A state’s reputation is one of the key factors affecting its international relations, as it reflects its global image, influencing its recognition and interaction with other countries. With sports diplomacy, states could carry out several interests, such as boosting diplomatic ties with other states, raising the degree of understanding and cooperation among people and governments, and improving the state's public image globally. In other words, sports diplomacy is an effective tool for attaining diplomatic goals and promoting the state’s reputation worldwide. This analysis seeks to shed more light on the link between sports diplomacy and the state’s reputation and how the state’s stance in the international community is enhanced by sports diplomacy.
Securitization of Migration: An Elastic Tool
Programmes
20 Mar 2023

Securitization of Migration: An Elastic Tool

Securitizing an issue means simply, designating an issue as of an extreme danger to be dealt with urgently. The theory of securitization stipulates that national security policies are not given but are formulated by policy makers mainly through their uttered words. Accordingly, narratives given by policy makers frame issues as either a security threat, a mere challenge or even an opportunity. The same issue can be mentioned by the same political leader once as a security threat that the nation should mitigate at some point and an asset at another. Migration is one of those issues which governments either give a securitizing polish or none at all. In this analysis, the argument goes that “national interests” made-up from economic and political conditions are the main factors in deciding the given frame.
Ukraine Ascendance to Europe: The Union’s Gift
Programmes
18 Jan 2023

Ukraine Ascendance to Europe: The Union’s Gift

June 2022, the European Commission announced granting Ukraine the status of a candidate country to the European Union. Nevertheless, problems concerning Ukraine such as their struggle with their economy and political system, are still on the agenda. Giving the candidacy status to Ukraine has been criticized since Ukraine is still regarded as a weak country and not yet eligible for such a status especially when compared with other European candidates. European accession is granted after an assessment process based on what is known as Copenhagen criteria. European officials have announced that the accession process will be done by the book and merit based. In the same vein, the commission has granted Moldova the same status which is, the same as Ukraine, considered part of Russia’s sphere of influence. Keeping all this in mind, in the light of Russian war in Ukraine, it is a valid question to ask whether Ukraine candidacy is merit based or politicized. Is the fifth enlargement scenario of the accession of incompetent Bulgaria and Romania as a reward for their role in Kosovo war is being repeated with Ukraine? Considering this, the analysis is going to examine why Ukraine was accepted as a candidate. Drawing on European Commission’s reports, it will be discovered which of Copenhagen criteria are fulfilled by Ukraine. Copenhagen Criteria are:   Stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities (Political Criteria) A functioning market economy and the ability to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU (Economic Criteria) The ability to take on the obligations of membership, including the capacity to effectively implement the rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law (the ‘acquis’), and adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.