CIAO DATE: 02/03
Since the launching over a year ago of a new phase of reform of the European Union, The International Spectator has hosted a number of articles on various European constitutional issues. Following the conclusion in July of what was officially called the “listening phase” of the European Convention, debate on the Union's future is entering an even more demanding period in which the willingness and capacity of the European states to consolidate and renew their common policies and structures will be seriously put to the test. In this light, the review will continue to pay special attention in the coming crucial months to the EU’s constitutional process by offering opinions and policy-oriented analyses of the major problems under discussion.
In this issue, four articles deal with different aspects of the current European debate. Yves Mèny gives his views on the fundamental questions that the Convention is called to answer. He identifies five dilemmas which involve the very identity of the Union as well as its structural configuration and role in the world. The article by Marta Dass and Antonio Missiroli analyses the shortcomings of the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and offers a critical evaluation of the main proposals now being floated for its reform. Two other articles examine the likely impact of the Union’s enlargement process on the economies of both current members and candidate countries. Lorenzo Bini Smaghi underlines that the overall effect on the former will be small, not least because the candidate countries' process of economic integration is already at an advanced stage, but given that their privatisation plans are coming to an end, some of them may face difficulties in financing their external debts. Ludovica Rizzotti underlines that the advantages of enlargement will be greater than previously estimated and probably ample enough to compensate the costs. However, she adds that benefits will be distributed unevenly among the current member states and that this will represent a complicating factor.
This issue also features new analyses of the problems of the Balkans and the Mediterranean, the two geographic areas that the review covers most regularly. Daniel Nelson explores the various options for Kosovo’s final status, analysing their implications for the region’s wider context and their varying acceptability for the key international actors. The article by Giorgio Gomel addresses the trend towards continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, one of the major obstacles to the resumption of a meaningful peace process in the Middle East. The author suggests a step-by-step way-out strategy which would include the evacuation of the more distant and scattered settlements and the incorporation into Israel of those closest to its boundaries with adequate territorial compensations for the Palestinians. The articles by ?varo Vasconcelos and Roberto Aliboni give an updated evaluation of the shortcomings and potential of the cooperation initiatives in the Mediterranean area. Vasconcelos concentrates, in particular, on the EU-led Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). He maintains that EMP has much to offer in several areas including confidence-building, the promotion of cultural dialogue and support for the participation of Southern Mediterranean countries in the world economy. Aliboni suggests that in its efforts to promote Mediterranean cooperation, the EU should give more room to bilateral initiatives and try to develop a sub-regional dimension in such areas as the Maghreb which presents distinctive security characteristics. The importance of the deepening of cultural dialogue with the Islamic world is also emphasised in the article by Antonio Badini, who maintains that the West should work towards broadening the platform of internationally shared values, by showing more flexibility in dealing with different cultures and traditions which sometimes have centuries-old roots.
Continuing the series of articles on international terrorism, Ian Lesser focused on the coalition-building dimension of the modern anti-terror strategy. Emphasising the need to incorporate the fight against terrorism more comprehensively and systematically into national foreign policies, he criticises the US tendency to transform it into a new single overarching foreign policy principle, considered counterproductive for the needed consensus-building. Alexander Konovalov give his views on the effects of 11 September on the US-Russian relationship, focusing on the results of the Moscow summit of May 2002; despite pitfalls and inconsistencies, the set of agreements signed in Moscow may provide the basis for the development of a qualitatively new partnership between the two former Cold War enemies. Finally, the section on Italian foreign policy features an overall evaluation of the first year of the Berlusconi government’s performance in foreign affairs by Osvaldo Croci.