The Elcano Royal Institute is a private entity, independent of both the public administration and the companies that fund it, that was established under the honorary presidency of HRH the Prince of Asturias on 27 December 2001. The Institute’s prime mission is to generate ideas on the international scenario and on Spain’s strategic options in international relations that are of practical use to politicians, the business world, academics the media and public opinion at large.
In our monthly Inside Spain, William Chislett looks first at Foreign Policy to comment on the Spanish Parliament’s motion of 2 December urging the government to ‘condemn the violent incidents’ in the Western Sahara. The Moroccan Parliament responded by calling for the ‘recovery’ of the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and ‘reassess as soon as possible Moroccan-Spanish relations’. Because Morocco is a strategically-important country for Spain the government is anxious not to upset relations. As regards the Domestic Scene, the centre-right Catalan nationalist party Convèrgencia i Unió (CiU) ejected the Socialists and returned to power in Catalonia after seven years in opposition. The Socialists, who led a three-party governing coalition, suffered their worst-ever result in a Catalan election, dropping from 37 seats to 28 and gaining only 18.3% of the vote (26.8% in 2006). The new government, led by Artur Mas, the CiU’s leader, is expected to push for more control of its own finances. Unfortunately, Spain’s poor showing in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) underscored the depth of the problems in the education system. The latest results cover 2009 and Spain remained below the OECD average in all three categories. Also, the government plans to introduce a law next year enabling the families of terminally-ill patients and doctors to decide whether to administer drugs that alleviate pain, allowing the person to die. On the Economy, the government announced another package of austerity measures and said it would cut its sovereign debt issuance by privatising a chunk of the state lottery system and of AENA, the airports authority. Jean-Claude Trichet, the President of the European Central Bank, praised Rodríguez Zapatero for ‘taking the bull by the horns’ and urged him to deepen labour market reforms, and the Prime Minister sought to allay the fears of Spain’s captains of industry by hosting a meeting of 37 bosses of companies (whose turnover represented 40% of Spain’s GDP) to demonstrate a joint commitment to reform. The government imposed a 15-day state of emergency on 4 December to end a wildcat strike of almost two days by air-traffic controllers that wrought heavy losses on the economy. The measure allowed the army to take over air control towers and threaten striking workers with jail. The 2,300 controllers left their posts by claiming sick leave just as Spaniards were beginning a long weekend holiday. Their stoppage followed cabinet approval of changes to rules on the number of hours they can work per year and of a law allowing the army to take over air space in times of emergency. And, finally, Spain had 22.2 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in June, still below the OECD average and much lower than the leading countries.
Our headlines today include an analysis, in our Africa area, on the forthcoming Southern Sudan referendum by Daniel Large, who explains the important challenges still ahead for the North-South political transition. In our International Economy and Trade section, Anthony Hobley and Dominic Adams analyse the main consequences of climate change for the EU, the mitigation and adaptation policies it has undertaken and the negotiating stance it will adopt in the international climate-change negotiations, while our Senior Analyst Federico Steinberg is the author of a working paper which focuses on the future role of the G20; it analyses in detail how the international community should prioritise the global economic governance agenda, studying both the challenges ahead and the possible institutional structure necessary to carry out reforms.
In Europe, Tapio Raunio presents a working paper examining the future impact of the new procedure introduced by the Lisbon Treaty which allows national legislatures to monitor whether initiatives for EU laws comply with the principle of subsidiarity. According to the author, this ‘early-warning mechanism’, introduced in response to legitimacy concerns, will only have a marginal impact on the EU’s legislative process. William Chislett presents a new ARI on Cyprus reflecting the concern of the UN Secretary General that a ‘critical window of opportunity is rapidly closing’ and the negotiations run the risk of ‘foundering fatally’.
And back to Sub-Saharan Africa. Three analyses by non-Spanish authors examine important issues. Raphael Kaplinsky and Mike Morris focus on the existence of large state-owned Chinese firms and private investors engaged in investing primarily in resource and infrastructure sectors and the major policy implications of how sub-Saharan Africa should relate to Chinese investors in order to maximise available opportunities. Richard Auty studies the analytical and empirical links between resource extraction, governance and development, centred on the resource-curse thesis. Finally, Jonathan Di John looks at the theory and evidence of the resource curse, which basically states that mineral and fuel abundance does not determine either the political or economic trajectory of less-developed countries.
Last but not least, a document by Raúl I. Alfaro-Pelico –also on Africa but from the perspective of our International Economy and Trade are and more specifically of our Energy and Climate Change Programme– reviews the effects of climate change in Africa, the response measures undertaken in the continent and the position of African countries at the Cancún meeting.
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The UN Secretary General’s Report on his Mission of Good Offices in Cyprus: A Window for Reunification Settlement ‘Closing’ (ARI)
The UN’s patience with Cyprus, divided since 1974, is beginning to run out. The Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have made little progress over reunification in the last two years of negotiations. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, warns that a ‘critical window of opportunity is rapidly closing’ and the negotiations run the risk of ‘foundering fatally’.
