Fourteen years have passed since the European Union-Western Balkan summit in Thessaloniki in June 2003 where the process know as the Thessaloniki Agenda was adopted confirming the EU accession perspective for the countries of the region. The language adopted was unequivocal: “The future of the Balkans is within the European Union”.
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 euroscepticism and "enlargement fatigue" in the EU have resulted into a stand–by of future enlargements.
Last year’s events further exacerbated and focused global attention on the same uncertainties already weighing on the past decade: from Brexit, and the ensuing uncertainty about the future of the UK-EU relations, to the ever-growing success of populist and nationalist movements across Europe; from the unnerving paralysis of the international community on the war in Syria to the new wave of terrorist attacks in Europe; from renewed political and economic crises in pivot countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, which may turn out to be a new and momentous source of uncertainty, also casting doubts on the remaining resilience of multilateral cooperation.
The 2017 ISPI report aims to analyze how such uncertainties are spreading from last year’s events, but also to try to fathom deeper trends. The first part of the Report will focus on the overall development of the international scenario, both from a political and an economic standpoint. The second part will shift the spotlight to Italy, where global uncertainties overlap with deep internal uncertainties and vulnerabilities.
The deadlocked conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains, as of Spring 2017, the most direct challenge to security in Europe and the most powerful driver of the confrontation between Russia and the West. This confrontation is significantly different from the essentially static posture of the Cold War, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, and it is the unique nature of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that determines many of the differences.
Sluggish economic growth, elections in key countries, and Brexit negotiations are set to make 2017 a crucial year for Europe. At the same time, Euroskepticism is on the rise, migration proves more divisive than ever, and the international context is increasingly unpredictable.
How to safeguard and strenghten EU policies? How to move them closer to citizens’ demands? What recipes to support economic growth and let the euro work at full speed?
Donald Trump’s Republican presidential nomination and the Brexit have shocked and somehow caught by surprise the entire world. A growing sense of concern or even alarm is now spreading across Western countries and is putting traditional democratic processes to the test.
In particular, when looking at the political landscape in Europe, populism may turn out to be an unprecedented game-changer. Populists parties came to power in Poland and Hungary, they are in coalition governments in Switzerland and Finland, top the polls in France and the Netherlands, and their support is at record highs in Sweden. Not to mention the recent rise of Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and the successful story of Syriza, Podemos and of the Five Stars Movement in southern Europe.
This Report explores the rise of populism in Europe and the US by analyzing its root causes, the rationale behind its success, its impact on traditional political parties and, more broadly, on Western democracies. It also draws some policy recommendations to tackle this widespread challenge.
The Mediterranean region has always been marked by intense migration flows. Over the last few years, political instability in Middle East and North Africa countries, coupled with longstanding demographic and economic trends, have caused a sudden upsurge of migrants reaching Europe’s shores. Despite scattered shows of solidarity, however, the European response has proven slow and fragmented.
This volume offers a complete and encompassing analysis of the current state of play in terms of migration flows across the Mediterranean and policy responses by European transit and receiving countries. Attention is specifically devoted to ongoing debates about the management of mixed migration, the peculiar profile and needs of asylum seekers, migrants’ labour market access, and integration policies in Europe.
Recent analyses reveal that the vast majority of jihadists come from or have some connections with specific areas or districts within different states. One can describe them as local/regional “hotbeds” of extremism. Molenbeek in Belgium, Gornje Maoče and Ošve in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Minneapolis in the US, Kasserine and Ben Guerdane in Tunisia, Sirte and Derna in Libya, Sinai in Egypt, Pankisi Valley and Dagestan in the Caucasus: each area has unique characteristics that lead to “exporting” fighters or creating new IS-controlled zones.
Starting from the debate on the origin and nature of jihadist militancy that is dividing the most important scholars of Islam, this report outlines a broad spectrum of radicalization factors leading to the emergence of jihadists hotbeds, such as poverty, unemployment, lack of job prospects, juvenile delinquency, trafficking and smuggling, socio-political, economic and physical marginalization, the role of Salafist ideology as well as the influence of brotherhood networks. All these elements have been frequently highlighted as factors or triggers that could contribute to explaining dynamics of radicalization leading to active violent militancy under the ideals of jihadism.
To get a better sense of both the differences and similarities amongst the various hotbeds, the report provides an overview of some of the largest contributors to Islamic extremists and foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.
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.