Foreword — 10-year Anniversary of RJEA
Issued on a quarterly basis, the Romanian Journal of European Affairs has focussed upon European integration debates, the areas of political and social sciences and European studies. The ten-year anniversary of RJEA represents not only a celebration, but also a time of reflection on the journal’s future and goal. The commitment to a permanent improvement of the publication has moved to a rebranding process in order to better respond to the readers’ needs and to increase the scientific stature and usefulness of the journal.
Remarks on the Future of the European Union: Domestic and Global Challenges Ahead
This paper highlights the main consequences that the crisis has put on the European Union, regarding four major areas: financial, macroeconomic, social and mental-ideological. Also, it aims to tackle some key challenges for the European Union: the revival of international trade; the prevention of the rise of protectionism on the global scale; the need to find a solution to the dilemma between continued stimulus and financial consolidation in general, and between the ambitious goals of the Europe 2020 project and the current fiscal restrictions; the growth of public support across Europe for a financial consolidation strategy based on cutting spending; the impact of the financial and macroeconomic crisis on several sectors; and the deficiencies of the „European construction” indicated by the global crisis. Furthermore, it proposes four main questions for which EU has to provide clear answers in order to become a real global player. The questions concern the „European identity”, the „European values”, the EU strategy paper establishing its mission for the next period and the importance of a strong leadership implementing the strategy. In the end, the most important challenge seems to be how the EU can remain a global economic actor and become a more influential political player in the network of rapidly changing international power relations.
Keywords: challenges, crisis, European integration, European Union, G-20, strategy, sustainable growth
Strategic Thinking in the EU – Aspiration or Reality?
Oana Mocanu, Mihai Sebe, Gabriela Andreica
The aim of this paper is to show the most important points of view presented by high officials and representatives of the academic milieu from European countries on the occasion of the EPIN conference regarding the strategic thinking in the EU, held in Bucharest on September 30th, 2011. There were proposed to the audience several topics related to macro-regional strategies such as: Danube Strategy and Baltic Sea Strategy, the Europe 2020 Strategy and some key points on strategic thinking in EU foreign policy. The conference consisted of three sessions in which speakers stressed out the main topics of the day. The first session outlined the main aspects regarding the Baltic Sea Strategy and the Danube Strategy. The Europe 2020 Strategy was the central point of the second session of the conference, and in the last session, the speakers highlighted some important aspects on the strategic thinking in EU Foreign Policy. The series of speeches was completed by a Conclusions session in which the most important results of the debate were brought to the attention. Also, it left open for further discussion the need for the strategic thinking of the EU to become a reality.
Keywords: cooperation, crisis, EU foreign policy, Euro-zone, Europe 2020, European Union, macro-regional strategy
Ukraine, the European Union and the Democracy Question
Recent political developments in Ukraine call into question its democratisation process. For this reason, it is important to consider EU relations with that country as offering a possible protection against full democratic inversion. Two problems are considered: the continuity of EU policy towards Kyiv; and, the scope for EU influence in furthering democratic standards. In the light of patterns since the Orange Revolution in 2004, the political outlook for EU/Ukraine relations appears unpromising.
Keywords: democracy, Eastern Partnership, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), membership, Orange Revolution, Ukraine
Small States as “Contributing Nations” to the EU’s Normative Power: the Case of Slovenia
Rok Zupančič, Miha Hribernik
How can small states contribute to the overall normative power of the European Union (EU)? In this article we assess how much Slovenia, a small EU Member State with limited financial and human resources, contributes to this normative power. We do this by analysing its foreign policy, which consists of three main guiding principles: internationalism, the desire to solve all outstanding issues with its neighbour Croatia, and an attempt to present itself as a bridge between the EU and the Western Balkans. We discover that, while these principles exist on paper, they are often not consistently carried out in practice, which is a symptom of the still-ongoing reorientation of the country’s foreign policy, after successfully joining the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004. Slovenian decision makers all too often remain reactive, and prefer to support the initiatives of others. When the country does act on its own initiative, its actions can be seen as too individualistic and uncoordinated, both within its own borders, and with its EU partners, as was the case when Slovenia launched the so-called Brdo Process, aimed at promoting cooperation between countries of former Yugoslavia. The conduct of Slovenian foreign policy is, all too often left, to the initiative and ingenuity of individuals, and such an uncoordinated approach hinders Slovenian efforts to become a normative power and to increase its influence in the Western Balkans. Finally, we argue that Slovenia’s Presidency of the EU Council in 2008 was a unique opportunity to contribute to the EU’s normative power. Slovenia managed to accomplish this only in part; despite the fact that the Presidency was an organisational success, most of its goals was too broadly defined and lacked ambition.
