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Vladimír Naxera and Petr Krčál

Abstract

This paper is a contribution to the academic debate on populism and Islamophobia in contemporary Europe. Its goal is to analyze Czech President Miloš Zeman’s strategy in using the term “security” in his first term of office. Methodologically speaking, the text is established as a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis (CAQDAS) of a data set created from all of Zeman’s speeches, interviews, statements, and so on, which were processed using MAXQDA11+. This paper shows that the dominant treatment of the phenomenon of security expressed by the President is primarily linked to the creation of the vision of Islam and immigration as the absolute largest threat to contemporary Europe. Another important finding lies in the fact that Zeman instrumentally utilizes rhetoric such as “not Russia, but Islam”, which stems from Zeman’s relationship to Putin’s authoritarian regime. Zeman’s conceptualization of Islam and migration follows the typical principles of contemporary right-wing populism in Europe.

Open access

Nikola Brzica

Abstract

In the 21st century, warfare has evolved into a challenge that many countries are ill prepared to face. In contrast to the warfare of yesterday, victory is not defined by defeating an opposing military force, but rather defeating their ability to pursue political objectives by violent, often unconventional, means. Increasingly, these unconventional means are based on asymmetries between the two opposing forces.

A plethora of definitions for the term ‘asymmetric conflict’ exist, but they can largely be summarized by a general idea that one side in a conflict, due to its own failings or its opponents’ strength, is unable to achieve its political aims through conventional (i.e. symmetric) military means. Because of this, the weaker side uses new ideas, weapons and tactics in a manner that is not expected, exploiting surprise to undermine the relative strength(s) of their opponent (Lele, 2014). The character of contemporary asymmetric threats can be analyzed through a framework of several key characteristics, which will be described in this paper. Understanding this framework, particularly in light of the horizontal transfer of technology, tactics, organization structure and procedures between emerging asymmetric threats may contribute to better understanding of such threats.

Open access

Laura Panades-Estruch

Abstract

Fieldwork is the bridge between academia and practice. Often, this bridge is not crossed due to lack of guidance, time and practical experience. Academics are left on their own to guess what would work best. In facilitating this, this article assesses the methods used in a case study of doctoral fieldwork at the European Parliament within the civil service. Findings include identifying optimum methods to plan, develop and execute doctoral fieldwork.

This research is structured in four parts, which covers a literature review on fieldwork in the social sciences, the case study, the methodologies used, and a problem-solving section giving tips to succeed at fieldwork. Findings include a selection of methodologies which include participant observation and note-taking. These methodologies assist in improving skills such as time management, working under high pressure and delivering quality reports with attention to detail, which are fundamental for a successful academic career.

The experience covered in this article will assist academics in designing their fieldworks at all levels of their careers. The methods described are transferrable to fieldworks across legal, political and policy-making institutions.

Open access

Orsat Miljenić

Abstract

The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) in its Part III which regulates standards of protection guaranteed to foreign investors by the ECT States members, together with the Article 24 of the ECT, constitutes a kind of autonomous investment treatment within the ECT. The ECT provides for a very broad spectrum of standards of protection: fair and equitable treatment; most constant protection and security; prohibition of unreasonable or discriminatory measures; „umbrella clause”; national treatment; most favoured-nation standard and effective means to assert the claims. It can be said that at the time of its drafting the ECT enclosed all standards of protection as recognized in BITs and NAFTA. There have been more than 100 publicly known investment arbitration cases where the ECT was invoked, more than 30 of which concluded by arbitral awards. This comprehensive arbitral practice strongly influences the practice applying other IIAs and vice versa.

Open access

Lyudmyla Deshko

Abstract

This article lists the content and deals with the criteria for assessing the presence or absence of material damage suffered by the applicant to the European Court of Human Rights, the subject of entrepreneurship, as a new condition for the admissibility of an individual application. The article establishes that the list and content of the criteria for assessing the presence or absence of material damage suffered by the applicant to the European Court of Human Rights are different for individuals and for legal entities – business entities. Moreover, the article initiates a discussion on the list and content of these criteria for the subjects of entrepreneurship – the applicants to the European Court of Human Rights. In the light of the Court’s practice, the author reveals their content as well as legal categories such as ‘substantial harm’, ‘financial harm’, ‘pecuniary damage’, ‘non-pecuniary damage’ incurred by the applicant, the subject of entrepreneurship, and highlights the issues to which objectives may be caused by ‘moral harm’ in case of violation of the rights of the subject of entrepreneurship.