Destined for Irrelevance? Subsidiarity Control by National Parliaments (WP)
The Lisbon Treaty introduced the ‘early-warning mechanism’, with national legislatures assigned the right to monitor whether initiatives for EU laws comply with the principle of subsidiarity. Does the mechanism really empower national parliaments by giving them a collective veto in EU politics or will it remain largely unused by domestic MPs? This paper leans towards the latter interpretation, arguing that the whole mechanism was mainly introduced in response to legitimacy concerns. It is a rather harmless procedure, with only a marginal impact on the EU’s legislative process.
Document of Interest
Eurobarometer - The EU and Africa: Working towards closer partnership. Report November 2010
This survey was commissioned by the European Commission’s DG for Development to measure the attitudes of the European public towards the challenges facing the African continent, their image of Africa and the future Africa-EU cooperation in the context of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy adopted at the Lisbon Summit and the first action plan covering the period 2008-2010 structured around eight strategic partnerships.
Southern Sudan Before the Referendum for Freedom (ARI)
Southern Sudan’s historic referendum on whether to stay in or secede from a united Sudan is rapidly approaching. The political tide is flowing toward an independent country but the politics of Sudan’s North-South political transition remain beset with challenges.
The Policy Challenge for Sub-Saharan Africa of Large-Scale Chinese FDI (ARI)
Raphael Kaplinsky and Mike Morris
The existence of large state-owned Chinese firms and private investors engaged in investing primarily, but not exclusively, in resource and infrastructure sectors in SSA (Sub-Saharan Africa) is a major preoccupation in economic and political circles. In order to understand it, Chinese investment has to be differentiated into four different types, and its distinctive characteristic unpacked –ie, the bundling together of aid, trade and FDI (foreign direct investment)–. This has major policy implications for how SSA should relate to Chinese investors in order to maximise available opportunities.
Links between Resource Extraction, Governance and Development: African Experience (ARI)
This ARI addresses the analytical and empirical links between resource extraction, governance and development, with a focus on the resource-curse thesis. The rent curse is rooted in policy failure, which the theory of rent cycling attributes to the impact of rent on elite incentives and also on development trajectory. The paper provides some examples of conditions that have facilitated this process in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The ‘Resource Curse’: Theory and Evidence (ARI)
Jonathan Di John
Mineral and fuel abundance does not determine either the political or economic trajectory of less developed countries.
Document of Interest
Council of the EU - Council Conclusions on Sudan
The Foreign Affairs Council -at its 3058th meeting in Brussels on 13 December- discussed next year’s referendum on self-determination in the Sudan (9 January 2011) and adopted conclusions reiterating its commitment to assisting this country before and after the referendum.
Document of Interest
African Union - UN-OSAA - Economic Diversification in Africa: A Review of Selected Countries
Prepared by the African Union (AU), the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSAA) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the study points out that global financial and economic crises exposed the African economies' dependence on too few export commodities and only one or two sectors.
The Global Governance Agenda and the Role of the G20 (WP)
This paper addresses these issues. It focuses on how the international community should prioritise the global economic governance agenda and what role the G-20 should play in the process. The first section analyses the challenges that the international community faces, exploring which elements of this complex agenda have the best prospects for being addressed successfully. The second section discusses what kind of institutional structure is needed in order to carry out reforms and what the role of the G-20 is in that structure.
The EU and Climate Change in the lead up to Cancún: Impacts, Policies and Positions (ARI)
Anthony Hobley and Dominic Adams
This paper analyses the main consequences of climate change for the EU, the mitigation and adaptation policies it has undertaken and the negotiating stance it will adopt in the international climate-change negotiations.
Africa and Climate Change: Impacts, Policies and Stance Ahead of Cancún (ARI)
Raúl Iván Alfaro-Pelico
This analysis reviews the effects of climate change in Africa, the response measures undertaken in the continent and the expected position of African countries in Cancún, Mexico.
Document of Interest
UNCTAD - International Trade After the Economic Crisis: Challenges and New Opportunities
The joint publication by UNCTAD and the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) aims to investigate the new economic realities in international trade after the 2008 financial crisis, and to highlight the issues that are key to the future of a pro-trade and pro-development international trading system.
Document of Interest
UNFCCC - United Nations Climate Change Conference Cancun
The Cancun agreements are the decisions and resolutions adopted by the COP 16 and CMP 6 at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Cancun (Mexico), from 29 November to 10 December 2010.
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The Elcano Royal Institute does not necessarily share the views expressed by the authors of its Working Papers and other texts which may appear on its Website or in any other of its publications.The Institute’s primary goal is to act as a leading forum for research and analysis and to stimulate informed discussion of international affairs, particularly with regard to those issues which are most relevant from a Spanish perspective, and which will be of interest to policy-makers, business leaders, the media, and society at large.