ZEI Discussion Paper

"ZEI Discussion Paper’s” stimulate discussion among researchers, practitioners and policy makers on current and emerging issues of European integration and Europe’s global role. They express the personal opinion of the authors. The papers often reflect on-going research projects at ZEI. "ZEI Discussion Paper’s" are published several times a year.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 274 / 2022

Europas Sicherheit, die Zukunft der Ukraine und die "russische Frage"  -  Ludger Kühnhardt

The Russian invasion in Ukraine has destroyed the illusions of a collective security architecture in Europe and globally, but has also strengthened resilience and defense in EU and NATO. The Russian dictatorship, led by secret services and increasingly totalitarian in nature, has closed the country towards Europe and reinforced its Eurasian orientation. In this ZEI Discussion Paper, ZEI Director Prof. Ludger Kühnhardt is assessing possible options for Russia and subsequent implications for the European Union and for Ukraine, including on matters related to membership in EU and NATO. Kühnhardt also analyses possible scenarios for an armistice which are more likely in coming years than a comprehensive and guaranteed peace accord.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 273 / 2022

Die Wirkung der Staatsschuldenkrise auf das Legitimitätsniveau der Europäischen Union  -  Henrik Suder

Along with the financial and economic threat of the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone from 2009 onwards, the crisis also posed a threat to the social acceptance of the European Union. The EU's ability to solve problems was at times strongly doubted by large parts of the public, which called into question the core of the common integration project. This paper reviews the stability and efficiency of the EU for this period and analyses stabilising and destabilising factors. It focuses on the input and output dimensions of the Union's legitimacy during the crisis and their influence on the EU's legitimacy level, which is empirically tested with the help of Eurobarometer data.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 272 / 2022

Europäische Parteien als Antrieb für die europäische Integration?  -  Merit Thummes

Political parties at the European level are still largely unknown to most citizens in the European Union, even 30 years after their inclusion in primary law by the Maastricht Treaty. The introduction of these so-called Europarties was linked the mission of forming a European awareness and expressing the political will of the union’s citizens. It was accompanied by the hope that the parties could be a driving force for European integration, especially regarding a European society. So far, the Europarties have largely failed to fulfill this task. After giving an overview on the current situation of parties at the European level, the article presents proposals for reform and possible opportunities that would arise from party politicization at the European level.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 271 / 2022

EU enlargement into the Western Balkans: a gloomy prospect gets gloomier  -  Milenko Petrovic

Nearly two decades after the EU stated in the 2003 Thessaloniki agenda that all the Western Balkan states ‘will be an integral part of a united Europe’, Croatia is the only one of them to have succeeded in reaching this goal. Of the remaining Western Balkan states, only Montenegro and Serbia have opened the accession negotiations with the EU, albeit with very slim prospects to close all 30+ negotiation chapters any time in the foreseeable future. The others are further behind; they are either still waiting to open accession negotiations (as is the case with the other two official candidates for EU membership – Albania and Macedonia) or even achieve full candidate status (Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo). Facing post-2004/07 ‘enlargement fatigue’ and numerous internal problems and crises since the late 2000s/early 2010s, the EU’s political elite and wider public, particularly in its core member states, seem to have lost any interest in further enlargement and in assisting the Western Balkan hopefuls to become part of ‘a united Europe’. Prospects for acceleration of any Western Balkan state’s accession process in the 2020s are very slim.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 270 / 2022

The Signing of the Rome Treaties 65 Years Ago: Origins, Provisions and Effects  -  Michael Gehler

The Treaties of Rome formed the basis for decades of Western European unification. Their creation was based on a compromise between France and the Federal Republic of Germany on the establishment of an atomic and an economic community as well as on a cross-camp political consensus. On 25 March 1957, the sovereignty of (Western) Europe was already at stake: The Treaties of Rome were in fact a response to Europe's disempowerment in World War I and a reaction to Europe's self-destruction in World War II. They were a demonstration of inner-European self-determination vis-à-vis the center and east of Europe dominated by communism from the USSR, by means of securing prosperity in the west and outside-European self-assertion, among other things, through the inclusion of overseas territories.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 269 / 2022

Karl Dietrich Bracher (1922-2016). Aus der Geschichte lernen  -  Ludger Kühnhardt

