The European Parliament Doesn’t Represent the People of Europe and Hence Lacks Legitimacy

European Parliament is one of the main law-making institutions of the EU, along with the Council of the EU. It has three main roles: together with the Council, debating and passing European laws; scrutinizing EU institutions to make sure they are working democratically; and with the Council, debating and adopting the EU’s budget. [1] After the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in 2009, the European Parliament has become increasingly powerful. And with the Lisbon Treaty, national parliaments acquired more say over EU laws. But the European Union has failed to fulfill its functions to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the EU, in other words, the EP fails to represent its electorate.

There exist such variation of legitimacy as political legitimacy, which generally emphasizes the popular justification of the right of institutions to govern, maintain authority and exercise political power within the state.[2] Following this, legitimacy can be described as an instrument of social consent that brings power into existence within the political structure of a state. [3] Speaking broadly, the state-institution is a theoretical model of legitimacy, thus the identification of the degree of legitimacy of an institution, allows us to analyze the legitimacy of the entire state.

According to Beetham & Lord there are two fundamental approaches to legitimacy identification: direct and indirect legitimacy. The direct legitimacy or known as ‘legitimacy by the people’, lies on the degree of appreciation of the EU by the European public, in which the electorate is able to choose by voting.[4] This type of legitimacy proposes as a solution for inefficiency of legitimacy, two institutional models: parliamentarian and presidential.

In a multi-national EU, the presidential model is less likely to be developed. In its turn the parliamentarian model gives the growing importance of the European Parliament as the only political body in the EU system which is directly-elected. Concerning this, Berthold Rittberger in his work ‘Debating the democratic legitimacy of the EU’ points out that parliamentarisation is an important remedy to the lack of EU legitimacy because parliaments provide the linkage between civil society and government. [5]

Another approach, the indirect legitimacy proposes to view the EU legitimacy as domestically authorized by the authority of member states rather than European citizenry.[6] A logical equilibrium between these two approaches to the problem of legitimization of the EU is a ‘double-sided’ approach, which coexists successfully in Germany. But the main drawback is the identification of the European nation or European demos.

Its very noticeable that during the period from 1992 to 1995 the percent of the EU citizens who identified themselves as nationals of their member states and European was very high, more than 40%. [7] However, since 1996 the situation has changed with shifting of European public towards the nationality only, which creates the deficit of democracy in the European Union.

The concept of legitimacy, at the level of the EU is illustrated with the EU Parliament, therefore the legitimacy can be defined as the recognition of political system by the citizens. [8] However, the experience has shown that the European Parliament doesn’t guarantee the EU’s democratic legitimacy. First of all, it has failed to convince voters as the turnout in EP elections has fallen from 46% in 2004 to 43% in 2009.[9]

Secondly, the European Parliament couldn’t mobilise voters around issues handled by the EU and so the people who vote do it on national political issues over which the EU exercise little control. Another drawback is voter’s unawareness of the existence of political groups in the Parliament that shows a lack of a clear democratic mandate and the problematic nature of the Parliament. In 2014, overall, the EU average turnout has grown by only 0.09%.[10]

One of explanations why EP elections fail to attract the same degree of interest as national ones is that they don’t determine the composition of government and that means their political outcome is less visible, thus there is no obvious political direction of Europe for European electors. [11] And moreover, such spheres as health care, law, pensions, social security and taxation, which are crucial for the people, are controlled by national governments and don’t fall under the jurisdiction of the EU.

The issues, which fall under the competence of EU such as monetary policy, single market and competition, simply inspire voter’s apathy. Of course above structural problems, the behavior of the EP undermines it as a body or institution, which is not concentrated on people of Europe. Member of the Parliament are focused on driving European integration and therefore increase their own power and thus how policy effectiveness suffer.

La raison d’etre or the reason for existence of the EP is to increase the EU powers. For instance, in the case of the 2011 EU budget, the EP parliament pushed for more spending than most national governments want. [12]

The problem of EP legitimacy can be seen in the degree of insufficient representation and effectiveness of institution. EP still doesn’t posses the power to create laws, but Amsterdam Treaty gives the EP power to block any unpleasant legislation, thus the EP became more powerful than it was in 1994. [13] So we cant agree with statements that the EP lost its power. Additionally, the EP often seems out of step with its electorate, what was clearly noted in the aftermath of the French and Dutch ‘No’ votes to the European constitution in 2005.

It was noted that the Parliament, including French and Dutch members, voted to approve the EU constitution, only to find that the voters seemed to disagree. [14] The German constitutional court ruling on the Lisbon treaty of 30th June 2009 was an important milestone in the debates of the democratic failings of the EP. It argued and made clear that the EP is not a body of representation of a sovereign European people. [15] Its argumentation was based on the view that, the number of seats per country doesn’t match populations, as smaller countries have more seats, so the EP’s make-up is not democratic.

Exists one argument that the EP is badly represented, and in institution itself both political and social essences of representation are presented not adequately. It’s already clear that political representation is evaluated through the activities of the members of the Parliament.

Social representation is weak in the EP and fails to be a fully legitimate, therefore the weakness of both essences of representation are cause by the absence of a common electoral system at the level of the EU. [16] Such universal electoral system would give a clear view to the European public on how are elected the members of the parliament and how they govern, which will lead to increase in knowledge of internal structure of the EP and its external effectiveness. Thus a public would be able to evaluate the legislative powers.



 

[1]How the EU works. European Parliament. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-parliament/index_en.htm

[2] Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 1http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

[3] ibid

[4] Ibid page 2

[5] Beate Kohler-Koch, Berthold Rittberger. Debating the democratic legitimacy of the European Union. Rowman&Littlefield ed. 2007 pge 104. http://books.google.lv/books?id=wgHfdYqoHy4C&pg=PA105&dq=european+parliament+lack+legitimacy&hl=lv&sa=X&ei=FNwnVMPlGMfMyAO1vILYBw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=european%20parliament%20lack%20legitimacy&f=false

[6] Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 2 http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

[7] Ibid page 3

[8]The problem of ‘democratic deficit’ in the European union. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Vil.1 No. 5; May 2011. Page 248. http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._5%3B_May_2011/27.pdf

[9] Anand Menon and John Peet. Beyond the European Parliament: Rethinking the EU’s legitimacy. Centre for European Reform. December 2010. Page 3 http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2011/essay_parliament_peet_menon_dec10-179.pdf

[10] The European Politics Blog. The 2014 European elections turout: achievement or failure? http://www.euspeak.eu/the-2014-european-elections-turnout-achievement-or-failure/

[11] Anand Menon and John Peet. Beyond the European Parliament: Rethinking the EU’s legitimacy. Centre for European Reform. December 2010. Page 4 http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2011/essay_parliament_peet_menon_dec10-179.pdf

[12] Ibid page 5

[13] Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 5 http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

[14] Charlemangne. ‘Those Ozymandian moments”, the Econmist, June 11th 2005. http://www.economist.com/node/4055221

[15] Anand Menon and John Peet. Beyond the European Parliament: Rethinking the EU’s legitimacy. Centre for European Reform. December 2010. Page 6 http://www.cer.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/pdf/2011/essay_parliament_peet_menon_dec10-179.pdf

[16]Andrei M.Muntean. The European Parliament’s Political Legitimacy and the Commission’s ‘Misleading Management’: Towards a “parliamentarian”EU? Vol.4 (2000) num. 5. Page 8 http://eiop.or.at/eiop/pdf/2000-005.pdf

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How the European Court of Justice Invents Law?

A central to the broader process of European integration has been the growth of European law. The European Court of Justice sees the clearest manifestation of the transfer of sovereignty from nation-states to supranational institutions in the accretion of power. The ECJ is seen as a strategic actor, who is master of its own destiny or servant of national governments, what leads to one common assumption that its sensitive to the preferences of EU member governments. [1]

The Court of Justice of the EU comprises 3 courts: the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal, the task of which is to review the legality of acts of institutions and to ensure the interpretation and application of EU law. This institution is composed of 28 judges and 8 advocates general, who are appointed for a 6 years term. A General Court mainly deals with cases relating to competition law and private individuals or companies, while the Civil Service Tribunal rules on disputes between the EU and its stuff. [2]

slide_3In its turn, the Court has clearly defined jurisdiction, proceedings and actions. As the Court of Justice closely cooperates with all national courts of the Member States, they must sometimes refer to the Court of Justice to clarify the interpretation of EU law, in order to be sure that their national legislation complies with the law.[3] Mostly the Court gives an opinion in the form of a judgment or order, so thus through references for preliminary rulings any citizen of EU or national court can seek clarification of rules, which affect him.

There are also various types of actions, such as actions for failure to fulfill obligations, actions for annulment, actions for failure to act. Actions for failure to fulfill obligations enable the Court of Justice to check and determine if a member state fulfills tis obligations under EU law. [4]But if the country is found guilty, then the Court may impose financial penalty.

An action for annulment states that any EU country, the Council, the Commission or Parliament that believes that any of EU laws is illegal, may ask the Court to annul it. [5] This action also refers to individuals, citizens of EU. And an actions for failure to act means that if Parliament, the Council and the Commission fails to make decision, then member countries or institutions have a possibility to complaint. [6]

Another important thing to mention about is the Court of Justice procedure, which always consists of written stage and oral stage, which is public. Here we need to draw a distinction between references for preliminary rulings and direct actions. In case of preliminary rulings, the national court to the Court of Justice submits the questions and when the request has been translated into all languages of the EU, the Registry notifies the parties and Member states, so they have two month to submit any written observations to the Court of Justice.[7]

In direct actions, all actions are brought to Registry, which publishes applicant’s claims and arguments in the Official Journal of the European Union. [8] At the same time, the application should be defensed in a lodge within one month. The next step in procedure is to state, within three weeks, why parties wish an oral argument to be held.

There also exist special forms of procedure. In simplified procedure, if a question for a preliminary ruling is the same to a question that has already been requested to rule by the Court, then after gearing the Advocate General, the Court may refer to the previous judgment. [9] The expedited procedure enables the Court to give its rulings quickly and even more quickly with sensitive issues relating to the area of freedom, security and justice.

preliminary-ruling-procedure-eu-law-6-638

I would like to mention also about the sources of EC law that have been divided into the categories of primary law, secondary law and case law. The case law as a source of EU law stresses the authority of ECJ decisions and authority of EC law in general. [10] Mentioning case law as a tool of the Court of Justice, through it, the Court has identified an obligation on administrations and national courts to apply EU law within their sphere of competence, also to protect the rights of citizens and to disapply any conflicting national provision. [11] As the Court also works in conjunction with the national courts, the court must give its interpretation of a rule of EU law. Thus as case law develops, it illustrates how the Court’s contribution creates a legal environment for citizens by protecting their rights.

sources-of-eu-law-revision-notes-2-638

Starting with Van Gend & Loos transport company case in 1963, the Court in its case-law, introduced the principle of the direct effect of Community law in member states, which means that EU citizens rely on rules of EU law before their national courts. [12] Another case was in 1964, the Costa judgment which established the primacy of Community law over domestic.

