Ispi Dossier

ISPI Dossier è uno strumento snello e tempestivo d’informazione e commento su temi di attualità attraverso i contributi di esperti e accademici.

  • Western Balkans in Trieste. What Lies Ahead

    Monday, 10 July, 2017

    Political and economic prospects in the Western Balkans seemed promising in early 2000s, with countries leaning to the European Union for a prosperous future. Unfortunately, new and old Balkan problems are (re)emerging today, with political and ethnic divisions more entrenched than before due to poor economic performance, instability, corruption and lack of clear–cut prospects for the future. In the meantime, rising euroskepticism and "enlargement fatigue" in the EU have resulted into a stand–by of future enlargements. This may lead to a further deterioration of the fragile socio-political context in the Western Balkans. With this in mind, Germany launched the Berlin Process in 2014 with a view to scaling–up regional integration in the Western Balkans, while keeping alive the prospects of full EU membership. The Trieste summit on 12 July is the 4th meeting of the countries involved in the Berlin Process. Will this be a last call for the EU to stabilize the neighbouring region, accelerate its democratic processes and lay the groundwork for future EU membership?

  • The G7 Taormina Summit: a view from Italy

    Friday, 26 May, 2017

    The Italian G7 (26–27 May) takes place during momentous times for international politics. Many Heads of State and Government meeting in Taormina are new to the forum, and some of them hold radically different views. On top of that, France and the United Kingdom are in the midst of their national electoral campaigns, while Germany goes to the polls in September. Italy has approached its 2017 Presidency with realistic goals and by keeping a cool head. Even more than in the past, there is a need today for G7 leaders to come together and put their diverging views out in the open.
    The goal of this ISPI Dossier is to take stock of past progress and current diverging views between G7 members on crucial policy areas for global governance (such as trade, development, gender inclusion, and climate change). Is the G7 still relevant, and how so? Will convening leaders be able to safeguard the progress made at previous summits even in these times of tension? Will the Italian Presidency manage to reach its main goal, framed by the slogan “Building the Foundations of Renewed Trust”?

  • Raisi vs Rouhani, which future for Iran?

    Thursday, 18 May, 2017

    Tomorrow 56 million Iranians are expected to go to the ballot box to vote in the 12th presidential election. At the end of a fierce electoral campaign, it is now clear it will be a duel between incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and the challenger, Ebrahim Raisi. These two clerics, the former supported by reformists and technocrats and the latter by conservatives and ultraradicals, are the last two candidates still in the running after the other two prominent contenders, Jahangiri and Qalibaf, withdrew in favour of Rouhani and Raisi, respectively. The outcome of the presidential election – the first after the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015 and the death of Rafsanjani, former president and kingmaker of Iranian politics, earlier this year – will be determined mainly by economics, specifically the popular perception of the disputed economic benefits which were supposed to follow the removal of nuclear–related sanctions. While none of the candidates has outspokenly threatened to repeal the deal, on Friday Iranians will vote for two opposing visions of Iran.

  • Africa vs the ICC: Searching for an exit strategy

    Tuesday, 28 March, 2017

    The long–strained relationship between Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC) recently reached the highest point of tension. For a long time, since the entry into force in 2002 of the Rome Statute, the African continent has been the Court’s almost–exclusive focus of attention, which sparked criticisms for a perceived bias in the administration of international justice. Such tension culminated in an “ICC withdrawal strategy” adopted by the African Union (AU), in January of this year, under the impulse of specific countries. The implementation of the strategy would amount to a nearly fatal blow for the Court. Yet the range of the countries’ positions actually shows great variation, and the overall situation remains extremely fluid and unpredictable: South Africa’s shocking decision to withdraw from the ICC was deemed unconstitutional and blocked by the High Court; The Gambia’s new elected President quickly reversed the decision of his predecessor to withdraw from the ICC; moreover, several other African countries have expressed their commitment to the Court and criticised the AU strategy of rupture. The Commentaries in this ISPI Dossier – edited by Chantal Meloni and Giovanni Carbone – examine the issues at stake from the unique perspectives of six experts.

  • Libya’s Political Stalemate: Why Addressing Migration is not Enough

    Thursday, 2 February, 2017

    This evening, the EU heads of state and government will meet in Malta to discuss the "external dimension of migration". The spotlight will be put on the Central Mediterranean route and, particularly, on Libya. The aim is to step up cooperation with the Libyan authorities in order to implement immediate measures to "stem migratory flows, break the business model of smugglers and save lives".
    However, if viable ways out of Libya’s current political stalemate are not found, an effective cooperation will prove difficult to achieve. Since 2014, political power in Libya has been split between two rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk. Fayez al–Serraj’s UN–backed Government of National Accord is rapidly losing ground, while the growing power of general Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army is hindering the country’s political transition. Moreover, a number of local and external actors struggling for power and hegemony make the situation even more difficult.
    Such impasse signals the pressing need to rethink the country’s political transition in a more inclusive way. Which role should Europe and other international and regional actors play in this crisis? And which priorities should be set?

