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Important News, Belangrijke nieuws, Nouvelles importantes, Wichtige News, Fontos hírek, Importanti novit, Pomembne novice, Importante Notícias, Viktiga nyheter



Ing. Salih CAVKIC
Editor
by ORBUS.ONE
info@orbus.one
www.orbus.one


Prof. dr. Murray Hunter
University Malaysia Perlis


Eva

20 Years to Trade Economic Independence for Political Sovereignty - Eva MAURINA

IN MEMORIAM

Aleš Debeljak +
In Defense of Cross-Fertilization: Europe and Its Identity Contradictions - Aleš Debeljak

ALEŠ DEBELJAK - ABECEDA DJETINJSTVA

ALEŠ DEBEJAK - INTERVJU; PROSVJEDI, POEZIJA, DRŽAVA


Rattana Lao
Rattana Lao holds a doctorate in Comparative and International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently teaching in Bangkok.



Bakhtyar Aljaf
Director of Middle-East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) in Ljubljana, Slovenia



Rakesh Krishnan Simha
Géométrie variable of a love triangle – India, Russia and the US



Amna Whiston
Amna Whiston is a London-based writer specialising in moral philosophy. As a PhD candidate at Reading University, UK, her main research interests are in ethics, rationality, and moral psychology.



Eirini Patsea 
Eirini Patsea is a Guest Editor in Modern Diplomacy, and specialist in Cultural Diplomacy and Faith-based Mediation
.


Belmir Selimovic
Can we trust the government to do the right thing, are they really care about essential things such as environmental conditions and education in our life?



Manal Saadi
Postgraduate researcher in International Relations and Diplomacy at the Geneva-based UMEF University


doc.dr.Jasna Cosabic
professor of IT law and EU law at Banja Luka College,
Bosnia and Herzegovina


Aleksandra Krstic
Studied in Belgrade (Political Science) and in Moscow (Plekhanov’s IBS). Currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Kent University in Brussels (Intl. Relations). Specialist for the MENA-Balkans frozen and controlled conflicts.
Contact: alex-alex@gmail.com



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: swalehasindhi@gmail.com


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: aine-claire.nini@hotmail.fr


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 : elodie.pichon@gmail.com


Qi Lin

Qi Lin, 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 Security".


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.
Contact: harryzhaolin@gmail.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 Das Magazin specialized journal.
 

Michal Kosinski

Scientific analysis
 

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
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.


Élie Bellevrat
Élie 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.


Alexander Savelyev - 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 Space Talks).


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 Economic Thought.


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 Chauhan is a m the US-based Troy University. She is specialist on the MENA and Eurasia politico-military and security theaters.


Giorgio Cafiero 140


 
Ambassador (ret.) 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
is anem Analyst with the Rome-based Vision & Global Trends, International Institute for Global Analyses of Italy.


Tereza Neuwirthová, of Leiden University,
International Studies program is the EU and IOs affairs specialist that monitors the EU Commission affairs from Brussels.
 



Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg
is an economist renowned for her pioneering work in research and international policies on creative economy and its development dimension.


English

 
Important News


 



 

International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1] from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, the Balkans and around the world. General (Rtd) Teodor Palade and General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu together prepared analysis entitled “The East European fire arc - an actual danger Romania should take into account”. In comprehensive analysis authors write about a huge East European fire arc connecting the main hot points of the continent and the role of Romania in the game of world’s great political, military and economic powers. 


General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu 
Member of IFIMES Advisory Board and Founder
and the former CEO of the INGEPO Consulting

General (Rtd) Teodor Palade
Intelligence officer


The East European fire arc - an actual danger Romania should take into account

  “I think we live in a moment when the world is a very uncertain and restless place and when the global competition dynamics is indeed a feature of our lives as well, and I think that the actual danger we have with a fairly large number of regional conflicts unfolding now is to be faced with an escalation triggered by a miscalculation.”
General Sir Nick Carter, November 2020, Sky News interview.

We are an uncaring people. And, as a people, we are uncaring for we have repeatedly elected the wrong leaders. Moreover, it is widely known that Romania did not come up in the last decades with a single high standard politician. Not a single one! 

Beguiled by the petty indigenous bickering raised by the stakeholders to frightening dimensions and blinded by meaningless appearances, we do not care we are surrounded by complicated conflicted situations, dormant or active, each of them with real potential of generating at any moment devastating armed clashes. 

We do not realize that we are not only geographically but also economically, politically and militarily dangerously close to a genuine fire arc. The East European fire arc. It is marked by a series of open tensions or conflicts and spans from Kaliningrad, Belarus, Ukraine, Transnistria, Georgia (Abkhazia and Ossetia), Armenia-Azerbaijan, with the boiling Nagorno-Karabakh, and Syria reaching up to the Eastern Mediterranean troubled by the tempestuous relations between Turkey and Greece.



Kaliningrad (Königsberg in German)

It is a Russian semi-exclave to the Baltic Sea founded by the Germans in 1255. On 2nd August, 1945, the town and the northern part of the East Prussia was assigned to the USSR and in 1946 it has been decided to become a region (oblast) of the Russian SSR. The German population (around 150,000 civilians) was forcibly expelled from 1945 to 1947 and the town was populated by ethnic Russians. In 1946, the town was renamed Kaliningrad. The region has an area of 15,100 km² and a population of around 900,000 inhabitants and represents a Russian important outpost in the area. As of 1994, a Special Military Region was established which includes the Baltic Fleet, the Kaliningrad air defense forces, the 11th Guard Army, the border troops and the Kaliningrad Police. This region, together with the Leningrad and Moscow military regions were included from the 1st of September, 2010 into the West Military Region. According to some data published by the Russian Ministry of Defense in 2014, there were around 225,000 military in Kaliningrad and it has been decided in 2015 the enhancement of the Baltic Fleet and of the troops of the region by the deployment of a new Infantry Motorized Brigade and of a coastal battery. From quantitative deployment Russia moved to quality deployment and the increase of fire power and equipped the region with state-of-the art technique including SS-400 anti-aircraft systems and Iskender nuclear missiles. At 650 km distance from Berlin and around 1,200 km from Moscow, Kaliningrad is strategically placed towards Suwalki Gap (a land area 65 mi wide – Poland-Lithuania border) that ends to the east in Belarus. It is considered the main Russia’s offensive direction towards the west.




Source: www.dacianpalladi.ro  

Belarus

The invisible divisions of the hybrid war of the world’s two of the most powerful military forces, Russia and the USA are facing each other in direct contact in the beautiful White Russia at a distance of only 500 km from the Romanian northern border. 

Belarus, the country where starting with the night of 10th of August, 2020 (a strange coincidence with the date of the people of Bucharest revolt in 2019) the angry population reneged on their president, is boiling. During the recurrent violent outbursts among the periods of relative calm, the perspective of a civil war able to draw in its vortex the two great enemies is looming. The moves of the two, political, diplomatic or economic ones are intersecting on the Belarusian land in an open confrontation. The battle is waged both in the official, visible way and in the grey area specific to the intelligence services.

Close to the Republic of Belarus’ borders, Russia’s and NATO’s military drills are either under preparation or already underway. The foreign military presence adds inherently an extra pressure to the tensions among the domestic forces, both civilian and military which are since some time in an open, merciless confrontation. 

Through the open communication channels and especially through the informal ones, promises are being made from the outside to each of the domestic adversaries. The international bodies responsible with monitoring and the avoidance of conflicted situations, which are predominantly hostiles to Russia, have sent their envoys to Belarus in order to both supervise and calm down a possible bloody conflict and not to miss from the inside the chance to tilt the balance at a propitious time in the desired direction. In parallel, the same fora issued new and new resolutions meant, at least apparently, to quench the blaze. The said resolutions, representing in themselves the product of certain political interests have overtly backed only one of the sides and contributed to increasing the mutual tensions and accusations between the two players closely clenched and hidden from the common onlooker behind the normality curtain which went down discretely in front of the burning stage.

The situation in Belarus, relatively quenched by the winter, by the drift toward other areas of the two great’s immediate interests (the American presidential elections or the anti-Putin revolts in Russia) and disturbed by the disastrous effects of the pandemics remains tense. A detonating device set on a time delay that might turn at any moment the relative quiet to hellfire has been already activated in Minsk.


Ukraine

A little further south, in the territorially torn apart Ukraine by the geostrategic claims of the same two great powers who never cease to mutually blame themselves, the anti-Ukrainian and Russian forces are still in positions of battle alongside the pseudo borderline separating the hacked body of Ukraine from the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The situation remains explosive after roughly six years of conflict in which both the Western and the Eastern envoys played their roles and after more than 10,000 dead were recorded in spite of several ceasefires. 

Seemingly to further complicate the situation, in 2014 after a referendum considered questionable by the West and illegal by Kyiv, Russia annexed Crimea, an important strategic point on the map of the disputes between the East and the West. Crimea, the peninsula with a troubled history as a result of its geostrategic position that allows the control of the Black Sea passed during the history from the grabber hands of the Greeks, Persians, Romans, of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire to the Russian Empire and later on to the USSR from where it was transferred to Ukraine (a state then part of the USSR) in 1954 by a decree given by the General Secretary of the CC of the CPSU,
Nikita Khrushchev. Khrushchev was born very close to the Ukrainian border and it is believed that the transfer was directly linked to his controversial Ukrainian origins.

The annexation of Crimea, an act denounced as illegitimate by the West, showed everyone that Russia can do whatever it wants in its area of immediate interest. The situation in Ukraine is not stable either. A so-called latent conflict smolders dangerously. That was proved by the fact that when confronted with the West’s protests in March 2015, the public TV channel Rossia1 stated that Russia was ready to resort to nuclear armament if the US and their allies intervene militarily in Ukraine’s favor.

The situation in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as well as the annexation of Crimea are actions that raise the question of the credibility of the international guarantees (the observance of the territorial integrity within the borders at the respective date) granted to Ukraine by the USA, Great Britain and Russia in accordance with the Budapest Memorandum of 5th of December, 1994 as a result of giving up the nuclear armament on its territory.

Crimea, based on its exceptional geostrategic position and on the military assets brought there by the Russian Federation, is closer to the NATO base in Dobrudja than Cluj and should represent one of the hot points permanently supervised by the Romanian military strategists and by those of the North Atlantic Alliance.



Source: https://euro-sd.com/  ESD Editorial Team

Source: https://euro-sd.com/ ESD Editorial Team


 Source: https://euro-sd.com/  ESD Editorial Team

 Transnistria

Moving southward on the fault line that emerged in the area where the interests of the two great powers collide, we find another spot of instability close to Romania and which represents an old generator of tensions: the Moldova – Transnistria conflict (a territory recognized today by the Moldovan administration as the Autonomous Territorial Unit with special status Transnistria). Having in mind the importance of this minute land area for at least five east-European countries, we are not surprised that the world’s giants are disputing the control of a territory of only 4,163 km² and circa 470,000 inhabitants (2016), and that smaller and marginal states have joined the two as each of the former has something to gain or to lose at the end of the clash. Signs of a normalization of the situation are far away and a possible new escalation of the dispute is closer to reality.

The enclave is strategically important for Russia and Transnistria could not survive without massive Russian support (natural gas delivered so far and not paid amounts to around 6 billion dollars). The presence of the 1,500 or so Russian military on Transnistria’s territory complete the picture of Moscow’s securing the control. The Cobasna weapons and ammunition storage (the biggest storage facility in Eastern Europe – a reminiscent of the Cold War – where ammunition from the former GDR and Czechoslovakia were stored at the beginning of the 1990s) still accommodates around 20,000 tons of artillery and infantry ammunition, military equipment etc. The entire quantity of ammunition there has expired and a research of the Sciences Academy of the Republic of Moldova shows that in case of a deflagration, the explosion would equate to the explosions of the bombs launched on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to say nothing of the possible spilling of chemical compounds into the Dniester River and then into the Black Sea. 

The relations between the Republic of Moldova’s newly elected president – Maia Sandu and Russia did not begin under the best of auspices as Sandu requested the complete withdrawal of the Russian troops and weapons from Transnistria. The request was immediately considered “
irresponsible” by the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs Serghei Lavrov.


Source: https://ro.wikipedia.org 

Georgia (Abkhazia and South Ossetia)

There are two separatist regions on Georgia’s territory, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Both regions have triggered conflicts (with Russia’s unacknowledged support) after the collapse of the USSR in order to gain their independence.

