2021 – vol. 15, no. 1
ON EU STRATEGIC AUTONOMY: EU-NATO-US COOPERATION IN AN ERA OF RENEWED GREAT POWER COMPETITION
Ioan Mircea PAȘCU, PhD | Center for Strategic Studies, SNSPA | Professor, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
Olga R. CHIRIAC, PhD Candidate | Center for Strategic Studies, SNSPA | National University of Political Studies and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic singlehandedly awakened the entire planet as to the shortcomings of essentially every dimension of life on earth. Geopolitically, 2021 has also been marked by the Afghanistan withdrawal crisis brought upon by the untimely fall of the city of Kabul. One of the most important takeaways for the EU in the wake of these events, was the reality that the union falls short when it comes to a comprehensive, common crisis management strategy, strategic autonomy, integrated and resilient logistics mechanisms and even political unity. The initial reaction of most EU member states at the inception of the pandemic was complete lockdown, including closing territorial borders and halting exports, especially food and medical supplies. Post Afghanistan, EU member states are continuing their work on the Strategic Compass, the EU strategic autonomy process goes on.
The concept of EU strategic autonomy has very much been in fashion in EU circles, frequently used in political discourse, in academia and in the think tank world. Reports are written and official declarations made, but is Europe really ready for strategic autonomy, can EU decision makers construct real consensus in Brussels as to what strategic autonomy means for the union? If there is strategic autonomy, independent from whom and what kind of ramifications would this have for the current security architecture in Europe, especially for NATO. These are questions the present article is looking to analyse. Essentially, what does EU strategic autonomy mean for EU-NATO-US cooperation in an era of renewed great power competition?
EU geopolitics; Great power competition; NATO; NATO-EU Integration; strategic autonomy, strategic compass.
A PROSPECTIVE EVALUATION ON THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EU-FINANCED PROJECTS. ROMANIAN STUDY CASE.
Octavia-Andreea ADAM, PhD Student | National University of Political Science and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
Dealing with unexpected was one of the biggest challenges in the past year for governments and companies in all arias. As part of this response, authorities sprang into action to help protect citizens from this health threat while continuing to deliver services in communities. The project management needed to be constantly adapted and the managers had to make decisions under uncertainties. This paper presents the context of COVID-19 and an evaluation proposal for the situations encountered and the measures taken by the managers in projects financed under the European Union Operational Programme Human Capital. Taking the responsibility for others people lives, especially for those in need increases the pressure in time of crisis. Managing an unprecedented situation was not easy for the Romanian government, there were several decisions made for OP Human Capital projects. My focus will be to design an evaluation to measure the impact of Romanian government responses in the process of decision making at projects level (management) and especially for target groups, how the managers managed the projects based on the received directives in order to minimize the risks and damages.
Keywords: COVID-19 crisis; European funds; evaluation; project management, challenging management, public institutions
LOBBY AND TRANSPARENCY – MUTUALLY INCLUSIVE FOR THE GREATER GOOD. A study on the Transparency Register of the European Union
Cristina BRATU | National University of Political Studies and Public Administration | Bucharest/ Romania
Lobbying is an instrument that seems to be getting focus from time to time, especially when things do not go quite right. But what is the real value of lobbying and is the EU in need of such an instrument? Policymaking in a democratic world requires the input of many, on matters of great variance, and the individual vote would not represent a feasible option. Lobbying takes the spot in all those cases where voting is not an option, but the risk is that personal, hidden interest makes its way in public policy decision-making processes. As such, transparency might be the balance tool to allow for the many to see if their voices are really represented by the few.
In the paper, a short analysis of the current Transparency Register tries to showcase the mutual inclusivity of transparency and lobbying in the European Project. For brevity, it is also offering some short opinions about transparency and lobbying, in respect with the European Union and its main doctrine.
Lobby in the EU; lobby and decision-making; lobby and policymaking transparency in lobby; Transparency Register.
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION’S EFFORT TO ENACT GOOD GOVERNANCE THROUGH PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LAW
Răzvan-Ștefan BUNCIU | Undergraduate, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Political Sciences | Undergraduate, University of Bucharest, Faculty of Law | Bucharest/Romania
Alexandra-Maria DAN | Undergraduate, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Faculty of Political Sciences | Undergraduate, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Faculty of Finance and Banking | Bucharest/Romania
In this study we aim to offer an overview of how public institutions in the European Union and its Member States manage their financial resources, more specific, through public procurement. We approach the evolution of law in the European Union on this topic and the manner it resembles any of the well-established integration theories. A relevant point is how the public procurement adapted through moments of crisis, including the Covid-19 spread.
Addressing issues such as award procedures, qualification criteria, public-private partnerships, concessions and other contracts related to the contracts of public procurement, we set the fundamental points that define the last named. Making good use of doctrine, European Union Court of Justice case law and legislation, we establish the purpose of public procurement and its vital necessity for a single market.