Open access

Dejan Jović

Abstract

This paper focuses on perceptions of the European Union (EU) and external actors (such as the United States, Russia, and Turkey) in six countries of the Western Balkans (WB) and Croatia in a comparative perspective. We present data generated by public opinion polls and surveys in all countries of that region in order to illustrate growing trends of EU indifferentism in all predominately Slavic countries of the region. In addition, there is an open rejection of pro-EU policies by significant segments of public opinion in Serbia and in the Republic of Srpska, Bosnia-Herzegovina. On the contrary, there is much enthusiasm and support for the West in general and the EU in particular in predominately non-Slavic countries, Kosovo and Albania. We argue that the WB as a region defined by alleged desire of all countries to join the the EU is more of an elite concept than that shared by the general population, which remains divided over the issue of EU membership. In explaining reasons for such a gap we emphasise a role of interpretation of the recent past, especially when it comes to a role the West played in the region during the 1990s.

Open access

Ladislav Cabada and Šárka Waisová

Abstract

Even after achieving its goals, i.e. the entrance of member states into NATO and the EU, the Visegrad Group has managed to profile itself as a significant collective actor. Analyses to date clearly show that the group is able to function as a distinct and even key actor in various policies, including those within the EU; this statement is without doubt valid primarily for the region of the European neighborhood policy and the Eastern partnership, but also for enlargement policy and its clear targeting of the Western Balkans. We can also observe a highly proactive approach in issues linked to security, primarily in the energy sector and recently also cyber security. Nonetheless, all of these and many other significant V4 activities have been overshadowed of late by dispute between the group and a significant portion of members states on perspectives regarding the migration crisis including the tools to deal with it or preventive measures to prevent it from continuing or repeating. This stance on the issue, however, can be seen as proof of the relative power and success of the V4.

Open access

Ladislav Cabada

Abstract

This study considers the plethora of contemporary institutional frameworks for Central European cooperation. While the Visegrad Group has been the most visible and stable format for Central European cooperation in recent history, it has been challenged by a number of alternative or complementary projects. These include the Austrian concept of Strategic/Regional Partnership, the Austrian-Czech-Slovak project Austerlitz-Formate/Nord‑Trilaterale, the Polish-Croatian Three Seas Initiative and the European Union’s macro‑regional Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). I focus on the development and prospects of each of these projects as well the rivalries among them and their intersections ot interference with one another. This survey then turns to the future Central European constellations suggested by the very different cooperation trajectories within the region. My thesis is that the region’s identity has been challenged by offers to merge with Europe’s West. Central European cooperation must find new challenges and themes if it is to survive.

Open access

Christina Griessler

Abstract

This contribution explores the Visegrad Four’s (V4) foreign policy initiatives in the Western Balkans by considering each state’s interests and policies and the evolution of joint V4 objectives. My underlying hypothesis is that the foreign policy‑related behaviour of individual states is shaped by certain roles that they assume and by their national interests. This work uses role theory to explain the V4 states’ foreign policies both generally and in the specific case of the Western Balkans. The V4 have prioritised cooperation with this region, and I analyse the programmes of the last four V4 presidencies (Slovakia 2014-2015, the Czech Republic 2015-2016, Poland 2016-2017 and Hungary 2017-2018) to reveal key foreign policy objectives and explore why they were selected. At the same time, I examine the interests of each V4 country and the reasons for their joint attention to the Western Balkan region. My analysis shows that the V4 perceive themselves as supportive and constructive EU and NATO members and see their policies as reflective of European values. Moreover, they believe they should contribute to EU enlargement by sharing experiences of economic and political transformation with the Western Balkan states and serving as role models.