Dr. Swaleha Sindhi is
Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Administration, the Maharaja Sayajirao University of
Baroda, India. Decorated educational practitioner Dr. Sindhi is a frequent columnist on related topics, too. She is the Vice President
of Indian Ocean Comparative Education Society (IOCES). Contact:
Barçın Yinanç It is an Ankara-based
journalist and notable author.
She is engaged with the leading Turkish dailies and weeklies for
nearly three decades as a columnist, intervieweer and editor.
Her words are prolifically published and quoted in Turkish,
French an English.
By İLNUR ÇEVIK Modified from the original: They killed 1 Saddam and created 1,000 others (Daily Sabah)
Aine O’Mahony Aine O'Mahony has a bachelor in Law and Political Science at
the Catholic Institute of Paris and is currently a master's student
of Leiden University in the International Studies programme.Contact:
Elodie Pichon Elodie Pichon has a
bachelor in Law and Political Science at the Catholic Institute of
Paris and is currently doing a MA in Geopolitics, territory and
Security at King's College London. Contact :
a MA candidate of the George
Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs. Her
research focus is on cross-Pacific security and Asian studies,
particularly on the Sino-U.S. relations and on the foreign policy
and politics of these two.
ALESSANDRO CIPRI Born in Chile and raised in Rome, Alessandro
Cipri has just finished his postgraduate studies at the department
of War Studies of King's College London, graduating with distinction
from the Master's Degree in "Intelligence and International
Ms. Lingbo ZHAO is a candidate of the Hong Kong Baptist
University, Department of Government and International Studies. Her
research interest includes Sino-world, Asia and cross-Pacific.
email@example.com Hannes Grassegger Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus are investigative
journalists attached to the Swiss-based Das Magazin specialized
journal. Mikael Krogerus Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus are investigative journalists attached to the Swiss-based
Elodie Pichon, Ms. Elodie Pichon, Research Fellow of the IFIMES Institute, DeSSA Department. This native Parisian is a Master in Geopolitics,
Territory and Security from the King’s College, London, UK.
Djoeke Altena Muhamed Sacirbey Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey currently lectures on Digital-Diplomacy. "Mo"
has benefited from a diverse career in investment banking & diplomacy, but
his passion has been the new avenues of communication. He was Bosnia &
Herzegovina's first Ambassador to the United Nations Amanda Janoo Amanda Janoo is an Alternative
Economic Policy Adviser to governments and development
organizations. Graduate from Cambridge University with an MPhil in
Development Studies, Amanda worked at the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO)
Michael dr. Logies,
Germany Endy Bayuni
The writer, editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post, took part
in the Bali Civil Society and Media Forum, organized by the
Institute for Peace and Democracy and the Press Council, on Dec.5-6.
Bellevrat is the WEO Energy Analysts
Kira West Kira West is the WEO Energy Analysts
Victor Davis Hanson— NRO contributor Victor Davis
Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author,
most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global
Conflict Was Fought and Won.
Chief Research Fellow at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and
International Relations (Moscow, Russia). In 1989-1991 was a member
of Soviet negotiating team at START-1 negotiations (Defense and
Ingrid Stephanie Noriega Ingrid Stephanie Noriega is junior specialist in International
Relations, Latina of an immense passion for human rights, democratic
accountability, and conflict resolution studies as it relates to
international development for the Latin America and Middle East –
regions of her professional focus.
Syeda Dhanak Fatima Hashmi
Author is a Foreign Policy Analyst and Research Head
at a think tank based in Islamabad. She has done Master of
Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Governance and Public Policy. Her areas of
research include both regional as well as global issues of
contemporary international relations.
Pia Victoria Poppenreiter Davos: The Other Side of the Mirror An “inventor, startup guru, conceptualist and CEO” hangs out at the
world’s four-day power lunch
Jomo Kwame Sundaram,
a former economics professor, was United
Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and
received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of
Dr. Guy Millière,
a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of
27 books on France and Europe.
Earlier version published by the GeterstoneInstitute under the title
France Slowly Sinking into Chaos Mr. Masato Abe,
specialist at the UN Economic and Social Commission
for Asia and the Pacific Corneliu PIVARIU
is highly decorated two star general of the Romanina army (ret.). For the past two decades, he successfully led one of the most
infuential magazines on geopolitics and internatinal relations in
Eastern Europe – bilingual journal ‚Geostrategic Pulse’.
Malik Ayub Sumbal
is an award winning
journalist, co-founder of the CCSIS (Caucasus Center for
Strategic and International Studies), and a presenter for the
Beijing-based CGTN (former CCTV) Tanvi Chauhanis a m the US-based Troy University. She is
specialist on the MENA and Eurasia politico-military and security theaters.
Giorgio Cafiero 140
Dr. Haim Koren is a former Israeli Ambassador to
Egypt and South Sudan and Member of IFIMES Advisory Board Elizabeth Deheza is a founder and CEO of the London-based,
independent strategic intelligence entity DEHEZA,focused on Latin
America and Caribbean. Nora Wolf
Audrey Beaulieu Cristina Semeraro
Analyst with the Rome-based Vision & Global Trends, International Institute
for Global Analyses of Italy.
of Leiden University, International Studies program is the EU and IOs
affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels.
International Institute for Middle East and Balkan
Studies (IFIMES) from Ljubljana,
Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, Balkans
and around the world. Viola Christian is a Program
Officer at Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, Vienna, Austria. In
her text entitled “To Achieve the SDGs, We Must Eliminate
Violence Against Women and Girls” she is presenting the Orange
the World campaign to eliminate violence against women and girls in all
● Viola Christian Program Officer, Ban Ki-moon Centre for
Global Citizens, Vienna, Austria
To Achieve the SDGs, We Must
Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based
Violence from the 25th of November to the 10th of December, the Ban
Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens contributes to the Orange the
World Campaign globally and in Austria, calling for the elimination of
violence against women and girls.
Five years ago, in 2015, the member states of the United Nations (UN)
agreed on 17 global goals to achieve a better and more sustainable
future for all. Since then, these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
have evolved into a guiding roadmap for finding long term solutions to
global challenges. “Leaving No One Behind” has become the key
message of this agenda, as the global community emphasised that the SDGs
can only be achieved if peace and prosperity holds true for everyone.
Women make up half of the world’s population, but they still struggle to
even exercise their fundamental human rights. A staggering one in three
women experiences physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Violence against women and girls is, thus, one of the most pervasive
human rights violations and perhaps the most obvious manifestation of
the deeply rooted imbalances in power in our societies. How will we ever
reach the SDGs if such inequalities still exist?
In 2008, the UN, under the leadership of its 8th Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon, pushed for a multi-year effort aimed at
preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls around the
world, called UNiTE to End Violence against Women.
The campaign called on governments, civil society, women’s organizations,
young people, the private sector, the media and the entire UN system to
join forces in addressing the global pandemic of violence against women
and girls. It has, for example, worked to adopt and enforce national
laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls,
in line with international human rights standards.
In 2015 UN Women became the agency entrusted to lead the UN’s efforts to
advocate the elimination of violence against women and girls. To
strengthen UNiTE, UN Women announced the “Orange the World”
campaign, to take place annually during the period between the 25th of
November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against
Women, and the 10th of December, Human Rights Day. During these 16 Days
of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the world’s most prominent
monuments and buildings are illuminated in orange, representing a future
free from violence against women and girls.
