CIAO DATE: 02/01

International Spectator

The International Spectator

Volume XXXV, No. 1 ( January - March 2000)


Editor’s Note


The articles of this issue of The International Spectator revolve around three general subjects to which the journal has paid constant attention in the last year: the potential and shortcomings of the new steps being taken towards European integration; the evolving situation in the Balkans and prospects for regional co-operation; and the political and security agenda of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. In line with the journal’s tradition, the articles provide the reader with both analytical insights and a set of policy suggestions.

The focus of the articles dealing with the future of European integration is on the reform process of the European Union and the changing roles and powers of its bodies. In the interview that opens the journal, Giorgio Napolitano offers his views on the agenda of the EU’s intergovernmental conference as well as on the structural causes and implications of the growing uncertainty surrounding the relationships between the Commission, the European Parliament and national ones. Criticising the minimalist approach that prevailed at the Helsinki Council, he insists on the need for overall reform of the Union’s institutional system and for a revision of the treaties to bring them closer to the needs of EU citizens and allow for greater flexibility in the introduction of enhanced cooperation among member states. In the section TEPSA-Europe Forum, the journal hosts a contribution from the Institutional Group of the Trans-European Policy Study Association (TEPSA) on the reform of the EU’s treaties and an essay by John Pinder on the process through which the European Parliament has gradually acquired powers typical of a federal body. The TEPSA group calls for a comprehensive reform of the EU which, going beyond the so-called Amsterdam "leftovers", would give the Union a solid constitutional basis, strengthen its second and third pillars (foreign and security policy and justice and home affairs) and establish more effective instruments of transparency and control. Based on a review of six key episodes in the history of the European Parliament, John Pinder underlines that it has given ample proof of its potential to become the equivalent of a house of a federal system, a goal that should be pursued, he argues, by promoting a further extension of its co-decision powers at the present Intergovernmental Conference.

The journal features two cores dealing with Balkan issues: one analyses the situation in Kosovo a year after the beginning of NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia; the other explores the actual possibilities of establishing effective instruments of regional cooperation, with a focus on the opportunities offered by the EU-sponsored Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe. The three articles devoted to the Kosovo predicament analyse, from different perspectives, the obstacles that continue to prevent a stable solution to the key problems that the conflict has left unsolved, including the final status of the region. Veton Surroi illustrates the historical legacies and the related distortions that have characterised the process of state-building in Kosovo, chief among them the neglect for the problem of the democratic legitimacy of the emerging centres of administration and power. His general conclusion is that both the local and the international actors involved in the management of post-conflict Kosovo should give high priority to the creation of mechanisms capable of ensuring sound consensus-building and the quality of the new institutions. In her article on the regional implications of the "waiting game" that the international actors seem to be playing in Kosovo, Susan Woodward points out that the political process concerning the status of Kosovo cannot be kept separate from the developments in neighbouring states, which, in turn, are undergoing major political transformations whose outcome also remains uncertain. In the concluding part of the article, she sketches out some key elements for a comprehensive strategy that would take into due account the complex interrelationship between the future of Kosovo and that of the entire Balkan area. In the third article of this core, Espen Barth Eide analyses the main causes of the current security vacuum in Kosovo which not only has allowed for the prolongation of ethnic violence but also continues to make the everyday life of the people of the region insecure. According to Espen, this woeful state of affairs requires a major review of the entire international effort in Kosovo, particularly of the arrangements for international police support. Drawing on the experience of other international interventions, he proposes a formal extension of the role of the NATO-led military mission (KFOR) to the police field or, as a less radical alternative, a dramatic reinforcement of the cooperation links between KFOR and the UN police force.

In the first article of the section concerning regional cooperation in the Balkans – a subject already addressed from different angles in the previous issue of the journal – Fabrizio Saccomanni, describes the main objectives and instruments of the Stability Pact, concentrating on the elements of novelty it presents in comparison to the past international attempts at stabilisation in the area. He also offers a candid assessment of the Pact’s chances of success, underlining the need for fulfillment of such crucial conditions as the maintenance of the political momentum that led to the launching of the Pact, resolute leadership on the part of the European Union and a realistic approach to the Serbian question. In the following article, Tito Favaretto examines the difficulties that the international actors are encountering – and will most probably continue to encounter – in pursuing the now widely advocated "global" approach towards the Balkan area. In view of these difficulties, he stresses the need to follow a "partial" approach in the short and medium term, based on differentiated actions towards the individual countries, thus taking the specific situation of each of them into due account. What is crucial is that the new initiatives must realistically be able to contribute to countering – and eventually reversing - the current trend towards fragmentation in the area. To this end, priority should be given, according to Favaretto, to the programmes related to basic infrastructures and road and railway links that can help establish an initial regional framework of economic integration and favour access to markets in the area. Favaretto also argues that such programmes should – and can – be implemented in a way that makes them coherent with and useful for a future global approach.

The final core, devoted to Mediterranean issues, explores and discusses at length the potential for development of the political and security dimensions of the emerging partnership between Euro-Atlantic institutions and the countries of the southern rim of the Mediterranean. Presenting the results of a study conducted within the framework of an IAI project supported by the US Institute of Peace (USIP), Laura Guazzone analyses the major factors that have changed the Mediterranean security environment and examines if and to what extent the existing diplomatic, military and economic tools can be used to deal with the emerging security risks. She observes that there is a real demand for a more cooperative security architecture in the Mediterranean today and concludes that, by enlarging and adapting the initiatives undertaken by the major international organisations, it would be possible to achieve this goal in a step-by-step process. The following article by Roberto Aliboni is focused more specifically on the efforts to develop an "Enhanced Political Dialogue" in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP). Aliboni provides a comprehensive assessment of the various policy options for advancing this crucial – albeit still undeveloped – aspect of the EMP, examining, in particular, their viability and sustainability under the present conditions in the area concerned. He underlines that political dialogue can make a substantial contribution to conflict prevention, provided that specific EMP instruments – in addition to those existing in the EU institutional framework – are established, in view of more active involvement of the EU Mediterranean partners. In the last article of the core, Martin Ortega develops a series of arguments for the introduction of military dialogue and cooperation in the EMP. He does not conceal that there are substantial political obstacles to the achievement of this goal, but maintains that the available practice of cooperation in the military field – he reviews five existing models of military cooperation – offers several useful lessons for a gradual development of a military dimension in the EMP context.