The whole concept of this case was that as national Italian court had asked the Court of Justice if the Italian law on nationalization of production and distribution of electrical energy was compatible with rules in the EEC treaty, thus the Court introduced the doctrine of the primacy of Community law which is to be applied to all the member states. [13]

In 1991, the Court developed another fundamental concept, in a case of Andrea Francovich and Others v. Italian Republich, the result of which was called the Frencovich principle of state liability. In this case in the field of employment rights, workers brought a claim before their national courts for compensation for the damage they suffered due to failure of Member states to secure their protection. [14]

Thus the Court opened up the possibility of an action for damages against the State itself. So the ECJ stipulates that national procedures should determine how state liability is enforced and the procedure for claiming damages from the state before national court must comply with two principles: equivalence and effectiveness. [15] As long as these two principles are respected, the member states can prescribe their own procedures for claims.

Of course, without the ECJ there would be no way of enforcing the obligations of the European Treaties and in the areas of its jurisdiction all EU citizens have equal rights and such benefits as the free movement of goods. But exists several imperfections such us supremacy of EU law over national law and the ECJ as imposer of European standards simply challenges a nation’s traditional legal practices.

For all its drawbacks, the EU legal order makes an invaluable contribution towards solving the political, economic and social problems of the member states, thus in my opinion creation of one legal order on the EU scale may prevent the Union from the collapse of the legal order as a whole. In this case, I think, the uniform and priority application of Union law in all member states can only be guaranteed by the two cornerstones: the direct applicability of Union law and the primacy of Union law over national law.

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[1]The European Court of Justice, National Governments and Legal Integration in the EU. Geoffrey Garrett, R. Daniel Kelemen and Heiner Schulz. International Organisation 52,1, Winter 1998, page 150 http://www.seep.ceu.hu/alpsa/articles/garrett.pdf?origin=publication_detail

[2] Court of Justice of the EU. How the EU works. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm

[3] The Court of Justice. Composition, jurisdiction and procedures. December 2010.ed. http://www.ab.gov.tr/files/ardb/evt/1_avrupa_birligi/1_2_kurumlar/Court_of_Justice.pdf

[4] ibid

[5] Court of Justice of the EU. How the EU works. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm

[6] ibid

[7] The Court of Justice. CVRIA presentation. http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7024/

[8] Ibid

[9] The Court of Justice. Composition, jurisdiction and procedures. December 2010.ed. http://www.ab.gov.tr/files/ardb/evt/1_avrupa_birligi/1_2_kurumlar/Court_of_Justice.pdf

[10] The Principle of legal Certainty in EC law. J. Raition. Springer Science& Business Media,2003. ISSN 1572-4395. Page 88 http://books.google.lv/books?id=tpzr1SlsGzIC&pg=PA88&dq=case+law+ecj&hl=lv&sa=X&ei=y2sdVKjbBebiywO_24KoAw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=case%20law%20ecj&f=false

[11]The Court of Justice. CVRIA presentation. http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7024/

[12] The Principle of legal Certainty in EC law. J. Raition. Springer Science& Business Media,2003. ISSN 1572-4395. Page 106 http://books.google.lv/books?id=tpzr1SlsGzIC&pg=PA88&dq=case+law+ecj&hl=lv&sa=X&ei=y2sdVKjbBebiywO_24KoAw&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=case%20law%20ecj&f=false

[13] The Court of Justice. CVRIA presentation. http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/Jo2_7024/

[14] Francovich principle. Eurofound. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/industrialrelations/dictionary/definitions/francovichprinciple.htm

[15] Ibid

The European Union as an ‘Undemocratic Organisation’. Deficit of Democracy in the Functioning of the EU Institutions

Today, in liberal democratic countries, institutions of political power must be legitimized by the people in order to function competently at both national and international levels. One of the common ways of legitimizing political power is the organisation of democratic elections throughout society representatives in certain institutions that can delegate authority to other levels. And general function of the EU is to create, implement laws and regulations that can integrate the member states of the EU.

There are five main institutions which exercise the functions of the Union and involved in law making: the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice.[1] Also there are two additional bodies, such as the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Firstly, I would like to describe the main functions of these institutions.

The European Council exercises a role in revision of the treaties and changes in EU policy. The Council is a policy making body of the Community and most of its decisions are based on the Commission’s proposals. It had twofold role in setting the EU’s general political direction and priorities and in dealing with issues that cannot be resolved at intergovernmental level.[2] This body is influential in setting a political agenda of the EU but has no power in passing laws. Decisions in the European Council are adopted by unanimity or by qualified majority but most of all the Council decides by consensus, depending what the Treaty provides. Additionally, functions of the Council include the discussion of major differences between member states on key issues. [3]

The European Commission drafts proposals for new European laws and its purpose is to represent the interests of the EU as a whole. Among its functions are proposition of new laws and the enforcement of European Law. The Commission had a right of initiative only on issues that can’t be dealt at local level. [4] Adoption or rejection of a new law must be in accord with Commissioners. There are 28 Commissioners and if at least 14 of them are agree then the draft is sent to the Council and Parliament. Also, the Commission checks correctness of applying law to each member country. And if a member is not following the EU law then the Commission is able to take it to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The Council of the European Union or Council of Ministers can be surely called as the main player in EU law making. This body has the final say in whether legislative proposals will become EU law or not. It takes decisions by a simple majority or unanimous vote. The Council consists of national ministers from each EU country and the composition of it is fluid.

Along with the Council of the EU, European Parliament is one of the EU’s main law-making institutions. The process of Parliament working together with Council on content of EU laws is called ‘Ordinary legislative procedure’.[5] Under the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament was granted more power to influence the content of laws in such areas as agriculture, energy policy, immigration and EU funds. Also, Parliament has influence over European institutions, by approving nominee or rejecting.

The European Court of Justice functions are to interpret EU law and to make sure that its applied in the same correct way in all EU members. Additionally, it settles legal disputes between EU governments and institutions.[6] The Court has one judge for each EU country and advocates-general present opinions on the cases that are brought before the Court. In order to help the Court with a large number of cases, a General Court takes cases that are brought forward by private individuals or organizations and cases relating to competition law.

To me, democracy is inequality in an imaginary equality. Idea of democracy places a seed of trust in the little guy making him believe that anyone can grow up to be a president and if you are not grown enough you still can be vice president. If democracy is equality, then it means that people have a right to take what they deserve.

In my opinion, this is last point where the democratic circle closes, because when you take what you deserve, or fight for what you deserve, you keep other weaker people from getting what they deserve. Tracing back to common understanding of democracy, all the constitutional states are considered to be democratic and democracy is based on the principle of the people’s sovereignty.

Following this logic, people are the source of the state authority which has a right to determine the content of law-making and the activity of legitimate bodies. According to European Policy Brief, the recommendations which were proposed by European Convention for European Institutions to be brought closer to the citizens, were not followed.[7] As Abraham Lincoln mentioned in his Gettysburg address, a government is “of the people, by the people, for the people”. [8] According to these principles, there is equal access to power and being equal before the law.

In the beginning of my essay, I mentioned about EU institutions, their functions and the interesting fact is that, of first four institutions, the only one directly elected is the European Parliament, having 736 members which are elected every 5 years and in each member state, citizens have the right to vote. The European Council consists of the head of state and the Council of the EU consists of representatives who have been selected by the citizens of their own country rather than to those which they must perform within the supra-nation sphere. [9] In doing so, they undermine the democratic nature of their appointment.

In contrast, the Commission is represented as an unelected body which consists of persons who are nominated by each member state and not elected by its citizens. Also exists the fact that the European Council with heads of the 28 governments has the power to propose nominees and the EU Parliament has no right to name any candidate and only to suggest laws which the Council accepts or not.[10] Summing up, it comes that the ordinary EU voter simple has no influence over any legislation or even who should be in EU government.

Also, in order to determine the EU’s democratic nature, must to consider the legislative process which varies according to the nature of the laws that are proposed. According to the Article 294 TFEU, firstly the Commission must submit a legislative proposal to the Parliament and the Council with the Parliament must determine their position on the act. [11] It’s quite obvious that member states prefer to implement acts because in this case they can influence the final shape of the act through the committees where sit their experts.

But on the other hand, as EU-observer corresponds, delegated acts can be adopted without interference. [12] The decisions has to be done in a certain timeframe and its not easy to see when the commission has made these decisions. European Parliament held the power of veto in the adoption of legislation and this made it very powerful in Union’s legislature.[13] However, the role of Commission in providing law-making is criticized as the members of the body are unelected.

Overall, it’s clear that the EU tries to promote ideals of democracy through the principles of equality, however its impossible to state that it has achieved this goal. The European Union and its Treaties have intention to create laws for people but the structures of its institutions prevent these laws from being for the people. Its very naïve to think that someday the ideal of democracy would be achieved but to stabilize the current deficit of democracy through reconstruction of institutions must be in priority.

 


 

[1] EU institutions and law making. European Union law for International Business: An introduction. Bernard Bishop. Cambridge University Press. Page 4 http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/81449/excerpt/9780521881449_excerpt.pdf

[2] European Council. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-council/index_en.htm

[3] EU institutions and law making. European Union law for International Business: An introduction. Bernard Bishop. Cambridge University Press. Page 6 http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/81449/excerpt/9780521881449_excerpt.pdf

[4] European Commission. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-commission/index_en.htm

[5] European Parliament. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/european-parliament/index_en.htm

[6] Court of Justice of the European Union. How the EU works. Institutions, bodies and agencies. http://europa.eu/about-eu/institutions-bodies/court-justice/index_en.htm

[7] Legitimacy and the European Union. Future EU. Opinions. http://www.euractiv.com/future-eu/legitimacy-european-union/article-128511

[8] The Gettysburg Address. Speeches and writings. Abraham Lincoln Online. http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/gettysburg.htm

[9] The EU’s institutional structure and the institutions. The Law Professionals. http://www.lawteacher.net/european-law/essays/the-european-unions-law-making-powers-make-the-eu-inherently-undemocratic-european-law-essay.php

[10] The European Parliament election: an undemocratic joke. http://thebackbencher.co.uk/european-parliamentary-election-undemocratic-joke/

[11] The Lisbon Treaty. Article 294. http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-the-functioning-of-the-european-union-and-comments/part-6-institutional-and-financial-provisions/title-1-institutional-provisions/chapter-2-legal-acts-of-the-union-adoption-procedures-and-other-provisions/section-2-procedures-for-the-adoption-of-acts-and-other-provisions/614-article-294.html

[12] Complex EU law-making dubbed ‘infernal, undemocratic’. http://euobserver.com/political/119181

[13] The EU’s institutional structure and the institutions. The Law Professionals. http://www.lawteacher.net/european-law/essays/the-european-unions-law-making-powers-make-the-eu-inherently-undemocratic-european-law-essay.php

The Conflict Between Iran and Israel: Why is it so Difficult to Reach an Agreement?

                                                   

All last time the Arab-Israeli conflict was discussed by politicians, political analysts, journalists far from the reality of the context. In their opinion, the key problems are: the problem of the borders between Israel and inhabited by the Arabs of the territories of Judea and Samaria, the status of the Golan Heights and the problem of the Arab refugees.

However (and it is) a brutal conflict began long before the creation of the State of Israel and to the problem of refugees, when the first Jewish immigrants settled in nobody lands of Palestine or land lawfully acquired from their owners. Jews started their development and each of their success attracted Palestine and another group of Arabs in search for work. It was at that time began cruel massacre of the most famous, but not the only and exclusive, became a massacre in Hebron[1], 19 years before the creation of the State of Israel. The massacre was accompanied by mass killings.

War with its Arab neighbors after the proclamation of the State of Israel continued, not because of disagreements over the borders. Openly proclaimed the goal of aggression was not just preventing the creation of a Jewish state as such, but the “final solution” – the extermination of the Jews from Palestine. For a smooth implementation of this task, the Arab leaders have offered all Arabs to leave the territory, on which were planned mass murder that they “won’t be underfoot” during the planned mass murder of Jews[2].

They were promised that they then will return to “liberated” territory and returned to their lands and property together with the land and property of the Jews. The plan originated the problem of Arab refugees. And today the most outspoken Arab leaders say that their ultimate goal is not to establish acceptable to the borders with Israel but the elimination of the state of Israel and throughout the Jewish presence in Palestine.

And even so-called “moderate” leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, as Mahmoud Abbas[3], consider unthinkable accommodation with Jews, even a single Jew in the Arab state, which is planned to be built in Judea and Samaria.

Many researches have been made to identify what is going on with Israel and its neighbour Iran, but anyway everything is confined in the history of these countries.


Historical roots

History of the Jewish people originates about 4000 years ago (17-th century BC) from the epoch of the patriarchs – Abraham, his son Isaac, and grandson Jacob[4]. In Mesopotamia were founded the documents relating to 2000-1500 years BC, which confirm that the Jews in those days, had a nomadic life, as described in the Bible.

The Book of Genesis tells how Abraham was sent from the Sumerian city of Ur in the land of Canaan, to initiate a nation which believes in one God. In the Torah, Pentateuch of Moses, which is the Holy book of the Jews, Christians and recognized by the Muslims, Ismail, Isaac, and Jacob are not just sons of the prophet, but the ancestors of the whole peoples.

The first son of Abraham was Ishmael, born of the maid Hagar which was Egyptian. Hagar despised her barren mistress Sarah what causes a dislike and prosecution in relation to herself and her son. And the Lord gives Sarah a blood child, which was to inherit God’s promise, Isaac. For this child of Hagar and her son Ishmael was necessary to expel.

From here begins the story of the descendants of Ishmael-the Arabs and the descendants of Isaac-Israelis. Remote together with his mother in the wilderness of Paran, Ishmael grew in freedom, married on Egyptian woman [5], and of him there came twelve sons[6], who became the ancestors of the small Bedouin tribes who conquered the desert, lying between Canaan and Egypt (Sinai Peninsula). Local Arabs attributed its descent to Ishmael, and even the genealogy of Muhammad dates back to him.

According to the Bible, son of Isaac, Esau sold his birthright to his brother James for a mess of pottage. From the times of Abraham birthright was very important because the first-Born son was endowed with greater rights and authority than the younger which must be subordinated to the senior.

Dying Isaac blessed Jacob instead of the eldest son Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Esau hated brother and even wanted to kill him, so that Jacob had to go away from their family. On the advice of his parents, he went to Mesopotamia, the land of Babel. And Lord God, under some mysterious circumstances after having experienced the power of Jacob, gave him a new name “Israel”, which means “struggled with God”[7]. And Jacob and his 12 sons became the founders of the nation of Israel, or Jewish nation. Since those times the enmity between Israelis and Arabs continued.

To more deeply understand the reasons for disagreement, I decided to learn a little more about those lands that were populated by the descendants of Jacob and Ishmael.

The Bible describes that Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travelling, in the land of Canaan. In biblical times, it was a country that stretches to the West from the North-West bend of Euphrates and from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Currently is divided between Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.[8]

As for Ishmael, the same States that the descendants of Ishmael lived from Havil to Sura[9] , i.e. in the Western and Northern parts of the Peninsula of Arabia, spreading through the wilderness to the Persian Gulf[10], introducing the core of the Arab people. The Arabs have always been enemies of their Israeli brethren, spread to the East and West and currently they remained unconquered, and only certain parts of their country for a short time were under foreign power.

The first king of Israel was David who gave the Board to his son Solomon. During the reign of Solomon, the Jewish nation was divided into Israel and Judah. The Kingdom of Israel, with its capital in the city of Samaria lasted more than two centuries and survived 19 kings. Judah and Jerusalem as its capital lasted 400 years, and it was ruled by the same number of monarchs – the descendants of King David.[11]

But with the expansion by the Assyrian and Babylonian Empire, Israel and Judah appeared in the hands of foreigners. The ruins of Babylon are localized in Iraq near the town of al-Hilla, Babil governorate. Euphrates River divides the monument into two parts – Western and Eastern. [12]

Over the next four centuries Jews have experienced different periods of self-government under the rule of the Persians (538-333 years BC to BCE), and then fell under the power of Hellenists (the Ptolemy’s and the Seleucids 332-142 years BC).[13] After the conquest of the ancient world by Alexander the Great (332 BC) in the Land “of promise” preserved Jewish theocratic state under the rule of the Seleucid Syria.

Also there was the conquest of Persia by Alexander (now Iran). Darius king of the Persians, with his friends escaped from Ekbatan in Eastern Iran, where he was killed by Bactrian Satrap.[14] Persian state ceased to exist, and all its possessions became part of the Empire of Alexander.

In 19th century medieval backwardness began to recede before the first signs of progress. For spheres of influence in the region fought many Western powers, often through missionary activity. Gradually improved the position of Jews in the country, and their number constantly began to grow.

In December 1917 in Jerusalem entered the British troops under the command of General Allenby, putting an end to the age-old domination of the Ottoman Empire. In July 1922, the League of Nations granted Great Britain a mandate over Palestine (so then called the Land of Israel).[15] Recognizing the historical connection of the Jewish people to their land, Britain promoted the creation of Jewish national home in Eretz Israel (in Hebrew – “the Land of Israel”).

The authorities of the British mandate granted the Jewish and Arab communities to manage their internal Affairs. But the Jewish national revival and the efforts of communities to build their country encountered fierce resistance of the Arab nationalists. Efforts to enter into a dialogue with the Arabs, taken at the dawn of the Zionist movement, led to nothing and only have increased the gap between Zionism and Arab nationalism, which at any moment could create an explosive situation.

Recognizing radically opposing goals of these two nationalist movements, the British recommended in 1937 to divide the country into two States, Jewish and Arab.[16] The Jewish leaders accepted the idea of separation and authorized the Jewish Agency to enter into negotiations with the British government to discuss various aspects of the proposal.

The Arabs, on the other hand, were strongly opposed to any partition plan. The continuing Arab riots forced the British to publish the White book, which imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Jews into the country. On November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly voted for recommendation to divide the territory into two parts, Jewish and Arab.[17]

 

 Differences: Iran and Israel


The difference between two countries is not only in the territory they inhabit, but also can cause such differences as a governmental structure of each state, religion and economy.

Governmental structure

The symbol and the foundation of the existence of the state of Israel is the Declaration of independence. In the Declaration is justified historical necessity of the rebirth of Israel and the agreed principles of existence of a Jewish and democratic state based on freedom, justice and peace, as it was bequeathed to the biblical prophets. It also calls for peace with the neighboring Arab States in the name of development and prosperity to the entire region.

Israel is a parliamentary democracy consisting of Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. There is the institution of the presidency, the Knesset (Parliament), the executive (Cabinet of Ministers) and the judiciary.[18] The President’s duties are mostly ceremonial and formal in nature and are defined in the law. Among them – opening of the first session of the new convocation of the Knesset; specifying a member of the Knesset to form a new government; receiving the credentials of foreign envoys; signing treaties and laws adopted by the Knesset.

In Israel there is a system of universal, direct national elections. Elections are secret and conducted on an equitable and proportional basis. The entire country constitutes a single constituency, and all citizens who are 18 years old, have the right to vote. In all the elections that were held, voted 77 to 90 percent of the registered voters, this means that the majority of the Israelites are concerned to the external and internal policy of their country. [19]

According to Constitution of 1979, Iran is an Islamic Republic. Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) was founded on 1 April 1979 as a result of the Islamic revolution of 1978-1979.[20] Iran is one of the few real theocracies in the world. Constitutionally was fixed rule of not only the Islamic principles in the organization of the legislative, Executive and judiciary, but the rule of the Islamic clergy in the structures of state power.

The embodiment of monopolization of the clergy of political power was those powers which granted to the Rahba (head) – the head of the country.[21] The spiritual leader is recognized faqih – religious man of law. Rahba controls the activities of all branches of power.

Defines the main directions of internal and foreign policy, appoints the head of the judiciary; the commander of the armed forces and internal troops, the commander of the army of the guardians of the Islamic revolution, signed the decree on appointment of the President, who is elected by means of universal, direct and secret ballot. He has the right to declare war and conclude peace, declare Amnesty or commutation of the sentence at the proposal of the head of the judiciary.

According to the Constitution, the highest after the spiritual leader of the state is the President. The President as head of the country represents Iran on the official level, especially in relations with foreign States. According to the Constitution of 1979, the Foundation of all the sides of life of Iran was based on the principles of Islam.[22] So to manage the country could exceptionally well-versed in Islam face – Ulema.

Religion

Jewish society in Israel today consists of religious and non-religious population – from ultra-orthodox to citizens leading completely secular lifestyle.[23] Nevertheless, between them there is no clear difference. But Israel was conceived as a Jewish state, and so the Sabbath (Saturday) and all the Jewish festivals and Holy days are considered national holidays and in varying degrees, celebrated by all the Jewish population of the country.

Because religion in Israel is not separated from the state, different communities are divided among themselves in opinions on how the country should be manifested in its Jewish religious entity. If Orthodox layers of the population seek to extend the application of religious laws beyond the personal status, where they have exclusive jurisdiction, the secular residents consider it a religious dictatorship and violation of democratic character of the state.

About 1.7 million people, comprising approximately 24 percent of Israel’s population, are non-Jews.[24] They are called the Arab population of Israel, but this is actually different groups of population, though speaking, mainly in Arabic they have their own way of life, traditions and history. Arab Muslims (almost one million), most of which are Sunnites, live mainly in small towns and villages, over half of which is in the North of the country.

Declaration on the establishment of the State of Israel from 1948 guarantees complete freedom of religion.[25] Every religious community has the right and the opportunity to freely follow the laws of their religion, to observe its holidays and rest days, and manage their internal affairs.

The religion held by the majority of the Iranian population is Shia Muslim (89%). Sunni Muslims in Iran constitute about 9% of the population and the remaining 2% of Iranians are from ‘other’ religions – primarily Zoroastrian, Christian and Jewish. What makes the religious beliefs in Iran so interesting is that although almost 90% of Iranians are Shia Muslims, globally the percentage of Shia Muslims is only 10%.[26]

Iran recognizes Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian religious minority, and other religious minorities. The continuous presence of the country’s pre-Islamic, non-Muslim communities, such as Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians, had accustomed the population to the participation of non-Muslims in society.

U.S. Department of State claims Iran’s government actions create a “threatening atmosphere for some religious minorities”,with claims of “imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on religious beliefs”.[27] Judaism is a recognized religion in Iran. The government does not directly attack Judaism. But what interesting is that non-Muslim owners of grocery shops are required to indicate their religious affiliation on the fronts of their shops.


Economy

The most amazing economic achievement of Israel is a stable growth of its development on the background of constant problems, requiring enormous expenditure: national security; at present time Israel spends on defense 8 percent of its GDP (compared with 25% in the 1970s and 23% in 1980).[28]

Even in a period of relative peace in the country it should be supported by a powerful deterrent capability of the enemy. A wave of mass immigration, created the modern infrastructure and the economy from scratch, fought in four wars, and provide security for their people. It is considered as a real “economic miracle”.

In recent years, more than 85% of the total imports, which in 2006 amounted to 47,2 billion dollars accounted for manufactured goods and fuel.[29] Israel is the world’s leading centre for the production and sale of diamonds. The diamond industry in Israel is a world leader in advanced technology and skill of the processing that provides minimal losses during polishing of rough diamonds and turning them into real diamonds. The main buyers in 2006 were the United States (63 per cent), followed by Hong Kong (14 percent), and Switzerland (11 percent).[30]

Iran’s economy is the fifteenth in the world in terms of national production (according to the CIA) and the largest among the States of Western Asia and OPEC. In 2007, Iran overtook Turkey in terms of GDP, thus becoming the largest economy in the Islamic world. The volume of the GDP in 2007 was $852, 6 billion, growth of GDP – 5, 8 %. Iran has the second largest after Saudi Arabia’s oil reserve (18 billion tons) and takes 5, 5 percent of the global market of oil products trade. Since 2008, Iran sells its oil on its own stock exchange in Euro and materials.[31]

The natural desire of the Iranian leaders to reduce the dependence of economy on oil, and therefore the dependence of political dependence on the external market. This task was during the shah government, and It is now. To solve this is difficult, as it is obvious that for the financial basis for the restructuring of the economy the easiest way is to use oil revenues. [32] Being the main earner of diamonds Israel is a very important object for Iran.

 

Political conflict: What Iran wants?

Subsequently, in public speeches Ahmadinejad has repeatedly affirmed its position regarding Israel. His statements were as from the traditional rhetoric of the legacy of Khomeini and new elements.

For example, the President of Iran quickly realized that denial of the Holocaust is one of the most light and resonance methods to attack Israel. The most important feature of anti-Zionism for Ahmadinejad became attempts to link the Holocaust and problems of the Israeli – Palestinian interaction.[33]

Revisionism of the Holocaust is still very limited went beyond the limits of scientific circles, has now become a full-fledged member of the international relations of the sovereign state, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The idea of the denial of the Holocaust for Ahmadinejad was not only strategic, but even more of a tactical nature. At the stage of its origin in the Israeli political discourse purpose of Holocaust denial was to distract attention from the Iranian nuclear program, which at that time was the focus of attention of the world community.[34]

The Iranian press of those years claimed that under the influence of such approach to the problem of the Holocaust, the West is ready to make concessions in negotiations on the nuclear program, trying to get Iran to stop. With the advent of Ahmadinejad to power the delicate balance in the Iranian-Israeli relations, periodically going to mutual rejection, completely collapsed.

Iran has embarked on a path of open hostility with Israel, and hostility beginning to be expressed not only in the claims to the present policy of Israel, but in the denial of the Holocaust, which is crucial moment for Israel, and immediately influenced the foreign policy of Iran.[35]

Ahmadinejad lashed out at Israel and the United States, noting that all the serious problems that afflict humanity, is the result of «’godless’ regime in the US and ‘villainous Zionist regime’». He added that the uncivilized «Zionists» destroy mankind «under the heavy wheels of their own egoism, capitalism and materialism» for the sake of satisfying their own whims.[36] He also pointed out that, nowadays, everywhere there is corruption, crime or humiliation, «we are faced with the ‘Zionist regime’, the USA or their accomplices»

The Iranian President reiterated that the USA and its allies have used the events of September 11 to justify its penetration in the middle East and complete freedom of action in this region. He also demanded from the USA to answer hundreds of questions associated with the events of September 11 (note that he made a similar statement in his speech at the UN General Assembly).

He said that the USA started the game “to attack our region”,[37] and added that Washington wanted to steal natural resources and to seize control over the entire region. He demanded that the US should stop their crimes and withdrew [forces] from the region, before local country will do it by force. [38] Is it war of Iran and Israel, or may be US and Iran?! Barack Obama spoke in Jerusalem with the statement that the cooperation between the two countries will continue until the power of the Israel defense complex reaches the level at which the Jewish state will be able to protect their own people from any threat. [39]

  Last thoughts..

The Arab-Israeli conflict in the minds of the world is gradually transformed into a war of civilizations. Maybe from it beginning it was a part of such a war?…But war of which civilizations? Whether East and West, as they say? two directions of development of society. Western civilization is mainly focused on changing and improving the external world in which we live, its adaptation to the needs of man.

This scientific and technological progress in all directions. This progress is based on the intellectual abilities of a man himself and extends them in accordance with the principle of positive feedback. This is a creative task, which requires a constant search – search for new ways. Eastern civilization (more precisely, the far East, originated in India and China) is more oriented not to change the world, but on the adaptation of man to the world in all its complexity and contradictions.[40]

In this regard, for the improvement of the inner world of a person to achieve harmony with the outside world. This is also a very creative task, requiring constant search for its solution for centuries developed methods and philosophical bases of psychological development.

I think that the variant of many explanations can be that the basis of the aggressiveness of Islam and the Arab society is more fundamental socio-psychological and even psycho-biological reason. Humans, like the animals has the most important biological needs – the need for search an activity. This requirement should be implemented, its implementation saves physical health and resistance to stress, and if it cannot be done in a constructive behavior, it manifests itself in destructive behavior, aggression.

While the Jews were in a subordinate and untenable situation, to practice tolerance and patronage attitude, but today the Jews, and especially with its prosperous state, represent to Arabs all the advantages of a prosperous Western culture and cause a sense of inferiority. What you cannot catch up, overtake and subdue, must be destroyed. The so-called war of civilizations is a ruthless war against civilization, and the Arab-Jewish conflict is only its best line.


 

[1] Jewish Library. The Hebron Massacre of 1929 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/hebron29.html

[2] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем? http://gazeta.rjews.net/v14.shtml

[3] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем? http://gazeta.rjews.net/v14.shtml

[4]Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[5] Bible. Genesis 21:21

[6] Bible. Genesis 25:13

[7] Bible. Genesis 32:28

[8] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[9] Bible. Genesis 25:18

[10] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[11] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[12] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[13] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[14] Поход Александра Македонского на Персию. http://www.mystic-chel.ru/east/iran/535.html

[15] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[16] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[17] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[18] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[19] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[20] Государственный и политический строй Ирана. http://www.easttime.ru/countries/topics/2/11/92.html

[21] Государственный и политический строй Ирана. http://www.easttime.ru/countries/topics/2/11/92.html

[22] Государственный и политический строй Ирана. http://www.easttime.ru/countries/topics/2/11/92.html

[23] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[24] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[25] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[26] Religion in Iran. http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/iran/Religion-in-Iran/126

[27] Freedom of religion in Iran. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Iran

[28] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[29] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[30] Факты об Израиле. Доклад Министерства иностранных дел Израиля. Печать:2010. Иерусалим

[31] Экономика Ирана. http://www.km.ru/referats/333435-ekonomika-irana-promyshlennost-selskoe-khozyaistvo-torgovlya-turizm

[32] Экономика Ирана. http://www.webeconomy.ru/index.php?page=cat&newsid=1244&type=news

[33] Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами. http://www.vestikavkaza.ru/analytics/Kak-Iran-i-Izrail-prestali-byt-partnerami.html

[34] Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами. http://www.vestikavkaza.ru/analytics/Kak-Iran-i-Izrail-prestali-byt-partnerami.html

[35]Как Иран и Израиль перестали быть партнерами. http://www.vestikavkaza.ru/analytics/Kak-Iran-i-Izrail-prestali-byt-partnerami.html

[36] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010 http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ewJXKcOUJlIaG&b=7713555&ct=11229957

[37] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010 http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ewJXKcOUJlIaG&b=7713555&ct=11229957

[38] The Israel Project. Iranian TV, October 3, 2010 http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ewJXKcOUJlIaG&b=7713555&ct=11229957

[39] США готовы спонсировать Израиль. http://telegrafist.org/2013/03/24/47477/

[40] Арабо-израильский конфликт – конфликт цивилизаций … с чем? http://gazeta.rjews.net/v14.shtml

”Not a Flat World”- Hope and Frustration: How to Understand It?

Globalization has bound people, countries and markets closer than ever. Ideas will spread faster, leaping borders. Poor countries will have immediate access to information that was once restricted to the industrial world and traveled only slowly, if at all, beyond it. Entire electorates will learn things that once only a few bureaucrats knew.

Small companies will offer services that previously only giants could provide. In all these ways, the communications revolution is profoundly democratic and liberating, leveling the imbalance between large and small, rich and poor. We seem to live in a world that is no longer a collection of isolated, “local” nations, effectively separated by high tariff walls, poor communications networks, and mutual suspicion. It’s a world that is increasingly wired, informed, and, well, “flat.” [1]

The few cities that dominate international financial activity — Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, New York — are at the height of modern global integration; which is to say, they are all relatively well connected with one another. But when examining the numbers, the picture is one of extreme connectivity at the local level, not a flat world. Most types of economic activity that could be conducted either within or across borders turn out to still be quite domestically concentrated.[2]

One favorite mantra from globalization champions is how “investment knows no boundaries.” The fact is, the total amount of the world’s capital formation that is generated from foreign direct investment has been less than 10 percent for the last three years for which data are available (2003–05).[3] In other words, more than 90 percent of the fixed investment around the world is still domestic.

Communications technologies have improved dramatically during the past 100 years. And the Internet itself is just one of many newer forms of connectivity that have progressed several times faster than plain old telephone service. This pace of improvement has inspired excited proclamations about the pace of global integration. The success of the Indian IT industry is not exempt from political and geographic constraints. The country of origin matters — even for capital, which is often considered stateless.

Friedman cites Nandan Nilekani, the CEO of the second-largest such firm, Infosys, as his muse for the notion of a flat world. But what Nilekani has pointed out privately is that while Indian software programmers can now serve the United States from India, access is assured, in part, by U.S. capital being invested — quite literally — in that outcome. [4]

Even Thomas Friedman, who popularized the “flat world” theory, admits towards the end of his best-selling book The World Is Flat that the world, in fact, is not flat. For instance, Friedman singles out the fall of the Berlin Wall as an alleged “flattener” because that event supposedly allowed people to see the world differently, to “tap into one another’s knowledge pools.”[5]

Friedman cites the Google search engine as another “flattener” because the company claims it wants everyone in the world to have access to all of the world’s knowledge, in every language. In fact, Friedman himself seems to be backing off the “flat world” idea, writing recently in the New York Times about a

“terrible trend emerging in the world today… a widespread religious and sectarian cleavage.”[6]

It is critical, he notes, that the U.S. stands by its principles of free trade and

“welcoming the world to do business in our land, as long as there is no security threat. If we start exporting fear instead of hope, we are going to import everyone else’s fears right back.”[7]

Friedman begins the book by proclaiming that the world is flat, and he finally offers the antithesis:

I know that the world is not flat. Don’t worry. I know.”

Like most books describing purported revolutions, The World is Flat vacillates between whether the flat world revolution is a fait accompli or an ongoing process.[8] It is a question of whether the world is flat, or whether it is flattening.  This tension is evident in Friedman’s qualified statement that:

“…the flattening of the world is largely (but not entirely) unstoppable”[9]

Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economic and Society confirms that Friedman is wrong to equate the emergence of a world of increasing interconnectedness with a ‘flat’ global economy and the empirical evidence does not in any case back up the idea that the global economy is becoming flat. [10]


[1] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[2] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[3]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[4]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[5] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[6] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[7]Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[8] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 460

[9] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 276

[10] http://cjres.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/3/343.full

Does Democracy in India Supports the Economical Development?

Does democracy in India support the development of the economy or is it a barreer for the development of economy?

For decades India had only 2 to 3 percent annual “Hindu rate” of growth. But that has changed. Once the democratic Indian government embarked upon implementing market-oriented reforms, the country achieved “East Asian rate” of 8 to 9 percent a year.[1] Above all, India was successful in improving governance and raising the quality of its democracy. Professor Yasheng Huang, who is expert in Chinese economy but also explores India, explains:

“The growth India enjoys today sped up in the 1990s as the country privatized TV stations, introduced political decentralization, and improved governance. And contrary to the conventional wisdom, India stagnated historically not because it was a democracy, but because, in the 1970s and 1980s, it was less democratic than it appeared… The cumulative effect of [Indira] Gandhi’s actions [as prime minister during much of the period from 1966 to 1984] is that the Indian political system, though still retaining some essential features of a democracy, became unaccountable, corrupt, and unhinged from the normal bench marks voters use to assess their leaders. (…) The economic consequences of this period of illiberalism were long lasting”And he concluded that, “The emerging Indian miracle should debunk—hopefully permanently—the entirely specious notion that democracy is bad for growth.”[2]

The economic future of India depends on the policy of the country, and this is both good and bad news. When in 2009 “The United progressive Alliance” – a group of left center parties headed by the Indian national Congress came to power for a second term, it seemed that India is on the right track.[3] The economy has overcome the most severe global recession in 7 % GDP growth, and the rate continued to increase. Inflation was low, officials finally seriously took care of social problems and politics in the world’s largest democracy while had been controversial, but was quite stable.

However, after only two years, economic growth has slowed, the budget deficit began to grow, and inflation, after a decline in the period from the beginning of 2010 at the beginning of 2012 went up.[4] The provision of basic services such as health, water, sanitation, remains on the awful level. Democracy continues to weakly develop. From the category of countries, in a democracy of which very few people doubted, India, in the words of a financial analyst Ruchir Sharma, passes to the category of states that meet only 50% of the relevant requirements.[5]

Although a number of indicators decreased from 2009 the level of savings in Indian families remained above 30% (compared to less than 5% in the USA). According to the data of Central statistical Bureau of India, the level of private consumption is about 60% (in China – 48%).[6] The solid figures indicate that the UPS and downs of the economy has not led to excessive taxation and are not forced to citizens emptying their savings to survive the difficult times; in addition, not dropped the demand for goods and services.

But the problem hides in politics. Instead of having to create favorable conditions for small business , that would encourage entrepreneurship and contributed to the growth and dynamic development of the economy, Delhi involved in facilitating the life of big business, by providing access to concessional loans, specially constructed power plants and providing protection in the event of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.[7]

And this is a serious problem, since the sector of big business, such as mining, construction and infrastructure, are the most corrupt. And also in social sphere because of the inefficiency and corruption most of the funds do not reach those in need. The dominant party in India is Indian National Congress.

The democratization of the Indian national Congress could help to overcome the problems of the party and the country as a whole. The majority of Indian political parties, including the INC, have an archaic system of decision-making, which is controlled by small groups of elites.[8] Their aim is the maintenance of the existing power structures, and not the protection of the interests of the voters. And still the economic future of India depends on the policy of the country, and this is both good and bad news.


[1]Does democracy help or hurt economic growth? http://www.cipe.org/blog/2008/06/30/does-democracy-help-or-hurt-economic-growth/

[2] Does democracy help or hurt economic growth? http://www.cipe.org/blog/2008/06/30/does-democracy-help-or-hurt-economic-growth/

[3] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[4] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[5] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[6] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[7] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[8] Почему Индия забуксовала. http://hvylya.org/analytics/politics/pochemu-indiya-zabuksovala.html

[9] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[10] Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[11]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[12]Why the world isn’t flat http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/02/14/why_the_world_isnt_flat?page=0,1

[13] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[14] Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[15]Logistically Speaking: It’s a round world after all http://mhlnews.com/global-supply-chain/logistically-speaking-its-round-world-after-all

[16] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 460

[17] Geopolitics and the Flat World. In: Friedman T.L. 2002. The World is Flat. Brief History of the Globalized Worls in the Twenty-first Century. Alan Lane an imprint of Penguin books, London, page 276

[18] http://cjres.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/3/343.full

Aspects of the British Constitutional and Political Experience

What aspects of the British constitutional and political experience do not allow the Prime Minister to become a dictator?

The core constitutional principle of the British political system and cornerstone of the Westmister model is parlamentary sovereighnty: Parliament can make or overturna by law.[1] In a classic parliamentary democracy, the prime minister is answerable to the House of Commons and may be dismissed by it. [2]

Britain operates within a system of fusion of powers at the national level. The British cabinet bears enormous constitutional responsibility. Through its collective decision making, the cabinet and not an independent prime minister, shapes, directs and takes responsobility for government.[3] Parliamentary sovereignty, parliamentary democracy and cabinet government form the core elements of the British or Westminster model of governmnet, which many consider a model democracy and the first effective parliamentary democracy.[4]

One key feature of the constitution is the continuation of arbitrary, unlimited and unaccountable power -all of which derive from the Crown . Most of these are exercised by the government, some continue to be exercised by the Queen.[5]

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the head of government and performs many of the functions, nominally owned by the sovereign, who is the head of state.[6] According to the tradition, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (which he chairs) are responsible for their actions in front of the Parliament, of which they are members.

The primary responsibility of the Prime Minister is the formation of the government, i.e. creation of a Cabinet, which will be able to retain the support of the House of Commons after the appointment of the Monarch. [7] The power of the Prime Minister is also limited by the House of Commons, the support of which it is to maintain.

The house of Commons partially controls the actions of the Prime Minister through the hearings in the committees and from time to time issues, the time allocated once a week, in which the Prime Minister must answer the questions of the opposition leader and other members of the chamber.[8] Many sources, such as former Ministers argue that in the government of Tony Blair’s main decisions were taken by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and the Cabinet remained on the sidelines. [9]

The only other constitutionally mandated mechanism for checking the prime minister is a defeat on a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons. Collective responsibility is a crucial aspect of the Westminster model of democracy. The Cabinets role in containing the chief executive remains the only routine check on his or her power.[10]

 

 Do citizens of the Great Britain have to demand a written constitution to defend their rights in the 21st Century?

The British constitution is often described as an unwritten constitution. Although many of the sources of the constitution are written and documented, the British Constitution remains uncodified. This means that, unlike in most modern democracies, there is no single document which explains how people are governed.[11] A constitution sets out the way in which a country will be run.[12]

Three aspects are generally defined in any constitution: First is the way in which power is balanced between the institutions (or governing bodies) of the nation State. Second is the limits to the powers exercised by such institutions, imposed to safeguard the rights and freedoms of individuals. And most important for citizens is the extent to which individual rights and freedoms within the nation State are protected. [13]

The governing elites of many European nations, such as France and Germany, have been forced to draw up constitutions in response to popular revolt or war. Great Britain, by contrast, remained free of the revolutionary fervor that swept much of the Continent in the 19th century. As a result, this country’s democracy has been reformed incrementally over centuries rather than in one big bang.[14] Instead constitutional experts point to a number of treaties, laws and conventions (another word for ‘habits’) which together make up the constitution.

These include: Acts of Parliament, Treaties, EU law, Common Law, Conventions, Royal Prerogative, and Works of authority. [15] Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

“The constitution of the United Kingdom exists in hearts and minds and habits as much as it does in law.”[16]

Nor is there a single statement of citizens’ rights and freedom. As the Justice Secretary put it:

“Most people might struggle to put their finger on where their rights are.”[17]

Britain’s arcane hotch-potch of freedoms and rights cannot be defended in the 21st century.[18] It could help citizens clarify their rights and protect themselves against the state. Most flourishing democracies base their institutions on a written constitution. The proposition is that the United Kingdom should adopt a written constitution, explicitly outlining the rights of citizens, the roles of all organs of the government, and the powers of the state.

Parliament enjoys “sovereignty,” whereby it may pass whatever laws it wishes with no higher law limiting its legislation nor any judicial power to question the fundamental legitimacy of the law.[19]  Adopting such a constitution would restrict the behavior of the government, and subject all exercises of state power to judicial review. In 2007 then Prime Minister Gordon Brown made proposals for a British constitution and bill of rights which would have restricted the powers of the prime minister in areas such as declaring war however these proposals never came to anything.[20]


[1] Krieger J.Britain. Ch.2. No: Kesselman M., Krieger J. Joseph W. (eds.) ( 2007) Introduction to Comparative Politics. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, N.Y., pp.62

[2] Ibid page 62

[3] Ibid page 62

[4] Ibid page 63

[5] The British Constitution. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/In%20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php

[6] Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/88725#.D0.92.D0.BB.D0.B0.D1.81.D1.82.D1.8C_.D0.B8_.D0.B5.D1.91_.D0.BE.D0.B3.D1.80.D0.B0.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.87.D0.B5.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.8F

[7] Ibid

[8] Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ruwiki/88725#.D0.92.D0.BB.D0.B0.D1.81.D1.82.D1.8C_.D0.B8_.D0.B5.D1.91_.D0.BE.D0.B3.D1.80.D0.B0.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.87.D0.B5.D0.BD.D0.B8.D1.8F

[9] Chapter 12 Blair’s Cabinet: Monarchy Returns, British Government in Crisis, Christopher Foster, Hart Publishing, 2005

[10] Krieger J.Britain. Ch.2. No: Kesselman M., Krieger J. Joseph W. (eds.) ( 2007) Introduction to Comparative Politics. Houghton Mifflin Company. Boston, N.Y., pp. 63

[11] The British Constitution. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/In%20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php

[12] The British Constitution, law reform and the parliamentary legislative process. http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780415458528/chapterone.pdf

[13] Ibid page 7

[14] The Big Question: Why doesn’t the UK have a written constitution, and does it matter? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-big-question-why-doesnt-the-uk-have-a-written-constitution-and-does-it-matter-781975.html

[15]The British Constitution. http://www.republic.org.uk/What%20we%20want/In%20depth/The%20British%20Constitution/index.php

[16] Diversity of the human spirit. David Schiff. https://sites.google.com/site/davidschiff83/diversity

[17] The Big Question: Why doesn’t the UK have a written constitution, and does it matter? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-big-question-why-doesnt-the-uk-have-a-written-constitution-and-does-it-matter-781975.html

[18] ibid

[19] Debates that the UK should have a written constitution.
http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/constitutional-governance/uk-should-have-written-constitution

[20] Debates that the UK should have a written constitution.
http://idebate.org/debatabase/debates/constitutional-governance/uk-should-have-written-constitution

Comparative Politics and the Choice of the Political Regimes

Basic aspects of the comparative politics for comparative analysis

Comparison – the usual way of thinking. There is even a phrase:

«All is learnt in comparison»

Even the knowledge of the man himself is through the knowledge of other people. The French scientist-comparativist, Dogan argues that the political sociology should be comparative.

Elements of comparativism can be found already in Plato and Aristotle (criteria of differentiation of the political systems). Highlighting the reasons for the use of comparison in political science, Tom Mackey and David Marsh wrote:

«the Main reason for the comparative study reflects the basic nature of social scientific research; it almost always is unable to use the experimental method… More specifically, we can identify two main reasons, why the comparative analysis is significant: firstly, to avoid ethnocentrism in the analysis, secondly, to compile, verify and, accordingly, to reformulate theory and related concepts and hypotheses about the relationship between political phenomena».[1]

Political scientists originally approached comparative politics through the study of political institutions. Comparative politics is essentially about comparing patterns of politics in different countries and is valid once we can show that institutions (their design and operation) do follow patterns.[2] Some models, the US, for example, have shaped the institutions of other countries and comparative politics can be the study of how this system operates in different contexts.

The character of political society cannot be explained without taking into consideration how government institutions work.[3] Group politics, social forces and economic changes may all have an impact upon what governments do, but the rules of government itself cannot be reduced to social forces or economic interests.

The legal and institutional structure of any society will be independently influential in determining the character of its power relationships.[4] These power relationships will, in turn, have a considerable impact on people’s political, social and economic behavior.

In the framework of such an approach appears the chance to adequately cover the key to the typology of political systems issues such as the types and models of democracy and dictatorship; the horizontal and vertical, functional and territorial division of authorities and the essential characteristics and forms of the states and its most important institutions (legislative, executive, judicial, administrative apparatus); the ratio of categories, etc.[5]

The answer to these questions gives a comparative measurement of different political systems, on the basis of which is their typology. If you look only on some one side of the analysis (level of administration or the level of democracy and the structure of state bodies or mechanism of the formation of authorities, etc). it can create a distorted picture of the political system and lead to an error concerning its type.[6]

 

 The choice of the political regimes: could it be closely connected with the economic development?

There is no doubt that the level and nature of the economic system of any state depends largely on and predetermine by the political environment: the form of political government and the political regime, the nature of the political power and the level of its legitimacy, the level of development of civil society, the personality of the political leader of the country, the composition of the political elite, the degree of development of the political system of the country and etc.[7]

Practically there is no such political movement, which does not reflect the economic interests, or the economic system, in the preservation of which the political order is advocated would be the most important factor.

The political system of a society cannot function normally, without an appropriate economic security of political processes. Practice shows that the impact of the economic system on the political, manifests itself in many ways. Firstly, the coming to power of this or that politician, or the party (political bloc) is predetermined by the program of economic activities that they undertake to implement in the case of the acquisition of power.[8]

It is impossible not to notice, that in modern democratic countries the leaders (political parties) who have come to power are required to perform and, as a rule, carry out the economic program that was putted in the course of pre-election struggle. And many of the candidates, who proposed new economic transformations, won the elections.

The influence of the economic system on the political, manifests itself in the fact that the level and state of development of the economy initiate and stimulate the also-politically-directed processes and activities: the reform, restructuring, etc.[9] The low level of economic development of the country, and especially the crisis in the economy give rise to state-political measures aimed at lifting the economy out of the crisis condition. The high level of economic development of the country also does not leave policy indifferent.[10]

There are several states with a relatively high level of life of the people, in general with prosperous economics, which in the form of the rule relate to the absolute monarchies. The reason for success lies in the fact that these countries belong to the producers of crude oil. It is known, for example, that a lot of countries `with outstanding economic performance kept stable authoritarian system. Among them are… Spain, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and a number of other`. [11]

The studies of the western experts show that, the transition to a democratic regime (its pace and scope) largely depends on the level of economic development and organization of the economic system of the state. There are some regularities:

1) for the transition to a democratic political regime, the most favorable the decentralized economy with the limited control of the government, respectively least favorable conditions are at a rigid system of state rule of economy;
2) the higher base level of economic development, the easier the country stands on the path of democratic changes.[12]

Various political regimes dictate different types of organization and functioning of the economic sphere.
So, the totalitarian regime in the former USSR conformed to the planned from the center the economic system.[13] This in itself assumed the absence of private ownership that is public property in its two forms – the government’s and kolkhoz-cooperative.

China, Russia and Germany have proven that democracy is not at all the cause of economic growth and have made great strides without democracy. Russia and China is well do without democracy, rejecting and condemning Western political model. Modern democratic nation become democratic only when their economic growth reached its peak and went into decline.[14] And the example of China proves that democracy is not a necessary condition for economic development.[15]


 

[1]Cравнительная политология. для бакалавров : [учебное пособие по направлению подготовки 030200 “Политология”]http://books.google.lv/books?id=FyaC_zXxYAQC&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=%D0%A2%D0%BE%D0%BC+%D0%9C%D1%8D%D0%BA%D0%B8+%D0%B8+%D0%94%D1%8D%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%B4+%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%88&source=bl&ots=nMWH-BqUMt&sig=vtyxngCRnto2dzF0JTBlXrn_WYU&hl=ru&sa=X&ei=g451Ubi8FJLT4QS4xIHoDQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%D0%A2%D0%BE%D0%BC%20%D0%9C%D1%8D%D0%BA%D0%B8%20%D0%B8%20%D0%94%D1%8D%D0%B2%D0%B8%D0%B4%20%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%88&f=false

[2] Comparative politics. Institutions as a basis for comparison. B. Kissane, G. Philip. 2011 http://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/sites/default/files/programme_resources/lse/lse_pdf/subject_guides/ps2082_ch1-3.pdf

[3] Ibid page 15

[4] Ibid page 15

[5] Сравнительная политология. (В.М Долгов) http://rudocs.exdat.com/docs/index-3158.html?page=47

[6] Сравнительная политология. (В.М Долгов) http://rudocs.exdat.com/docs/index-3158.html?page=47

[7] Влияние экономики на политические процессы в обществе. http://www.m-economy.ru/art.php?nArtId=814

[8] Влияние экономики на политические процессы в обществе. http://www.m-economy.ru/art.php?nArtId=814

[9] Влияние экономики на политические процессы в обществе. http://www.m-economy.ru/art.php?nArtId=814

[10] Курс политологии: Учебник.-2-е изд., испр. и доп.-М.: ИНФРА-М, 2002.   С.289

[11] Международный журнал социальных наук. М., 1993. С.6.

[12] Курс политологии: Учебник.-2-е изд., испр. и доп.-М.: ИНФРА-М, 2002. С.315.

[13] Политические режимы. http://do.gendocs.ru/docs/index-60515.html?page=8#1992336

[14] Политические режимы. http://do.gendocs.ru/docs/index-60515.html?page=8#1992336

[15] Развитие невозможно без демократии. http://vozrojdenie.info/analysis/1584-mif-o-demokratii.html

EU External Policy as a Model for Cooperation

Climate change, geopolitical uncertainty, and changes in the global economic balance-each of these calls is one of the manifestations of very uncomfortable truth: the dependence of the world from the increasing consumption of energy. The geopolitical implications of the growth in global demand for oil and gas are difficult to predict. The fields of oil and gas in the world are located unevenly. Transportation of hydrocarbons is often exposed to risks, and projects for production have in mind their implementation in more unfriendly parts of the world. In these circumstances, its necessary to move away from the traditional understanding that energy is a matter of national security, because it is the question of European security.

The complex and hybrid nature of European integration, from which stems the complexity of EU external energy policy, is defined by three different dimensions, following which, we may say that its external policy is a combination of an international organization and international actor. Besides international actors exist important EU actors as the Commission, the Parliament, the Council and other important actors as the Member States which have a say in energy foreign policy. The aim of external dimension of the EU energy policy is to ensure its security by diversifying its natural gas supply. Therefore, the external policy of the EU may serve as a model for cooperation with other countries/ partners.


Historical Background

 Energy policy is most important political issue for today, as it is tied to climate change, making it the topic of high priority within the EU. Energy policies in the past mainly were made at the national level and the areas of disagreement up for today include the energy mix of countries and the problem how to find future energy investment. Therefore now energy challenges are better met at EU level, thus creating integration process, which is rooted in energy issues.

The beginning of the integration of Europe marked the ‘Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community’ signed in 1951, at the same time was set up a common custom union. The aim of the treaty was collective control over commodities, which were essential for warfare and reconstruction. [1] Following this, the Euratom Treaty on civil nuclear energy was entered, creating of the European Economic Community. The idea of nuclear energy was born after crisis affecting the Suez Canal in 1956, which served as the main route for oil from the Middle East to Europe. [2]

But external energy policy of the Euratom remained restricted to technical assistance in nuclear safety to the former Soviet Union. Another oil shocks of 1973 and 1979 put a security based approach under doubt. As the oil sector became one of the most strategic political areas, a political effect of the crises brought nationalization of energy policies.[3] Thus sea-bordering states began to build their own oil terminals and both electricity and gas supply were considered even more important questions of a national sovereignty.

After such policy developments, appeared two consequences. Firstly, the new European States strategies of energy diversification by developing the nuclear energy lost its actuality because of public didn’t accept such energy option; and secondly, very high level of politicization of energy policies, which reduced a Europeanization in this field.[4]

The first oil crisis of 1973 made member states to take a Directive 73/238/EC of the Council on measures concerning oil supplies, which was a response to the energy crisis but didn’t result in a common foreign energy security policy of the member states.[5] In the later state of the development of EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, the issue of energy security remained always marginal but it never became a subject of the EU’s external policies.


EU actors – and their role

The complex and hybrid nature of European integration, from which stems the complexity of EU external energy policy, is defined by three different dimensions.

First dimension defines the EU in realist terms, in which states form a geopolitical union, but keeps political control over such security issues as nuclear weapons; second dimension is seen as a functionalist economic integration in which exists a single European market and economic block at the international level; and third dimension explains the EU as a post-modern empire which exerts influence over the external world by exporting its integration model.[6] Following this, we may say that its external policy is a combination of an international organization and international actor.

Besides international actors exist, important EU actors as the Commission, the Parliament, the Council and other important actors as the Member States  have a say in energy foreign policy. The EU Commission initiates legislation and thus has considerable influence, as it may withdraw a legislative draft, but it has no decisive say. Being the executive body it also monitors the implementation of energy legislation.[7] As a Commissioner, who is proposed by the government of his home country, heads each policy area, the character of its power affects the stance taken by the Commission.

The EU Council and the EU Parliament are central actors in the legislative process. The EU Council has representatives from Member States on Energy and keeps focus on States interests. The EU Parliament as the second legislative body, takes part in all important energy policy decisions. In the Parliament decision-making on energy policy is strongly influenced by political preferences.[8]

Outside the institutional level, the most important actors are the Member States. Their influence appears through their energy ministers in the EU Council. It’s noticeable, that the EU can only act in areas for which the Member States gave the EU the competence to act. For example, a Member State competence is the energy mix and such indicators as national preferences, available natural resources, industrial reasons and energy foreign policy have influence on what kind of mix a country has. [9]

Thus, a difference in the energy-mix leads to differing interests. In order to strengthen energy security in the EU, the demand on energy solidarity was included in the Lisbon Treaty, as if some EU members are dependent on one supplier, such as Russia, in the gas sector, it will make the affected countries more nervous about their energy security that those countries which have a diversification in suppliers. [10]

Another important role also play the international and national energy companies in the EU via associations in the Economic and Social Committee and direct contacts with EU MEPs or members of the Commission. Mostly the liberalization process in the energy sector is handled with big time lags within the EU, but some national champions such as France’s EDF and Germany’s RWE gained some influence, as well.

The key priority of the EU is completion of the internal energy market, as liberalization process.[11] However, this process remains incomplete. Being an international actor which is exporting its liberalization model beyond its borders, it becomes model for non-EU members to follow.


External energy policy as a model for cooperation

The EU has cooperation agreements with all neighbor countries, including the southern Mediterranean-rim countries, a framework developed within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Among the general cooperation is agreement on European Economic Area. In terms of energy policy, Norway will remain one of the Union’s most important partners, being important supplier of oil and gas for the EU. Cooperation between Norway and the EU is governed in the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). Under the EEA, customs duties were abolished and 80% of the EU’s single-market regulations apply. [12]

Another form of general cooperation is accession negotiations, an instrument with which the EU may apply its legal order to partner countries. A new member, Croatia, has a great potential for wind and solar energy, along with this, being important energy transit country for southeastern Europe and central Asia.[13]

Within the framework of the European Energy Community Treaty, Croatia became transit country for electricity and an important partner in realizing the Nabucco gas pipeline. Another potential candidate in ongoing negotiations is Turkey, which plays a central role as an energy hub.

The European Neighborhood policy (ENP) as a form of cooperation, holds agreements between the EU and the countries of eastern Europe and the Mediterranean, which includes mainly energy policy cooperation. Since its creation, the ENP has been developed into separate blocks- the Eastern Partnership and the Union for the Mediterranean. Partner countries in Eastern Partnership, in particular Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine are important transit countries and however, the interest is remains in diversification of fossil-fuel supplies and the expansion of nuclear energy, in case of Ukraine. [14]

The Union for the Mediterranean is an evolution of previous Mediterranean policy. Such countries as, Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauretania, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, Turkey are now Monaco, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina also members of the Union for the Mediterranean. Declaration of the Union for the Mediterranean’s summit along with Solar Plan, include energy project, with German and French participation. [15] The Solar Plan focuses on expansion of renewable energy technologies.

Another aspect is cooperation with Russia and Central Asia. The European Union is the largest consumer of Russian energy products, as Russia is the largest single external supplier of oil to the EU. In 2013, Russia delivered approximately 161.1 billion cubic meters to European Countries, its about 30% of Europe’s gas supply.[16] 50% of the EU oil supply also was imported from Russia.

The aim of external dimension of the EU energy policy is to ensure its security by diversifying its natural gas supply.[17] The plan is to create new gas pipelines, which are supposed to supply the EU with gas from Middle East, the Caucasus and the Central Asian region. Such projects include: the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline; a pipeline connecting Turkey, Greece and Italy; a pipeline connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania; the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline and South-Eastern European Pipeline.[18]

Currently, the most promising project is the Trans-Anatolia Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that would start at the border of Georgia and Turkey and deliver gas to the border of Turkey and Bulgaria and thus through the ‘short’ Nabucco transport the gas to Central Europe. Such projects have also geopolitical aspects as they can lead to reduction Russia’s impact in the areas of interest of its foreign policy.

Along with Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have the world’s second largest reserves of oil and gas. Kazakhstan has three times higher the oil reserves of the North Sea whilst in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan the gas reserves are the 5th and 8th highest in the world. [19] Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are major suppliers of uranium to the EU. Cooperation between EU and Central Asia takes place under the Baku initiative that enhances energy and transport cooperation between the EU and the states of the Black and Caspian Seas.

In November 2006 in Astana four priorities for cooperation in energy field were adopted: energy market convergence; energy security; sustainable energy development and investment. [20] INOGATE programme provides funding for energy cooperation for each of the four priorities.

Also an important cooperation is Gulf Cooperation Council. It is the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf that consists of six members: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The states of the Gulf region don’t belong to the EU’s neighbours, however, they are among Europe’s most important suppliers of energy with the exports of oil and gas.


Current developments and future challenges

Currently, several strategy papers are defining energy developments on EU level, the most important of which are: ‘Energy 2020. A strategy for competitive sustainable and secure energy’ published in 2010 and ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’ published in 2011. ‘Energy 2020’ aims to achieve an energy-efficient Europe; to complete the internal energy market; to empower consumers and achieve the highest level of safety and security; and to strengthen the external dimension of the EU energy market. [21] The ‘Energy Roadmap 2050’ is also a strategy paper, but with a longer time-frame, which aims to provide planning certainty for investment. Commission predicts in general, are the increasing household expenditures for energy and energy related products.

Energy has now become a prominent issue in all EU’s external political dialogues. Energy cooperation with major suppliers such as Russia, the Middle East and countries of the European Neighborhood Policy are in high priority whilst energy cooperation with rising powers from the Global South seems to be missed. This is more case for external energy relations with BRICs as it not only serves as new consumers of scares resources but also most visible China’s rise as the worlds biggest investor in wind technologies. Thus one of the major challenges that the EU is facing is the establishment of a multipolar world order with emerging powers.

The strong control of Russian state over production and supply to Europe became clear in the Sakhalin –II dispute in 2006. Apart from control over domestic energy resources, Russia imposes strong control over its energy transit network, what weakens internal European efforts to establish common energy policy.[22] Oil and gas exports from Africa are expected to triple by 2030.

