Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

26
Mar

eu

From March 17th to 21st , the 2013/2014 IE Master in International Relations cohort traveled to Brussels for institutional visits to the main European institutions and NATO. The European Union as a successful model of regional integration is a core element in the MIR curriculum and the trip to Brussels represents a unique opportunity for the students to interact with key decision makers from the organizations they study in class.

The students began with a visit to the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. They were greeted by Klaus Hullmann, Administrator at the Directorate for Communication of the CoR. His informal, honest and often humorous account of the role of the Committee of the Regions within the EU made a positive impression on the class. At the Commission, several representatives from the European External Action Service, the Directorate General for Climate Action, the Directorate General for Enlargement and the Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection explained the inner workings of their departments’ day to day operations. At the Parliament, the class had the opportunity to sit in a meeting of the sub-committee for defense and security (SEDE) in which the recent establishment of the European Air Transport Command for pooling and sharing of military assets in Europe was discussed. This came a day before Spain formally joined the EATC.

On Thursday, MIR students spent the day at the NATO headquarters and were addressed by officials from different units including José Maria López-Navarro, Information Officer for Spain & Portugal, Eric Povel, Programme Officer, Engagements Section, Public Diplomacy Division,   H.E. Amb. Miguel Aguirre de Cárcer, the Permanent Representative of Spain and Andrew Budd, Defence Capabilities Section, Defence Policy and Planning Division. Mr. Budd, a career military man with over 37 years in the British army, was especially open when asked about NATO potential involvement in the Ukraine crisis. Without divulging any confidential information, he acknowledged that NATO was following unfolding events extremely closely and would have to act should Russia set its sights on the Baltic countries where an important Russian minority resides.

Following the NATO visit, students met with Dr. Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte, Counsel at Mayor Brown International LLP, to discuss international trade and the EU. On Friday, the class visited the Brussels offices of the International Organization for Migration and was given a fascinating presentation on migration in the world. Unlike popular belief, most migration is not South to North but South to South.  Countries in the South do not have policies adapted to this type of migration. Improving such policies could have a beneficial impact on global development.

24
Mar

diego

El pasado miércoles 19 de marzo el IE School of International Relations acogió la presentación del libro “Sin medias tintas” de Diego Sánchez de la Cruz (MIR 2011). El autor, además de antiguo alumno, es también periodista y profesor asociado de IE University. Junto a él intervinieron en el evento Arantza de Areilza, Decana de IE School of International Relations, Carlos Rodríguez Braun, Catedrático de Historia del Pensamiento Económico en la Universidad Complutense y participante de la obra, y  Manuel Llamas, Director de Libre Mercado y responsable del prólogo de la obra.

“Sin medias tintas” está compuesto por 20 entrevistas a figuras relevantes del liberalismo  sobre la Gran Recesión, recogiendo diferentes medidas económicas y políticas para reforzar tanto a la sociedad española como a sus instituciones. La presentación detalló tanto aspectos de su elaboración como su crítica frente a cierto tipo de políticas económicas. Comenzó con  una introducción en la cual el Catedrático Rodriguez Braun relató la problemática detrás de la gran politización de la economía española y el periodista Llamas criticó la falta de conocimiento de gran parte del periodismo económico nacional. Tras ello, el autor Diego Sánchez compartió con la audiencia algunas de las reflexiones que le han supuesto creación de la obra.

Durante su ponencia ofreció un recorrido por diferentes anécdotas y lo que le ha aportado la obra a nivel personal. Mostró su visión de cuáles son los desequilibrios crónicos económicos de España. También destacó la falta de autocrítica y la escasa preparación de la clase política española. Tras una animada de rueda de preguntas la Decana de Areilza dio por finalizado el evento y se procedió a la habitual firma de ejemplares.

19
Mar

Integrity for what’s left of Ukraine

Written on March 19, 2014 by Waya Quiviger in Democracy & Human Rights, Europe, Op Ed

 

Remember, remember: This is about the whole of Ukraine, not just Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that. Ukrainians know that. And we must not forget it. There is nothing the West or Kiev can do to restore Ukrainian control over Crimea. The crucial struggle is now for eastern Ukraine.
If the whole of Ukraine, including the east, participates in peaceful, free and fair presidential elections on May 25, it can survive as an independent country (minus Crimea). It will also be back on an unambiguously democratic, constitutional path. In everything the European Union and the West does over the next two months, that should be our first priority.