Hosting the United Nations and located in the heart of Europe, Austria
plays a key role in boosting the campaign on a local and international
level. UN Women Austria, Soroptimist International Austria, HeForShe
Austria and the Ban Ki-moon Centre are working in close partnership on
the Austrian contribution to Orange the World. In 2019, the partners
counted over 130 Austrian buildings in monuments illuminated in orange
during the 16 Days of Activism. In 2020, the aim is to surpass this
number and to shed light on current challenges regarding gender-based
violence with the support of the Austrian actress Ursula Strauss
as the campaign’s spokesperson.
2020 has been rattled by the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging data has
shown that the lock-down measures around the world were accompanied by a
spike in reported domestic violence cases. This alarming development
demonstrates that action must be taken to prevent the aggravation and
contribute to the elimination of what UN Women has named ‘The Shadow
To spread the message of the campaign to a wider audience and discuss
the issues of the Shadow Pandemic with high-level actors, two online
events will take place during the Orange the World timeframe.
At a virtual high-level roundtable on November 26th titled “Tackling
the Shadow Pandemic – Violence Against Women During COVID-19 Times”,
Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,
former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark,
Regional Director of UN Women Asia and Pacific Mohammad Naciri,
CEO of Avon Angela Cretu, and women’s rights activist
Trisha Shetty will discuss what steps can be taken to
address the spike in violence against women during Covid-19. The event
will be hosted by the Co-chairs of the Ban Ki-moon Centre, 8th UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and 11th President of Austria
On December 1st, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
and the Ban Ki-moon Centre will host a Virtual Expo called “Education,
Empowerment, and Effective Policies: Innovative Initiatives Preventing
Gender-Based Violence”. As part of UNODC’s Education for Justice
Global Dialogue Series, changemakers from around the world will come
together and present how they take action to prevent violence against
women and girls.
To make the world a safer and better place for all, we must all do our
part to eliminate violence against women and girls in all its forms. We
encourage you to get active in the Orange the World campaign by hosting
an event, sharing its messages, and becoming part of this global
About the Ban Ki-moon Centre: In 2018, Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer
founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC), to empower
women and youth to become global citizens within the framework of the
SDGs. Acknowledging that gender-based violence restricts, if not
prevents individuals to be a part of and contribute to the 2030 Agenda,
the BKMC, based in Vienna, Austria, also advocates for the elimination
of violence against women and girls. The Ban Ki-moon Centre has been an
active contributor to the Orange the World Campaign in Austria since
Photo by E. Dos
Santos-Duisenberg : Labirinto de David, Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
After a century, the world population faced a new pandemic that fast spread
globally, affecting individuals both physically and mentally. Covid-19
started in late 2019 in Asia, spreading so fast that despite the global
connectivity and highly sophisticated information technology and
communication systems, the interconnected society of the 21st
century was incapable to fast react in order to avoid contagion and prevent
the worst. Gradually, the pandemic is making a tour around the globe
contaminating citizens even in rural communities from all continents.
Worldwide, there have been 32 million confirmed cases with over 1 million
deaths during the first 9 months of this year.
From this universal
pandemic we learned that the interdependent globalized world of 2020 is
connected but not synchronized – or as earlier in crisis, prof. Anis H.
well-noted ‘world on autopilot’.
All scientific, technological and digital knowledge accumulated over
centuries remains inept to protect our civilization from an invisible virus
that, ironically, can be eliminated with just soap and water. Obviously, the
magnitude and the economic, social and cultural impact of this pandemic took
humanity by surprise.
Society was already undergoing a deep
process of transformation on all fronts. Debates were focused on the
fragility of democracy, climate change and sustainability, inequality and
inclusion, gender and race, social media and fake news, virtual payments and
crypto currencies, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Science,
knowledge and technology were advancing at a fast rate in all fields
including genetics, neuroscience and biotechnology. Nevertheless,
health-care was not a top priority for public investments or national
budgets. Yet, with the eruption of the pandemic, priorities had to be
immediately revisited. A human-centred and inclusive approach became
imperative in every corner of the planet. Incontestably, the 2020s is
bringing irreversible disruptions.
Lockdown measures and social isolation
deprived individuals of free movements, restricting social gatherings and
citizen’s mobility. The home-office dismantled solid organizational
structures of daily work conviviality. Closure of schools prevented children
from accessing formal in-person education, creating a childcare crisis for
working parents. Crowded metropolis became empty urban centres, no
shopping, no restaurants and no city life. Cultural festivities and spaces
such as theatres, cinemas, and museums had their activities suspended
leaving artists, cultural and creative professionals as well as
street-vendors out of jobs. Parks and sportive centres became inactive and
international tourism ceased.
Conversely, family life became the
heart of social order. Parents that were extremely busy with their jobs had
to juggle between work and the education of their children. People became
less egocentric and started showing more empathy with the needed ones.
Solidarity has been manifested in donations and collective assistance by
civil society. Companies engaged with social responsibility. Artists,
cultural and creative workers were defied to work even harder at home to
find new niches in the virtual domain. The confined society had to
rediscover its ethical values, principles and priorities.
Free-time and leisure at present
Paradoxically, this shift in human
behaviour brought us back to a theory of economics that emerged a century
ago (Ruskin, 1900) “There is no wealth but life”. In this new-old context,
free-time, leisure, well-being and culture are closely associated. Usually,
we use our free-time to carry out activities that are not directly related
to work, duties or domestic occupations. May be free-time is an illusion
because only in exceptional occasions our time is completely free. Leisure,
however, is a subjective concept which varies depending on the society which
we belong. It is connected with our participation in cultural life,
reflecting the values and characteristics of a nation. Thus, it can be
considered a human right according to the UN Declaration of Human Rights
(1948), and in particular the International Convention on the Economic,
Social and Cultural rights (1967).
Despite some divergent definitions of
leisure there is convergence around three distinctions: (i) leisure as time;
(ii) leisure as activity; and (iii) leisure as a state of mind. Firstly, it
is defined as the constructive use of available time. Leisure as a variety
of activities includes the practice of sports or actions related to
intellectual and human development like reading, painting, gardening etc.
and those can be leisure for ones and work for others. Understanding leisure
as a state of mind is complex since it depends on individual perceptions
about concepts such as freedom, motivation, competency etc. Certain skills
can be considered leisure depending on the degree of satisfaction, emotion
or happiness it causes. Yet, the most important is the possibility of free
Time available for
leisure also varies according to cultural, social and even climate
considerations. The notion of time can be different in Africa, Asia, Latin
America or Europe. Usually people who live in areas of hot climate enjoy
outdoor activities and sports while Nordic people whose habitat is in cold
weather prefer indoors socialization and hobbies like playing chess, classic
music etc. Social leisure embraces communitarian happenings such as going to
the beach, practicing sports in a club etc. Behavioural studies indicate the
benefits of social leisure for the well-being of individuals, self-esteem
and cultural identity.
Moments of leisure
are essential in all phases of our life. During childhood and adolescence
most of our time is devoted to study and sports while at adulthood our time
is mostly consumed with work and family. Indeed, it is at senior age that
retired people generally have extra free-time to enjoy cultural events,
leisure and tourism. Globally people are living longer and a new age
structure is taking shape: the young senior (65-74 years), the middle senior
(75-84 years) and the older senior as from 85 years old. According to the
United Nations,in 2018 for the
first time in history, persons aged 65 years or over outnumbered children
under age five. This partially explains the vast number of people in the
group of risk requiring quarantine protection throughout the pandemic
Well-being and spirituality in
Photo by E.
Dos Santos-Duisenberg : Pirâmide Sinética, Búzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
the pandemic, reflections about well-being and spirituality gained space in
our minds. It is undeniable that the constraints brought about by lock-down
measures and social distancing, offered us more free-time but very limited
leisure options. We gained additional time to be closer to loved ones and to
do things we like most at home. Enjoying family life, including eating and
even cooking together became a shared pleasure and a new leisure style.