Keywords: Croatia, Foreign Policy, Hungary, normative power, Presidency, Slovenia, small state, Western Balkans
The Europeanization of Romanian Foreign Policy: Mitigating European and National ‘Misfits’ in the International Criminal Court and Kosovo Cases
This article aims to tackle some of the challenges posed to the Europeanization research agenda and to examine the usefulness of the Europeanization approach to the study of national foreign policy (selecting Romania as a test case). It proposes a research design that lays emphasis on pinpointing and mitigating the ‘misfit’ between EU and national levels, and on the role of the ‘political vulnerability’ stemming from the EU conditionality imposed on candidate countries and from different perceptions of threat. The two case studies chosen refer to EU-Romanian disagreements over the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction and Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.
Keywords: Europeanization, International Criminal Court, Kosovo, political vulnerability, Romanian foreign policy
Assessing European Union’s Development Policy: Building the Bridge Between Rhetoric and Deeds
This paper covers the topic of European Union (EU)’s development policy, focusing exclusively on the actions taken by the European institutions. It is argued here that despite the official rhetoric of the Union to support primarily least-developed states, development aid is distributed predominantly to states where the EU has geopolitical/colonial/trade interests, and major shares of aid are actually granted to advanced countries, rather than for poverty alleviation. This contribution analyses the strengths and weaknesses of this policy considering the current global challenges and which countries are entitled to bigger shares of development aid and why. The focus of this article is placed on the inconsistent guiding logic behind aid allocation in the EU. Furthermore, the thesis outlines a new ‘pro-poor’ approach that would align the implementation of the policy with the existing commitments. The main conclusion is that if the Union does not shift its actions towards poorer states as officially promised, it will undermine its aspirations for global actorness.
Keywords: allocated sums, European development policy, shifting aid priorities, ‘pro-poor’ approach
Formal Rules Versus an Economic Approach in Dealing with Cartels: the Need for More Coherence in European Competition Law
Radu Muşetescu, Andreas Stamate
Cartelizing is today among the most hunted business conduct in the world. Competition authorities from the countries where these statutes were adopted embrace the wisdom that such agreements between competitors are unquestionably anti-competitive. As opposed to other business practices, cartel agreements seem to offer an undeniable proof of intent that confers comfort for those who are investigating and prosecuting them. A cartel is today qualified as per se illegal. No further proof is needed but the formal agreement and the shared intentions. They are, at least until now, the only business practice that has lead, in certain jurisdictions, to jail terms and criminal record for individuals who were engaged in their negotiation and implementation. However, cartels are business practices that do not fundamentally aggress against any property right. From a public policy perspective, the harsh attitude towards cartels is lacking a theoretical coherence. Today, when competition policies all over the world and especially in the European Union are gradually transiting towards a more economic approach to evaluating the welfare effects of business practices, reassessing cartels is a critical imperative in the effort for a more coherent and reasonable public policy.
Keywords: cartels, competition policy, economic approach, per se rules
Book review: Udo Diedrichs, Wulf Reiners and Wolfgang Wessels (eds.), The Dynamics of Change in EU Governance
The book is the result of a smooth interfusion between different academic disciplines and it pikes on the process of governance transformation in the European Union. The main hypothesis of the book upholds that it is a high interdependence between governance and deepening the process of integration. As it seeks answers to the question of what changes have taken place in EU governance up to the Lisbon Treaty and which factors have triggered it, the study presents an extensive image of EU governance from multiple perspectives.
Keywords: EU governance, integration, Lisbon Treaty