Think Tank Review – issue 32/2016

Welcome to issue 32 of the Think Tank Review compiled by the EU Council Library (click to share on Twitter). It references papers published in January 2016. As usual, we provide the link to the full text and a short abstract.

In the ‘Economic and Financial Affairs’ section, readers will find several substantial contributions from which we select one on Germany and the stability of the European Monetary Union and another on Italy and the euro zone. We also include at the end of this section a reflection on austerity in the European periphery which elaborates on the Irish experience. Andrew Duff, former Member of the European Parliament, presents an article in which he proposes a new treaty for the euro zone – the Protocol of Frankfurt – which, according to him, is intended to address the inherent weaknesses of the EU’s monetary and economic governance.

In January, we saw think tanks focusing again on the UK’s future in the EU, with a remarkable analysis from Jean-Claude Piris, former Director-General of the Legal Service of the Council, in which he considers seven alternatives to EU membership, if the UK votes to leave. Still in the ‘EU Member States’ section, there are two contributions focusing on the Nordic countries. One elaborates on the reasons why the Nordic countries, in particular Denmark and Sweden, are doing so well and the other on the macroeconomic performance of Finland and its northern peers during the global financial crisis.

A recurrent concern is the refugee crisis (‘EU policies’ section). We noted, in particular, a paper on Australia’s asylum and migration policy and possible lessons to apply to the European refugee crisis, taking into account its long history of immigration, including accepting refugees. In this section, but on energy issues, we found a paper on the challenges of maintaining nuclear cultures, which looks in particular at the US and UK’s recent efforts to maintain their nuclear culture, and at the key challenges these two countries face while pursuing this aim.

We also look at think tanks focusing on employment and social issues, with papers focusing on wage-setting strategies for the euro zone, the importance of foreign language skills in the labour markets of Central and Eastern Europe and youth unemployment in Europe. The World Economic Forum presents an analysis on the future of jobs with an emphasis on employment, skills and workforce strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In the ‘Foreign Affairs’ section, we present a wide selection of articles on Albania, focusing on its relations with some of its neighbours, Serbia and Kosovo, as well as on Albania and the European social model, the past 2015 Albanian local elections, together with an opinion poll on  trust in  the Albanian government. Finally, a stimulating reflection by Maxime Lefebvre, former French Ambassador to the OSCE, on ‘Russia and the West: ten disputes and inevitable escalation?’ He is also the author of ‘La construction de l’Europe et l’avenir des nations’, available at the Central Library.

For our ‘Regards croisés’ section, we present an analysis by the Real Instituto Elcano on the recent Portuguese legislative and presidential elections. And finally, in the ‘Miscellaneous’ section, an interesting and well-documented paper, also from the Real Instituto Elcano, on the think tank’s intention to exert political influence using Twitter.

As always, feedback is welcome at central.library@consilium.europa.eu. Next Review will be out in March 2016, with papers published in February 2016.

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