Individuals had to optimize the quality of their temporarily sedentary
Global pandemics affect our collective
mental health. Given the prevailing health and economic insecurity, the
focus of our attention has been on well-being, strengthening friendships,
expanding social network, practicing solidarity, improving self-esteem as
well as reflecting on spirituality and religion. Suddenly the exuberant
society of 2020 is afraid of the unknown virus and its long-term harmful
consequences on day-to-day life. Well-being and happiness became the essence
of achievable goals.
emotionally fragile in this moment of anxiety. Individuals are suffering
losses that will persist long after the pandemic will be over. Some feel
stressed or depressed while others react by searching for relief in
exercising, relaxation, meditation, yoga or mindfulness training.
Individuals are finding new ways to overcome solitude and boost mental
resilience. Current philosophical thinking (Harari, 2018) is reminding us
that homo sapiens have bodies but technology is distancing us from our
Inspirational talks in likeminded
groups have been helpful for reconnecting people dealing with an uncertain
future. Social engagement and advocacy for health causes are used for
promoting social change. Thus, besides upgrading healthcare systems and
putting in place special measures for accelerating economic and cultural
recovery, targeted governmental support will be needed to improve mental
well-being and raise the overall level of satisfaction and happiness of
citizens in the post-crisis.
Culture and e-learning nowadays
In a short period of
time, many went from an exciting social and cultural lifestyle to a simple
life. People had to assume the role of protagonists of their actions. Due to
open-air limitations, free-time activities had to be less
physically-intensive (no bike, tennis, jogging etc.), and more
creative-oriented such as designing, playing music, writing. Much time has
also been spent watching TV series, surfing the internet, viewing live music
concerts, video-gaming, attending video-conferences as well as socializing
in virtual chats. Equally, there are growing concerns about the ethics of
consumer technology and internet addiction “time well spent” (Tristan, 2015).
A recent studycarried out in the
UK to track digital cultural consumption during the pandemic, indicates that
the median time spent daily watching TV are 4 hours, while listening to
music, watching films and playing video games each day are 3 hours
respectively. Understanding human behaviour, in particular youth habits can
help to indicate new cultural trends and consolidate social cohesion in
post-pandemic times. Moreover, policy-makers could consider engaging
cultural institutions and employing artists and creatives to help facilitate
a collective healing process and kick-start recovery.
It is widely recognized that the arts,
culture and creative sectors were hit hard by the pandemic. Whist digital
cultural and creative products for home consumption were in high demand,
others tangible creative goods like arts, crafts, fashion and design
products sharply contracted. Many artists and creatives had no option than
to experiment on work in digital spaces, since they had to go global from
Despite the fact
that 4.5 billion people (60% the global population) use internet,
the availability of affordable broadband access is a pre-condition to use
and benefit from the opportunities provided by digital tools. This applies
to both producers and consumers of cultural and creative digital content.
Currently, videos account for 80-90% of global digital data circulation, but
at the same time Latin America, the Middle East and Africa together
represent only around 10% of world data traffic.
This evidence points to digital asymmetries that are being aggravated.
Creativity only is not enough to transform ideas into marketable creative
goods or services if digital tools and infrastructure will not be available.
The pandemic also
had a b impact on education and learning. Re-thinking education was
already a topic on the agenda of many countries in order to respond to the
realities of the jobs market in the 2020s. Besides the need to adapt
methodology and pedagogical practices, many believe it is necessary to bring
an interdisciplinary and applied approach to curricula with focus on
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),
preferably also integrating arts (STEAM). In any case, the education system
has been forced to quickly adjust to remote learning. Globally over 1.2
billion children are out of the classroom in 186 countries.
In Latin America schools are closed and around 154 million children between
the ages of 5 and 18 are at home instead of in class.
Furthermore, access to school-related inputs is distributed in an unbalanced
manner; wealthier students have access to internet and home-schooling while
the poorer have not. Young people are losing months of learning and this
will have long-lasting effects. The loss for human capital is enormous.
On the positive side, continuous
e-learning became a trend and a necessity. Innovation and digital adaption
gave rise to a wide-range of on-line courses. Millions of learners are
upgrading their knowledge and skills in different domains through distance
learning, whether through language and music apps, video conferences or
software learning. Some are free others have to be paid for, but what is
absolutely transformative is that access to knowledge became more
democratic. Independently of age or field of interest, learners from
different parts of the world can have access to prestigious universities or
practical training. E-learning, where teaching is undertaken remotely and
on digital platforms already existed, but demand has sharply increased
during pandemic and this might be a point of no return.
Over these critical 9 months, there are
growing signs that the 2020s will face a new set of challenges and life will
not be back as usual. The future will be very different when compared to the
recent past. Hope and fear are likely to co-exist for a certain time. There
are new values, new lifestyles, new social behaviour, new consumption
standards, and new ways of working and studying. The pandemic has imposed a
deep ethical and moral re-assessment on society. This turning point is
leading to a deep socio-economic renovation and hopefully to a more
inclusive and sustainable society.
About the author:
is an economist renowned for her pioneering work in
research and international policies on creative economy and its development
dimension. She set-up and leaded the UNCTAD Creative Economy Program
launching the UN Creative Economy Reports (2008 and 2010). Advisor
associated with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
Member of the International Council of the Creative Industries Policy and
Evidence Centre (PEC, London) led by NESTA (UK National Endowment for
Science, Technology and Arts). She also serves as Vice President of the
International Federation of Internet and Multimedia (FIAM, Montreal).
Advises governments and international institutions and collaborates with
universities in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States.
OCTOBER 21, 2020
International Institute for
Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from
Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East and
the Balkans. General (Rtd)
is a member of IFIMES Advisory Board and founder and former CEO at Ingepo
Consulting. In his comprehensive analysis entitled “Lebanon
2020: From “The Pearl of the Orient” to failed state?” he is
analysing the economic and social situation in Lebanon – can Lebanon become
again a democratic and modern country of the Middle East.
● General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu
Member of IFIMES Advisory Board and
Founder and the former CEO of the INGEPO
Lebanon 2020: From “The Pearl of the Orient” to failed state?
We will not allow for Lebanon to become a compromise
card between nations that want to rebuild
ties amongst themselves. Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai
– August 15, 2020
Before the explosion of the Port
of Beirut (the biggest one in an urban area in the last decades), on August
4, 2020, the situation in Lebanon was circumscribed to the regional focus
only while the disaster caused by the blast (around 200 dead, more than
6,000 wounded and damages estimated to 11/15 billion-dollar) brought again
the small country of the cedars to the international focus as it happens in
fact with any other country where an event of such proportions takes place.
Yet Lebanon is in a peculiar situation since the developments in this
country represent, as I presented on numerous occasions, a signal concerning
possible future evolutions in the Middle East and even in a more extended
The present analysis is prepared at a time when the echoes and international
emotions after the devastating blast of August, 4 have not gone out and
tries to show not only the importance for the area of the developments in
Lebanon but also in order to emphasize that what unfolded in Lebanon during
the last decades and today is perfectly valid for another numerous countries
everywhere in the world, countries which have no resources of their own,
endure a multitude of foreign political influences, are confronted with a
massive emigration as a result of a dire domestic situation and are worn out
Short chronology and
considerations on the political evolution before August, 4
On September, 1st, 1920 France,
through the voice of General
declared, in Beirut (surrounded by political and religious leaders), the
emergence of Greater Lebanon, after centuries of Ottoman occupation and, on
November, 22, 1943, Lebanon proclaimed its independence and the end of the
French Mandate, a day that became since then the country’s National Day.