Abkhazia has an area of 8,600 km² and a population of around 245,000 inhabitants (2018), and its ethnical structure has been changed after the 1991-1994 independence war when the Abkhaz represented 44% and the Georgians 21% (as compared to 1989 when the Georgians represented 48% and the Abkhaz 17%).

Abkhazia controls now half of the Georgian seashore and together with South Ossetia hosts numerous Russian military bases where the number of Russian military reached 10,000 at the beginning of 2020. In 2019 only, more than 130 Russian military drills were organized on these territories.


Source: Andrei Nacu, English Wikipedia

South Ossetia has an area of 3,900 km² and a population of around 53,500 inhabitants (2015). The importance of this region is based partially on the Roki Tunnel, one of the main routes for crossing the Caucasus. Partially affected by the 2008 conflict, it was rebuilt and reopened while the cost (around 400 million dollars) was born by Russia.

The two separatist republics were officially recognized by Russia on 26th August 2008.

Although militarily it was a small-size one, the August 2008 Russo-Georgian conflict had a significant impact worldwide as it was for the first time after the Afghanistan invasion of 1979 that the Russian Federation invaded a neighboring state. Moscow proved on that occasion the desire of maintaining its influence in the ex-Soviet space. Moreover, the Russian military leadership reviewed thorough fully all dysfunctions of the Russian military system including the performances of its military technique and took actions accordingly and that was proven later on during the military actions carried out in Syria starting with September 2015.


Source: Andrei Nacu, English Wikipedia

In the aftermath of the Russo-Georgian war, the West (the US, NATO, the EU and the individual states) realized the threat Russia represents for the peace and stability of the world security system taking into account its blatant revisionism and the use of force for obtaining the acknowledgement of some presumed rights in the post-Soviet space.

It seems that for the democratic world the resulting lessons have been in their greatest part either forgotten or misplaced in the history’s library. Yet Russia succeeded in slowing down or even halting Georgia’s orientation process towards the West and the European Union.



Nagorno-Karabakh

Moving further south on the strip of land between the two seas, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, we find a dispute stored-up since many years with periodical volcanic flares-up and which attracts in its turn some of the neighboring military powers. 



The tension prevailing there threatens the peace of the entire region reverberating up to the Black Sea’s other shore. In this unreal area, for an insignificant patch of land too, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan having as subject matter the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabach is boiling. Not only two neighboring countries but also two world’s important religious communions, the Armenian Christians and the Azeri Muslims, are on the brink of war ever since the end of the 1980s. Statistics show that tens of thousands of Armenians and Azeris died so far, millions of people have been relocated and record the massacres perpetrated by both sides as well. Russia’s and Turkey’s interests are mingled there in the south of Caucasus. Their presence is continuous and when they consider necessary each of them intervene for their own benefit without considering the extent of the collateral losses.

After the latest outbreak of violence, on 9th November 2020, president Putin, the Azeri president
Ilham Aliyev and the Armenian prime-minister Nikol Pashinyan signed an armistice agreement for Nagorno-Karabakh under Russia’s direct supervision. The document states: ”A 1,960-strong peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation with small arms, 90 armor personnel carriers, and 380 vehicles and other pieces of special equipment shall be deployed along the Lachin corridor (...) The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed for five years and this term will be automatically prolonged for other five years periods if neither of the Parties declares six months before the expiration of the period its intention of terminating this provision”.



For the time being, Turkey’s reaction to the fact of being brutally removed from the equation, in spite of its major interests in the region, did not materialize. Russian and Turkish officials state that the two presidents
Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a long phone call. On that occasion, the Turkish side declared it was content that such a long conflict came to an end, and president Putin proposed Turkey a partnership for monitoring the peace keeping in the region. At the same time, American and French sources point out to an increase of tensions between Ankara and Moscow.

The tense situation lingers on. The Azeri are discontent as they were on the verge of conquering the entire enclave and asserts that the fight is not over. “
The Peace Deal is extremely vague” an Azeri citizen declared. ”I do not trust Armenia as I trust Russia even less”.

Armenia considers the Peace Deal tantamount to a national disaster and declares it will continue its fight.
The situation is far from having a sustainable solution, yet Moscow proved this time, too, that it is the unavoidable international player in finding a solution, even a temporary one, in case of a conflict within the space of the former USSR.

Mention should be made here of the importance of the economic interests in the area as the trade routes sidestep Armenia which remains dependent on Russia and Iran while Russia preserves all its economic interests including through the opening of the railroad to Turkey (making use of the Baku-Tbilisi -Kars railroad opened in 2017 with a traffic of 6.5 million tons/year, expected to be increased to 17 million tons/year). The first train from Ankara bound for Moscow left on 29th January 2021, and arrived on 9th February 2021, (around 4,600 km). A first Turkey-China railroad cargo transport took place at the end of 2020.



Syria

Circumscribed with burning letters within this east-European fire arc, close, even very close to Nagorno-Karabakh, a seemingly never-ending conflict fed by the strategic interests of the two great ones (who are joined this time by Turkey, a great military power in the making), consumes Syria. The tens of thousands of killed, the inner sanguinary disputes, the blossoming of the terrorist organization and their dissemination, the ruthless civil war and the endless exodus of emigrants turned Syria into a real war theatre. The Syrian conflict, artificially maintained to a great extent, offered the great powers the opportunity of experimenting new forms of hybrid warfare, new armaments and fighting technique, new fighting tactics and to check their diplomatic capabilities regionally and worldwide.

The US’ and its allies’ hesitations there enabled Russia to strengthen its position in Syria and in east Mediterranean both by expanding its military bases in the country (the main bases are in Lattakia area – the Hmeimim airbase inaugurated in 2015 and Syria granted 8 hectares more in 2020 for its expansion; Tartous – naval base and ship repair center and an underground base for submarines; Russia has in north-east Syria another smaller bases or checkpoints) and by enhancing its political position in Damascus. No solution could be viable for Syria lacking Moscow’s involvement. The situation is much more intricate as it supposes the involvement of numerous global and regional players. Syria’s reconstruction calls for huge investments with 2020 figures ranging from 240-400 billion dollars to even 1 trillion dollars.

The regional and international developments are not encouraging in what concern the start of Syria’s reconstruction in a predictable time horizon.



Source: German Institute for International and Security Affairs, www.swp-berlin.org

Turkey-Greece

The hostility between Turkey and Greece is deep rooted in history. Without taking into account the innumerable small-scale confrontations, it is worth mentioning that during more than 200 years the enmity between the two nations was fed by four major wars. Even after the two states joined NATO (1952) the tensions did not alleviate as the control over Cyprus (with 1974 Turkey’s invasion of the island and its 1983 declaration of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) and the delimitation of the territorial waters remain the main disputed issues.

To give an idea about the extent of the conflict it suffices to point out some of the 2020 disputes that marked the year: Greece accused Turkey during the spring of organizing a large scale cyber-attack against the governments and civil organizations in Greece and some other Middle Eastern countries hostiles to Turkey; during the same period, Greece blamed Turkey for triggering naval incidents in the Aegean Sea and presented video images for supporting the accusations; a conflict between ships belonging to the two states took place in June when a Turkish military ship opposed under fire threat a control operation intended by a Greek ship (on behalf of the European Union – Irni Operation) on a cargo ship under Tanzanian pavilion suspected of carrying arms to Libya; the tension escalated again in August when Turkish military ships escorted surveying boats to a disputed area rich in oil deposits in the eastern Mediterranean; in August, too, both states carried out ample military naval exercises close to the Island of Cyprus; Greece accused Turkey in October of forbidding the access to the national air space of an aircraft carrying the Greek minister of Foreign Affairs; president Erdogan accused Greece in November of determining a German military ship to stop and check a Turkish commercial cargo near the Libyan coasts.

The dispute has a well-marked economic nature especially after the discovery of large oil and gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean. The negotiations between the Greek and Turkish officials for the demarcation of the maritime borders have been resumed under international pressures and the 61st round of negotiations took place in Ankara on 25th January 2021; the date of the following round, which is to be held in Athens, could not be agreed upon.

Turkey’s hegemonic tendencies, its desire of enhancing the status of a regional military power, the attempt of controlling and imposing its will in ever larger areas of interest, its coming closer to Moscow in certain circumstances prompted reactions from the US and from other NATO states, France being one of them.

The prospects of reasonably solving this conflict, sometimes dangerously close to explosion, all the more significant as two states belonging to the same alliance are in dispute, does not seem close although important European or oversea powers tried to mediate.

The escalation of tensions between two member states of the North Atlantic Alliance harms not only NATO but also amplifies the state of uncertainty and sometimes of inquietude in the already extremely sensitive south eastern European strategic area.

Under Erdogan’s leadership, Turkey is heading resolutely towards maximizing its role and its geopolitical position capitalizing on great players’ hesitations such as on the US’, China’s, Russia’s. It is difficult to assess to what extent it will accomplish these plans.



The main players, the US and the Russian Federation, send contradictory signals

Through successive decisions, the US invited, on the one hand, Europe and implicitly the European Union to secure their own defense as America is not willing to spend funds or sacrifice her youth for defending an indolent Europe. 

And the US too, the NATO’s undisputed leader, decided in December 2020 that: ”B
esides the measures meant to stall the sudden withdrawal of the troops from Germany, the Congress resolution requests the Department of Defense and EUCOM to review the level of forces in south-east Europe. According to NDAA and having in mind Russia’s aggressive posture, the Pentagon shall consider committing extra troops to Romania, Greece and Bulgaria. Most probably, the American military shall be stationed in the three countries on a permanent basis”.

On the other side, it seems that the Russian Federation pays lip service for tranquility and amity in the international relations. ”It is our interest that tranquility prevails everywhere in the world and first of all around our borders and no simmering conflicts exists. The Russian Federation has no interest in maintaining ”
frozen” conflicts, neither in Karabakh, nor in Transnistria and anywhere else in the post-Soviet space”, Serghei Lavrov, the Russian minister for Foreign Affairs declared recently to journalists. 

Let’s not be fooled by the show. The Russian political scientist
Dmitri Trenin keeps us grounded: »This does not suggest that Russia will withdraw into itself or is willing to make concessions to others. It merely means that its modus operandi is undergoing an adjustment and that its position in Eurasia is being reconfigured”.

In the extensive article ”
The Black Sea-Baltic Sea Strategic Fault Line”, General (Rtd) Gheorghe Văduva, stated: ”No matter what they say or what they will say, Russia will always consider, as long as it will exist in this configuration, that the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine and the Caucasian states will constitute its essential strategic area towards the west. And this is a source of very serious and very complicated dangers and threats demonstrated by the trenchant posture of the colossus of the East and materialized in Russia’s rearming and in its already very aggressive stance, a stance that can be understood both as the form of an active and dissuasive defense and also as strategic warning”.
 

Realizing even from the end of the last century the Black Sea’s strategic importance, the US launched through Harvard University a cooperation and security program to be carried out during almost 20 years which nevertheless did not reach entirely its goals especially after Russia’s withdrawal from the program in 2010. In the end, as a natural consequence of the American foreign policy during the last years, Harvard University quit this initiative and offered the said program to Romania starting with 2017 and after that the program lost almost completely its international importance.

No matter what the political statements of the American or Russian officials of the moment are, the eastern part of Europe remains a dangerous area for the peace of the world. It is the place where the geopolitical interests of the two great adversaries are in a direct confrontation not only diplomatically or through the subtle interventions of the intelligence services but also through a succession of some violent social explosions covertly conducted.

On 25th January 2021, Russia lost at the European Court of Human Rights the lawsuit filed 12 years ago by Tbilisi after the 2008 conflict. Russia was declared by the Court’s decision occupier and responsible for the situation in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the Georgian undisputed territories occupied as buffer zones. 

After the lawsuits concerning Transnistria, which constitute the precedents, the lawsuit filed by Ukraine for the annexation of Crimea and the military aggression in Luhansk and Donetsk follows for Moscow.

Upon the declarations issued by the European Union concerning the possibility of imposing new economic sanctions against the Kremlin on which it seems that Germany and France agreed, the Russian minister for Foreign Affairs Serghei Lavrov adopted a trenchant stance and declared on 12th February 2021, that Russia is prepared to break the relations with the European Union in case of imposing  new important economic sanctions: “
We take as starting point the fact that we are prepared (for that – breaking the relations o.n.) in the situation where we see the adoption of new sanctions generates risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive fields...We do not wish to isolate ourselves from the global life but we have to be ready for that. If you want peace, then get ready for war”, Lavrov added.
Let us see what will the foreign policy actions of the new American Administration are in 2021 although it has lost a lot of ground in Europe and the Middle East during the last two presidents’ mandates. The problems the US is confronted with domestically call for even greater efforts internationally in order to increase its relevance in the present global context. 


