Consortium Leader: Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’
Consortium Member: European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
Subcontractor: Royal Institution of International Affairs (Chatham House)

The Eastern Partnership: Three dilemmas in times of troubles

Submitted by Inge on Fri, 01/15/2021 - 14:33

This report assesses three policy dilemmas that need to be considered by the Netherlands and the European Union in order to make the EaP more effective. First, the EU needs to reconcile its geopolitical interests with its normative aspirations. Second, the added value of the EaP’s multilateral track should be deliberated with consideration of the differentiation in bilateral relations with EaP countries. Third, the EU will need to consider how to deal with protracted conflicts, hybrid threats, and other security challenges in the EaP region.

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Wouter Zweers (Research Fellow, the Clingendael Institute)

Bob Deen (Senior Research Fellow, Coordinator Russia & Eastern Europe Centre, the Clingendael Institute)

Iris van Loon (Intern, the Clingendael Institute)


The Netherlands as a champion of EU enlargement?

Submitted by Inge on Tue, 12/08/2020 - 12:45

This policy brief examines how the Netherlands can credibly propagate its priorities regarding EU enlargement in the context of the EU’s revised accession methodology. While this methodology warrants increased engagement from EU Member States in the accession process, that does not mean Dutch priorities on Rule of Law and democratisation will automatically be addressed, nor that support for the accession process or its effectiveness is guaranteed.

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Wouter Zweers (Research Fellow, the Clingendael Institute) 

Iris van Loon (Intern, the Clingendael Institute) 

EU enlargement Rutte

China and the EU in the Western Balkans

Submitted by Inge on Fri, 07/31/2020 - 12:37

A zero-sum game?

This Clingendael Report explores whether and how China’s approach to the six non-European Union (EU) countries of the Western Balkans (the WB6) relates to EU interests. It focuses in particular on the question of whether China’s influence affects the behaviour of the WB6 governments in ways that run counter to the EU’s objectives in the region. China engages with the Western Balkans primarily as a financier of infrastructure and a source of direct investment. This is in line with China’s main strategic objective for the Western Balkans – that is, to develop the Land–Sea Express Corridor, a component of its Belt and Road Initiative, aimed at improving China–EU connectivity.

This report proposes a number of actions based on recognising the developmental needs of countries in the Western Balkans, and accepting that China’s economic involvement is inevitable and potentially beneficial for such developmental needs. In particular, the EU should maximise accession conditionality as a tool to influence the conditions under which China is involved in the region.

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Wouter Zweers (Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute)

Vladimir Shopov (Associate Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) Sofia and an Adjunct Professor in Politics at Sofia University and the Diplomatic Institute of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Frans-Paul van der Putten (Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael Institute and coordinator of the Clingendael China Centre)

Mirela Petkova (former Junior Researcher at the Clingendael China Centre)

Maarten Lemstra (intern at the Clingendael Institute)

Construction of bridge of a new highway through the Moraca canyon in Montenegro

Pandora’s Box in Syria

Submitted by Inge on Tue, 06/02/2020 - 13:08

During 2019, the original Syrian conflict entered its closing phases, except for the battlefields of Idlib and in the north east. As a result, conflict dynamics have become somewhat easier to read, as the regime and its key allies have shifted towards a triumphalist ‘post-war’ narrative and corresponding governance styles, deal-making and decision making. These developments can be witnessed in three interlinked spheres: security, civil, and political economic practices. Together, they largely form the Assad regime’s political economy, which – although poorly understood due to limited access – is crucial to understand to assess the negative externalities likely to result from its wartime survival.

The current security, civil and political economic practices of the Syrian regime are not informed by any serious consideration of international law, diplomatic pressure from countries other than its close allies, or human rights norms. Instead, survival, securitisation and coercive operating styles dominate. Hard power remains the regime’s key currency. As a result, soft power – whether it be diplomatic, financial or economic – is largely ineffective in influencing the regime’s calculations, incentives or intensity preferences.