After the independence, the Lebanese state was founded on the basis of an
unwritten agreement between the two prominent leaders of the time:
and Riad el-Solh, a Christian
and a Muslim, called later on the National Pact (al
Mithaq al Watani), having a capital importance even today.
In the 1950s under the presidency of
Camille Chamoun, the economy grew
as the international tourism exploded and the banking sector developed as a
result of the operations made by the Arab oil exporting countries and of
their deposits with the Lebanese banks. However, the first civil war which
lasts a few months breaks out in 1958 and the US send troops to assist
president Chamoun. The 1960s and the beginning of 1970s witness the
consolidation of Lebanon’s place as a regional center for the rich people of
the Gulf and of the world who were coming to gamble at the Casino du Liban
or to attend the famous Baalbek concerts and festivals.
The Palestinian presence in Lebanon and the attacks launched from the
Lebanese territory on Israel led to dissensions on the domestic political
scene and represent an important factor for triggering the civil war in
1975, a sectarian war which lasted 15 years and 6 months (more exactly
between April 13, 1975 and October 13, 1990 – the forced departure in exile
of general Michel Aoun). The war
resulted in more than 150.000 dead, more than 300.000 wounded and in
immeasurable destruction. Other sources consider the end of the war when the
first parliamentary elections took place in the summer of 1992, after 20
years. During the same period Israel launched two invasions, in 1978 and
1982, and the latter resulted in the departure from Lebanon of Yasser
Arafat, the president of the Palestine Liberation Organization and part of
the Palestinian fighters. In 1982, too, two other important events took
place, the massacres of civilians in
Chatilla refugee camps (450 and,
respectively 3.600 dead) and the assassination of the newly elected
In 1983 two bomb attacks resulted in the death of 241 US marines in their
barracks on the Beirut shore and, in the same day, of 58 French paratroops,
a few kilometers away; consequently, in the spring of next year the
multinational forces withdrew from Lebanon. The 1982 Israeli invasion and
the aforementioned bomb attacks marked the emergence and expansion of
Hezbollah which begun to gradually play an ever-important role in the
country’s political, economic and social life.
In 1988, when the mandate of president Amine Gemayel expired and in the
absence of an elected successor, he designated General Michel Aoun as a
caretaker prime minister who, on March 14, declares war against the Syrian
presence in Lebanon. After seven months of fighting a ceasefire was reached
which was followed by international negotiations that secured the signing of
The Taif Agreement on October 22, 1989, ratified by the Lebanese parliament
on November 5 of the same year. Fights among different factions broke out
again at the beginning of 1990 and after a Syrian offensive bly backed by
the air force; General Michel Aoun left the Baabda Presidential Palace and
took refuge at the French Embassy from where ten months later he was
evacuated by sea to Paris.
After Israel’s withdrawal from the south of Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah
maintains its military power and declares itself Lebanon’s defender
(especially in the south).
On April 26, 2005 the complete withdrawal of the Syrian army from the
Lebanon’s entire territory was over, including the closure of the Syrian
intelligence offices opened in the country. After more than 29 years of
occupation, almost 30.000 Syrian troops left the Lebanese territory in less
than two months, a withdrawal that took place under the circumstances of the
Cedar Revolution that was unfolding in Lebanon, of the international
pressures to withdraw and the b echo of the assassination, on February 14,
2005 of the former Lebanese Prime Minister
During July-August 2006 a new conflict with Israel took place (or, better
said, the confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon) from which
we can assess that the winner was Hezbollah, it strengthened its position
domestically from all standpoints until today and represents the power
without which no political agreement for the governance can be reached. Not
only did Hezbollah effectively exploit domestically the 2005 conflict with
Israel but it also posed Israel military problems by proving ingeniosity and
creativity in conducting the conflict. Its 2006 success was media exploited
by setting up an open-air museum presenting the military bravery during the
fights, a museum (The Resistance Museum in Jibchit – inaugurated in 2010)
which receives yearly a great number of visitors, as a valuable propaganda
for the organization’s military as well as political components.
Syria’s civil war which started in 2011 represented another important
challenge for Lebanon. The numbers of the Syrian refugees in the small
cedars country varied in the course of time in accordance with the intensity
of the conflict and is at present around 1 million (it is estimated that the
peak was reached in October 2016 when the number of refugees came to 1.5
million). It is a major challenge for a country of 6.8 million inhabitants
(2016 est.) already hosting 400,000 Palestinians.
On October 31st, 2016 the Lebanese parliament brought to an end the longest
period of the country’s history with no president (29 months since the end
Michel Suleiman mandate – May 2014) after 45 parliamentary
sessions in which no candidate had the necessary quorum for being elected.
The new president General Michel Aoun could be considered a Lebanon’s
legendary personality. His
mandate ends in 2022. Nevertheless, the way the Lebanese political stage is
conceived and works does not allow the president to take measures short of a
wide political accord, something history proved to be extremely difficult to
reach in Lebanon. In fact, the difficulties the country went through since
2016, with numerous demonstrations and popular protest manifestations:
2015-2016 - “The Garbage Crisis”,
2019-2020 – protests against the decision to increase the prices of liquid
fuels, tobacco and tariffs for on-line communications which later on
expanded to other popular discontents such as lack of electricity, of
running water, unemployment, economic stagnation, rapid devaluation of
national currency, corruption. The economic crisis led to the resignation of
cabinet and the appointment, on December 19, 2019 of a new prime minister,
– the minister of education in the preceding cabinet.
Short overview of the
economic evolution until the August 4
After witnessing a flourishing
economic situation in the 1960s and the beginning of the 70s following the
development of the banking system, the expansion of tourism and the fact
that the Lebanese banks were preferred by the Gulf monarchies for carrying
out financial operations resulted from the oil exports and gaining nicknames
The Switzerland of the Orient or The Pearl of
the Orient which caused great envy in the area, Lebanon went
through a difficult period which it has not overcome until now. The causes
are multiple and this is not the place for an exhaustive approach. The
Lebanese diaspora is more numerous than Lebanon’s population and it is
estimated at 8-10 million people of whom 1.2 million have Lebanese
citizenship and has at its roots the evolution of the country’s political
and economic situation over the years. At its beginnings, the diaspora was
predominantly Christian yet the situation changed gradually and the
percentage of Muslim emigrants grew. The Lebanese diaspora represents a
force that the succeeding governments over the years did not succeed in
mobilizing enough to contribute to the country’s economic recovery (in 2014
the remittances of the Lebanese ex-pats amounted to 8.9 billion dollar or
around 18% of the GDP).
The evolution of the Lebanese economy after the beginning of the civil war
until now represented nevertheless a particular situation as a result of the
Lebanese’s entrepreneurial spirit and their extraordinary desire of survival
and national renaissance. It
seems that this spirit has gradually been exhausted to a certain extent and
the much sought-after recovery has been delayed beyond the hopes of the
majority of citizens.
The difficulties the Lebanese economy has been confronted with were
exacerbated by the lack of natural ,
the dependence on imports and by the change in the structure of the GDP,
mainly by the decrease of the banking and tourism industries’ share of the
GDP; nevertheless, services provide 83% of the GDP.
Lebanon’s external debt amounts now to around 170% of the GDP and the
country, due to failure to repay a 1.2 billion Eurobond outstanding in the
spring of 2020, witnessed a massive devaluation of the national currency
being the first country in the Middle East and North Africa where the
inflation rate exceeds 50% for 30 consecutive days.
The situation impacted the common citizen who was subject to numerous
restrictions including the withdrawal of foreign currency from his account
(for a period it was restricted to 200$/week) or the outside transfers which
were limited to 10.000$/year starting with August 2020.