Romania seems to remain uncaring

Specific to states lacking a geostrategic vision clearly outlined, Romania, having the eyes glazing down and her sense of judgement clouded by the multitude of her domestic problems, most of them minor ones, is indulging in a permanent succession of petty and trivial inner conflicts. 

Ignorant, visionless politicians who are unable to see beyond their immediate petty interests, are despising and humiliating the entire Romanian people and a national army brought on the brink of collapse since almost two decades. 

An entire procession of frauds accompanies the effort of army equipping program. Billions of dollars have been spent on technically and morally outdated, third hand military equipment which has weakened the troops’ fighting capabilities instead of raising it. There are quite frequent stances stressing that during peace time the military are useless and fingers are pointed at as a needless spender of money that some other social categories are entitled to.

The domestic attack against their own army takes place when beyond the borders, sometimes intimidatingly close, what is going on is not at all comforting.

Let us imagine Europe’s map. In the east, from Belarus through Ukraine, Transnistria, Armenia, Syria to the Eastern Mediterranean blue waters, a huge fire arc is connecting the main hot points of the continent. It is the contact line between the huge tectonic plates of influence of the world’s great political, military and economic powers. 

Romania is held fast and has an important role in this dangerous game. It is one of the top American military, Lt. Gen. (Rtd)
Ben Hodges, currently the Pershing Chair at the Centre for European Policy Analysis who tells: ”On a short to medium run, NATO should designate Romania as its gravity centre due to its proximity to other allies such as Ukraine and Moldova (...) Romania could create its own protection area of the maritime seashore as well as capabilities to deny access in the entire East European area by using weapons with long striking range such as HIMARS missiles systems, attack helicopters, the Maritime Unmanned Systems and UAVs. Romania should also be ready to host a NATO Centre of Excellence for Unmanned Weapons Systems having in mind the ideal flying conditions, the length of its Black Sea seashore and the existence of the Danube River as well. Finally, Romania should continue expanding the training and logistics infrastructure of the Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base and the  Smârdan and Cincu training areas by enhancing their capabilities in the sense of allowing the carrying out of high standard joint exercises with the participation of not only  the US Army but also of the US Air Force”.

Aside from some in fact American military bases but named NATO’s and which are more symbol in what the last generation equipment and personnel are concerned, there are some multinational NATO structures deployed in Romania for the time being. Parts of them are already operational and the rest are being installed and readied. On the occasion of his visit to the Headquarters of NATO’s Multinational Corps – South East (HQ MS-SE) now in  the course of construction, the minister of Defense
Nicolae Ciucă declared on 28th January 2021, that HQ MS-SE ”will have an important role in preparing the contingency elements in exercising the command and control of the other NATO’s structures on the Romanian soil – NATO Forces Integration Unit, the South-East Multinational Brigade and the HQ MS-SE in order to secure the connection between the tactic and strategic levels(...) The four NATO’s structures of our country represent Romania’s contribution to enhancing a deterrence and credible defense posture of the North Atlantic Alliance on the Eastern flank and in the Black Sea Region”.

The existence on the national territory of such kind of Headquarters demonstrates indeed a certain attachment to the military alliance Romania is part of and offers to the naive ones a reason to be proud. Yet can these four NATO structures defend us in a way against the Russian ballistic missiles? Can they be a substitute for state-of-the-art attack aircrafts, the intelligent ammunitions, the armored carriers equipped with the most modern weapons, the high-performance tanks and navies which we completely lack?

Romanian “
strategists” with futuristic vision on war tell us about the impossibility of a classical war breaking out. They tell us relentlessly theories about asymmetric warfare, about cyber-attacks and fights... 

Let us look around us! Did anyone fired in Ukraine soft elements? No! As “
classic” as possible missiles and shells have been launched and caused thousands of victims. Did they fight with microchips in Syria? During the “Arab Spring” did the asymmetric strikes kill hundreds of thousands of people and turned entire countries into ruins? Did they or are they engaged in cyber fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Maybe we ought to open the eyes and look more attentively around us. The threats are abundant, sometimes open, other times cleverly hidden. We live in a time when the defense of the country cannot be an abstract thing floating ethereally in government or presidential acts beautifully garnished with words. It ought to be solid and undertaken by governors no matter the party they belong to.

Unfortunately, the defense of the country, this vital political desideratum for any nation, is today at the mercy of some unconscious politicians whose mouths get soured when they pronounce the world Homeland and is completely left into the arms of a faraway ally, itself confronted with serious inner problems as it is left, too, at the mercy of a military alliance eroded from inside by more and more dissensions.

Sources:
https://news.sky.com/story/risk-of-new-world-war-is-real-head-of-uk-armed-forces-warns-12126389
http://www.vestidinrusia.ro/2020/11/15/serghei-lavrov-in-apropierea-granitelor-rusesti-si-in-alte-parti-ale-lumii-i/
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54903869
https://rgnpress.ro/2020/12/09/congresul-sua-impune-pentagonului-intarirea-flancului-estic-al-nato-cerand-mai-multe-trupe-americane-in-romania/
https://revistapolis.ro/falia-strategica-marea-neagra-marea-baltica/
http://www.vestidinrusia.ro/2020/11/18/corneliu-vlad-vecinatatea-imediata-intr-o-noua-abordare/
http://www.dw.com
http:// english.alarabiya.net/news/world/
http:// www.swp-berlin.org


About the author: 
Teodor Palade. Retired General and intelligence officer with a military career of over 40 years. After retirement he led some government agencies committed to Romania’s defense policy. He authored several books. He published a large number of newspaper items and his op-ed pieces and articles appear in numerous Romanian and foreign news outlets. 
Corneliu Pivariu. Two star General of Romania’s Army who retired in 2003. During 2006-2019 he was CEO of INGEPO Consulting Co., founder and Director of the geopolitical analyses magazine The Geostrategic Pulse.  Member of the London International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) since 2007 and of Chatham House (2015).  Member of the Board of the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES). He authored several books in the intelligence and geopolitical fields.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect IFIMES official position.

Ljubljana/Bucharest, 7 March 2021



Footnotes:

[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.

IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.
  

Copyright:

Printed texts, analyses, studies, researches, photographies, phono and video reports which are available on this web site and which are provided by the IFIMES International Institute can be transmitted and published by all media and individuals on condition that they use the mark (C) 2004 IFIMES or state the source of the whole text or a part of it. For other information contact: ifimes@ifimes.org



MARCH 8, 2021





The Tromsř Convention may revers Europe’s democracy deficit:  A unique opportunity for European governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to transparency

Accessing quality information has never been so challenging, despite or maybe, because of our exposure to tremendous amount of information. The entry into force of the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Access to Official Documents (Tromsř Convention) on 1 December 2020, in a context of concerning deficit of transparency in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, appears as an opportunity for governments to reinforce transparency culture and restore citizens trust and legitimacy in their institutions, in democracy.

Increasing recognition of the right of access to official documents

The Nordic European States pioneered the development of the right of access to official documents, with the world’s first law on access to information adopted by Sweden in 1766. It then spread progressively to many other West European countries, before reaching its peak in the 1990s with the creation of legal tools in the new democracies of Eastern and Central Europe. Today, various legal instruments (constitutions, national laws and jurisprudence) across Europe recognize the right of access to official documents. At the international level as well, this right has been increasingly recognized [1].

The CoE Convention on Access to Official Documents, signed on 18 June 2009 in Tromsř, Norway, is the first binding international legal instrument to recognize a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities. More than ten years later, on 1 December 2020, the Convention entered into force, following the ratification by Ukraine, tenth State to ratify it [2].

The Convention considers that all official documents are in principle public and provides a minimum legal framework for the prompt and fair processing of requests for access to official documents. Only the protection of other rights and legitimate interests can justify the rejection of requests. When requests are denied, it obliges the States to provide “access to a review procedure before a court or another independent and impartial body established by law” (Article 8).

This development could give a fresh impetus to European efforts towards greater transparency and reinforce democracy in general. It is particularly much welcome in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and the “infodemic” accompanying the pandemic.  However, observers stress that much remains to be done to make this ambitious initiative a reality and to bring together all European countries to ratify it.  

Making access to official documents a reality

In her comment on the Convention, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović stresses the importance of access to official documents for “transparency, good governance and participatory democracy and a key means of facilitating the exercise of other human rights and fundamental freedoms” and calls on CoE member states and non-member states to ratify the Tromsř Convention as soon as possible. On the same note, Access Info Europe group called on 17 November all member states of the CoE to sign and ratify, with a special call on France, German, Italy and Great Britain, in order to ensure that Europe’s largest countries are taking part in this European effort towards greater transparency of public authorities.

Today, virtually all countries of the Council of Europe have freedom of information laws and some “good models” exist [3] . But the level of transparency varies between the countries and even across the institutions of each country. In some legal provision, the lack of clarity jeopardizes the enforcement.

In such context of profusion of legal provision, the Tromsř Convention could help build a stronger, harmonized and more comprehensive legal framework, create a common understanding of access to official documents and guarantee that all European citizens enjoy the same right to information and hold their authorities accountable.

In addition to ratification, promoting and disseminating the legal instruments must be a priority, as states Article 9 of the Convention: “Parties shall inform the public about its right of access to official documents”. Signatory states must promote this legal instrument and avoid that such a crucial initiative goes unnoticed. It would be paradoxical if such an ambitious initiative on transparency is not truly made public.

Transparency often denied when it is most needed

Access to information is even more vital in times of crisis. In the current Covid-19 pandemic, access to reliable information is not only a matter of public health but also of public trust in health management systems and authorities. Fighting misinformation should be part of the crisis management plans, to fight the “infodemic” parallel to the pandemic.

Unfortunately, it is precisely in times of crisis that freedom of information is often denied, on the grounds of national security arguments. The secrecy around the EU vaccines contracts is a blatant illustration of such ambivalent attitude to transparency when it is most needed. On Friday 29 January, five months after the signature and after renewed requests from various European politicians and civil society groups, the European commission finally published the vaccine contract signed on 27 August 2020 with Astrazeneca /a>.

Although the publication of such an important document could have been a great move for the Commission to regain legitimacy, the actual outcome, a redacted document with price and accountability terms kept secret, raises more questions than it answers, contributing to more mistrust. Why is the Commission holding such crucial public health information, denying citizens right to know on issues that directly affect them?



About the author:

Lola Servary is an Information Officer at the Intl Institute IFIMES and was previously attached with the international developmental FORAs in Europe and overseas. She holds a BA in political science and an MA in international development from prestigious French universities.


[1] Examples: United Nations Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents .

[2] after Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Moldova, Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary and Lithuania.  Eight additional countries have already signed the Convention: Armenia, Belgium, Georgia, Iceland, North Macedonia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia.

[3] In her call on CoE members states to ratify the Convention, Dunja Mijatović names for example Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia which have an independent oversight body responsible for monitoring and enforcing the right to information.



MARCH 5, 2021



International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1] from Ljubljana, Slovenia, regularly analyses developments in the Middle East, Balkans and around the world. Lola Servary is an Information Officer at the International Institute IFIMES and was previously attached with the international developmental FORAs in Europe and overseas. In her text entitled “Entry into force of the Tromsř Convention: A unique opportunity for European governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to transparency” she is writing how the access to reliable information especially in the time of crisis is not only a matter of public health but also of public trust in health management systems and authorities. 



● Lola Servary

Information Officer at the International Institute IFIMES

Entry into force of the Tromsř Convention:
A unique opportunity for European governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to transparency

Accessing quality information has never been so challenging, despite or maybe, because of our exposure to tremendous amount of information. The entry into force of the Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Access to Official Documents (Tromsř Convention) on 1 December 2020, in a context of concerning deficit of transparency in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, appears as an opportunity for governments to reinforce transparency culture and restore citizens trust and legitimacy in their institutions, in democracy. 