Karl Dietrich Bracher is one of the leading founders of political science in Germany after the Second World War. He worked at the University of Bonn for almost three decades. His influence as a public intellectual spanned contemporary history from the dissolution of the Weimar Republic, the National Socialist dictatorship and the re-establishment of German democracy to the developments of European integration. His contributions tothe history of ideas in the 20th century have lasting value for the political culture. To mark Karl Dietrich Bracher's centenary, ZEI Director Professor Ludger Kühnhardt, Bracher's last academic assistant in the 1980s, is reconstructing his work and its impact. He recalls Bracher's life up to his death in 2016 with personal impressions.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 268 / 2021

Corona und die Verfassung Europas   -  Daniel René Jung, Wolfgang Picken, Matteo Scotto, Liska Wittenberg (eds.)

The classification and processing of the corona pandemic represents a new challenge for the European Union. New forms of organized solidarity in the complex interplay between the EU and its member states are necessary in order to be better prepared for similar natural disasters. Better international responses are also necessary to better cope with the global implications of the corona pandemic. For the German society, and not only there, a new way of thinking about social co-responsibility is necessary. The revised contributions to the 19th „ZEI Europakolloquium“ provide impetus for further thinking.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 267 / 2021

The post-corona world. A research agenda   -  Ludger Kühnhardt

With the corona pandemic, a genuine world event has taken place for the first time, affecting all of humankind and all human societies on earth. Beyond the current crisis management, complex questions arise for future research. ZEI Director Prof. Dr Ludger Kühnhardt identifies aspects of a transdisciplinary research agenda evaluating the corona pandemic and its impact. In addition to soft issues (moral dilemmas, fear, guilt, ideological conflicts) and hard issues (health as a security topic, economic consequences, political management, power issues), he examines the implications for the European Union. He advocates a revision of the Lisbon Treaty in order to supplement the existing “shared competence” (Article 168) between the EU and its member states in situations of health-endangering natural disasters with a more robust emergency mechanism in favor of stronger EU decision-making and budget competencies.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 266 / 2021

“Loud thunder, little rain” - Participatory Democracy in the European Union, Examining the European Citizens’ Initiative as an example   -  Kwan Lok Alan Ho

The European Citizens’ Initiative channels citizens’ participation from member states to the European Union at an unprecedented scale. The initial expectations on it and its potentials are as “loud” as a “thunder”. Contrasting with the implications assessed, this research finds there is only “little rain” dropped. Instead of concluding the instrument as a failure, the Union should shape the challenge as an opportunity to build a European public sphere for bringing Europeans closer to each other and the EU.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 265 / 2021

Macron’s Idea of European Universities: From Vision to Reality - The Implementation   -  Stephan Conermann / Rahel Hutgens

On September 26, 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech on Europe's future – the “Initiative for Europe” – and presented ambitious visions on how to reform and change Europe as well as how to solve the contemporary global challenges Europe has to face. He highlighted six keys to sovereignty that are necessary to rebuild a sovereign, united and democratic Europe. In addition to that, he suggested the formation of a European University Alliance by 2024. This article focuses on the various interpretations of the idea of the European University, outlines the implementation of this project, its framework as well as possible challenges, and presents the status quo – 3,5 years after the initial speech.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 264 / 2021

Struggling to Find a Recipe for Peace - Ten Years of European Initiatives to End the Conflict in Syria   -  Jette Knapp

Ten years into the conflict in Syria, the EU continues to be the biggest donor of humanitarian aid but hesitant in terms of military involvement and still struggles to establish peace on the ground. The question is why the EU, despite its relatively unsuccessful track record in Syria, has not significantly stepped up its commitment. Besides external impacts, this is caused by internal factors, which, at times, have had a paralysing effect on the entire EU. These factors include the unanimity voting in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, which makes foreign policy decisions prone to blocking by single Member States and external influencing. They also include contradicting goals and interests of individual Member States. Moreover, there are global events seemingly unconnected to the Syrian conflict that have had an impact on the EU’s engagement.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 263 / 2021

Geo-economics of the European Union and the China Challenge   -  Muhammad Murad

This paper discusses the European Union’s geo-economics and its China challenge. The EU holds immense importance not only as a major geopolitical but also as a geo-economic player. As an ethical normative power and a torchbearer of multilateralism, the EU follows a rule-based strategy in its geo-economics. However, the EU is prone to challenges from China mainly in three geo-economic instruments namely; trade policy, investment policy and cybersecurity. With its 17+1 Initiative and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has extended its influence in the EU. Nevertheless, the EU has taken timely and pragmatic steps to counter the China challenge and advance its geo-economic footprints. Moreover, the EU must bring the element of politics into its investment policy in order to strengthen its geo-economic.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 262 / 2020