The current political,
economic and social situation and the outlook to the end of 2020
On August 4, 2020 an extremely
powerful explosion occurred in a warehouse of the Port of Beirut, considered
by the expert as the most powerful blast of the last decades in an urban
area as a result of the ignition of a quantity of around 2,700 tons of
ammonium nitrate. The blast
resulted in more than 200 dead and around 6,000 wounded, more than 300,000
inhabitants experienced important damages of their homes and the windows in
Beirut were broken on a radius of 10 km. 15,000 tons of grains stored in a
nearby silo were destroyed (cca. one month
of the country’s needs), the port activity was suspended, the
electricity crisis amplified, several important hospitals of Beirut were
seriously harmed, under the circumstances of Covid-19 pandemic which
affected Lebanon, too.
I will not insist on the causes and the possibilities that led to the
disaster as it is investigated by a commission with the participation of
international experts, yet I am not the adherent of occurrences or
coincidences in case of such events.
The event brought about the resignation of Hassan Diab on August, 10 and the
president Michel Aoun appointed on August 31st,
as new prime minister.
The French president
Emmanuel Macron remembered that his country had an important
influence in Lebanon and paid immediately (August, 6) a visit to Beirut
which triggered a less than expected reaction of the population that was
exasperated by the incapacity of the authorities and initiated, on August 7,
a petition requesting that Lebanon revert under French authority; the
petition was signed during the first days by more than 60,000 persons.
France proposed immediately the draft of an action plan whereby reforms
(which were to be made through a permanent consultation with the civil
society) have a prominent place (reforms in the economic – electricity
field; financial, governance, justice, fighting corruption, etc.). The
September 15, deadline set by France for forming a new government has
already passed as a result of dissensions for assigning certain portfolios,
especially the finance portfolio which is sought after by the Shia parties –
Hezbollah and Amal. The last compromise suggested was that the portfolio be
taken over by an independent Shia politician. Even that was not enough and
the nominated prime minister tendered his resignation on September 26. Thus,
the Lebanese crisis goes on at its own pace known at least during the latest
years. The existing sectarian algorithm for which no replacement has been
found yet continues to play
an essential role on the Lebanese political stage.
Emmanuel Macron returned to Beirut on September 1st, for marking the
anniversary of 100 years since the end of the Ottoman dominance but
especially for discussing the evolution of the political and economic
situation. He promised to organize an international conference in Paris in
order to secure new assistance for Lebanon. As always, there were voices in
Beirut that denounced the French president’s acts as neocolonial.
Nevertheless, a great part of the Lebanese political forces continue to back
the French initiative according to the latest declarations of the Sunni
leader Saad Hariri and
– the leader of Amal and president of the parliament.
Lebanon’s importance on the international arena is proved by the numerous
delegations who paid visits to Beirut immediately after the blast and in
this regard we mention: the visit of the Turkish vice-president
together with the minister of foreign affairs
on August 8; the Iranian minister of foreign affairs
on August 14; the American assistant secretaries
(former ambassador to Lebanon) in August and
on September 4 (the latter discussed with the leaders of the demonstrates
only); the President of the European Council
on August 8. It is worth mentioning the appeal made by the latter in his
statement: „The local political forces
must use this opportunity and unite in a national effort in order to address
the immediate needs and moreover the challenges the country is confronted
with. It is of utmost importance for Lebanon to implement fundamental
structural reforms. Lebanon can count in its efforts on the European Union –
but the internal unity is the key”.
I don’t think, from previous experience, that the repeated appeal to unity
was heard and internalized by all Lebanese political forces and the latest
example in this regard was the resignation of the appointed Prime Minister
Mustafa Adib nominated to form a new government. He wanted to form a
government run by the technocrats which was to find solutions for overcoming
the crisis and had, in this respect, the French president’s backing.
The sectarian and group interest to which foreign influences should be added
(France, Iran, Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries) and Russia, too
(the Russian minister of foreign affairs
arrived in Damascus on September 5 and joined the delegation headed by
the vice-prime minister
who arrived a day before and whose last visit there was in 2012). We
mention that president
paid a visit to Damascus on January 7, 2020. Russia was always a discrete
presence in Lebanon but that does not mean it was less interested in
expanding its influence in the country and used to that purpose not only its
relations with the Palestinian groups in Lebanon, with political formations
of socialist orientation but also with Hezbollah.
Under the circumstances, a new wave of migration emerged and there are more
and more Lebanese who lost hope that the domestic situation can recover and
are searching for a solution abroad. Unfortunately, those who will leave
will be especially the well prepared professionals and with a financial
position that can secure them a new beginning in another country, with work
capacity and determination. Thus, the Lebanon’s possibilities of recovery
will further diminish. A people who for a long period of time went through
severe crises and his fiber was weakened by numerous waves of emigration,
was subject to immigrants’ pressures and foreign interests is not an
inexhaustible reservoir and can be severely affected by these events. How
could we otherwise explain Beirut’s revival after the civil war or even the
optimism during the civil war when artillery bombardments took place in an
area and building was raised in a nearby one? Presently, around 20 hours a
day the centralized state network does not supply electricity and the
situation is considered to be determined by the mafia of generators and fuel
It is not likely that Lebanon’s political and economic situation will
witness a significant improvement by the end of the year. Most likely a new
government will be formed under renewed international pressures, as it
happened in the past but no durable solution and no recovery of the
country’s economic and social situation are in sight in this short time
What are Lebanon’s
forecast on a longer period of the evolutions of the Middle East is a risky
shot and of the Lebanon’s situation is more than hazard a guess. Given the
intertwining of numerous interests and conflicts in Lebanon, the country of
the cedars fully deserves the characterization of being a barometer of the
geopolitical evolutions in the area and even on a more extensive level.
Unfortunately for the Lebanese, when they have fallen prey to those
interests they themselves
brought the country to the present situation.
The discovery of great oil and gas deposits in Eastern Mediterranean gave
Lebanon hopes that it could escape the difficult economic and financial
situation. Exploration operations were launched in February 2020 with the
ship Tungsten Explorer by a consortium made up of Total (France), ENI
(Italy) and Novatek (Russia) and president Michel Aoun stated that the
beginning of drilling operations is an opportunity for “the
country’s coming back from the abyss”. It was most probably a
statement intended to boost the population’s morale.
In 2022 Lebanon should organize both parliamentary (every four years, the
last ones took place in 2018 after more than four years – namely in 2009)
and presidential elections (the president was elected in 2016 and cannot run
for another mandate). It would be in the sense of the Lebanese tradition
that the elections be postponed with no clearly defined time horizon while
the surprise would be that elections be carried out and finalized in time.
The issue here is not the timing but the conditions in which the elections
takes place and especially the replacement of the current sectarian
political system which met the needs of the middle of the XX-th century but
proved later on its limits.
I’d like to hope and to think that Lebanon will not be stationed in the
position of a failed state and will find the resources to become again a
democratic and modern country of the Middle East. A position the Lebanese
people should prove it deserves it in spite of all outside dangers it is
confronted with. It depends first and foremost on the Lebanese! I still
trust the descendants of the Phoenicians!
About the author:
is a highly decorated two-star general of the Romanian army (Rtd). He has
founded and led for two decades one of the most influential magazines on
geopolitics and international relations in Eastern Europe, the bilingual
journal Geostrategic Pulse. General Pivariu is member of IFIMES Advisory
Ljubljana/Bucharest, 6 October 2020
– International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in
Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York,
The four principles of the Pact are:
Lebanon is a completely independent state.