Increasing recognition of the right of access to official documents 

The Nordic European States pioneered the development of the right of access to official documents, with the world’s first law on access to information adopted by Sweden in 1766. It then spread progressively to many other West European countries, before reaching its peak in the 1990s with the creation of legal tools in the new democracies of Eastern and Central Europe. Today, various legal instruments (constitutions, national laws and jurisprudence) across Europe recognize the right of access to official documents. At the international level as well, this right has been increasingly recognized.[2]

The CoE Convention on Access to Official Documents, signed on 18 June 2009 in Tromsř, Norway, is the first binding international legal instrument to recognize a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities. More than ten years later, on 1 December 2020, the Convention entered into force, following the ratification by Ukraine, tenth State to ratify it.[3]

The Convention considers that all official documents are in principle public and provides a minimum legal framework for the prompt and fair processing of requests for access to official documents. Only the protection of other rights and legitimate interests can justify the rejection of requests. When requests are denied, it obliges the States to provide “ access to a review procedure before a court or another independent and impartial body established by law” (Article 8). 

This development could give a fresh impetus to European efforts towards greater transparency and reinforce democracy in general. It is particularly much welcome in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and the “ infodemic” accompanying the pandemic.  However, observers stress that much remains to be done to make this ambitious initiative a reality and to bring together all European countries to ratify it.  


Making access to official documents a reality

In her comment on the Convention, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović stresses the importance of access to official documents for “ transparency, good governance and participatory democracy and a key means of facilitating the exercise of other human rights and fundamental freedoms” and calls on CoE member states and non-member states to ratify the Tromsř Convention as soon as possible. On the same note, Access Info Europe group called on 17 November all member states of the CoE to sign and ratify, with a special call on France, German, Italy and Great Britain, in order to ensure that Europe’s largest countries are taking part in this European effort towards greater transparency of public authorities.

Today, virtually all countries of the Council of Europe have freedom of information laws and some “ good models” exist [4]. But the level of transparency varies between the countries and even across the institutions of each country. In some legal provision, the lack of clarity jeopardizes the enforcement. 

In such context of profusion of legal provision, the Tromsř Convention could help build a ber, harmonized and more comprehensive legal framework, create a common understanding of access to official documents and guarantee that all European citizens enjoy the same right to information and hold their authorities accountable.

In addition to ratification, promoting and disseminating the legal instruments must be a priority, as states Article 9 of the Convention: “ Parties shall inform the public about its right of access to official documents”. Signatory states must promote this legal instrument and avoid that such a crucial initiative goes unnoticed. It would be paradoxical if such an ambitious initiative on transparency is not truly made public. 


Transparency often denied when it is most needed

Access to information is even more vital in times of crisis. In the current Covid-19 pandemic, access to reliable information is not only a matter of public health but also of public trust in health management systems and authorities. Fighting misinformation should be part of the crisis management plans, to fight the “ infodemic” parallel to the pandemic. 

Unfortunately, it is precisely in times of crisis that freedom of information is often denied, on the grounds of national security arguments. The secrecy around the EU vaccines contracts is a blatant illustration of such ambivalent attitude to transparency when it is most needed. On Friday 29 January, five months after the signature and after renewed requests from various European politicians and civil society groups, the European commission finally published the vaccine contract signed on 27 August 2020 with Astrazeneca. 

Although the publication of such an important document could have been a great move for the Commission to regain legitimacy, the actual outcome, a redacted document with price and accountability terms kept secret, raises more questions than it answers, contributing to more mistrust. Why is the Commission holding such crucial public health information, denying citizens right to know on issues that directly affect them? 

About the author:
Lola Servary is an Information Officer at the International Institute IFIMES and was previously attached with the international developmental FORAs in Europe and overseas. She holds a BA in political science and an MA in international development from prestigious French universities. 

Ljubljana/Vienna, 19 February 2021


Footnotes:
[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018.
[2] Examples: United Nations Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents.
[3] after Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Moldova, Croatia, Montenegro, Hungary and Lithuania.  Eight additional countries have already signed the Convention: Armenia, Belgium, Georgia, Iceland, North Macedonia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia.
[4] In her call on CoE members states to ratify the Convention, Dunja Mijatović names for example Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia which have an independent oversight body responsible for monitoring and enforcing the right to information.




MARCH 5, 2021


FEBRUARY 19, 2021


Ms. Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Stop Erosion of Human Rights in Europe

 "2020 has been a disastrous year for human rights in Europe," commented Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, at a speech in front of the Council of Europe at the end of last year.

In an unprecedented fashion, the COVID-19 pandemic (C-19) has brought to fore a tremendous increase in human rights violations in 2020 throughout the world. According to Reporters Without Borders’ tracker 19 mapping human rights cases of abuse worldwide, Europe is no exception to the rule. While it contains one of the most advanced human rights protection systems globally, the old continent has seen itself prey to governmental and media attempts to erode democracy and human rights.

Infringement to human rights peaked last March in Hungary when President Viktor Orbán used the pandemic to seize unlimited power through an emergency law granting him absolute power to suspend rules, bypass the Parliament and adopt decrees, without any judicial oversight. This law also offered the Hungarian Prime Minister the ability to jail journalists and activists criticizing his policies under the pretext of spreading disinformation.

While Hungary arguably remains a specific case within Europe for its long-standing record of human rights violations, the region indicates some worrying trends in its ability to protect the rights encompassed in the European Convention on Human Rights.


Degradation of human rights protection in the COVID-19 era

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic by member states of the Council of Europe has not remained undisputed as far as the protection of fundamental freedoms is concerned. Many European states declared a state of emergency. They introduced a wide range of legal measures that derogate from their internal constitutional laws and the European Convention on Human Rights.

While these measures have undeniably affected society's normal functioning and people's way of life, the Convention itself does not preclude derogations from the obligations outlined in emergency times. Article 15 indicates that derogations from obligations under the Convention are allowed "in time of war and other public emergencies threatening the life of the nation." Nevertheless, this clause remains valid "to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law." Until today, the application of Article 15 had remained confined to situations of political violence and terrorism.

As Europe faced the second wave of the virus, many member States reintroduced states of emergency. These typically allow temporary limitations to individual rights, such as freedom of movement under Article 45 of the Convention, freedom of assembly and association under Article 12, as well as private life under Article 7.

Nevertheless, in its "COVID-19: Toolkit for member States" published last April, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, posed limits to the ability of states to derogate from the Convention's obligations. Any derogation must have "a clear basis in domestic law" to prevent arbitrariness and cannot justify any action that goes against the "essential requirements of lawfulness and proportionality" set out in the Convention. The common understanding is that the pandemic's exceptional circumstances can uphold some rights, yet governments shall deploy substantial efforts to preserve them.

However, such efforts towards human rights protection from national authorities have failed to materialize across Europe.

A worrying trend took shape in the increasing deficit of transparency from governmental authorities, including mandatory detentions and technological surveillance, as observed in Ireland. To add, civil society organizations in several member states expressed concerns over police misconduct during protests. Alarming instances of racism have also been observable, as exemplified by the violent beating of a black man in front of his house by two French police officers in Paris.


COVID-19 exposes the structural vulnerabilities of Europe's social democracies

The coronavirus-related health challenges have provided certain actors and authorities with a pretext to infringe on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Such a context dominated by the discourse on an "emergency" situation with an exceptional character requires increased attentiveness to human rights violations.

Vulnerable populations, such as migrants, refugees, racial minorities, the homeless, elders, women, disabled people, and children, have found themselves on the frontline of these violations. Arguably, the COVID-19 pandemic did not create, yet only laid bare structural challenges, and fragilities of Europe's democracies, highlighted by the glaring social inequalities deepened across the continent.

For instance, women have been significantly impacted by governmental responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which further exacerbated gender violence and inequality. According to a study requested by the European Parliament, across Europe, calls to domestic violence outlines have increased by 20 - 60%.

Furthermore, the coronavirus response also disproportionately impacted disadvantaged children across member states by infringing on the fundamental right to education. A report by Save the Children shows that in Romania, 23% of vulnerable families could not purchase medicines for their children. In Spain, emergency food measures could only reach half of the children normally provided with school meals during the crisis. 

Older people have also been particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus lockdown measures because of their social settings which isolated them further from their families and communities. Shortages in the healthcare sector and isolation of elders have increased the risk of abuse, with data from the UK suggesting a 37% rise in the country.

Several asylum-seekers have also been unlawfully rejected at EU borders and sent back to their home countries, violating the 1951 Refugee Convention. To add, the inadequacy of living conditions and overcrowding in detention centers raised alarming concerns. Asylum seekers in Italy launched a hunger strike to protest against the spread of the virus in the center, inadequately equipped to respond to the health crisis. In Belgium, some centers released detainees without any assistance.

Suppose the issues listed above receive the attention they deserve. In that case, the COVID-19 pandemic could provide an opportunity to formulate a wake-up call for increased social inclusion across European countries, with solidarity at the heart of its response. Recalling Mahatma Gandhi's words, this is today more compelling than ever to bear in mind that "the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members."


Empowering the citizen base and improving social "bonding" for human rights protection

As highlighted in the November Bulletin by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, local authorities and grassroots organizations have played a prominent role in supporting society's most vulnerable groups.

Local and regional authorities appeared to have taken up an unprecedented responsibility in providing access to services and information directed towards certain societal groups on a daily basis. The Bulletin also noted that member states with greater decentralization of responsibilities had proven better-equipped authorities to tackle the pandemic's health challenges.

The voluntary sector also took a primary seat in proactively advocating for the rights and interests of the diverse marginalized groups within society and increased its role as an essential social service provider. Altogether, these structures have proven uniquely capable of strengthening the citizen base at its core and instilling a sense of solidarity within communities. 

Robert Putnam, in his sociological study 'Bowling alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community,' suggests that increased social capital and trust within society generates adequate civil engagement, necessary for the healthy functioning of democracies.

Further, according to Putnam, increased trust and civic engagement in society go hand-in-hand with the efficient protection of freedom and human rights. "Far from being incompatible, liberty and fraternity are mutually supportive," notes Putnam, in his study demonstrating the strong positive correlation between equality and bonding social capital.

In contrast, the beginning of 2021 witnessed widespread anti-lockdown protests, primarily dominated by extreme rights across the continent. Trust in government institutions across Europe has reached its lowest. In such a societal context captured by distrust, a weakened citizen base could prevent the European societies' ability to deliver sustainable solutions supported and trusted by the population.

Arguably, the media, when providing factual and objective information on all matters of public interest, plays an essential role in consolidating social "bonding." In contrast, when resorting to "sensationalism, improper language, or reporting in ways that may raise the alarm unnecessarily or provide a platform for divisive views to spread," as Dunja Mijatović warns, the media could instead decrease trust among society, endangering the health of healthy democratic societies.

More salient than ever is the mobilization of all citizens around a collective response to the virus. In democracies, social trust or “bonding capital” plays a central role in empowering the citizen base. And this trust cannot be achieved without an irrevocable and unconditional commitment to human rights.

The COVID-19 crisis taught us that only governance in compliance with the rule of law and human rights is capable of adequately managing the challenges associated with this unprecedented crisis. More clearly than ever before, preserving human rights proves an essential pillar to managing the health crisis and must be actively incorporated within public policies.

Paying heed to the many challenges to individual rights posed by the health crisis must be part of a genuine effort to restore trust in today's European societies.




About the author:

Chloé Bernadaux is an International Security specialist (Sciences Po Paris), prolifically writing on the neighborhood policy, Euro-MED relations, and disarmament affairs. She is the IFIMES newly appointed representative in Paris (UNESCO).



February 19, 2021


FEBRUARY 8, 2021

The EU Sputnik Borrell in Moscow:
An aftermath, of diplomacy


By: Tomislav Jakić

 After almost unanimous assessment of the Western media and analysts (one would be inclined to conclude they are “gleichgeschaltet”, modeled on the methods of Nazi master of propaganda Goebbels ), a visit to Moscow of the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borrell, was – depending on the author – a failure, a fiasco, a disgrace.

              And it was, indeed. But not by the criteria applied by Western propaganda; it is difficult, when reading these "analyzes", to avoid the conclusion that their authors are neither journalists nor political analysts, but just - propagandists, harnessed, consciously or unconsciously - this could be discussed - in the circle of politics that the West applies in dealing with Russia for years. It is the policy of "containment" which is only a weak, but no less dangerous copy of the policy that the West practiced towards the Soviet Union. Worthwhile to note: apparently none of these so well-informed "journalists" and "analysts" take into account that Putin is not Stalin and that today's Russia is not the former Soviet Union.