 

Only the criminally naive or the hardened fellow traveller could maintain that the pro-Russian groups now working to produce chaos in cities such as Donetsk and Kharkiv are not actively supported by Moscow. In Tuesday’s New York Times, there was a fine account of one such stage-managed demo in Kharkiv. At the base of a giant Lenin statue, a huge banner read, “Our homeland: USSR!” As the reporters pointed out, this was all made for Russian television. Whatever Mr. Putin finally decides to do, the media narrative will be prepared.

It would be equally naive, however, to pretend that there are not real fears among many in eastern Ukraine. The labels “ethnic Ukrainians” and “ethnic Russians” mean almost nothing. What you have here is a fluid, complex mix of national, linguistic, civic and political identities. There are people who think of themselves as Russians. There are those who live their lives mainly in Russian, but also identify as Ukrainians. There are innumerable families of mixed origins, with parents and grandparents who moved around the former Soviet Union. Most of them would rather not have to choose. In a poll conducted in the first half of February, just 15 per cent of those asked in the Kharkiv region and 33 per cent around Donetsk wanted Ukraine to unite with Russia.

In the same poll, the figure for Crimea was 41 per cent. But then take a month of radicalizing politics and Russian takeover, with Ukrainian-language channels yanked off television. Add relentless reporting on the Russian-language media of a “fascist coup” in Kiev, exacerbated by some foolish words and gestures from victorious revolutionaries in Kiev. Subtract Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians living in Crimea, who largely boycotted the referendum. Season with a large pinch of electoral fraud. Presto, 41 per cent becomes 97 per cent.

It is not just Russian “political technology” that changes numbers and loyalties. What happens in such traumatic moments is that identities switch and crystallize quite suddenly, like an unstable chemical compound to which you add one drop of catalyst. Yesterday, you were a Yugoslav; today, a furious Serb or Croat.

So everything done in and for Ukraine in the coming weeks and months must be calculated to keep that identity compound from changing state. Shortly before Mr. Putin’s amazing imperial rant in the Kremlin on Tuesday, another speech was broadcast on a Ukrainian TV channel. Speaking in Russian, interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said that “for the sake of preserving Ukraine’s unity and sovereignty,” the Kiev government is prepared to grant “the broadest range of powers” to the mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east. This would include giving cities the right to run their own police forces and make decisions about education and culture.

That was exactly the right thing to do. Now he and his colleagues should go there and say it again and again – in Russian. They should support Russian as an official second language. They should not dismiss talk of federalization simply because Moscow also favours it. They should actively want to see a pro-Russian candidate in the presidential election. And they should do everything they can to ensure the vote is free and fair, including diversified media coverage in both Russian and Ukrainian – unlike the vote in Crimea.

Europe and the West can support this in numerous ways. International organizations should flood the place with election monitors. Western governments must make sure Ukraine’s authorities have the money to pay the bills. Political parties and NGOs can send advisers. The West can also up the ante. It can make the medium- to long-term economic offer of relations with the EU more attractive. It can threaten Moscow with far worse sanctions – not just if Mr. Putin takes his marked or unmarked forces anywhere else in eastern Ukraine, but if he keeps on trying to destabilize it by proxy.

The time has also come to talk turkey with Ukrainian oligarchs such as Rinat Akhmetov, who is as powerful as any state institution in eastern Ukraine. Quietly but firmly they must be shown carrot and stick: a rosy future in the world economy if you help Ukraine survive as an independent, self-governing state; financial strangulation and endless court proceedings if you don’t. If Mr. Putin’s Olympic sport is hard-core wrestling, we cannot confine ourselves to badminton.