The Christian community will cease to identify with the West and, in
exchange, the Muslim Community will protect Lebanon’s independence and will
prevent the union with any other Arab state;
Although Lebanon is an Arab state having
the Arabic as official language, it will not severe the spiritual and
intellectual ties with the West to allow for its development in the future;
Lebanon, as a member of the family of the
Arab states, will cooperate with the other Arab states and, in case of a
conflict among the latter it will remain neutral;
Public positions will be distributed
proportionally among the recognized religious groups while the technical
positions and the appointments will be made first of all based on the
competencies, without taking into account sectarian considerations. The
first three positions in the state will be distributed as follows: the
president of the republic must be a Maronite Christian; the Prime Minister –
a Sunni Muslim; the president of the parliament – a Shia Muslim. The
distribution of deputies will be 6 Christians to 5 Muslims.
He was prime minister as well during 1992-1998 and 2000-2004. In 1995 I had
the honor of being received by him three times in Beirut.
Corneliu Pivariu – Important Moves on the Geopolitical Chessboard 2014-2017,
If, during the 1982 Israeli invasion we witnessed powerful artillery
bombardments while we were invited to bars and restaurants in Jounieh (on
the outskirts of Beirut) that were all open, the quiet periods after the end
of the civil war were characterized by extensive reconstruction programs,
predominantly in real estate and especially in Beirut, where the traces of
war disappeared almost completely.
Lebanon imports around 80% of its consumption needs.
As compared to the official rate of exchange of 1,507.5 Lebanese Pounds
(LBP)/dollar ever since 1997, on the parallel market the dollar was sold
against 3,000 LBP in April 2020 and 4,200 LBP/$ in May 2020. On September
11, 2020 the parallel rate of exchange was 7,700 LBP/$.
Ammonium nitrate is used mainly as agricultural fertilizer but in
combination with other substances and an ignition explosive it can detonate.
Since it is very stable and not expensive, it is used as well at civil
For an analysis of the causes one should see which the best answer to the
well-known question is: Qui prodest? (Who benefits?). A latest public
variant/speculation is that the explosion was triggered from space by using
a system of Fresnel lens type. Probably the reality is less complicated
from a technical point of view.
Aged 48, Adib (a career diplomat, ambassador to Berlin 2013-2020) was backed
in his nomination by The Future Movement and a group of former Lebanese
prime ministers and got the votes of 90 parliamentarians out of the total of
120. His nomination took place a few hours before the deadline of September
1st, set by president Emmanuel Macron.
“With a failed political system, affected by corruption, terrorism, with
paramilitary formations, the country drew its last breath. We believe
Lebanon must be placed under French mandate in order to acheve a clear and
durable governance” – the text of the petition mentions among others.
The last official census in Lebanon took place in 1932 when the Christian
population held a slight majority (51%). According to different researches
and documents of late the share of the Christians decreased to around 40%
(even 33% according to certain sources), while the Sunni and Shia Muslims
represents around 55%.
A curator at the Lebanon’s National Museum in Beirut, where the history
stops at 1920 was saying that the Lebanese were ashamed of continuing its
presentation taking into account what they have done to their country.
Probably the situation is quite different, namely that not even in what
history is concerned the Lebanese politicians could not agree upon the way
it is presented.
Printed texts, analyses, studies, researches, photographies, phono and
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OCTOBER 8, 2020
ENOUGH OF DOUBLE STANDARDS!
Dr. Zlatko Hadžidedić
Deutsche Welle recently published a comment on Bosnia-Herzegovina written by
Stefan Schwarz, a renowned German politician. In this text, the author
advocates a revision of the German policy towards Bosnia, proposing a change
of the country's constitution, which needs to be jointly supported by
Germany and the US. According to Schwarz, the current Bosnian constitution,
imposed on the Bosnians by the American 'peacemaker' Richard Holbrooke in
1995, amputated the country's territory and destroyed its soul. The Dayton
operation formally saved the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but has dimantled
its vital functions. Moreover, it has rewarded the convicted war criminals
with huge parts of its territory, which is now controlled by these corrupt
oligarchies as their private property, absolutely guaranteed by the
international contract signed in Dayton. Therefore, says Schwarz, the German
Chancellor, Angela Merkel, commonly considered the most powerful woman in
the world, has a great responsibility to use her power to press for a
constituional order that would make Bosnia compatible with other European
A systematic dissolution, from Lisbon to Dayton
It is difficult not to agree with Mr. Schwartz in his diagnosis of the
Bosnian problems. It is also difficult not to agree about the need for
constitutional changes, although the author does not go into specifics.
Simply, there is no doubt that the current constitution must be changed if
the state of Bosnia-Herzegovina is ever going to start functioning. For, the
Bosnian state institutions are, first and formost, blocked by the existing
constitutional structure, and only then by the will of the local
ethno-nationalist leaders, who only take advantage of it. Yet, the point at
which we, as Bosnians who remember the country's recent past, have to
disagree with Mr. Schwarz is the thesis that Bosnia's ethnic partition was
simply a result of the US-sponsored Dayton Peace Agreement.
For, Dayton was only the concluding part in the process of systematic
dissolution of the country's sovereignty, launched and sponsored by the
European Union and the United Nations, and carried out by their nominated
representatives, Lord Carrington, Jose Cutileiro, Cyrus Vance, Lord Owen,
Thorvald Stoltenberg. This process began at the Lisbon Conference, in
February 1992, several months before the outbreak of the war, having
resulted with the Carrington-Cutileiro Plan, the first internationally
sponsored plan for ethnic partition of Bosnia. The very existence of this
pre-war plan shows that ethnic partition was not proposed as a provisional
solution for the ongoing war, as has been repeated many times ever since,
including the comment by Mr. Schwarz. Rather, the war itself, with ethnic
cleansing as a tool in the creation of ethnically homogenous territories
out of the single territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, served as an instrument
in the physical implementation of the concept of ethnic partition. This
concept was first prescribed by Carrington and Cutileiro in 1992, and then
adopted in all subsequent 'peace plans': Vance-Owen Plan in 1992,
Owen-Stoltenberg Plan in 1993, the Washington Agreement in 1994, the Contact
Group Plan in 1994, and the Dayton Agreement in 1995. Interestingly, the
only concept that has been on the table in all these plans was the concept
of Bosnia's ethnic partition. No EU, UN, American or Contact Group
initiatives have ever tried to consider any other option:
Bosnia-Herzegovina's ethnic partition has always been a must. Even those
rare individuals who attempted to challenge the concept itself have even
more rarely noticed that it had had a history that did not start in Dayton
and that no alternative solution has ever been proposed. Therefore, ethnic
partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina was not a clumsy mistake made by Holbrooke
and the Americans in Dayton; it has been a strategy adopted by the UN, the
EU, and all relevant global powers, a strategy that has not been abandoned
to the present day.
A division of non-divisible, a transfer of non-transferable
This prolonged international consensus about the concept of Bosnia's ethnic
partition craves for identification of its authors and explanation of its
broad acceptance among the most relevant global powers (which includes not
only the EU and the UN, but also all individual members of the Contact
Group: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia).
However, let us first take a look at the concept from a theoretical point of
view. Political and constitutional theory claims that sovereignty is, above
all, non-divisible and non-transferable. What was being proposed as a
'solution' for Bosnia-Herzegovina, from Lisbon to Dayton, was exactly the
opposite: a division of the state's sovereignty, with a transfer of
sovereignty to its three ethno-religious groups, so as to assign them parts
of its territory over which they would gain sovereign control. Under these
conditions, these groups have been labelled as 'constituent peoples' – a
category otherwise non-existent in political and constitutional theory – as
if they posses the primary sovereignty and thereby constitute the state of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose sovereignty is a secondary one, derived from
theirs and divided by implication. According to the Dayton Constitution,
even the last remnants of Bosnia's divided sovereignty have eventually been
transferred to the so-called Office of the High Representative, so that the
High Representative has remained the only level at which sovereign decisions
can be made. At all other levels, including the level of the state of
Bosnia-Herzegovina, all decisions can be blocked by leaders of the three
ethno-religious groups, which practically makes these leaders sovereign.