Moreover, we evaluate which of the EU’s institutions weigh more in shaping the image of public contracts, especially regarding the 2014 Directives on public procurement and concessions, and the impact national actors have on applying these rules. Through statistic databases (at international, European and national level) we spot the gaps between the spirit of public procurement law and its efficiency at national level. This way, we approach the problem of systemic corruption through illicit public contracts and its repercussions on public budgets.
European Union Law; good governance; public corruption; public procurement; single market; theories of integration.
NO LOCKDOWN IN CYBERSPACE. STATE-SPONSORED CYBERATTACKS DURING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Claudiu Mihai CODREANU, PhD Student | National University of Political Studies and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
The uptick in malicious activity in cyberspace observed during the initial stage of the coronavirus pandemic highlighted once again the need for addressing cyberattacks. Health-related facilities were some of the main targets of cyber operations, several cyberattacks hitting even COVID-19 hospitals. Cyber operations grew in both intensity and numbers, both regarding cyberattacks and cybercrime. However, alleged state-sponsored cyberattacks are the main focus of this research. Malicious cyber operations set dangerous precedents during the pandemic, and it strengthens the need to adequately address these threats, but also broaden the research, especially in the field of International Relations. The discussion is centred on the most significant cyber incidents during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning with the surge of cyberattacks and cybercrime during the first months of increased dependence on digital technologies for companies and state institutions. Therefore, this paper will start with a literature review regarding cyber operations and IR. Research on cyberspace in IR is not scarce, but it is still lagging behind new and dynamic evolutions. Further, I shall focus on the major state-sponsored cyber operations that occurred during this period, while also paying attention to the problem of attribution. All of these developments regarding cyber operations should stand as significant threats and warnings for governments, private companies, and citizens, and they must be addressed properly in order to prevent future considerable disruptions. Given the above, I shall summarise several general lessons and recommendations that emerged from studying the major state-sponsored cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 pandemic; cyber operations; cybersecurity; state-sponsored cyberattacks.
THE INFLUENCE OF MIGRATION ON THE IDENTITY OF THE HOST SOCIETY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Toader FLUTUR, PhD student | National University of Political Science and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
The new threats and vulnerabilities generated by uncontrolled migration have produced at the level of European Union`s Member States the need to segment the social security component of the usual politico-economic analysis in order to ensure a unique interpretation, justified by both reporting on the integration of newcomers and also of speed, the extent and identity of migration.
Updating the modern European state through multicultural policies and ensuring a limited tolerance on the issue of migration opened new fronts to the public debate brings to the forefront the need to establish a balance in the host communities, that have the responsibility for the decision political, cultural and economic effects on minority communities of migrants. Depending on the political views expressed, the social specifics and the tolerance of the local population, stronger multicultural relations will be established and the support offered to newcomers will be consistent.
Within this debate, the hypothesis of altering the identity of the host states in the context of an accelerated migration was developed and belonging to national, European values, traditions, religion and institutions is attacked by identity pressure. After all, the fear of losing or eroding the identity of the majority national group in front of the newcomers is based on distrust and ignorance of the specific elements of the other community and also behavioural differences, both cultural and civilizational.
Identity; multiculturalism; social security; tolerance.
“PEOPLE DEMAND CHANGE NOW”: POPULISM AS A GOVERNING AND DECISION-MAKING IDEOLOGY
Urtak HAMITI | Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University “Kadri Zeka” | Gjilan/Kosovo
Populist parties, movements, and leaders have been an object of increased public attention during the last couple of decades worldwide. By opting for more issue-guided actions rather than traditional political ones, based on programs and ideologically close to the center identities, these political actors have grown in stature and are no longer on the fringes of decision-making processes. While right-wing populism has a close relationship with nationalism, conservatism, left-wing populism uses social issues and what it calls “class divide” and the promise of fighting “old orders” towards an equal society. Both strands of populism use the actual dissatisfaction of the people and presumed lack of responses of mainstream politics to new challenges in recent years (economic decline, migrant crises, COVID 19, EU post BREXIT). Populists rely heavily on the energy of their movement, protests and gatherings, and social media campaigns in their efforts to change what they often call a prevailing “unstable and unsuitable social order”. Central and Eastern Europe has become a testing ground for the growing trend – predominant populist parties in power. What makes populism so popular? How did the parties and movements with ever-changing agendas managed to gain popular support, and move form fringes to the center of decision-making in politics and society? The latest such occurrence is the emergence of the “Self-Determination Movement” (Lëvizja Vetëvendosje, LVV, in Albanian) as the main overwhelming political force in Kosovo. This paper discusses populism, right and left-wing, as well as a syncretic and/or synthetic version of it, an eclectic character, resulting in potential to influence decision-making processes, and in the case of Self-Determination (LVV) and Kosovo specifically how a political party, created initially as a social and nationalist movement managed to gain over 50% of the vote by using both right and left-wing agendas and transforming its political positions to suit the ultimate goal – political power.