              The problems, if that's even the right term, in relations between the West and Russia begun after at the helm of Russia Vladimir Putin replaced Boris Yeltsin Of course, Yeltsin, known for his alcoholic escapades, was to the liking of the West. Russia under his leadership was rapidly declining and not only was it no longer any, even potential, threat to the West, but it could not be its competitor in any area, even in its influence in Third World countries. At the same time, no one in the West resented Yeltsin for using even the most brutal force to stay in power. We are thinking of the order to "subdue" the Russian parliament, which resisted the unconstitutional dissolution, with tank shells . On the contrary, the Western media rejoiced at every hit of a tank grenade in the building where the seat of the Russian parliament was, and from which the parliamentarians allegedly offered armed resistance. 

When asked by a foreign journalist why is he reporting about gunshots from the parliament building, when it is obvious that there were none, a Wastern correspondent offered the following answer: "So it was decided!" Those grenades didn't bother anyone, neither then nor later. But, those shots which were not fired, were “invented”, because they were needed for having the wanted picture. A hint of the "objective" reporting we are witnessing in recent weeks and months, relating to Alexei Navalny and the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

              With the arrival of Putin on the scene, however, another Russia emerged; Russia, which had the ambition to be a relevant factor in international relations and which not only wanted, but expected to be treated as a great power, and with respect. Since then everything goes downhill. The West did not want to accept the fact that Russia refuses to be treated as defeated and submissive. So the accusations started, so the sanctions started, some after obviously staged occasions, some evidently without any basis.

              And now Borrell is coming to Moscow with the proclaimed goal of re-establishing dialogue, but most likely too with the task of examining the extent to which the Russian vaccine against covid19 can help Europe, which has found itself in an awkward situation due to drastic reductions in deliveries or delays from manufacturers of the vaccine it has ordered. But even before going to Moscow Borrell announced his intention to visit in prison Navalny who was sentenced to 3.5 years for violating probation. Let us remember: Navalni, an activist and blogger was transferred, with the "blessing" of the Kremlin to hospital in Germany after he was taken ill on an internal flight in Russia. It was immediately "clear" to everyone that he was poisoned and that, of course, the government, and Putin himself, was behind the assassination attempt. In Germany, poisoning was promptly confirmed, but only with the "assistance" of a military doctors, poisoning with Novičok, an extremely lethal means from the Soviet arsenal of chemical weapons. To make things more convincing, the findings from Berlin were also confirmed by laboratories in Paris and Stockholm. No one from those around Navalny had the slightest symptoms of poisoning (everybody apparently forgot the spectacle with protective measures and decontamination, staged by the British after the alleged poisoning of Skripal’s). Navalni quickly recovered and, although the Germans now claim that he could not leave to Russia because he was undergoing medical treatment, it is documented that he traveled around in Germany, with the assistance of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), and that he worked on a film which, as soon as he returned to Russia and was arrested, would "revealed" Putin's glamorous “secret residence”.

              Russia persistently asked to get the findings that confirm the poisoning, but - it did not get them. And with a laconic "explanation", that the Russians anyhow know everything. The Russian findings made before Navalny left for Germany were simply ignored.

              Navalny, like Khodorkovsky at a time, is clearly the West's choice in the role of Putin's opposition leader and his possible successor. The scenario is known from all the so-called colored revolutions in Eastern Europe. To what extent he is "the puppet on the string", and to what extent he has his own agenda, is a matter for discussion. But it is undeniable that he has the full support, both financially and logistically, of Western services in everything he does (including the production of sensational discoveries that the Russians will immediately unmask as a montage, but that will remain largely or completely ignored by the Western media).

              However, although the Russians have shown that "Putin's secret residence" is not who Navalny claims, but the site of a super-luxury hotel still in construction, owned by a few oligarchs, although they show how in the animation of the entrance door the Russian emblem (eagle) was replaced by the Montenegrin, although there are recordings that show how "peaceful" demonstrators for Navalny physically attack Russian policemen, in the West every average citizen today "knows" that Moscow poisoned Navalny, that Putin has a secret residence, and that Russian police across the country is beating peaceful demonstrators who only want Putin's removal (although they, young people in the first place, are invited to demonstrate by promising that it will be a "good party").

              The same type of “blindness” prevailed until a few days ago in relation to the Russian vaccine against covid19. Despite the fact that it is for weeks applied in Russia, that it is exported to a dozen countries, some of which take on the production (such as for example Serbia, or Iran), in the Western media Sputnik V, the world first registered vaccine against Corona simply did not exist. And even after the UN Secretary-General explicitly cited Sputnik V as a significant tool in the fight against the pandemic, this vaccine was nonexistent in the Western media. Until Europe was confronted with the fact that the favored AstraZeneca drastically reduced the promised delivery and until a prestigious British medical journal did not "discover" that the Russian vaccine was both effective and harmless. And now suddenly all those who have kept silent or ignored the vaccine, not because it is suspicious, but because and only because it came from Russia, and was – above all – the world’s first, seem to compete in writing and speaking about Sputnik V.

              In such circumstances Joseph Borrell went to Moscow. And, of course, he disappointed all those Western propagandists who still live in the "Trump film", who are still prisoners of the policy of "containing Russia", because - instead of hammering with his fist on the table, instead of threatening and blackmailing - he mostly silently listened to the remarks of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, including the one describing the European Union is an "unreliable partner." But now analysts and journalists, both of whom does not deserve to be called as such, compete in attacking Borrell, saying that his performance was shameful and that he disgraced European Union, that his trip to Moscow was a "failure" and wishing in his place Mike Pompeo, Trump’s foreign minister (yes, so far we have fallen!). 

And the Russians, to show how the time had passed when they silently received blows from the West, just at the time of Borrell's visit to Moscow, announced the expulsion of three Western diplomats for "participating in illegal demonstrations by Alexei Navalny's supporters." The West does not accept this, ignoring the fact that the demonstrations did take place without the permission of the authorities and that the job of diplomats is not to be "in demonstrations", but to report on them. But very significantly, the German chancellor did not fail, in condemning the Russian step, to add that stopping the completion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is out of the question.

              And that is exactly the core of today's problems in the relations between the West and Moscow. If the West start using common sense in achieving its interests in relations with Russia, if it stops playing on this or that potential successor of Putin (which would be more acceptable to the West, which means more compliant, not to say more obedient), if it stops treating the dissolution of the Soviet Union as a unique victory of one, its, system over another (liberal capitalism over the idea of socialism, because socialism as a system presented itself in many different forms, of which the Yugoslav was the most liberal), it will create conditions for a new, open dialogue. A dialogue in which neither Moscow will have to listen to the "lectures" from Brussels, nor the EU will be forced to "swallow" unpleasant Russian responses.

              But it must be a dialogue of equal, because the crucial Russian ambition is to be accepted as an equal partner and not treated as defeated and subordinate. As long as the politicians and the so-called journalists in their service do not understand this, failures and shames will continue. But whose? Not Europe’s, not Russia’s. Any further failure in the effort to put Russian-European relations on a new, different and healthy foundation will be a failure and a shame for common sense, but also for the interests of the citizens of both Russia and the countries of the European Union. We are consciously not mentioning America in this context, because Europe should be able to act in its own name and in defense of its interests. But, judging by the reactions to Borrell's visit to Moscow, we are still very, very far from that.


Tomislav Jakić

February 8, 2021


January 27, 2020



HAS THE EUROPEAN INTEGRATION PROCESS REACHED A DEAD END?[1]

As part of the Geneva Lecture Series concepted and conducted by prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic, President of the Republic of Austria Dr. Heinz Ficher (2004-16) and current Co-chair of the Vienna-based Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens centered his two-hour long mesmerizing talk on Europe and its future prospects. University scholars and diplomats based in Geneva and beyond enjoyed the first hand insights in the very history of Europe and its integrations since the end of the WWII.

Excellency Fischer elaborated on the important historic moments that forged today’s relations between member states of the EU and pointed out the weaknesses and challenges that the European continent will have to face in order to not reach a dead end in terms of the so-valued integration process.

Dr. Fischer introduced the topic by asking whether we have learned from our previous mistakes. According to him, we did learn from history. However, he believes that “after one or two generations, lessons of history start to fade away and get lost again [and that] we must keep that in mind to avoid dead end”.

Going back to World War II (WW2), the well-known European diplomat reminded us how Germany’s defeat changed the global balance of power, especially with the US and the USSR emerging as the two superpowers. The year 1945 has also been a crucial in the history of Austria, which reborn and reconstructed as an independent state in April 1945.

The end of WW2 left Europe with many questions; how to restore Germany? How to rebuild Europe? How to establish and protect peace and avoid mistakes that have been done after WW1? After the traumatizing events that happened during the war, peace “had a very high value and was a great priority almost worldwide”. Heinz Fischer remarks that “economic and politic cooperation between France, Germany, Italy and other European countries was the best way to retain and reduce nationalistic egoism and link the economist in a way that war cannot be an option to solve problems anymore as it happened so many times before”. However, we should not forget that, at the same time, the tension between Stalin and the western world on the other side was growing.

The Ban Ki-moon Center Co-chair continued by talking about the Cold War and describing the first steps towards the European Union that we know today.

“The US officials urged (western) Germany to take full responsibility for the development in their country and for good cooperation with other democracies. The next importation step was the announcement of the so-called Marshall plan for Europe. [It] was originally designed for the whole Europe but got rejected by countries under soviet dominance. Austria government was in a difficult situation because the eastern part of the country was, in that time, in the soviet occupation zone and, nevertheless, Austria joined the Marshall plan under heavy critics from its Communist party and Soviet officials.

[The] first peak of Cold War was the blockade of Berlin in 1948 and the foundation of NATO in 1949, which consequently made European integration faster and stronger.”

Nonetheless, Europe was still divided between the East and the West. It was only when Stalin died in 1953, that the beginning of a new era with a more collective leadership started. Fischer believes that his death was an important element for successful negotiations about the Austrian state treaty in April because the new leaders in Moscow wanted to demonstrate that they were ready for substantial negotiations and for compromises.

Adding to that, two years later, the Treaty of Rome was signed in March 1957, creating the European Economic Community (EEC) between Western Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. This accelerated further political integration.

By early 1960s, about 30% of the Old continent was gathered in the EEC – like-minded democracies, neighboring states of a growing politico-economic influence with good preconditions to strengthen and deepen such cooperation. The EEC was successful and attractive. Naturally, the decision-making of the Six was far easier than in today’s Union.

The step from the EEC to the EU was the basis for a better coordinated foreign policy, a precondition for the introduction of the euro currency and it strengthened the role of the European parliament. It was very attractive to join the EU as the union formulated strict conditions and admissions procedures for membership in the club.

In 1989, after the fall of the Berlin wall, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Norway, four democratic countries with good economic performance, applied for the EU. On January 1995, all of them, excepted Norway, became member of the EU. Then, in 2004, the number of member states jumped from 15 to 25 and soon after 27, etc. These years were the best moments in the European integration process but it was also a turning point, the number of diverging interests was enlarging and it was growing parallel to the number of members. As EU became more and more the voice of Europe, it also brought more and more difficulties in terms of decision making.

Eastern countries were united in their anti-Communist and anti-Russian feelings however in other fields of politics they were more and more not united with each other and the rest of Europe. But the question remained: what was the reason for that development?

Dr. Fischer observed that the national identity of new democracies from the 90s, those that were under soviet dominance, had been brutally suppressed during soviet supremacy and their so-called internationalism was not a genuine development, it had been enforced and, soon after the collapse of European communism and the dissolution of Russia pact, these countries showed that they were fed up with internationalism even European internationalism and nationalism saw a powerful renaissance. With this background, populistic nationalism in some countries, but not all the eastern European countries, became step by step stronger than European thinking and European solidarity.

While growing nationalism is one big obstacle, for the European cooperation and integration, the necessity of consensus in the constitution of the European union in many fields of European policy is another big problem. Consensus is, indeed, recommendable and necessary for very far-reaching decisions with long time consequences. However, too many necessities for consensus are poison for a coherent European policy, the more consensus is necessary, the bigger is the role of national interests and the bigger the role of national interests is the more we have a union with injured wings and the more it is difficult to compete with the other big powers in the world.

Since decades we can observe new developments dimensions and challenges of ecological environmental policy, the figures of climate change and global warming speak a very clear language on global level but also in Europe we have a lot to do in these fields. The Paris climate agreement set the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees but the question remains whether we will reach this goal and whether this will be enough to prevent further catastrophes such as biodiversity losses, glacier melting, intensified western conditions, etc. The EU is more and more trying to promote climate-friendly policies. It is indeed trying to reach progress and to mobilize the member countries on this field, they know that this must be a priority. Former President Fischer added that, in the last couple of years, China took more and more the lead in green and renewable energy whereas Trump administration withdraw from Paris agreement. However, the fact that Biden promised to re-enter Paris accord and put effort into fighting climate changes leads to careful optimism.