Yet, the current High Representative has abandoned even these, very limited
constitutional powers, so that in reality no sovereign decisions can be made
above the level of ethno-religious leaders. In other words, as noticed by
Mr. Schwarz, it is not their irrational nationalism that creates their
blockages on the level of the state; it is the constitutional structure
which deprives the state of its sovereignty.
The British 'solution'
Yet, who was powerful enough to reverse the universally valid constitutional
principles, and why has this reversal been applied to Bosnia-Herzegovina, of
all the countries in the world? After all, why this has encountered such
approval by the most powerful global structures, such as the EU and the UN,
as well as the most relevant individual powers, although the principles
applied to Bosnia-Herzegovina are exactly the opposite from the principles
upon which they are all built? Given the presence of British diplomats in
all 'mediating' combinations before and during the war in Bosnia, and given
the fact that the concept of ethno-religious partition is a concept the
British diplomacy had previously applied in the process of decolonization of
India, with the consequent creation of India and Pakistan (including the
secession of Bangladesh), and also in Palestine and Cyprus, one may only
speculate why the British Foreign Office put the ethnic partition of
Bosnia-Herzegovina among its geopolitical priorities. In a broader
perspective, it is certain that such partitions have never produced any
degree of stability, as its advocates tend to claim; quite the contrary, all
these parts of the world have become permanently unstable after application
of the British 'solution' in the form of their ethnic or ethno-religious
partition. Whether permanent instability along or around particular
geopolitical points is one of the pillars of British geopolitics or not,
remains to be more broadly explained by its historians; this is not a proper
place for that. However, a more fundamental question is, why such a
'solution' applied to Bosnia has been acceptable to so many relevant global
players, including the US, Germany and the entire EU? Probably we can never
reach a clear and comprehensive answer to this question, either. However, in
this very context, a clear response is required to Chancellor Merkel's
recent claim that „Bosnia needs more empathy“: Bosnia does not need any
degree of empathy – empathy is to be offered to the powerless. What Bosnia
needs is that the global powers simply cease with application of double
standards, and start applying to Bosnia the same principles, concepts and
values they apply to themselves. Above all, that these powers give Bosnia
back its innate right to sovereignty.
Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) from
Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East,
Balkans and around the world. Tereza Neuwirthová of Leiden University, International Studies program is the EU and
IOs affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from
Brussels. In her text entitled “How
to Spend it: An Austro-Franco-German Proposal for a European Covid-19
Recovery Programme” she is summarizing the speech of Dr.
Mario Holzner, the director of WIIW Institute, at the July Conference held
at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna.
Tereza Neuwirthová Leiden University, International Studies program is the EU and IOs affairs
specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels
How to Spend it: An
Austro-Franco-German Proposal for a European Covid-19 Recovery Programme
conference named “75
years of Europe’s Collective Security and Human Rights System”,
which took place on the 1st of July at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna,
brought together experts related to the reality of the Old Continent and its
Union over the course of the past 75 years of its post-WWII anti-fascist
existence. It was jointly organized by four different entities (the
International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies IFIMES, Media
Diplomacy, International Scientific Journal European Perspectives,
and Action Platform Culture for Peace) with the support of the Diplomatic Academy of
Vienna, numerous academia supporting and media partners).
The conference gathered over twenty high ranking speakers from Canada to
Australia, and audience physically in the venue while many others attended
online – from Chile to Far East. The day was filled by three panels focusing
on the legacy of WWII, Nuremberg Trials, the European Human Rights Charter
and their relevance in the 21st century; on the importance of culture for
peace and culture of peace – culture, science, arts, sports – as a way to
reinforce a collective identity in Europe; on the importance of accelerating
on universalism and pan-European Multilateralism while integrating further
the Euro-MED within Europe, or as the Romano Prodi’s
EU Commission coined it back in 2000s – “from
Morocco to Russia – everything but the institutions”.
The event itself was probably the largest physical gathering past the early
spring lock down to this very day in this part of Europe. No wonder that it
marked a launch of the political rethink and recalibration named – Vienna Process.
The panel under the name “Future
to Europe: Is there any alternative to universal and pan-European
Multilateralism? Revisiting and recalibrating the Euro-MED and
cross-continental affairs”, was focused on discussing the
determinants of Europe’s relations with its strategic Euro-MED and Eurasian
neighbourhood, the possible pan-European political architecture as well as
on the forthcoming post-crisis recovery.
On the latter topic, the panellist
Dr. Mario Holzner,
who is the Executive Director of the WIIW Austria, outlined the policy
proposal on the post-pandemic European recovery programme, elaborated by his
Viennese Institute in collaboration with the Paris-based research institute
OFCE and the German IMK Macroeconomic Policy Institute. The Recovery Fund
recently proposed by the European Commission represents a benchmark in
the era of stalled European integration, and during the unstable and
precarious post-pandemic times it holds a crucial role for overcoming the
immense political and economic crisis of 2020. Following on much public
debate about the recovery financing, which however has heretofore lacked the
proposals for concrete projects that the EU should allocate the funds into,
it is now urgently needed to come up with these.
WIIW Director Dr. Mario Holzner addressing the Conference
WIIW, OFCE and IMK, three research tanks dealing with economic topics,
suggested two main pillars - an EU one, and a national one- for the spending
of the Commission’s recovery programme that reaches the amount of €2tn and is to
allotted over a 10-year horizon. The spending of the EU pillar is to be
channelled into the area of healthcare, eventually giving rise to a
pan-European health project under the name Health4EU. Not least, another
efficient allocation of the funds located in the programme’s EU pillar is to
projects helping to mitigate the risks resulting from climate change, as
well as to develop an EU-wide rail infrastructure that would substantively
contribute to achieving the Commission’s goals of carbon-neutrality at the
Among other, the proposal introduces two ambitious transport projects- a
European high-speed rail infrastructure called Ultra-Rapid-Train, which
would cut the travel time between Europe’s capitals, as well as disparate
regions of the Union. Another suggested initiative is an integrated European
Silk Road which would combine transport modes according to the equally-named
Dr. Holzner’s experts team put forward the idea to “electrify”
the European Commission’s Green Deal. Such electrification is feasible
through the realisation of an integrated electricity grid for 100%-renewable
energy transmission (e-highway), the support for complementary battery and
green-hydrogen projects, as well as a programme of co-financing member
states’ decarbonisation and Just Transition policies. Together, the
suggested policy proposals provide the basis for creating a truly
sustainable European energy infrastructure.
From the national pillar, it should be the member states themselves who
benefit from the funding allocation in the overall amount of €500bn.
According to the experts from WIIW, these resources should be focused on the
hardest-hit countries and regions, whereas it is imperative that they are
front-loaded (over the timespan of three years).