This paper analyses six negative externalities that are likely to result from the re-entrenchment of the Syrian regime:

1) risk of conflict relapse due to economic pressures;

2) the politics of refugees;

3) risks and instrumentalisation of terrorism;

4) regional instability;

5) humanitarian culpability; and

6) deterioration of the international legal order. These externalities are interconnected and emerge from the political economy of the regime – the accumulation of its security, civil and political economic practices.

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The author

Samar Batrawi (Research fellow Clingendael Conflict Research Unit)

Al Assad family

EU migration policies threat to integration in West Africa?

Submitted by Inge on Wed, 06/26/2019 - 15:47

Do European Union migration policies threaten regional integration in West Africa?

Incoherent Agendas

European Union (EU) policies towards Africa have in the past years experienced a shift away from forging relations based on trade and development, to cooperation based on and measured by the successes of joint migration management. This shift has been producing often controversial outcomes for the EU, African countries and migrants themselves. Just under four years since the pivotal Valetta Summit on migration, the evidence base of these policies’ poor human rights record is growing, as is the evidence base on their localised adverse economic and societal impact.

The impact of EU policies on the regional integration processes in Africa – once a pillar of the EU’s Africa strategy – has, however, not yet been sufficiently documented. But the emerging evidence and policy analysis strongly suggest that the EU policies in West Africa have the power to create incentives and even localised policy outcomes that could in the medium term challenge ECOWAS commitments to freedom of movement, and in that way also likely slow down the processes of regional economic and political integration. Paradoxically, the EU policies aimed at curbing migration may thus also end up slowing down the development processes in West Africa that the EU perceives as one of the key approaches to tackling the root causes of migration.4 It may also lead to a weakening of the existing economic coping mechanisms within these countries, and thereby potentially also to increased migratory pressures.

This policy brief looks at the emerging patchwork of evidence around the impact of EU migration policies on regional integration in West Africa, with a view to offering initial advice to policy-makers on how to prevent the outcomes that could slow down the economic development of the countries of West Africa, further weaken the EU’s human rights record abroad and undermine the long-term goal of sustainable managing migratory pressures on the continent.

About the author

Ana Uzelac is a former Senior Research Fellow with the Conflict Research Unit (CRU) of the Clingendael Institute, where she focussed on migration and conflict 


Migration: Returns at what cost

Submitted by Inge on Fri, 06/21/2019 - 15:40

Challenges of placing readmissions at the heart of EU migration policies

The introduction in 2016 of the comprehensive EU migration partnership strategy with the countries of the north and western Africa has already produced an uneven record - both in terms of policy effectiveness and in terms of impact on the credibility of other long-standing EU policy commitments. Created at a long series of summits and conferences in the past decade, the series of policy measures and financial incentives offered through various agreements and specifically designed funding envelopes has had as its main ambition to lower the number of migrants to the EU by a combination of four main sets of measures:

  • security measures aimed at discouraging and preventing irregular arrivals (border controls, surveillance etc.)

  • measures aimed at tackling the root causes of mass migration (such as job creation, development projects etc.)

  • measures aimed at supporting refugeehosting countries (such as humanitarian and structural development assistance)

  • measures aimed at ensuring orderly returns of all irregular migrants or people whose asylum request has been rejected to their countries of origin – or countries of residence prior to arrival

This policy brief looks at the underlying challenges of implementing EU returns agenda from the point of view of both EU and individual member states – and from the point of view of the countries of origin/transit. It does so on the parallel example of two seemingly quite different cases – Senegal and Morocco.

About the author

Ana Uzelac is a former Senior Research Fellow with the Conflict Research Unit (CRU) of the Clingendael Institute, where she focussed on migration and conflict

 Immigration in Europe

A snapshot of Turkey in the run-up to the 2019 presidential ....

Submitted by typify on Sun, 09/24/2017 - 22:55

Author: Asli Aydintasbas (European Council on Foreign Relations, [email protected])

Full Title: A snapshot of Turkey in the run-up to the 2019 presidential elections

Date of Finalization: September 2017

PROGRESS Lot 2, 2017