On the other hand, Excellency Fischer pointed out that the issue of forced migrations should not be forgotten. He added that this represent a huge global problem which the EU cannot solve alone and, even though nobody is expecting them to, they should be ready to contribute to a solution and to do their part. The number of refugees at the border of Europe between 2014 and 2015 increased rapidly to 1,3 million asylum seekers and this caused a lot of problems, troubles, hostilities and a wave of population and nationalism.

Observing the policies in some European countries and Austria is not an exception, the problem is not so much, some governments can solve the issue but the problem is whether they want to solve it.

In the meantime, the second wave has counted higher numbers than ever, we had time to place some coordination at EU level to fight jointly the virus. The Commission has made useful proposals in some areas such as cross-border commuting transport of goods, external borders purchase and distribution of vaccines. Also it tackled the international cooperation of comparable statistics and the strategic introduction of the next generation of EU recovery instrument amounting to 750 million euros which is linked to the next financial framework and the EU budget for the years 2021-2027. All being promising signs of a rapid reaction capacitation.

“The EU is facing challenging times. Cross-European cooperation has no alternative – it is today as fundamental as ever” – was the closing point of Heinz Fischer’s farsighted and comprehensive Geneva talk.


About the Author:



Audrey Beaulieu of the University of Ottawa (Globalization and International Development Department), specialised in public and private International law, international development and global politics.

[1]President Hein Fischer answered the call of the Swiss UMEF University in Geneva on December 10th 2020, and gave this lecture under the auspices of so-called Geneva Lecture Series - Contemporary World of Geo-economics. Lecture series so far hosted former Secretary-General of the Paris-based OECD, current Rector of the Tokyo-based UN University, notable intellectuals such as prof. Ioannis Varoufakis and Nobel prize laureates. Some of the following guests are presidents and prime ministers of western countries, distingushed scholars as well as the chief executives of the important intergovernmental organisations. 



January 27, 2020



Evaluation model of the performance of the
higher education system in developing countries


Prof. Dr Djawed SANGDEL

Summary

In this research paper, we analyse the present model of higher education in several countries, and more particularly in developing countries. Our main objective is to identify the misfunctioning of the organisation of distance higher education in countries in which technologies are less accessible, and where higher education demand is very high. Organisational learning has now become a major problem, whether in the private or public sector, and often in developing countries. According to Dodgson (1993), the process, through which corporations and organisations build, develop and organise their knowledge according to their actions and their cultural characteristics, is very difficult to apply in an uncertain and unstable environment due to a lack of sustainable strategy by actors of different stakeholders as per the needs of the ecosystem. When a citizen is educated, trained and informed, civic behaviour becomes a reference to him. He can produce good governance thanks to his modest participation

Our research has not only examined the opening of the labour market to future graduates, but also the organisation and the ease of access to education. Our research will study the different aspects of accessibility and organization of distance learning for higher education. Organisation of education today is a major concern both with regard to its organisation and to quality. Every country, every region, every continent, and more particularly every institution, is looking for the best means to attain qualitative and quantitative objectives as well as a maximum of financial satisfaction. Some countries face difficulties in their organization and in the accessibility of education for their citizens in democratic life, while enumerating the mechanisms required for good management. (Paquet, 2001)

Key words: Governance, education, techniques, cost and hidden performance

Organisational learning

Is governance a method for a good coordination, rather efficient in a structure already preconceived to receive a learning model? One discusses issues more imaginary than realistic in a country in which the idea is already utopian, while knowing that a good governance translated by organisational learning requires a certain pre-established configuration, in other words a knowledge concept with compatible resources and power. According to Bonnet (Bonnet , 2010) and Henri Savall Henri Savall (1978), « the economic and social performance of an organisation depends on the quality of the interaction of the structures of the organisation and of the behaviour of the men who act in the organisation». Our main theoretical setting is the socio-economic theory of management as presented by Savall and Zardet in 1992. The socio-economic theory rests on conflict-cooperation concepts used by sociologists and by the French economist Perroux. It puts into question the implicit hypothesis of neo-classic theories according to which the economic actors are obedient and the scientific observation is erroneous. «Organizational learning is important for all companies, as the creation, retention and transfer of knowledge within the organization will strengthen the organization as a whole. The importance of organizational learning is shown by the various benefits that occur in organizations that develop a learning culture: 1 Increased employee job satisfaction, 2 Lower turnover rates, 3 Increased productivity, profits and efficiency, 4 Developing leaders at all levels and 5 Enhanced adaptability throughout the organization».[1]

A broad literature review has been carried out so as to better understand the theories that apply more specifically to our problem. Experimentation aims to show that there is a need for organisational learning as defined by Argyris to favour individual learning. There is therefore a need, as regards action-research, to activate the concerned stakeholders so that they cooperate more in the undertaking of an educational system.

When a citizen is educated, trained and informed, a civic behaviour becomes a reference for him. It can produce good governance thanks to his modest participation in democratic life, while establishing an inventory of the mechanisms required for good stewardship. (Paquet, 2001)

Organisational learning has become today a major problem, whether in the private or public sector, and often in developing countries. Very few persons are conscious of learning and of what this implies individually or collectively.

We have put the accent on different authors who have their own individual definition, but in general terms learning is a realization and a collection of new knowledge according to (C. Argyris), in other words to learn from our mistakes, whatever our level.

Experience shows that developing countries are not conscious of their past mistakes, mainly in public structures, nor of possible improvements of the activity and the organisation at present. No doubt, they lack foresight. For Chris Argyris, individuals, the group or the organisation are a result of action. According to Argyris and Schön (1978), one needs a process through which the members of an organisation detect ‘errors’ and correct them, while changing the action theory.

According to Dodgson (1993), the process through which corporations and organisations build, develop and organize their knowledge, according to their actions and their cultural characteristics, is very difficult to apply in an uncertain and unstable environment due to a lack of sustainable strategy by the actors of the different stakeholders so as to meet the needs of the ecosystem. When this world is molded in its economy and its technology, one talks of globalisation, but this rhetoric of globalisation really puts the accent on the gap in interference by countries in the various areas of social sciences. It also brings its own contribution to our understanding of the complex range of strengths which reshape the world order (Held, 2000).

Managerial pathologies, which worsen from year to year, are considered, prior to becoming serious, as a problem. Their dangerousness is examined in the light of the complexity of their situation. (M. Crozier, 1989).

Socioeconomic theory of organisations

Thanks to the work of Professor Henri Savall in 1973, socioeconomic analysis rests on two important hypotheses, which allow this research project to undertake an in-depth analysis. «The first experimental research of ISEOR on the hidden costs related to quality go back to 1976 and they were followed by very numerous other deep projects relating to quality in industrial corporations, profitable service companies and organisations of public service. » [2]

The first step is human development, the main factor of corporate efficiency, in the short, medium and long term. The second is independent of their business area and of the size of the organisation and the corporation, which must face social, economic and financial losses, resulting from interactions between leaders and structures which create dysfunctions. Cause of hidden costs and performance, they are often difficult to identify by the organisation, the personnel and/or the corporate leaders. These two elements have led Professor Henri Savall to consider that «the social and economic performance of an organisation depends on the quality of the interaction of the structures and of the organisation and of human behaviour who act inside this organisation.»

According to the socioeconomic theory of Savall and Zardet, 1987, the corporation is a complex whole made up of five types of work structures interacting with five types of human behaviour. (Savall, 2015).
 





The general model of socioeconomic theory is schematized with the help of a clover

Sourse :

«The five types of structures (physical, technological, organisational, demographic and mental) are supposedly relatively stable and permanent. The five behaviours (individuals, group activity, categorical, affinity groups and collective groups) are characterised by their conjectural nature and their relative instability. Dysfunctionality is classified in six families: work conditions, work organisation, communication-coordination-consultation, time management, integrated training and application of strategy. » [3]

All corporations and organisations, and more particularly public administrations, are increasingly affected by this problem, in other words by hidden costs which often lead to difficulties «From 1973 to 1977, socioeconomic analysis was centered on research methodology to identify and evaluate the hidden costs of dysfunctions.  These costs are called ‘hidden costs’, in opposition to visible costs, inasmuch as they are spread, without specific denomination, without a surveillance system, and because they do not appear in the classic information systems of corporations (budgets, general accounting, etc). They are grouped in five indicators: absenteeism, work accidents, personnel rotation, quality defects of products and direct productivity gaps and in five components: overpay, overtime, overconsumption, non-production and non-realization of potential.» [4]

This hypothesis has been confirmed and validated by the research undertaken by ISEOR. They have also put forward the idea that corporations and organisations not only have hidden costs, but also hidden performance, which do not allow us, for these types of structures, to forecast certain eventualities which could have an impact on their financial activities, on the development of finance, on the development of performance, of competition and/or the services supplied by public administration. «On the basis of this fundamental hypothesis, the ISEOR team studies and elaborates concepts and tools which aim to improve the functioning as well as the level of economic and social performance of corporations and organisations. » [5]

In our research, we will analyse hidden costs, as well as performance based on the socioeconomic theory of organisations. Let us just note that according to the theory all corporations and organisations need a new managerial approach. In fact, according to the complexity of the market and the needs of services, all the structures, public and private, identify hidden costs and attempt to reduce permanent costs which often create problems. On top of the hidden costs, there is often a lack of a long-term vision of development, as per Fayol, considered as the father of specialized management in corporate administration. According to him, the administrative organisation of work (AOW) means to forecast, organise, order, coordinate and control (FOOCC), which would allow every corporation and organisation to position itself in its activities according to its very specific situation.

Theory of education

Today’s organisation of education is a major concern both with regard to its structure and to its quality. Each country, each region, each continent, and more particularly each institution, seeks the best way to reach its qualitative and quantitative objectives as well as a maximum of financial rewards. Certain countries are faced with difficulties in their organisation and in providing access to education for its citizens. Other countries face difficulties in putting in place an educational method able to offer their citizens the best access to employment. In the light of our area of research, it concerns not only the opening of the employment market to future graduates, but rather of the organisation and accessibility of education. Our research studies the different aspects relating to the accessibility and to the organisation of distance higher education.

These last two decades, the entire planet has witnessed a strong growth on the market of distance higher education (DHE). In fact, the needs are not identical for the different actors on the planet. In the developing countries, DHE is not an option but rather a need and an emergency to save a population to which all rights are denied.

Researchers have become increasingly interested in experiments in the field of distance education. The problem, is that they concentrate more on the programme than on theories or controlled experiments. It has allowed the conception of new products for DHE, rather than to the evaluation and experimentation of field programmes so as to better apprehend the accessibility modes as well as the adequate configuration adapted to every specific case. This problem, education in its different forms, has become a concern for national development (Philippe Dessus, 1997).

The work of Yves Bertrand « Théories contemporaines de l’éducation » states that “we live in a period in which the directions to be given to education come from all sides”. Everyone questions the nature of educational changes. Which educational changes one should choose? Starting from this consideration, we continue this questioning by asking ourselves which theories to choose to render education in the world more efficient. » [6] This question of choice is primordial if one wishes to answer the relevant problem, while taking into account the necessary resources, such as time, for change requires time. So as to select the correct theory, or to create a model, one must take into account human capital, the financial resources as well as the environment of change.

Technological theories

The work of Yves Bertrand stresses technologies, and of course this element is essential to ease communication between lecturers, students and all the other parties. This situation exists only in a very limited number of developing countries. The absence of such a development complicates even more the situation for distance learning.

The theory of technology not only eases communication, but also allows the easy use of digital documents and interactivity between the various interest groups. Internet also allows us to use various technological sources, whether with regard to software or to any other technology. Simultaneously, it is a problem for many countries and persons who are not involved in technologies, due a lack of means, and this is particularly true for developing countries.

Results:
Our result shows that the true problem in developing countries, are summarized in four great elements as shown below, in other words, governance, technology, environment, culture and finance. This is shown in more detail in our table.




