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Russia's armed forces: Defence capabilities and policy

10-03-2021

Reforms launched under Vladimir Putin have restored some of the Russian armed forces' former glory. Russia now has a streamlined, mobile and mostly professional military, equipped with modern weapons. The impact of these changes was visible in Syria, Russia's first military intervention outside the post-Soviet region. Despite this increased capability, there are demographic and financial constraints on Russian military power. The armed forces are not attracting enough recruits to go fully professional ...

Reforms launched under Vladimir Putin have restored some of the Russian armed forces' former glory. Russia now has a streamlined, mobile and mostly professional military, equipped with modern weapons. The impact of these changes was visible in Syria, Russia's first military intervention outside the post-Soviet region. Despite this increased capability, there are demographic and financial constraints on Russian military power. The armed forces are not attracting enough recruits to go fully professional, and therefore still need conscripts – who are less well-trained than career soldiers – to make up the numbers. Moscow has spent billions of dollars on new weapons, such as the innovative nuclear missiles unveiled by President Putin in 2018, but not all branches of the armed forces are equally well equipped. Russia's increasingly assertive foreign policy raises the question of how much of a threat its military represents. Officially, the role of the armed forces is to defend Russian territory, but in practice Moscow uses military force to assert control over its post-Soviet sphere of influence, for example in Ukraine. Russia also uses hybrid methods such as cyber-attacks, including against North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries. NATO's overall numerical superiority means that Russia is likely to avoid all-out war with the alliance. However, the risk that it might use nuclear weapons and other niche strengths to escape retaliation for a limited attack (for example in the Baltic region) cannot be entirely discounted.

Understanding EU counter-terrorism policy

14-01-2021

Faced with a persistent international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between ...

Faced with a persistent international terrorist threat, the European Union (EU) is playing an ever more ambitious role in counter-terrorism. Even though primary responsibility for combating crime and ensuring security lies with the Member States, the EU provides cooperation, coordination and (to some extent) harmonisation tools, as well as financial support, to address this borderless phenomenon. Moreover, the assumption that there is a connection between development and stability, as well as between internal and external security, has come to shape EU action beyond its own borders. EU spending in the area of counter-terrorism has increased over the years, to allow for better cooperation between national law enforcement authorities and enhanced support by the EU bodies in charge of security and justice, such as Europol, eu-LISA and Eurojust. The many new rules and instruments that have been adopted in recent years range from harmonising definitions of terrorist offences and sanctions, and sharing information and data, to protecting borders, countering terrorist financing, and regulating firearms. However, implementing and evaluating the various measures is a challenging task. The European Parliament has played an active role not only in shaping legislation, but also in evaluating existing tools and gaps through the work accomplished by its Special Committee on Terrorism (TERR) in 2018. In line with the Parliament's recommendations, as well as the priorities set by the new European Commission and its counter-terrorism agenda presented in December 2020, future EU counter-terrorism action will focus on better anticipating threats, countering radicalisation and reducing vulnerabilities, by making critical infrastructures more resilient and better protecting public spaces. Upcoming developments also include increased information-sharing, by means of better implementation and modernisation of existing tools, a reinforced mandate for Europol, as well as possible investigation and prosecution of terrorist crimes at EU level, through the proposed extension of the mandate of the recently established European Public Prosecutor's Office. This briefing builds on an earlier one, entitled 'The fight against terrorism', published in 2019.

What future for democracy?

11-12-2020

A panel at the 2020 ESPAS conference discussed the future of democracy in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. Participatory democracy was seen as a potential remedy for polarisation, while digitisation brings a need for careful governance. Misinformation and disinformation needs to be addressed through education. A poll of attendees identified tax equity as a key innovation for successfully rebuilding democracy.

A panel at the 2020 ESPAS conference discussed the future of democracy in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. Participatory democracy was seen as a potential remedy for polarisation, while digitisation brings a need for careful governance. Misinformation and disinformation needs to be addressed through education. A poll of attendees identified tax equity as a key innovation for successfully rebuilding democracy.