  • Abe’s Japan: in Search of a New Role

    Tuesday, 17 January, 2017

    Two years have passed since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won Japan’s last general elections with a landslide. Abe, so it seems, is firmly in the saddle to lead the world’s third biggest economy. To be sure, the years ahead will be testing Abe’s leadership skills. He will be confronted with an increasingly assertive China challenging Asia’s maritime territorial boundaries in the East and South China Seas and with a new U.S. President, who on the campaign trail announced to want (much) more from Japan in terms of burden–sharing for Asian security. In the meantime the Japanese economy – thanks to the Bank of Japan’s massive quantitative easing, fiscal stimulus packages and structural reforms (so–called ’Abenomics’) – seems to be on track towards achieving (relatively) stable and solid economic growth rates. Despite founded doubts about the medium-to-long term sustainability of ’Abenomics’ in a country burdened by a public debt amounting to 250% of GDP, years and indeed decades of Japanese economic stagnation seem to be a thing of the past. Finally, Japan and Europe have big plans as regards cooperation in international politics and security. If all goes to plan, later in 2017 Brussels and Tokyo will adopt the long-awaited EU–Japan ’Strategic Partnership Agreement’, through which they could further expand and intensify their already existing on the ground non-military security cooperation.

  • Views from Italy: North Africa’s Stalemate

    Wednesday, 1 June, 2016

    North Africa is a geographically strategic region for Italy. Currently, however, the region navigates troubled waters. The Libyan crisis, the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS), migration flows and economic and energy relations in the Mediterranean basin are key priorities for Italian foreign and security policy. On Libya, the country’s internal chaos has paved the way for the expansion of IS and further increased migration flows from the region. Turning to Egypt, until recently Italy used to be its first European economic partner. However, relations with the al-Sisi regime worsened in the aftermath of the Regeni diplomatic rift. At the same time, Tunisia is facing a difficult transition and the future of the Algerian leadership seems to be still uncertain. How is the Italian government coping with current challenges? The Vienna conference (May 16), co-chaired by Italy and the United States, aimed at finding viable options to the Libyan impasse. Over the last two years, Matteo Renzi’s government tried hard to follow a wider multilateral approach, mainly hinging upon the UN and the EU. In order to foster the Italian role in the wider Mediterranean region, Renzi sponsored Federica Mogherini’s appointment as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR). Despite all these efforts, Italy is still struggling to cope with the many challenges in its southern neighborhood. Although the Italian government is working to escape the fate of a stalemate in the region, a way out from the crisis is still there to be found.

  • North Korea opens Party Congress

    Friday, 6 May, 2016

    After a 36-year hiatus, North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party has opened its 7th Congress in Pyongyang. It follows a “70-day campaign of loyalty” in which everyone was called to work overtime to boost production levels ahead of the Congress. This major political gathering comes as North Korea is facing international condemnations over the last months of military muscle-flexing that have led many outside experts to believe Pyongyang is much closer to having a viable nuclear deterrent than previously thought. Although Beijing is growing frustrated with Pyongyang’s behavior, North Korea won’t be abandoned given its importance as buffer state, shielding China from the U.S. presence in the area. Domestically, the years since Kim took power have moved the country towards increased internal stability and a return to a more “formal” way of running the country, rehabilitating central party institutions and weakening the military’s influence over politics and the economy. The political, economic and personnel changes announced will therefore be closely watched in order to determine how Kim Jong-un’s rule will differ from that of past generations.

  • Usa–Cuba, verso un nuovo inizio

    Monday, 20 July, 2015

    Ad oltre 50 anni dall’interruzione delle relazioni politiche, Stati Uniti e Cuba stanno portando avanti un moderato ma costante processo di riavvicinamento diplomatico che ha già trovato una sua prima compiutezza nella simbolica riapertura delle rispettive ambasciate a Washington e L’Avana. A definire il reset nei rapporti bilaterali è stata una telefonata tra i presidenti Barack Obama e Raùl Castro avvenuta il 17 dicembre scorso, nella quale i due leader annunciavano l’inizio di una nuova fase storica. Sebbene la riapertura delle ambasciate rappresenti un ulteriore importante tassello nel rinato dialogo politico, permangono ancora innumerevoli questioni di scontro. Così tra interessi contrapposti sul piano interno ai due paesi, alla regione e al continente, il re-engagement di Cuba nel sistema internazionale potrebbe segnare una nuova vittoria nella strategia di politica estera dell’amministrazione Obama, nonché la più grande opportunità per Castro di incamminare il paese verso una transizione democratica

  • 11 Settembre: le eredità di Osama Bin Laden

    Thursday, 11 September, 2014

    Nella ricorrenza dell'11 settembre, il tema del terrorismo di matrice islamica è più che mai al centro dell'attenzione della comunità internazionale a causa dell'emergere del gruppo jihadista dell'Is (Stato islamico) e dei conseguenti dilemmi dei governi occidentali su come affrontare tale minaccia. A distanza di 13 anni dagli attentati che hanno cambiato la percezione del terrorismo e la reazione globale ad esso la sfida terroristica sembra essere decisamente mutata. Se, da un lato, con l'uccisione di Bin Laden e lo smantellamento della vecchia struttura di al-Qaida, è stato inferto un duro colpo a quel tipo di organizzazione, nel frattempo sono sorte nuove sigle, che a loro volta adottano nuove tattiche e strategie, oltre ad aver in parte cambiato i propri obiettivi, focalizzandosi su singoli teatri locali.

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