Conclusion:

Governance and organisational learning are key words, whatever the type of organisation, to avoid hidden costs which impact performance of production. Very often, in developing countries, public institutions are not conscious of past mistakes, which impact present actions. When they encounter financial difficulties, they look at their balance sheet to identify how to reduce certain costs. It is no doubt important to master costs, but above all it is essential to analyse dysfunctionalities or hidden costs that are a threat to organisations or corporations. We have identified that the real problems of educational institutions in the less advanced countries, with regard to higher education, are its organisation, in other words governance, cultural resistance, the lack of technical competence, or the lack of mastery in the use of technologies, as well as financial challenges: they are unable to master their budget, for which they depend on external financial support, such as the World Bank, international organisations or foreign donors.

About the Author

Prof. Dr Djawed Sangdel, professor of Leadership and Entrepreneurship 

President of Swiss UMEF UNIVERSITY – GENEVE

Comment on the SARCEO orientation notes

The SARCEO orientation notes are a series of publications on the results of the symposia and conferences organized by SARCEO, aimed at executives of corporations and organisations, to international relations strategists and to researchers specialising in corporate governance of enterprises and organisations. The aim of these notes is to develop a public dialogue so as to influence the decision-making process. The views expressed by the author of the orientation notes are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of SARCEO. The access to the SARCEO orientation notes is free.

About SARCEO

The Swiss Applied Research Centre for Enterprises and Organisations (SARCEO) undertakes multidisciplinary research with an international staff of researchers and a focus on vastly improving performance of corporations and organisations through the implementation of technology and the development of new approaches to human organisation in a complex and fast-moving environment. Research also encompasses contemporary topics in international relations such as the promotion of peace, economic and social development, environment conservation and the impact of education on inclusion. SARCEO publishes the Journal of Enterprises and Organisations’ Governance, on annual basis, and regular Research Policy Papers.


[1] https://www.valamis.com/hub/organizational-learning
[2] Henri Savall et Véronique Zardet 5e édition, economica, p. 17.
[3] http://theses.univ-lyon2.fr/documents/getpart.php?id=lyon2.2002.moulette_p&part=63669#Noteftn181
[4] http://theses.univ-lyon2.fr/documents/getpart.php?id=lyon2.2002.moulette_p&part=63669#Noteftn181
[5] http://theses.univ-lyon2.fr/documents/getpart.php?id=lyon2.2002.moulette_p&part=63669#Noteftn181
[6] http://dipoueducation.over-blog.com/2014/01/introduction-yves-bertrand-dans-son-ouvrage-th%C3%A9ories-contemporaines-de-l%E2%80%99%C3%A9ducation-constate-que-%C2%AB-nous-vivons-une-p-2

Prof. Dr Djawed SANGDEL
SWISS UMEF UNIVERSITY- GENEVE
185-187 Route d’Aïre
1219 Aïre – Genève – Suisse
POLICY RESEARCH PAPER
N° 3: 2018-2019

January 25, 2020





Concise history of international development – from the UN University Rector Dr. Malone

By Guido Lanfranchi

 

As part of the Geneva Lecture Series concepted and conducted by prof. Anis H.Bajrektarevic, United Nations University Rector and Undersecretary General of the UN, Dr. David M. Malone gave a highly mesmerizing and content intensive lecture for the faculty members and Geneva-based diplomats.*  Excellency Malone outlined his view on international development, focusing on how the theory and (especially) the practice of such concept has evolved over the past decades. While international development has done much to improve the socio-economic situation in developing countries, much remains to be done, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – Dr. Malone said.

Talks about international development permeate current debates in academic and policy circles around the world. Yet, decades after its endorsement as one of the international community’s top priorities, the term continues to elude clear and univocal definitions, and it remains a contested concept. Dr. David M. Malone – an expert in international development, currently serving as UNU’s Rector in Tokyo, Japan – talked about his own take on the historical evolution of international development in an exchange with the students of Swiss UMEF University.

In a brief but comprehensive account, Dr. Malone noted that the concept of international development has emerged only fairly recently as a major issue on the world stage. The League of Nations, for instance, was not concerned with development, and even the United Nations did not initially devote much attention to this concept. Similarly, development was not on the agenda of the economic institutions established at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference – notably the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose aim was to ensure monetary stability, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, the World Bank’s predecessor), whose focus was on the post-war reconstruction effort.

How did it happen, then, that these institutions gradually took the lead in promoting and sustaining development worldwide? The key factor underpinning this shift – according to Dr. Malone – is the process of decolonization, which started in the late 1940s with the independence of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Having freed themselves from the exploitative rule of colonial powers, these countries first sought to launch their first development programs, which often had a focus on agricultural development and famine prevention. At the time, international support to such efforts was very limited, consisting only of some experimental activities on specific technical issues, but with extremely tight budgets.

Yet, things started to change as a “huge decolonization wave” took off in the late 1950s, creating almost 80 new countries in the span of little more than 15 years. As these countries entered the UN en masse, they soon gained a majority in the organization. Questioning the UN’s single-handed focus on political and security issues, these countries – which were then labeled as “developing countries” – started to advocate for their own interest: the promotion of development throughout the developing world, with support from the international community.

These calls were rather successful. Entities such as the IBRD/World Bank, on a good track to completing their post-war reconstruction mission, soon started to shift their attention towards the developing world, ramping up the scale of their previously meager technical endeavors. Even more importantly, international support for developmental efforts started to materialize, both through bilateral agreements between countries and in the form of borrowed funds.

While the calls for international support were successful in raising the attention and the funds devoted to the topic of development, the early developmental endeavors were not always as successful. In a number of instances, the lack of adequate infrastructure prevented these endeavors from yielding the expected results, leading leaders to re-think their focus on what Dr. Malone termed “wildcat industrialization”. In addition, in their effort to finance development (and, at times, to amass personal wealth in the pockets of national elites), developing countries piled up an increasingly serious amount of debt, resulting in the debt crisis of the early 1980s.

The reaction of the industrialized world was mixed. Initially, shock and surprise prevailed, coupled with calls for developing countries to repay their debt at any cost. International institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF asked indebted countries to tighten their belt to free up funds for debt repayment. Lacking alternatives, many countries did so; yet, this came at a serious price over the medium to long term. Over time, however, a more realistic outlook on the issue emerged. Creditors organized in two groups – the “Paris Club” for official donors, and the “London Club” for private creditors – and discussed their response. Eventually, the strategy was two-fold: part of the debt was rescheduled, while another part was outright canceled.

debt crisis, and government officials in industrialized countries were less worried about the overall situation. Still, tensions between developed and developing countries persisted, including at the UN. The latter asked the former to contribute to their development as a reparation of past damages under colonialism, while the former accused the latter of mismanagement and claimed full control over the use of their own funds. As of the mid-1990s, this debate had not led anywhere: everyone wanted to move on, and so they did.

The game changer emerged around the turn of the new millennium, when the UN – under the lead of Secretary General Kofi Annan – heavily invested in the creation and promotion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The goals were narrow but ambitious; and yet, despite this ambition, most (although not all) of them were met by 2015. According to Dr. Malone, this success was made possible by the high growth rates enjoyed by developing countries through the first 15 years of the new millennium – a growth that, among other factors, was enabled by the previous debt-management strategy and by the increasing flow of international capital to the developing world.

The success in achieving the MDGs thus triggered a new process at the UN, which raised the bar and set for the world even more ambitious goals – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These objectives were underpinned by an assumption that the high rates of growth that had characterized the first decade of the new millennium would continue. As it became clear, however, this assumption was overly optimistic. The 2008 global financial crisis significantly slowed down growth, both in the industrialized world and (albeit to a lesser extent) in developing countries. As a result, international development efforts faced – and still face – increasing challenges. To respond to these challenges, the 2015 Addis Ababa Action plan sought to adopt a more sophisticated strategy to ensure funding for international development efforts. Moving away from a single-handed focus on official development assistance, the plan stressed the importance of multiple funding streams, including remittances and lending instruments. Yet, significant challenges remain as of today, and the path of international development remains uphill.

This is the context in which we can place the advent of COVID-19, which has been sweeping through the world since early 2020. So far, in direct terms, the virus has not affected developing countries significantly harder than developed ones, Dr. Malone noted. However, in a post-COVID world, the needs of developing countries will likely be much more compelling that those of their industrialized counterparts. In short, international cooperation and developmental efforts have achieved a lot over the past 70 years, but much more has yet to be achieved. As we enter the post-COVID era, the world should be aware of that.


Rector of the unique, Tokyo-based United Nations University and Undersecretary General of the UN, Dr. David M. Malone answered the call of the Swiss UMEF University in Geneva on November 05th 2020, and gave this lecture under the auspices of so-called Geneva Lecture Series – Contemporary World of Geo-economics. Lecture series so far hosted former President of Austria, former Secretary-General of the Paris-based OECD and prominent scholars such as prof. Ioannis Varoufakis. Some of the following guests are presidents and prime ministers of western countries, notable scholars as well as the Nobel prize laureates. 


About the author:



Guido Lanfranchi is an international affairs specialist based in Den Haag. He studied at the Dutch Leiden University and Sciences Po Paris, and is attached to the Council of the European Union in Brussels. His research focuses on the EU, Euro-MED and Africa.

Guido Lanfranchi is an international affairs specialist based in Den Haag. He studied at the Dutch Leiden University and Sciences Po Paris, and is attached to the Council of the European Union in Brussels. His research focuses on the EU, Euro-MED and Africa.



January 24, 2020



Međunarodni institut za bliskoistočne i balkanske studije (IFIMES)[1] iz Ljubljane, Slovenija, redovno analizira događanja na Bliskom istoku, Balkanu i po svijetu. Akademik dr. Mirko Pejanović, profesor emeritus Univerziteta u Sarajevu i nekadašnji član Predsjedništva Republike Bosne i Hercegovine (1992-96) povodom 25 godina od potpisivanja Daytonskog mirovnog sporazuma u svom članku „Lekcije naučene nakon implementacije Daytonskog mirovnog sporazuma“ piše o problemima njegovog sprovođenja. Njegov članak objavljujemo u cijelosti.  


prof. dr. Mirko Pejanović
● redovni član Akademije nauka i umjetnosti BiH (ANUBiH)

Lekcije naučene nakon implementacije Daytonskog mirovnog sporazuma

Tokom dvije i po decenije nastale su višestruke spoznaje problema u provođenju Daytonskog mirovnog sporazuma. U procesu razvoja bosanskohercegovačkog društva vidljivi su određeni dosezi, koji mogu da vode stabilnom razvoju države Bosne i Hercegovine. Ali, istovremeno, su vidljivi i zastoji u razvoju bh. društva i države. Ti zastoji su doveli do produbljivanja krize ekonomskog razvoja, naročito od 2015.godine. Zapravo, od 2015.godine, iz Bosne i Hercegovine godišnje iseljava više desetina hiljada mladih ljudi u evropske države u potrazi za ekonomskom egzistencijom. Na temelju provedenih istraživanja, u proteklih sedam godina iz Bosne i Hercegovine se iselilo preko 200.000 ljudi mlađe i srednje dobi.

Drugi vid krize odvija se u Bosni i Hercegovini permanentno. U pitanju je kriza političkog upravljanja državom Bosnom i Hercegovinom. Ovaj vid krize  je uslovljen nefunkcionalnim političko-pravnim ustrojstvom Bosne i Hercegovine unutar koga se sve institucije i svi društveni interesi izvode na etničkoj osnovi. Na toj osnovi su jačale moć tri etničke stranke: SDA, HDZBiH i SNSD. Ove stranke dobivaju izborno povjerenje u svojim etničkim korpusima. Nakon parlamentarnih izbora, niti žele niti pokušavaju uspostaviti koalicioni sporazum za vršenje izvršne vlasti putem parlamentarne većine. Uspostavlja se samo partnerstvo za podjelu resora u vlasti. Na toj osnovi ni vlada ni parlament nemaju svoju ustavnu moć. Moć ostaje u monopolu etno-nacionalnih lidera.

Kad ne postoji konsenzus za parlamentarnu većinu, ne postoji ni konsenzus za donošenje zakona o reformama, koje omogućuju integraciju Bosne i Hercegovine u Evropsku uniju. Uz sve ovo u političkom razvoju Bosne i Hercegovine raste nacionalistička retorika. Najglasniji nosilac nacionalističke retorike postao je Milorad Dodik, lider Saveza nezavisnih socijaldemokrata (SNSD), koji u kontinuitetu od 2006.godine zagovara secesiju Republike Srpske od Bosne i Hercegovine. Dodik takođe zagovara protivljenje integraciji Bosne i Hercegovine u NATO savez. Na ovaj način se institucije države Bosne i Hercegovine blokiraju u svom radu. Prepoznatljiva je tendencija obezvređivanja i omalovažavanja uloge i institucija države Bosne i Hercegovine: Parlamenta, Vijeća ministara i Ustavnog suda. Sve se to čini sa jednim ciljem: negiranje mogućnosti funkcionisanja institucija države Bosne i Hercegovine. Na to se naslanja i negiranje uloge Visokog predstavnika međunarodne zajednice u Bosni i Hercegovini (OHR).