Ideological transformation; Kosovo; populism; self-determination.
TRAJECTORIES OF DEMOCRATIC TRANSITS IN THE VISEGRAD GROUP: BETWEEN THEORY AND PRACTICE
Yevheniy HAYDANKA | Trnava University, Department of Political Science | Trnava/Slovakia
With Visegrad’s accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures, bold predictions of leading Western comparative political scientists (Samuel Huntington, Philippe Schmitter, Larry Diamond, Zbigniew Brzezinski) about a former autocracies’ successful democratic transit over a short 10–15 years’ period came true to life. In the Visegrad Group, establishment of a normative consolidated democracy was not too complex, whereas maintaining a high-quality democracy in the countries proved more problematic. In the first decades of the 2000s, each country faced up to own integral problem of democracy: Hungary suffered from “Orbanism”, Poland – from conservative sentiments and a growing number of Eurosceptics, the Czech Republic also increased its Eurosceptic potential, and Slovakia ended up amidst a political crisis and looking for “new faces” in politics. The abovementioned phenomena stipulate democracy deviations in the electoral process, the growing level of political corruption, and the party space radicalization, hence populism has become an effective political tool. There are various modifications of Central European democracy, such as illiberal democracy (Fareed Zakaria), deconsolidated democracy (Roberto Foa & Yascha Mounk), declining democracy (Attila Ágh), democracy with adjectives (David Collier & Steven Levitsky). The quality of democracy is measured by means of empirical calculations (indexing). At the level of the political system, these are the following: the world rankings such as “Nations in Transit” adapted to the group of transitive countries.
Central European model of democracy; crisis of democracy; deconsolidated democracies; illiberalism; quality of democratic regime; transitology.
GAMBLING AT HIGH STAKES: THE ALLOCATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND DEFENSE PORTFOLIOS IN COALITION GOVERNMENTS. CASE STUDY ON POST-COMMUNIST ROMANIA
Iulia HUIU, PhD Student | National University of Political Studies and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
The literature on portfolio allocation generally recognizes proportionality as the norm for distributing cabinet seats in coalition governments. However, more recent studies have been increasingly concerned with the value or salience of different ministerial portfolios, as an access to explaining deviations from the proportionality norm. Although significant progress has been made in the study of coalition governments and portfolio allocation in Eastern Europe, there is still a gap between the data and research available for this region, compared to Western Europe.
The article aims to fill a part of this gap by conducting a case study on portfolio allocation in post-communist Romania, particularly focused on the preference for defense and foreign affairs portfolios. Thus, I study the data from 22 coalition governments in Romania, between 1992 and 2020. The article examines the assertion that, while proportionality remains the norm for Romanian coalition governments, the second most important coalition partner is regularly rewarded with either the defense or foreign affairs ministry. In the end, I explore new opportunities for further research based on the findings, and future contributions to the debate on the allocation of foreign affairs and defense portfolios in Eastern Europe.
Coalition government; portfolio salience; proportionality; foreign affairs and defense portfolios.
ANTISEMITISM AND ANTI-ZIONISM IN EUROPE: A PERSPECTIVE ON THE EU-ISRAEL RELATIONS AFTER THE SECOND INTIFADA
Daniel GHEORGHE, PhD Candidate | National University of Political Studies and Public Administration | Bucharest/Romania
The current political context surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict is often seen as significantly contributing to the resurgent antisemitism in many European countries. This Antisemitism has two dimensions: on the one hand, one of renewal – if we are to talk about the far-right antisemitism and on the other hand, one of metamorphosing, in relation to far-left antisemitism. Often hidden behind the mask of political critique of the Israeli politics, the far-left antisemitism mixes aspects related to the Jewish life in Europe with certain peculiarities of Netanyahu’s government policies towards Palestine. Therefore, this paper will aim at identifying whether the EU’s support for these NGO’s can be viewed as tolerating the anti-Semitic attitudes of the NGO’s whose programs it finances, or whether these attitudes are to be regarded as independent from the initiatives of the NGOs that are financed by the EU.
Antisemitism; anti-Zionism; BDS; human rights; European Union new antisemitism; NGO.
Geoffrey F. Gresh, 2020, To Rule Eurasia’s Waves. The New Great Power Competition at Sea, Yale University Press, USA, 363 pages, ISBN: 9780300234848
Mihai MURARIU | Researcher, Faculty of Political Science, Philosophy and Communication Sciences, West University of Timișoara