None of this is to suggest that what has happened in Crimea does not matter in itself. In his Kremlin speech, Mr. Putin scored a few telling hits on U.S. unilateralism and Western double standards, but what he has done threatens the foundations of international order. He thanked China for its support, but does Beijing want the Tibetans to secede following a referendum? He recalled Soviet acceptance of German unification and appealed to Germans to back the unification of “the Russian world,” which apparently includes all Russian speakers. With rhetoric more reminiscent of 1914 than 2014, his country is now a revanchist power in plain view.

Without the consent of all parts of the existing state, without due constitutional process and a free, fair vote, Ukraine’s territorial integrity, guaranteed 20 years ago by Russia, the United States and Britain, has been destroyed. In practical terms, that cannot be undone. What can still be rescued, however, is the political integrity of what remains.

Timothy Garton Ash is professor of European studies at Oxford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

Published on 19 March in http://www.theglobeandmail.com

14
Mar

Though it would wish otherwise, Turkey cannot avoid being implicated in the Crimean crisis. The peninsula’s 260,000-strong Tatar population, roughly 15 percent of total Crimean population, creates a strong bond. Ethnically, linguistically and by way of religion (Sunni Islam) Tatars are very close to Turks. Several millions of Turkish citizens can claim Tatar roots thanks to the successive migratory waves since the Russian Empire took over the Crimean Khanate, an Ottoman vassal, in 1783. Yusuf Akçura, one of the founding father of Turkish nationalism, was a Tatar too, (though coming from the Volga region rather than Crimea). These days, the Turkish press abounds with articles and op-eds calling for the government to take a tough stance and protect the Tatar minority, largely favourable to the new government in Kyiv, from Russia‘s incursion. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu heeded the call pledging to extend protection.

The second reason Ankara takes interest in the ongoing crisis is Turkey’s sense of belonging the Black Sea region, however blurry it might be. Although its foreign policy has been firmly tied with the Middle East for the past five years or so, Ukraine is seen as a neighbouring country. A change of the territorial status quo in the area is not to be taken light heartedly. It’s not solely the long-standing concern about its own territorial integrity which is at stake but potentially other tension points across the post-Soviet space such as Nagorno-Karabakh. As the independence referendum tabled by the Crimean Parliament for 16 March draws near, prospects for secession are becoming all too real. Turkey will no doubt have to respond and denounce the outcome of the referendum. The question is how far it is prepared to go in a concerted push-back action against Russia. Read more….

 

By Dimitar Bechev, Published on Mar. 13, 2014 in the European Council on Foreign Relations http://ecfr.eu/blog

6
Mar

Henry A. Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977.

Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going? In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally. The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.

Far too often the Ukrainian issue is posed as a showdown: whether Ukraine joins the East or the West. But if Ukraine is to survive and thrive, it must not be either side’s outpost against the other — it should function as a bridge between them.

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.
The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. Russian history began in what was called Kievan-Rus. The Russian religion spread from there. Ukraine has been part of Russia for centuries, and their histories were intertwined before then. Some of the most important battles for Russian freedom, starting with the Battle of Poltava in 1709 , were fought on Ukrainian soil. The Black Sea Fleet — Russia’s means of projecting power in the Mediterranean — is based by long-term lease in Sevastopol, in Crimea. Even such famed dissidents as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky insisted that Ukraine was an integral part of Russian history and, indeed, of Russia.The European Union must recognize that its bureaucratic dilatoriness and subordination of the strategic element to domestic politics in negotiating Ukraine’s relationship to Europe contributed to turning a negotiation into a crisis. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities.

The Ukrainians are the decisive element. They live in a country with a complex history and a polyglot composition. The Western part was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1939, when Stalin and Hitler divided up the spoils. Crimea, 60 percent of whose population is Russian, became part of Ukraine only in 1954 , when Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian by birth, awarded it as part of the 300th-year celebration of a Russian agreement with the Cossacks. The west is largely Catholic; the east largely Russian Orthodox. The west speaks Ukrainian; the east speaks mostly Russian. Any attempt by one wing of Ukraine to dominate the other — as has been the pattern — would lead eventually to civil war or breakup. To treat Ukraine as part of an East-West confrontation would scuttle for decades any prospect to bring Russia and the West — especially Russia and Europe — into a cooperative international system. Read more…

As published in the Washington Post on March 5, 2014 http://www.washingtonpost.com