Daytonski mirovni sporazum svoj historijski ishod ima u stvaranju geopolitičkih uslova i pretpostavki da Bosna i Hercegovina uspješno izvede historijski projekt integracije u članstvo Evropske unije i NATO savez. „Jedini pravi put po mišljenju naše administracije jeste da se pridružite Evropi.“[2] Ako se projekt integracije Bosne i Hercegovine ne ubrza i ne dovede do uspješne realizacije do 2030.godine, Bosna i Hercegovina će imati još veće ekonomsko siromaštvo. Postat će prostor novih geopolitičkih uticaja: Ruske Federacije, Turske i Kine. Dalje će ojačati nacionalističke snage. Zaustaviće se unutrašnja integracija i integracija u Evropsku uniju i NATO savez. Ovakav trend društvenih kretanja moguće je zaustaviti i preokrenuti u smjeru ubrzanja integracije u Evropsku uniju i NATO savez ako se pristupi oblikovanju  nove strategije Evropske unije i međunarodne zajednice. Ta strategija bi imala nekoliko prioriteta:

a) Sinhronizacija djelovanja administracije SAD-a i institucija Evropske unije, posebno Specijalnog predstavnika EU. Njegov godišnji plan rada bi bio reformska agenda kao zajednički okvir aktivnosti Specijalnog predstavnika, parlamentarne i izvršne vlasti u BiH i entitetima;

b) Osigurati, zbog geopolitičkih promjena u svijetu i Evropi, dodatnu političku, ekonomsku i tehničku pomoć Bosni i Hercegovini za ispunjavanje uslova za prijem u članstvo Evropske unije i NATO saveza. Geopolitika izgradnje mira u Bosni i Hercegovini svoj okvir ima u Daytonskom mirovnom sporazumu i projektu ubrzane integracije u EU i NATO-savez;

c) Međunarodna zajednica i Evropska unija svoju novu strategiju za provođenje Daytonskog mirovnog sporazuma može učiniti realnom ako nastavi primjenu Bonnskih ovlaštenja Visokog predstavnika međunarodne zajednice kao i kadrovsko osvježenje Ureda Visokog predstavnika u Sarajevu (OHR;

d) U okviru Ureda Specijalnog predstavnika Evropske unije i Ureda Visokog predstavnika međunarodne zajednice (OHR), nužno je formirati zajednički ekspertni tim za ustavne reforme. U timu bi bili inostrani i domaći eksperti i predstavnici nevladinih organizacija u Bosni i Hercegovini;

e) Uvesti praksu da godišnji izvještaj Specijalnog predstavnika Evropske unije o provođenju reformi u Bosni i Hercegovini usvaja Evropski parlament.

Ljubljana/Sarajevo, 12.januar 2021            

Fusnote:
[1] IFIMES – Međunarodni institut za bliskoistočne i balkanske studije sa sjedištem u Ljubljani, Slovenija, ima specijalni konzultativni status pri Ekonomsko-socijalnim vijećem ECOSOC/UN od 2018.godine.
[2] Joseph Biden: „Retorika nepovjerenja mora prestati“, Izlaganje u Parlamentu BiH, 19. maja 2009.godine, Radio Slobodna Evropa, 19.maj 2009.godine, link: https://www.slobodnaevropa.org/a/bajden_govor/1735152.html



January 13, 2020


Lamberto Zannier becomes the new Director at IFIMES for the Euro-Mediterranean Diplomacy and Intercultural Affairs 

LJUBLJANA/VIENNA, 6. January 2021Former Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, has become Director of Euro-Mediterranean Diplomacy and Intercultural Affairs (EDIA) at the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES)[1]. He thus succeeded Archduchess Camilla Habsburg-Lothringen, who held the same position in the period 2016-2020.

 
Photo: H.E. Ambassador Lamberto Zannier, Director EDIA/IFIMES


The directors of IFIMES, Dr. Zijad Bećirović and Bakhatyar Aljaf, emphasized that they were especially glad that the institute received reinforcement in the person of Ambassador Zannier, whose reputation, experience and enthusiasm will give new impetus to the work of IFIMES.

We are highly honored that our esteemed colleague, Excellency Zannier, will be with us in the future. Only through the importance of cooperation of various actors in building a better society, while gathered in the idea of a better tomorrow, we can understand and overcome many differences between us. This is the only way to solve problems and challenges. The fact that Ambassador Zannier served in the Balkans (2008-11), led the OSCE as its Secretary-General for two consecutive terms (2011-2017), and was the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (2017-2020) is of immense importance to our Institute. It is difficult to find a more competent person anywhere in the world than Ambassador Lambert Zannier. Once again, we are so proud to have him in the leadership of the IFIMES International Institute.”

Head of IFIMES Mission in Vienna, Prof. Dr. Anis H. Bajrektarević underlined the importance of the Euro-Mediterranean theater, as a core region – a cradle of civilization, for the intercultural cooperation which is one of the key challenges of the modern world. “The OSCE is the only organization whose pan-continental mechanism includes the so-called Mediterranean partnership. Thus, besides the UN, it is the only multilateral system that brings together Arabs and Israel. Therefore, I am convinced that our joint action will further strengthen IFIMES activities in the Euro-Mediterranean area, which is indispensable for Europe’s future.”

Ljubljana/Vienna, 6 January 2021                         

Footnotes:
[1] IFIMES – International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has Special Consultative status at ECOSOC/UN, New York, since 2018



January 6, 2020




2020


PUBLICATIONS DECEMBER 2020,   PUBLICATIONS NOVEMBER 2020,  PUBLICATIONS OCTOBER 2020,
PUBLICATIONS SEPTEMBER 2020, PUBLICATIONS AUGUSTUS 2020, PUBLICATIONS JUNE 2020,
PUBLICATIONS MAY 2020, PUBLICATIONS APRIL 2020, PUBLICATIONS MARCH 2020, PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2020


PUBLICATIONS MARCH 2021


  2021 The East European fire arc - an actual danger Romania should take into account
  2021 The Tromsř Convention may revers Europe’s democracy deficit:  A unique opportunity for European governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to transparency
  2021 Entry into force of the Tromsř Convention: A unique opportunity for European governments to reaffirm and strengthen their commitment to transparency


PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2021

  2021  Stop Erosion of Human Rights in Europe - Ms. Dunja Mijatović
  2021  
The EU Sputnik Borrell in Moscow: An aftermath, of diplomacy - Tomislav Jakić


PUBLICATIONS JANUARY 2021

  2021  HAS THE EUROPEAN INTEGRATION PROCESS REACHED A DEAD END? - Audrey Beaulieu
  2021  
Concise history of international development – from the UN University Rector Dr. Malone
 
2021  Evaluation model of the performance of the higher education system in developing countries - Prof. Dr Djawed SANGDEL

  2021  Concise history of international development – from the UN University Rector Dr. Malone
  2021 Lekcije naučene nakon implementacije Daytonskog mirovnog sporazumai - prof. dr. Mirko Pejanović

  2021 Lamberto Zannier becomes the new Director at IFIMES for the Euro-Mediterranean Diplomacy and Intercultural Affairs 



PUBLICATIONS DECEMBER 2020

 
2020 – A Year when Distancing became Social - Anis H. Bajrektarevic


PUBLICATIONS NOVEMBER 2020

  To Achieve the SDGs, We Must Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls - Viola Christian


PUBLICATIONS OCTOBER 2020

  Where is a Will – there is Brazil  - Society 2020, despite the Pandemics - Edna dos Santos-Duisenberg
  Lebanon 2020: From “The Pearl of the Orient” to failed state? - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu 
 ENOUGH OF DOUBLE STANDARDS! - Dr. Zlatko Hadzidedic
 How to Spend it: An Austro-Franco-German Proposal for a European Covid-19 Recovery Programme - Tereza Neuwirthová
 Triangularity of Nuclear Arms Control - Possible Implications of China’s Involvement in Nuclear Arms Talks - Alexander G. Savelyev


PUBLICATIONS SEPTEMBER 2020

  Political will is needed to foster multilateralism in Europe – Dr. Franz Fischler says
 Europe and the world at 75: An occasion for the EU to reaffirm its standing on Security policies and Human Rights
  Legacy of antifascism for the common pan-European future - Manfred Nowak
  
AI (ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE): THE ITALIAN NATIONAL STRATEGY REVISITED - Cristina Semeraro
  Of Privacy, EU and of Human Rights – 75 years After - By Nora Wolf
 
Security in the Shadow of Climate Change in the Sahel



PUBLICATIONS AUGUST 20
20

  All for Global Citizens: President Fischer on 75 years of triumph of antifascism - Audrey Beaulieu
 
Throwback to a powerful and timely HR message addressed to the citizens of the world -Nora Wolf
 The future of Europe depends on its neighborhood – UfM’s Nasser Kamel says - By Guido Lanfranchi
  What will the future look like? - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu 


PUBLICATIONS JULY 2020

   Where do we go from here? – revisiting words of Steve Clemons - Anna Kassai
   From Culture for Peace to Culture of Peace - Anastasiia Pachina
 Towards the pan-European Recalibration - Chloé Bernadaux


PUBLICATIONS JUNE 2020

ASEAN, C-19 and the Vietnam’s Chairmanship - Bich T Tran
Iron Fist for Pacific East - Stephen R. Nagy

Postponing an Oil Production Catastrophe - Dr. Antonia Colibasanu


PUBLICATIONS MAY 2020

The OIC World for a Safer Planet - Ali Goutali and Anis H. Bajrektarevic


PUBLICATIONS APRIL 2020

Leadership for Thought: Non-Permanent members lead the Security Council through COVID-19 - Elizabeth Deheza



PUBLICATIONS MARCH 2020

The Corona Crisis and Israel’s National Security - Itai BRUN and Yael GAT 
Thoughts of Romania’s Foreign Policy on the Background of the European Foreign Policy [1]
Israel-Egypt Cooperation in 2019: Strategic Warming, Civilian Coolness?
The Name of the Rose - De-evolution of Europe - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarević


PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2020

 
 Ur-Fascism: Of Silence and EU Rush -  The equation of Communism with Nazism - Anis H. Bajrektarevic
 
 What is more disruptive with AI: Its dark potentials or our (anti-Intellectual) Ignorance?
   Why Turkey is sending troops to Libya - Giorgio Cafiero
 
 ALL THOSE CROATIAN PRESIDENTS - By: Tomislav Jakić
 
Turkey-Erdogan seeks to achieve the dream of the empire’s rebirth - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu


PUBLICATIONS FEBRUARY 2020

   What is more disruptive with AI: Its dark potentials or our (anti-Intellectual) Ignorance?
   Why Turkey is sending troops to Libya - Giorgio Cafiero
   ALL THOSE CROATIAN PRESIDENTS - By: Tomislav Jakić
 
Turkey-Erdogan seeks to achieve the dream of the empire’s rebirth - General (Rtd) Corneliu Pivariu


PUBLICATIONS JANUARY 2020

   Research-Emmy Latifah&Sara Al-Dhahri - Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena
   Revisiting the Ukraine-Russia-EU triangular dynamics - Tanvi Chauhan
   Give me religion that does not polarise society! - Julia Suryakusuma
   De-evolution of Europe - The equation of Communism with Nazism
  Soleimani’s assassination triggers US-Iran standoff -Malik Ayub Sumbal  

  The Sino-US Trade War – Why China can’t win it - Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
 


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Max Hess is a senior political risk analyst with the London-based AEK international, specializing in Europe and Eurasia.


Ananya Bordoloi
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 flametree@riseup.net and 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 Săo Paulo, Brazil.


Gilles-Emmanuel JACQUET
Assistant 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 Cabańas
 Juan Martin González Cabańas
is 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”

Yuan T. Lee 1-1.jpg
Wan T. Lee
He is a Hong Kong based scholar and researcher.

Julia Suryakusuma
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!


Emmy_Latifah

Responding to new challenges: OIC in the international Arena


Sara_Al_Dhahri

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 is 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




Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic