This report provides summary statistical data on the trends in Western and Eastern Europe. It focuses on START and IHS Jane’s data, but also includes data from other sources – including the one useful current official source on terrorism in the world that presents declassified official data. This is the annual report on terrorism which is issued by Europol and the EU.
If one looks at the START data on the total for Western and Eastern Europe, which includes Russia, the impact of terrorism peaks in the 1970s. It rises again in 1991, driven by terrorist attacks in the Balkans, Palestinian violence, and terrorism in the FSU and Russia. It then peaks for a third time in 2014-2015, driven by both violent Islamist extremism and terrorist activity in the Ukraine. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
As European policymakers and advocates increasingly express interest in developing managed, legal alternatives to the dangerous, unauthorized journeys many refugees undertake when searching for protection, there is a pressing need to inform the debate with reliable and comprehensive data—both on how protection seekers currently enter Europe and how new pathways are likely to be used.
Yet as this report explains, it is “nearly impossible” at present to obtain a clear picture of how protection seekers enter Europe and what legal channels are available to them. Still, while incomplete, data from EURODAC, Eurostat, Frontex, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and national databases, suggest several important trends. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Greek government policies, taken to implement the March 2016 EU-Turkey agreement, have left thousands of men, women, and children trapped on Greece’s small islands in appalling circumstances. These policies seek to end the arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants to Greece by sea, but have left thousands suffering in harsh living conditions, deprived of services and medical care, and often experiencing deteriorating mental health. A number of asylum-seekers refer to their lives confined on the Greek islands as living in a “prison.”
This report examines the impact of the EU-Turkey agreement and the practices of Greek authorities in their handling of thousands of asylum-seekers and migrants. The report is based on findings from an RI mission to the islands of Lesvos, Chios, and Samos in July 2017.
Though the EU-Turkey statement does not explicitly require it, Greece has put in place a containment policy on its Aegean islands with the aim of sending people back to Turkey: as a general matter, asylum-seekers and migrants arriving on these islands are not allowed to leave for the mainland. While the law allows for some people, including those identified as vulnerable to be allowed to leave for the mainland, flaws in the system meant to identify such people results in many people falling through the cracks. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
European policymakers and analysts often appear to assume that most euro area banks are publicly listed companies with ownership scattered among many institutional investors, a structure in which no single shareholder has controlling influence and that allows for considerable flexibility to raise capital when needed. Such an ownership structure is indeed prevalent among banks in advanced countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Veron shows, however, that listed banks with dispersed ownership are the exception rather than the rule among the euro area’s significant banks, especially if one looks beyond the very largest banking groups. The bulk of these significant banks are government-owned or cooperatives, or uniquely influenced by one or several large shareholders, or otherwise prone to direct political influence. As a result, the public transparency of many banks is low, with correspondingly low market discipline; they have weak incentives to prioritize profitability; their ability to shore up their balance sheets through either retained earnings or external capital raising is limited, resulting in insufficient capital flexibility; they take unnecessary risks due to political interference; and their links with governments perpetuate the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns, which has been a key driver of the euro area crisis. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization began in 1949, with 12 members, to curtail possible aggression against Europe. NATO now has 28 members, and Jolyon Howorth, an expert on European security and visiting professor at Yale University, analyzes the alliance’s transformations since the fall of the Soviet Union. “In the 1990s, realists predicted NATO’s imminent demise, pointing out that no alliance in history had outlived the disappearance of the threat against which it was formed,” he writes. The alliance survived that transition as a high-level political agency for managing transatlantic relations and later as a regional crisis management agency, opening to former members of the Warsaw Pact and taking on more global responsibilities for security assistance after the 9/11 attacks. NATO’s members have been divided over new missions, from Kosovo to Libya. Likewise, the United States under Barack Obama and especially under Donald Trump has expressed concerns about burden-sharing with Europe. Paradoxically, increased NATO activity near Russia’s borders may have spurred Russian intervention in Ukraine, reviving NATO’s original role. As Europe explores strategic autonomy, Howorth concludes by recommending that Europe become more self-reliant, taking control of NATO, while the United States gradually steps back. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Russia’s illegal annexation and occupation of Crimea in March 2014 has challenged the integrity of Europe’s territorial borders and confirmed after the Georgia war in 2008 that Russia could react violently to perceived challenges to what it regards as its sphere of influence. This report first examines how European states perceive Russia’s behavior in eastern and northern Europe, and whether they regard Russian policy and behavior in these regions as an important security priority. The authors identify a number of fault lines within Europe with regard to threat perceptions and further analyze whether these divides extend to perceptions of NATO and the United States. NATO members closer geographically to Russia appear to be most concerned by Russia’s aggressive behavior, and are concerned that the Alliance is ill equipped to respond to the current crisis. Second, the report analyzes how European states have responded to Russian behavior. While European states generally agree that a firm response is required, they are also eager to maintain open channels of communication with Russia. Finally, the report examines how European states intend to shape their relationship with Russia in the future; what existing measures they intend to keep in place; what new measures they might implement; and prospects for NATO and EU expansion. This future relationship is based on a general understanding that relations with Russia have changed irremediably; tensions are unlikely to recede anytime soon; and future actions toward Russia will depend on Russian behavior. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The huge influx of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe over the past two years has placed considerable pressure on local services and infrastructure in many cities, including in education. Cities only have competence over limited areas of education policy, leaving many unable to respond quickly to rapid population changes or make structural changes, such as to teacher recruitment and training, to adapt to the needs of diverse populations. Many cities are facing significant capacity and infrastructure challenges associated with large-scale arrivals; others are struggling to stretch budgets that were established on the basis of outdated population figures.
This MPI Europe report examines the hurdles that cities face when helping new arrivals access education and training. It also highlights innovative ways municipalities support newly arrived migrants as they enter the education system and local labor force, including two-generation and co-located services through which parents and children can access child care, health and social services, and language training in one location. Others have developed “whole-place” approaches that work across all local services to address the whole education-to-work pathway. The authors outline ways in which the European level could help mitigate multilevel governance challenges and scale what works, as well as strategies the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees could consider to better support cities in their immediate response to large migrant influxes. [Note: contains copyrighted material].