Bailouts in the euro crisis: Implications for the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic   -  Christoph Bierbrauer

This paper provides a summary of the national developments that led to Greece, Ireland and Portugal needing financial assistance from the EU and ultimately the euro crisis. Weak spots and gaps in the original euro area architecture facilitated, if not enabled, the build-up of sizable disequilibria. The Great Recession triggered but did not cause the euro crisis. Today, the euro area has not fully recovered from the crisis and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will have the potential to reignite the euro crisis if member states do not move swiftly to complete the reform of the euro area architecture to make it more shock-proof.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 261 / 2020

Chancen und Grenzen europäischer Cybersicherheitspolitik  -  Johannes Wiggen

How has the European Union sought to protect itself and its member states from state-run cyberattacks respectively tried to prevent them? This paper applies the cybersecurity dilemma, the only approach political science offers to explain the logic and dynamic behind network operations, to identify and assess the EU’s policies in the field of cyber security and cyber defense policy. Therefore, this paper argues that the EUs cyber diplomacy should focus on the development of trust with non-likeminded states and the establishment of an interstate status quo concerning the handling of cyber operations. To signal its peaceful intentions and to make unilateral contributions to the security of all states, the EU should invent a vulnerability assessment and management process and position itself pro encryption. Furthermore, the EU should think of cybersecurity defensively to not further fuel the cybersecurity dilemma and make clear that it treats only cyber operations equivalent to a military strike with armed force.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 260 / 2020

European Energy Security   -  Cillian O’Gara

In the wake of the European Union’s enlargements in 2004 and 2007, which saw the accession of 12 new member states, lengthy debates and discussion took place on the burden of onboarding the new member states and the dependence of many of these states on a single supplier for their energy needs. This ZEI Discussion paper examines the EU’s efforts to form a comprehensive energy security policy in recent decades, paying particular attention to the evolution of the theory of energy security and the main developments of the EU’s energy security policy in recent years. In addition, the Energy Union, a flagship initiative launched by the European Commission in 2015, is assessed through an examination of its governance structure and achievements in specific policy domains. Finally, this paper explores the controversy over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project and the EU’s response to concerns raised by several member states.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 259 / 2020

European Emergency Coordination   -  Christos Stylianides

The European citizens rightfully demand a proactive, responsive and transparent EU. The European Institutions have recognized these signals and are already implementing different measures. The European Commission leads by example in this regard, as different examples from Europe and other continents show. Current policy developments will further strengthen its capability. The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management (ECHO) is therefore prepared to take on responsibility in the future, to strengthen solidarity and humanity and to demonstrate the European Union's ability to act.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 258 / 2020

Western Balkans and the European Union   -  Ermir I. Hajdini, Nikola Jokić, Teodora Lađić, Ksenija Milenković, Denis Preshova, Flandra Syla (eds.)

After a decade of neglect, time has come to re-start the full inclusion of countries of the Western Balkans into the European Union. ZEI Alumni from the region, representing a wide range of emerging leaders, express their frustration, but even more their expectation: The new EU leadership must complete the unfinished agenda of EU enlargement in the next few years should the EU not be blamed for loosing the youth of the Western Balkans.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 257 / 2020

Richard von Weizsäcker (1920-2015). Momentaufnahmen und Denkwege eines europäischen Staatsmannes   -  Ludger Kühnhardt

Richard von Weizsäcker has had the strongest impact and gained the widest appreciation of all German Presidents since the beginning of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. His honesty was key to understand his personality and the meaning of his words. He struggled to perfect each public word and gesture. Ludger Kühnhardt, today Director at the Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI), was speechwriter for Richard von Weizsäcker between 1987 and 1989. At the occasion of the 100th birthday of Richard von Weizsäcker, his notes, written down during his time in the team close to Richard von Weizsäcker, provide a lively picture of the thought processes and intentions of this European statesman.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 256 / 2019

Perspectives on Better Regulation in the EU   -  Henri de Waele / Ellen Mastenbroek (eds.)

"Better Regulation" has been a well-known concept in EU law and policy for already quite some time. Led by Jean-Claude Juncker (2014-2019), the European Commission adopted it into the annual work programs as a specific pledge. This Discussion Paper contains a selection of essays that subject the Better Regulation programme to a critical scrutiny from both an academic and a practical perspective, aiming to challenge vested assumptions and advance the existing knowledge base. The collected chapters offer thematic as well as sectoral contributions, enabling readers to broaden their insights in a succinct fashion and inspect the multifarious dimensions of the problématique from up close and afar. Its publication coincides with the completion of the EU’s own report on the topic, also allowing for various comparisons and juxtaposing.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 255 / 2019

The European Archipelago. Rebranding the Strategic Significance of EU Overseas Countries and Territories   -  Ludger Kühnhardt

Through Brexit, the number of overseas countries and territories associated with the European Union is shrinking by almost fifty percent. As maritime issues in all aspects are of growing importance, it is a matter of urgency for the European Union to rediscover the Overseas Countries and Territories attached to France, the Netherlands and Denmark as strategic assets in the projection of the EU’s global ambition. This ZEI Discussion Paper gives an overview of the importance attached to the OCTs in all four corners of the world. In 2018, the European Commission presented a draft new Overseas Association Decision which shall take effect in 2021. This paper provides a critical analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. It ends with a strong plea to upgrade the status of OCTs: The paper of ZEI director Ludger Kühnhardt argues that only by putting them on an equal footing with EU outermost regions can the OCTs become a strategic asset embedded in the domestic policy of the EU.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 254 / 2019

Europe and America   -  Susanne Baier-Allen

In the first two years of the presidency of Donald Trump, relations between Europe and the US have undergone a stress test. With Trump, a new way of doing foreign policy arrived in the White House that upended old principles, the concept of alliances, and the meaning of treaties. Thus, like no other president before him, Trump has undermined the credibility of the US in Europe and cast severe doubts on the reliability of America as an ally. This paper explores the effect that the Trump administration has had on transatlantic relations and tests the proposition that this may be the “new American normal".

ZEI Discussion Paper C 253 / 2019

Towards Conceptualizing EU Cybersecurity Law   -  Agnes Kasper / Alexander Antonov

Cybersecurity has developed into horizontal policy issue in the European Union in the last two decades. In relevant domains technological, policy and legal measures are implemented to protect the EU against cyber threats, however it is unclear where the boundaries of cybersecurity might be in the absence of a commonly agreed and operational definition. Therefore, we raise the question how coherent and coordinated the EU legal responses to cybersecurity challenges can be if the boundaries of cybersecurity are not set. A well-balanced regulatory framework would require a systematic analysis of the potential harms that relevant measures aim to address, understanding of the impact of measures in different policy domains and interactions between these. Hence we study the Wannacry cyber crisis in order to establish the types of harms EU cybersecurity-related laws can aim to address, examine what elements of the cyber ecosystem needs to be secured and can be targeted by regulatory intervention, as well as we examine the main pieces of current and proposed EU legal frameworks relevant for cybersecurity in order to draw some conclusions on the scope, nature and aims of the emerging field of ‘EU cybersecurity law’.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 252 / 2019

Industry 4.0: SMEs Challenges and Opportunities in the Era of Digitalization   -  Chiara Ristuccia

The fourth industrial revolution is changing our lives in a pervasive way. Industry 4.0 represents both an opportunity and a challenge for businesses, notably for small and medium-sized enterprises. Cyberthreats are continuing to increase, thus SMEs need efficient cybersecurity solutions to protect their data. Moreover, investments in new technologies must go hand in hand with the dissemination of digital skills. The EU countries have promoted targeted initiatives, but they have achieved different levels of digitalisation. This paper analyses the main challenges that businesses are now facing in keeping abreast of the latest technologies and examines the state of play of the digital transformation in Europe. It argues that the European Union can have a leading role in supporting businesses and citizens to embrace this revolution.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 251 / 2019

Europäische Integration aus historischer Erfahrung. Ein Zeitzeugengespräch mit Michael Gehler   -  Günther H. Oettinger