However, because of the rising demand, the USA and China have also their plans on Africa’s energy resources, what significantly poses an external problem to the EU’s energy policy. Gas imports from the Middle Eastern region are only 1.5% of Europe’s total gas imports. Dependence on oil and gas from the region brings several problems for the EU’s energy policy, such as unclear situation concerning Iran’s nuclear weapons programme and background of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as transportation of products to Europe faces more risks than their production.[23] Therefore the safest way is to become less dependent on external developments is to explore opportunities at home. However, the question of international industrial competitiveness rises, what implicates energy-taxes.

The existence of agreements that currently is available to the EU helps to expand its cooperation with partner countries in the alternative energy sector. The Lisbon Treaty strengthened the political value of the topic of energy, however without transferring additional decision-making power to community institutions. Nevertheless, energy documents are issued by both the European Commission and the European Parliament which implement principles, goals and laws and regulation that affect Member States and actors within the EU, and also determine the content of external energy policy.

The problem of the common voice is on the agenda in connection with different energy characteristics and interest of member states. Thus, the EU faces a range of complex external problems in developing an energy policy. Cooperation with Russia and China remains the most difficult, as these both countries disproved the EU’s model of market liberalization. Thus, adherence to the EU internal energy policy agenda, which aims to transform market at international level, doesn’t in fact always benefit EU external energy policy objectives.


 

[1]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page 2 http://gef.eu/uploads/media/History_of_EU_energy_policy.pdf

[2]EU external energy policies. Andrei Belyi, University of Dundee. POLINARES working paper n. 69. December 2012. Page 3 http://www.polinares.eu/docs/d5-1/polinares_wp5_chapter3.pdf

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid page 4

[5] Ibid page 4

[6] Europe’s Global Role: External Policies of the European Union. Jan Orbie. Ashgate Pub. , 2009. Page 203 http://books.google.lv/books?id=R8cd6JCEqAMC&pg=PA203&dq=external+energy+policy+european+union&hl=ru&sa=X&ei=avdkVKG7EMj4ywP6t4CQBw&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=external%20energy%20policy%20european%20union&f=false

[7]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page 3 http://gef.eu/uploads/media/History_of_EU_energy_policy.pdf

[8]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page 4 http://gef.eu/uploads/media/History_of_EU_energy_policy.pdf

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12]The External Relations of the EU in energy policy. Issue paper ERENE. Berlin, December 2010. Heinrich Boll Foundation ed. Page 20 http://www.erene.org/downloads/2011-02_The_external_relations_of_the_EU_in_energy_policy.pdf

[13] Ibid

[14] Ibid page 3

[15] Ibid page 3

[16]Russia Ready to Boost Energy Cooperation with EU. 14.10.2014. http://sputniknews.com/world/20141014/194055525/Lavrov-Russia-Ready-to-Boost-Energy-Cooperation-With-EU.html

[17]Controversial Issues in the EU-Russia Energy Relations. Tichy Lukas. CENAA Analysis. http://cenaa.org/analysis/controversial-issues-in-the-eu-russia-energy-relations/

[18] Ibid

[19]Central Asia-Energy. Development and Cooperation-EUROPEAID. https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/regions/central-asia/eu-central-asia-energy-cooperation_en

[20] Ibid

[21]From the ECSC to the Energy Roadmap 2050. EU energy policy. Susanne Langsdorf. December 2011. Green European Foundation. Page7 http://gef.eu/uploads/media/History_of_EU_energy_policy.pdf

[22] External Problems for Europe’s energy policy- a brief geopolitical analysis. Elmar Hellendoorn, College of Europe, March 2009. http://www.exploringgeopolitics.org/Publication_Hellendoorn_Elmar_External_Problems_Europe_Energy_Policy_Geopolitical_Analysis.html

[23] Ibid

Pretend you’ve read it: Europe: A History by Norman Davies (3)

Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe and their consequences in 16th to middle of 17th century

 

Thinking about Reformation its worth to remember about the epoch of Renaissance. The Renaissance cannot be easily defined. It always discussed to note a period when prospered the study of classics, the art was flourishing and new inventions were introduced. However the world of Renaissance and Reformation was also the world of astrology, folk cures, omens and ghosts. Magic in that time continued to interact with religion and science. The Renaissance also was called the epoch of “rebirth” because it was encouraged by the studying of classical texts and helped to understand the world in a different way.

Therefore the Renaissance and Reformation can be tied together by the reason that the epoch of “rebirth” brought a flow of new ideas and with the invention of printing press, helped to spread these ideas. Among the ideas raised a belief in individualism which convinced the human ability to choose between good and bad, right and wrong. So called “l’uomo universale” or complete man[1] has appeared. The influence of the Catholic Church was enormous and it proclaimed that salvation for the people would be found only within the church. And the openness to new ideas allowed to Marin Luther to introduce a challenge to the church with the bible passage that just by the faith, the soul can be saved.

The important bound between the secular Renaissance and the religious Reformation was provided by the rise of biblical scholarship that was based on the study of original Hebrew and Greek texts. The concept of humanism in the epoch of Renaissance shifted the theocratic world view to the man-centered view. In religious thought, it was a necessary precondition for Protestant emphasis on the individual conscience.[2]

But unlike humanism, the Reformation intruded to the deepest devotional traditions of the Middle Ages and affected not only scholars but the masses. The Renaissance and Reformation grew in a very different directions and the similar split developed within the movement for Church reform. This church revival was divided into two movements, known as the Catholic Reformation and the Protestant Reformation.

The Catholic Church was on the edge of collapse-as a result of corruption and it couldn’t any longer provide for spiritual needs of the people. Arbitrariness of churchmen, their luxurious life, drinking parties created a church consisted of “unholy men in holy orders”. Other cause of the Reformation was the long-term economic hardship in some parts of Europe such as in German and its depressed condition of peasants was blamed on Church greed.

The price inflation during that time also served as an economic cause. Mainly the middle class protested against the church because it was dominated by the upper classes and was administrated for their benefits. Middle class had to bear all brunt of taxation while nobles were free from taxation.[3]

Another reason for Reformation was the rise of nation-states and the establishing of absolute rule of monarchy. The existence of church was a serious check on the authority of monarchs and the church was outside the authority of the King, so the property of the church was excluded from taxation to royal family. The establishing of new Protestant churches meant for monarchs that the churches would be depended upon them and accepts the political authority.

The immediate cause of the Reformation was Martin’s Luther’s reaction to the sale of indulgences. It led the start to the Reformation and introduction of 95 theses published in 1517. Luther received some support from German prince who was interested in seeking tax relief from Rome. Luther proclaimed that God was able to endow human with his grace in answer to his sincere faith, therefore, the Church in the form in which it was presented by Catholics, is unnecessary link in this chain.

The role of the priest was not to mediate between God and man, but to show man the way, following which he will be able to achieve the divine grace. With this purpose Luther suggested to eliminate sharp borders existing between clergy and laity. The process of worship significantly simplified, and the Church was deprived of numerous attributes of icons, elaborate rituals and rites.

The head of the Church became a secular ruler of a single country or a city. This provision of the Lutheran creed was especially advantageous to numerous German princes, because it deprived them from the dependence of the Church and the Pope and made them the rightful rulers of their own land. The result of the efforts of Luther and Calvin was the emergence of a new stream of Christianity-Protestantism, which was not adopted by the Catholic Church.

The effect of Protestantism was seen in every sphere of European life. The major impact on education in the Protestant countries made the necessity of Bible-reading. In economic sphere it made a contribution to the rise of capitalism. In politics it proved the contention between states and rival groupings within states. [4]

The Counter-Reformation was born to oppose the Protestant Reformation. It was the period of Catholic revival which began with the Council of Trent in 1545 and ended with the Thirty Years’ War in 1648. [5] The first act of confrontation to Protestantism was the formation of the Jesuit order. Ignatius Loyola and his supporters formed a society which is intended to contribute to the restoration of the Catholic Church and the power of the Pope.

The principal obligation, which assumed the Jesuits, was to blindly obey everything that is told by current and future Pope.[6] One of the important tasks of the order was political activity: intrigue at the courts of kings and princes, espionage, performing a delicate diplomatic assignment to eliminate unwanted politicians. The reaction against Luther and his followers was met by the Council of Trent under the guidance of Pope Paul III, Julius III and Pious IV. It confirmed that Church alone could interpret the Scriptures and that the true religion was derived from Catholic tradition. [7]

The impact of the Counter-Reformation was felt across the Europe. Counter-reformation has found an ally in the absolutist power in Spain and Portugal, the principality of southern Germany and in Italy. Philip II, building on the strengths of his vast powers and international unions, led the attack on Protestantism throughout the Europe. He sought to destroy the most powerful citadel of Protestantism – the British monarchy.

And also the situation in German lands, they became the center of confrontation between the two religious-political coalitions. The policy of the papacy aggravated not only the internal political situation in European countries, but was complicating the international relations. Not accidentally, at the conclusion of the peace of Westphalia of 1648, which ended the Thirty Year’s war, [8]the Pope was not given any role, despite the protests of the Holy See. And the papal throne ceased to be the main center of European politics.

Nevertheless, the consequences of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in the intellectual sphere firstly were generally unfavorable, but ultimately proved to be beneficial. The Thirty Years ‘ war has convinced everyone that neither Protestant nor Catholics fully it is impossible to overcome and therefore appeared the possibility to discard the medieval hope for the establishment of the unity of the faith, and this increased the freedom of people to think for themselves even about the most fundamental issues.

 


 

[1] Davies, Norman. Europe: A. History – Oxford, New York, 1996.- P. 471

[2] Ibid p. 479

[3] What are the causes of Reformation in Europe? Preserve Articles. http://www.preservearticles.com/2011090713147/what-are-the-causes-of-reformation-in-europe.html

[4] Davies, Norman. Europe: A. History – Oxford, New York, 1996.- P. 494

[5] Davies, Norman. Europe: A. History – Oxford, New York, 1996.- P. 496

[6] An Orthodox Response to the Recent Roman Catholic Declaration on the Nature of the Church. Fr. John Morris. October 2007 issue of the world magazine. http://www.antiochian.org/node/17076

[7] Davies, Norman. Europe: A. History – Oxford, New York, 1996.- P. 496-497

[8] Treaty of Westphalia. Leibnitiana. University of Houston. http://www.gwleibniz.com/britannica_pages/westphalia_treaty/westphalia_treaty.html