Volume 12, No 2

September 2, 2020

Borders and Catastrophe: lessons from COVID-19 for the European Green Deal

Maren Klein, Chloe Ward, Bradley Davison, Sophie Di-Francesco Mayot, Debbi Long, and Campbell Hughes

This article considers how the European Union and Member States’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis in the first half of 2020 could inform climate action in Europe, and particularly the resumption of actions on the EGD. It first outlines the EU’s public health and economic responses to COVID-19 and Europe’s role in the global response to the pandemic. We find that, based on the challenges and successes of all these responses, a strong argument can be made for ‘more Europe’ – greater integration, and stronger EU-level institutions – to lead and govern the COVID-19 response. This has direct lessons for the governance and scope of future climate action.

Article Keywords: European climate policy, COVID-19, climate change, European Union, public health

At the origin of Italian Euroscepticism

Marco Brunazzo and Bruno Mascitelli

The dominant narrative about the virtue of European integration is no longer the mantra of Italian politics. Alongside those parties who inherited the traditional ‘Europhile’ position, one can find parties whose support toward the EU is uncertain (like Forza Italia) or openly questioning the integration process (such as the Lega, Fratelli d’Italia and the Movimento 5 Stelle). Moreover, Euroscepticism in Italy reflects a deep change in the public opinion towards the EU: the consistent traditional support expressed by the Italians has of recent become more volatile and even critical. This article provides a brief look at changes in Italian positions on European integration, with a focus on the sentiments of both public opinion and the political elites, particularly after the Italy’s entry into the Eurozone in 1998.

Article Keywords: Italy, Euroscepticism, Economic and Monetary Union, public opinion.

Japanese foreign policy towards the Western Balkans: Kosovo crisis, instability in Macedonia, and European integration between 1998-2013

Marcela Perić

This study analyses Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs policies during the Kosovo crisis (1998), instability in Macedonia (2001), and Croatia’s accession to the EU (2013). The human security concept enhances Japanese government’s indirect approach through international organisations and expands its non-military capabilities of involvement in humanitarian crises and conflict prevention. During the ethnic conflict in Kosovo, non-belligerent promotion of human security expressed Japan’s neutrality. The Kosovo crisis provided a new opportunity for Japan to advance political relations with the EU through the trilateral US-Japan-EU framework. Japan’s contributions through human security and aid served as foundations for post-conflict reconstruction and development. International aid became the basis for transition towards a stable political system capable of building on its aspirations to become a member of the Western community of nations. By supporting EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, Japan fostered EU-Japan political relations, cross-regional cooperation, and peace in former Yugoslavia.

Article Keywords: EU, human security, Japanese foreign policy, Kosovo, Macedonia, Western Balkans

The evolving role of EU Regional Policy: Implications for Australia?

Bruce Wilson

In 2013, ANZJES published an article on the significance of European Union (EU) Regional Policy in the process of European integration and its implications for Asia. Over the past decade, EU Regional Policy has evolved considerably. It is still centred on facilitating European integration, but also assumes a much more central role in focusing attention on harnessing resources, intellectual and economic, in order to address major societal missions. Regional Policy, or Cohesion, funds constitute approximately one third of the total European Commission budget and are, therefore, not only an important resource for integration, but also for addressing the wider priorities around the European Green Deal, and indeed, the planet. This is evident in the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework agreed by the European Council for 2021-27, in which Cohesion funding is seen to be a crucial resource for economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. This article reviews the evolution of this thinking in the last decade and considers its growing international significance. Whilst not necessarily imagined in 2010, when the EU established its European External Action Service (EEAS), a focus on regions and their innovation systems has enabled the EU to strengthen its global influence significantly.

Article Keywords: Regional Policy; Smart Specialisation; Mission-oriented innovation; EU science diplomacy