The overall architecture of the programme’s spending, involving the largest
part of the budget, needs to be focused on long-term projects and investment
opportunities that would serve as a value added for the European
integration, while also allowing to build resilience against the major
challenges that the EU currently faces. The proposed sectors for the
initiatives which could be launched from the EU’s funding programme are
public health, transport infrastructure, as well as energy/decarbonisation
scheme. Accordingly, it is needed that the funding programme is primarily
focused on the structural and increasingly alarming threat of climate
As stated in the closing remarks, to make this memorable event a
long-lasting process, the organisers as well as the participants of this
unique conference initiated an action plan named “Vienna
Process: Common Future – One Europe.” In the framework of this
enterprise, the contributing policy-makers and academics will continue to
engage in meaningful activities to reflect on the trends and developments
forming the European reality while simultaneously affecting the lives of
millions. The European system, formed over centuries and having spanned to a
political and economic Union comprising 27 states, is currently being
reconfigured as a result of numerous external factors such as Brexit, the
pandemic, as well as the dynamics in neighbouring regions. All of these are
engendering the conditions for a novel modus operandi on the continent,
whereby it is in the best intention of those partaking at this conference to
contribute to a more just, secure, and peaceful European future.
About the author:
of Leiden University, International Studies program is the EU and IOs
affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels.
Ljubljana/Vienna/Brussels, 29 September 2020
– International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in
Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York,
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prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic Editor - Geopolitics, History, International Relations (GHIR) Addleton Academic
Publishers - New YorK Senior Advisory board member, geopolitics of energy Canadian energy research
institute - ceri, Ottawa/Calgary Advisory Board Chairman Modern Diplomacy & the md Tomorrow's people platform
originator Head of mission and department head - strategic studies on Asia Professor and Chairperson Intl. law & global pol. studies
is the outspoken Indonesian thinker,
social-cause fighter and trendsetter. She is the author of Julia’s Jihad.
email@example.com Gerald Knaus Mads Jacobsen Mads is an intern at PCRC. Mads Jacobsen is from Denmark and is currently
pursuing his Master's degree in 'Development and International Relations' at
Aalborg University... Dzalila Osmanovic-Muharemagic
University of Bihac, Faculty of Education,
Department of English Language and Literature - undergraduate University of Banja Luka, Faculty of Philology, Department of English Language
and Literature - graduate study Rakesh Krishnan Simha
New Zealand-based journalist and foreign affairs analyst. According to him, he
writes on stuff the media distorts, misses or ignores.
Rakesh started his career in 1995 with New Delhi-based Business World magazine,
and later worked in a string of positions at other leading media houses such as
India Today, Hindustan Times, Business Standard and the Financial Express, where
he was the news editor.
He is the Senior Advisory Board member of one of the fastest growing Europe’s
foreign policy platforms: Modern Diplomacy.
Damiel Scalea Daniele Scalea, geopolitical
analyst, is Director-general of IsAG (Rome Institute of Geopolitics) and Ph.D.
Candidate in Political studies at the Sapienza University, Rome. Author of three
books, is frequent contributor and columnist to various Tv-channels and
newspapers. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Alessio Stilo, Research Associate at Institute of High
Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (IsAG), Rome, Italy, and Ph.D.
researcher at University of Padova, is IMN Country Representative in Italy. Tomislav Jakić Foreign Policy Advisor to former Croatian
President Stjepan Mesić
Zlatko Hadžidedić Graduate of the London School of Economics,
prof. Zlatko Hadžidedićis a prominent thinker,
prolific author of numerous books, and indispensable political figure of the
former Yugoslav socio-political space in 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. Mr. Nicola Bilotta
Nicola Bilotta has a BA and a MA
in History from Università degli Studi di Milano and a MSc in Economic History
from the London School of Economics. He works as a Global Finance Research
Assistant at The Banker (Financial Times) and collaborates as an external
researcher at ISAG (Istituto di Alti Studi di Geopolitica e Scienze Ausiliari)
Markus Wauran Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1943 – Amurang,
North Sulawesi, IndonesiaEducation: Bachelor in Public
Administration. Writer was a member of the House of Representatives
of Indonesia (DPR/MPR-RI) period of 1987-1999, and Chairman of
Committee X, cover Science and Technology, Environment and National
Development Planning (1988-1997). Currently as Obsever of Nuclear for peace.
Sooyoung Hu Attached to the US-based Berkeley University,
Sooyoung Hu is a scholar at its Political Science and Peace and Conflict
Studies Department. Miss Hu focuses on international relations, international
organizations and its instruments.
Senahid LAVIĆ Nizar Visram Nizar
Visramis a Ottawa-based free-lance writer from Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Recently retired Senior lecturer on Development studies, he extensively
publishes in over 50 countries on 4 continents. He can be reached at
Robert Leonard Rope
He studied at the University of
Michigan, He lives in: San Francisco, California: San Francisco, California, USA
Dr. Enis OMEROVIĆ
Max Hess Max Hess is a senior political risk analyst
with the London-based AEK international, specializing in Europe and Eurasia.
Ananya Bordoloi is a Malaysia based researcher in the fields
of international relations, global governance and human rights. Author has
previously worked with Amnesty International in research and data collection
capacity, and for a publishing company as a pre-editor.
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and
ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to
understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since
1981. He is the author of ‘Why
Violence?’His email address is email@example.com
his website is here.
Amel Ouchenane is
a member of the organization of Security and Strategic studies in Algeria. She
is also Research Assistant at the Idrak Research Center for Studies and
Consultations. Ms. Ouchenane was researcher at Algiers University from 2011 to 2018.
(Department of International relations and African studies).
Dr. Nafees Ahmad Ph. D., LL.M, Faculty of Legal Studies, South Asian University
(SAARC)-New Delhi, Nafees Ahmad is an Indian national who holds a Doctorate
(Ph.D.) in International Refugee Law and Human Rights. Author teaches and writes
on International Forced Migrations, Climate Change Refugees & Human Displacement
Refugee, Policy, Asylum, Durable Solutions and Extradition issues.
Sinta Stepani International relations specialists
based in São Paulo, Brazil.
Professor of the World History
at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. He is
also senior anlaysit at the Geneva
International Peace Research Institute (GIPRI)
Juan Martin González Cabañas Juan Martin González Cabañasis a senior researcher and analyst at the Dossier Geopolitico
Dr. Andrew Sheng is
distinguished fellow of the Asia Global Institute at the
University of Hong Kong and a member of the UNEP Advisory Council on
Sustainable Finance. Srdja Trifkovic, Ph.D.,
is foreign affairs editor for Chronicles: A Magazine of American
Culture. He is a professor of international relations at the University of Banja
Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the author of several books. Earlier version of
this text appeared in the Chronicles, under the title: “Greta the Swede, or
Gretinizing the Global Media” Wan T. Lee He is a Hong Kong based scholar and researcher.
Julia Suryakusuma The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad Early version published by Jakarta Post under the title:
Cover men's eyes, not women's hair!
Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena
Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena ● Itai BRUN
- Deputy Director of INSS,
Research and Analysis VP ● Yael GAT
- Research Assist. to Deputy Director for Research and Analysis at INSS Bich T Tran is a PhD candidate at the University of Antwerp
and a Researcher at the Global Affairs Research Center, Ryukoku
University. Anastasiia Pachina,
Sociologist – Charles University, Prague. She is a Program manager – with
the Culture for Peace Action Platform, and a marketing researcher in IPSOS
CZ. Chloé Bernadaux
is an International Security specialist (Sciences Po Paris),
prolifically writing on the neighbourhood policy, Euro-MED
relations, and disarmament affairs. She is the IFIMES newly
appointed representative in Paris (UNESCO). Dr.Antonia Colibasanu
Geopolitical Futures’ Chief Operating Officer. She is responsible for
overseeing all departments and marketing operations for the company. Dr. Colibasanu joined Geopolitical Futures as a senior analyst in 2016 and
frequently speaks on international economics and security topics in Europe.
Viola Christian Program Officer, Ban Ki-moon Centre for
Global Citizens, Vienna, Austria