Independence with Weak Accountability: The Swiss Case

29-09-2020

The Swiss National Bank is highly independent but weakly accountable. Weak accountability is rooted in the formal legislation on central banking but also in the reputation of the Bank, which is unanimously considered as highly successful. The ECB too is highly independent and weakly accountable but it faces diverse public opinions whose views differ across countries. Buttressing ECB accountability is important, therefore, and the European Parliament should consider strengthening the Monetary Dialogue ...

The Swiss National Bank is highly independent but weakly accountable. Weak accountability is rooted in the formal legislation on central banking but also in the reputation of the Bank, which is unanimously considered as highly successful. The ECB too is highly independent and weakly accountable but it faces diverse public opinions whose views differ across countries. Buttressing ECB accountability is important, therefore, and the European Parliament should consider strengthening the Monetary Dialogue. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON).

Autore esterno

Charles WYPLOSZ

The ECB’s Communication Strategy: Limits and Challenges After the Financial Crisis

15-01-2020

Given its central role in public accountability and in the formation of expectations, it is important to reflect on ways to improve the ECB’s communication policy. Communication should not generally strive for maximum transparency. The optimum degree of transparency varies between different aspects of monetary policy and banking supervision. Although the ECB already communicates very openly with the public and achieves a very high level of transparency in all aspects, we see room for improvement ...

Given its central role in public accountability and in the formation of expectations, it is important to reflect on ways to improve the ECB’s communication policy. Communication should not generally strive for maximum transparency. The optimum degree of transparency varies between different aspects of monetary policy and banking supervision. Although the ECB already communicates very openly with the public and achieves a very high level of transparency in all aspects, we see room for improvement in its communication strategy in several respects. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Autore esterno

Kerstin BERNOTH and Geraldine DANY-KNEDLIK

Reaching a Wider Audience: Is the ECB Trending?

15-01-2020

Central banks are increasingly recognising the importance of communicating with the wider public. We document that interest in monetary policy is intermittent, usually linked to major decisions and/or personnel changes. The ECB should not expect that every one of its decisions is noticed by the general public. The Monetary Dialogue fulfils the typical function of a representative democracy in which citizens delegate to their elected representatives the task of monitoring policy implementation by ...

Central banks are increasingly recognising the importance of communicating with the wider public. We document that interest in monetary policy is intermittent, usually linked to major decisions and/or personnel changes. The ECB should not expect that every one of its decisions is noticed by the general public. The Monetary Dialogue fulfils the typical function of a representative democracy in which citizens delegate to their elected representatives the task of monitoring policy implementation by independent institutions. This document was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Autore esterno

Daniel GROS, Angela CAPOLONGO

Russia under Putin 4.0: Stagnation and discontent

23-10-2019

The March 2018 presidential elections were a resounding victory for Vladimir Putin. Since then, however, an unpopular decision to raise the retirement age by five years has cost him some of his support and triggered a wave of protests. In summer 2019, Moscow saw the biggest anti-government rallies for several years over the authorities' decision to exclude independent, 'non-system' opposition candidates from local elections. Even though the decision was upheld, Putin allies struggled to hold onto ...

The March 2018 presidential elections were a resounding victory for Vladimir Putin. Since then, however, an unpopular decision to raise the retirement age by five years has cost him some of his support and triggered a wave of protests. In summer 2019, Moscow saw the biggest anti-government rallies for several years over the authorities' decision to exclude independent, 'non-system' opposition candidates from local elections. Even though the decision was upheld, Putin allies struggled to hold onto their city council majority; they have also done less well than usual in other recent elections. Protests and electoral setbacks are linked to growing discontent – not only due to the pension reform but also to grinding poverty and inequality. Contrasting with the wealth of oligarchs, millions of Russians struggle to make ends meet as incomes register their fifth consecutive year of decline. Despite emerging from recession in 2016, the economy continues to stagnate. At the start of his presidency, Putin announced ambitious targets and massive investments to re-ignite growth, but these seem unlikely to bring more than modest improvements. Growing discontent is not expected to threaten Putin and his United Russia party's grip on power, given that Russians see no real alternatives. In the longer term, United Russia will probably hold onto its parliamentary majority in the next national elections in 2021, while Putin will see out his fourth, and probably final, presidency until its expiry in 2024. Even after that, there is a strong possibility that Putin, or at least a close ally, will remain in charge. In the past, confrontation with the West has helped to distract attention from the country's domestic problems and shore up support for Putin. However, given the need to boost the economy, the Kremlin may be considering options for improved relations in order to get Ukraine-related sanctions lifted, although it is still too early to say whether this will actually happen.