Günther H. Oettinger, born in 1953 in Stuttgart, served as Prime Minister of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg from 2005 to 2010. He was European Commissioner for Energy (2010-2014) in the Barroso-Commission II. and in 2014 he also was Vice-President of the European Commission. In the Juncker-Commission, he served as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society from 2014 to 2017 and in 2017 he became Commissioner for Budget & Human Resources - a particular high challenge in the light of the Brexit-debate. In this eyewitness dialogue, he talks about his family background, his professional career and political party affiliation, the Barroso Commission II, his functions as Energy Commissioner and his experience with the difficult common European energy policy. His greatest political success was resolving the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine in September 2014. This very informative paper also deals with issues concerning the development and priorities of the European Commission and with the future of the European Union.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 250 / 2018

Bosnia and Herzegovina: a Case Study for the Unfinished EU Agenda in the Western Balkans   -  Javier Gonzaléz López

Bosnia and Herzegovina has signed a Stability and Association Agreement with the EU. It is also a recipient of Pre-Accession Assistance that seeks to improve its observance of rule of law and human rights with the end in view of transforming it to a functional state and eventually join the EU. Experiencing the consequences of a tumultuous and conflict-ridden history, the country faces problems on governance, economic development, discrimination among many others. International organizations, including the EU, have been involved in securing and implementing needed reforms. The paper examines relevant interventions, challenges and prospects for completing the unfinished work of the EU in the country.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 249 / 2018

Macron’s Idea of European Universities. From Vision to Reality   -  Rahel Hutgens / Stephan Conermann

On the 26th of September 2017 the French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech on Europe’s future, the so called “Initiative for Europe”, and presented ambitious visions on how to reform and change Europe as well as how to solve the contemporary global challenges Europe has to face. He highlighted six keys to sovereignity that are necessary to rebuild a sovereign, united and democratic Europe. In addition to that, he suggested the formation of a European University Alliance by 2024. The present paper mainly focuses on the different interpretations of this idea and outlines the implementation of this project, its framework as well as possible stumbling blocks.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 248 / 2018

“Sleeping Beauty” Unleashed: Harmonizing a Consolidated European Security and Defense Union   -  Joseph M. Hughes

The under-researched Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) of European defense integration often gets the short end of the stick in EU debate chambers perhaps due to the high levels of discretion, sensitivity and trust that it entails. This undertaking assesses the manifold blockages over time that have inhibited the EU from expanding its CSDP framework into a fully harmonized and operational European Security and Defense Union (ESDU). In doing so, a triangle of European defense integration with a political apex and an economic base and legal base is modeled to help explicate the long road to an integrated defense union. These economic and legal bases, however, are thwarted by the political apex of the triangle in this assessment which sets out to strike a balance between argumentation and objectivity to posit overpowering politics as the paramount blockage to harmonizing a consolidated ESDU, one that enables the EU to capably and willfully defend itself from pressing external security threats outside of traditional security framework dependencies. With the timely and suspenseful activation of permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) via a decision by the Council in December 2017, this assessment tells the seesaw story of European defense integration from its inception, and asserts that an ESDU can indeed be achieved without undermining the existing US-NATO security umbrella upon which Europe has depended for more than half a century.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 247 / 2018

Die Expansivität Europas und ihre Folgen   -  Wolfgang Reinhard

Europe was created by expansion and still expands continuously until today. This expansivity created dubious consequences in Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the political, economic, and cultural problems of globality also originated from European expansion, but not exclusively from colonialism. Therefore, instead of the generalized hate of the heirs of the victims and the generalized contrition of the heirs of the perpetrators a common differentiated approach to history from both sides is the order of the day.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 246 / 2018

The Impact of European Integration on the Westphalian Concept of National Sovereignty   -  Teodora Lađić

One of the possible next candidates for EU membership is Montenegro. A Montenegrin scholar is reflecting on the impact of European integration on national sovereignty. Against the background of the Lisbon Treaty, she is comparing the implications of EU’s arrangements on the national sovereignty of Germany, Switzerland and Montenegro.

ZEI Discussion Paper C 245 / 2018

The New Silk Road: The European Union, China and Lessons Learned   -  Ludger Kühnhardt

China’s „Belt and Road Initiative“ challenges the European Union: The EU needs to proactively respond to and engage with China in order to advance the „Belt and Road Initiative“ in a mutually beneficial way. In order to better define the EU position and the space for common ground with China, the Discussion Paper by ZEI Director Ludger Kühnhardt looks at experiences with the historic „Silk Road“. The paper is a plea for lessons learned in order to advance commonalities and reduce mistrust.

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