The fifth annual A.T. Kearney/FOREIGN POLICY Globalization Index shows that global integration survived the turbulence of the Iraq war, a sharp economic downturn, and the failure of trade talks. The ranking of political, economic, personal, and technological globalization in 62 countries reveals that the world is still coming together
Perhaps amidst the plethora of articles pouring out in the press and on websites on the implications of a French 'no' to the EU constitution on May 29, it is helpful to pause and first briefly ask, what if the French vote 'yes'? The outpouring of dire warnings around the implications of a 'no' vote, mean that if in fact a 'yes' vote is produced it almost risks being undervalued as a result, treated as an aberration relative to the opinion polls, as the EU somehow squeezing through against the odds. But in fact if the French vote 'yes' and – another uncertain if – if the Dutch too then vote 'yes' a few days later, this would in fact represent unstoppable forward momentum on the constitution and genuine democratic support for the EU overall.
Transatlantic relations stand at a crucial point. The mood of pragmatism evident since Mr Bush's re-election last November continues to prevail on both sides of the Atlantic. But it has more of the hallmarks of a fragile ceasefire than of a new phase of strategic transatlantic engagement. And its rhetoric has yet to be translated into action. How can the US administration and its European counterparts best build on their stated desire to place transatlantic co-ordination at the heart of their foreign policies? We suggest a different approach. Today, trying to build new institutional structures of coordination to replace those that sustained the Atlantic Alliance during the cold war is premature. We should not underestimate the deep damage done to transatlantic relations during the bruising debate over Iraq two years ago. While some sort of US-EU, one-plus-one arrangement might be necessary in future, now is the time to rebuild transatlantic trust through the development of specific common solutions to specific common challenges- the nature of, and solutions to which, we should be able to agree. There is no shortage of pressing issues on the transatlantic agenda.
Better ways are needed to understand how terrorist groups become more effective and dangerous. Learning is the link between what a group wants to do and its ability to actually do it; therefore, a better understanding of group learning might contribute to the design of better measures for combating terrorism. This study analyzes current understanding of group learning and the factors that influence it and outlines a framework that should be useful in present analytical efforts and for identifying areas requiring further study.
The 2004 edition of the Statistical Yearbook for Latin America and the Caribbean contains an updated selection of the main statistical series available on economic and social trends in Latin America and the Caribbean. It represents an effort by the ECLAC Statistics and Economic Projections Division to harmonize the figures and make them internationally comparable. The electronic version of the Yearbook permits to download annual series from 1980 onwards in Excel format.
The EU is facing unprecedented demographic changes that will have a major impact on the whole of society. Figures in the Green Paper on Demographic Change by the Commission show that from now until 2030 the EU will lack 20.8 million (6.8 per cent) people of working age. In 2030 roughly two active people (15-65) will have to take care of one inactive person (65+). And Europe will have 18 million children and young people fewer than today.
Iran's influence in Iraq has been one of the most talked about but least understood aspects of the post-war situation. Tehran has been variously accused by Washington of undue and nefarious interference, by Arab leaders of seeking to establish an Islamic Republic, and by prominent Iraqi officials of an array of illegitimate meddling (manipulating elections, supporting the insurgency, infiltrating the country). In reality, as Crisis Group discovered during months of extensive research in Iran and Iraq, the evidence of attempted destabilising Iranian intervention is far less extensive and clear than is alleged; the evidence of successful destabilising intervention less extensive and clear still.
Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) are a major and perhaps irreversible feature of today’s multilateral trading system. The number of preferential agreements as well as the world share of preferential trade has been steadily increasing over the last ten years. Sluggish progress in multilateral trade negotiations under the Doha Development Round appears to have accelerated further the rush to forge RTAs. Between January 2004 and Februrary 2005 alone, 43 RTAs have been notified to the WTO, making this the most prolific RTA period in recorded history.
During 2004, the human rights of ordinary men, women and children were disregarded or grossly abused in every corner of the globe. Economic interests, political hypocrisy and socially orchestrated discrimination continued to fan the flames of conflict around the world. The “war on terror” appeared more effective in eroding international human rights principles than in countering international “terrorism”. The millions of women who suffered gender-based violence in the home, in the community or in war zones were largely ignored. The economic, social and cultural rights of marginalized communities were almost entirely neglected. This Amnesty International Report, which covers 149 countries, highlights the failure of national governments and international organizations to deal with human rights violations, and calls for greater international accountability.
The EU budget invariably leads to heated debate and tough negotiations, yet the amounts concerned represent only a very small proportion of aggregate public spending in the EU (some 2.5 per cent) and barely 1per cent of gross national income (GNI). The current aim is to try to reach an agreement in the last month of the Luxembourg Presidency of the EU, June 2005, on a new Financial Perspective (FP), the medium-term budgetary framework, for the period 2007-13. Although the Commission proposals are presented with new headings and an apparent emphasis on growth, the detail reveals that EU spending will continue to be dominated by the CAP and cohesion policies, which would still account for some three-fifths by the end of the FP. (London School of Economics)