Polarisation and the news media in Europe

07-03-2019

• Across Europe there is as yet little evidence to support the idea that increased exposure to news featuring like-minded or opposing views leads to the widespread polarisation of attitudes. Though some studies have found that both can strengthen the attitudes of a minority who already hold strong views. • Most studies of news use on social media have failed to find evidence of echo chambers and/or filter bubbles, where people are over-exposed to like-minded views. Some studies even find evidence ...

• Across Europe there is as yet little evidence to support the idea that increased exposure to news featuring like-minded or opposing views leads to the widespread polarisation of attitudes. Though some studies have found that both can strengthen the attitudes of a minority who already hold strong views. • Most studies of news use on social media have failed to find evidence of echo chambers and/or filter bubbles, where people are over-exposed to like-minded views. Some studies even find evidence that it increases the likelihood of exposure to opposing views. • The extent to which people self-select news sources in Europe based on their political preferences, as well as the extent to which news outlets produce partisan coverage, still varies greatly by country. • In addition to differences between European countries, comparative research often tends to show that the US has much higher levels of partisan news consumption and polarisation, making it difficult to generalise from these findings. • There are large gaps in our understanding of the relationship between the news media and polarisation, particularly outside of Western and Northern Europe, and particularly concerning our knowledge of new, more partisan digital-born news sources.

Autore esterno

DG, EPRS

Polarisation and the use of technology in political campaigns and communication

07-03-2019

This report offers a comprehensive overview of the relationship between technology, democracy and the polarisation of public discourse. Technology is inherently political, and the ways in which it is designed and used have ongoing implications for participation, deliberation, and democracy. Algorithms, automation, big data analytics and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly embedded in everyday life in democratic societies; this report provides an in-depth analysis of the technological ...

This report offers a comprehensive overview of the relationship between technology, democracy and the polarisation of public discourse. Technology is inherently political, and the ways in which it is designed and used have ongoing implications for participation, deliberation, and democracy. Algorithms, automation, big data analytics and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly embedded in everyday life in democratic societies; this report provides an in-depth analysis of the technological affordances that enhance and undermine political decision-making, both now and in the future. To conclude, we formulate principles and policy options for fostering a better relationship between digital technology and public life.

Autore esterno

DG, EPRS

Understanding public responses to low carbon technologies

30-01-2019

This report reviews different models and frameworks that explain public responses to low carbon technologies (LCTs). Based on insights from literature, it highlights the need for a multidimensional perspective to understand the complexities surrounding public acceptance or opposition to LCTs. It also proposes two key solutions for how public responses can be better accommodated in a way that engenders support from the public: by integrating social and values-based aspects in planning, and by ensuring ...

This report reviews different models and frameworks that explain public responses to low carbon technologies (LCTs). Based on insights from literature, it highlights the need for a multidimensional perspective to understand the complexities surrounding public acceptance or opposition to LCTs. It also proposes two key solutions for how public responses can be better accommodated in a way that engenders support from the public: by integrating social and values-based aspects in planning, and by ensuring procedural justice in technology deployment. Reflecting on these, policy options are drawn for how these solutions might help contribute to delivering better approaches in engaging the public in the low carbon transition.

Autore esterno

DG, EPRS

Prossimi eventi

28-10-2021
Workshop "Envisioning International Justice: what role for the ICC?"
Workshop -
DROI
28-10-2021
Dual quality of goods in the Single Market
Audizione -
IMCO
28-10-2021
Public hearing on the "Luxletters revelations"
Audizione -
FISC

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