The Winter edition of the Romanian Journal of European Affairs brings to the readers’ attention subjects such as: the impact of Brexit on the EU development policy, the political support at EU level for energy and environmental policies, the impact of the 4th industrial revolution on the world order, the areas of political cooperation between Poland and Romania in EU context, the EU member states and the crisis in Ukraine, the factors behind the collapse of Estonian transit sector and a book review on capital in Post-communist Romania.
The Impact of Brexit on the EU Development Policy. Selected Financial Issues
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union – if it happens, regardless of the chosen variant – will be associated with various consequences for both sides. Brexit (British exit) will also impact the EU development policy, as London is one of the leading providers of ODA – in 2018 it financed 11.67% of its world’s total, and with Germany and France ensured two thirds of the EU ODA (65.61% in 2018). This paper attempts to answer the main research question: what impact will Brexit have on the EU development policy? The analysis covers the financial plane, and the following elements will be taken into consideration: the impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the organisation on the general EU budget, the European Development Fund and the sum of funds transferred to ODAby the EU institutions and its Member States, guaranteeing the status of the world’s most generous donor, currently providing more than 50% of total ODA. However, I argue that in the post-2020 perspective the fact that Brexit will happen will matter more the EU’S ODA than the actual form that it will eventually take. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European polity may be associated with a significant reduction of the financial resources at the EU’s disposal and directed towards development assistance, but the European Union will remain the most important ODA donor, contributing around 41% of all global development aid.
Keywords: EU development policy, EU development cooperation, development aid, Brexit, the United Kingdom
Political Support at EU Level for Energy and Environmental Policies
Clara Volintiru, Maria-Floriana Popescu, Doru Franţescu, Melania-Gabriela Ciot
In a context of ever more complex decision-making at the EU level, it is important to understand the underpinnings of consensus for major policies. Building upon the recent experience of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the end of a legislative cycle in the European Parliament, this article traces the institutional efforts of newer Member States in a dynamic and troubled European Union. We reviewed an extensive set of official documents to discern the main policy goals in the energy and environmental fields. We also present an original data set on the past decisions of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Building upon our empirical data, we show that despite an integrated approach at EU level between energy and environmental goals, newer Member States in Eastern Europe are still divided, being in favour of more energy interconnectedness, but not inclined to apply environmental standards.
Keywords: European Union, Energy Union, Council of the European Union, European Parliament, Romania
Impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on the World Order
The paper starts from two realities of the contemporary world (the unfolding of the 4th industrial revolution and the change of the world order) and attempts to evaluate to which extent the latter influences the former. After reviewing the possible impact of the 4th industrial revolution on the main factors that influence the perceived power of a state the conclusion is that while the 4th industrial revolution will bring with it numerous and complex changes, the influence on the world order will relate mostly to the nature of institutions and interactions among the key players, while the key players themselves will remain to a large extent the existing ones (USA, China, Russia, potentially India), followed at a significant distance by some European states, Japan and maybe some others. This conclusion may assist especially smaller states in defining their foreign affairs policy for the decades to come.
Keywords: 4th industrial revolution, world order, determinants of power, artificial intelligence
Common Interests and the Most Important Areas of Political Cooperation between Poland and Romania in the Context of the European Union
The article addresses several issues that constitute the main areas of Polish-Romanian relations in the 21st century in the political dimension and in the broad sense of security. Relations between Poland and Romania have been characterized in the context of the membership of both countries in the European Union. Particular emphasis was placed on the period of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of EU, which lasted from January to the end of June 2019. The article indicates the most important common interests of both countries, the ways for their
implementation, as well as potential opportunities for the development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The article also takes into account the key challenges that Poland and Romania must face in connection with EU membership.
Keywords: Romania, Poland, European Union, Three Seas Initiative, multilateral cooperation.
The EU Member States and the Crisis in Ukraine: Towards an Eclectic Explanation
The decision of the European Union (EU) to adopt and extend far-reaching sanctions against the Russian Federation came as surprise to many critics of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Especially in light of the history of EU-Russian relations and the deep divisions between member states when it comes to Russia-policy the Ukraine Crisis has become a turning point. This article tries to trace the roots of the EU’s response to the crisis by looking at the level of the member states. In analysing three «most unlikely» cases (Germany, Italy, Austria) one-dimensional IR explanations are rejected. One needs to look for an eclectic approach instead. I argue here that Germany’s surprising leadership role during the crisis can be understood by personal, learning-based and normative factors. Italy and Austria did not change national Russia-policy and their «critical consent» to EU-sanctions is based on a yet firm but increasingly more fragile commitment to the European project and order. Based on the findings the article concludes with a skeptical note on both the sustainability of the EU’s current Russia-policy and European foreign policy development as such.
Keywords: EU, Germany, Italy, Austria, EU-Russia relations, foreign policy, sanctions, intergovernmentalism, Ukraine
Between EU Membership and the Sanctions Regime against Russia: Factors behind the Collapse of Estonian Transit Sector
Viljar Veebel, Raul Markus
The article aims to investigate the main factors behind changes in the transit flows in Estonian transit sector. Towards this end, the current study used not only previous academic works and official statistics but also a comprehensive survey among leading businessmen, scientists and policy makers in the Estonian transit sector. According to our analysis, the main factors behind the fluctuations and decline of the Estonian transit sector were: first, the impact of European integration; second, changing relations with Russia; third, the changes in infrastructure and, fourth, the changes in global and regional trade flows. However, the European dimension appears also in second, third and fourth categories, as trade relations with Russia, infrastructural developments and general trade flows depend from European policy preferences and developments. Our latest analysis has also high importance in terms of assessing the rationality, profitability and sustainability of the expected realization of the Rail Baltic railway line and the Tallinn-Helsinki underwater tunnel. The article addresses also the political risks and security threats related to increasing trade flows from Russia.
Keywords: Transit, European Union, Russia, sanctions, Estonia
Book Review: Capitalul în România postcomunistă [Capital in Post-communist Romania]
Paul Dobrescu, Mălina Ciocea
This book is arguably the most comprehensive and detailed analysis of the crucial process of Romania`s post-communist transition. The author defines capital broadly, not just in terms of volume of money, but also as previously produced goods, that ensure the development of economic activities. This vision allows him to give a detailed description of the real economy of Romania, its problems and their possible solutions. The dense analysis manages to capture many of the structural weaknesses of the economy. The thin capitalization of public and private firms, Romanian or foreign, the low complexity of production, and modest value added, make exports dominated by intermediate goods, leading to low competitiveness. This leads to the assessment that the current state of the Romanian economy is specific to low- to middle- income developing countries, rather than developed economies. The impressive amount of data backing the analysis leads to sound conclusions.
Keywords: capital, competitiveness, post-communist transition, thin/thick capitalization