Policy Crossover Center
Vienna - Europe

Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs

Policy Brief 1/2019



The following analysis is devoted to the upcoming European Parliament elections and the likely impact of populist parties on the outcome. First we define populism, then we analyze its roots and the structure of its voters. The populist political agenda relating to the European Integration Project is twofold: partly an explicit request for a renationalisation of economic policy, partly a hidden agenda to prompt countries to exit from the EU. The study proposes an alternative proactive agenda, starting with an impartial account of progress and problems. It then puts forth a vision of Europe as a role model for high income, low inequality regions, with a new view of globalization, migration, and partnership with neighbors. This narrative of Europe as the society offering the broadest choices for its citizens could reconnect the EU with its citizens, as well as stimulate bottom-up innovations and activities.

Policy Brief 2/2018



Cooperation in education and partnerships with non-European neighbours in the East and South will shape the future of the ageing continent as well as the role of Europe in the globalising world. This is grossly neglected in policy, the media and public opinion. One reason is that the importance of education to incomes and well-being is generally well known, but not adequately reflected in the current strategy of the EU or its member countries. As a consequence Europe also does not invest in cooperation and stability in its potentially dynamic neighbourhood. The possibility and necessity of an education-based partnership with neighbours is the core of the strategy we propose. 

This report recalls the benefits of education for individuals and societies. More closely connecting education to the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the UN Agenda 2030 is recommended. Education is the best contribution Europe can offer for ending poverty and increasing growth and stability in the European Neighbourhood, as opposed to “silk roads” or other megaprojects, or fighting terrorism through military interventions. The European Neighbourhood in this study is defined as the non-European countries in the East, the Black Sea area, the Middle East and North Africa; in the wider sense it also includes Sub-Saharan Africa. Education is also defined in a broader sense as including investment in problem and conflict solving, governance and rule of law, social innovations, informal competencies and cultural dialogue. 

The report carves out preconditions for an education-based strategy and suggests general principles that Europe has to follow to maximise the impact of this strategy in a quickly changing world. It makes a rough estimate of how much additional investment of Europe is needed, and how it can be financed with a minimal direct burden on taxpayers. Accounting also for the long-run returns of the education-based strategy, a net advantage for European finance can be envisaged. 

The final goal of the study is to delineate partnerships with non-European neighbours built on mutual learning and understanding that will allow Europe to shape “responsible” globalisation and enjoy rising incomes, social cohesion and well-being at home. Creating jobs in the source countries of migration is more efficient and welfare increasing than “a Europe that protects” through military force and new fences – a message important for next the EU presidencies and election campaigns.

Policy Brief 1/2018



Die Europäische Union leidet seit Jahren an schwacher wirtschaftlicher Dynamik und beschäftigt sich vornehmlich mit internen Problemen. Strukturelle Schwachstellen wie Ungleichheit, Jugendarbeitslosigkeit und Schulden bleiben hoch. Dabei versäumt es Europa, das hohe Wachstum der europäischen Nachbarn im Süden und im Osten als Turbo für neue Dynamik zu nutzen. Diese Regionen sind seit 2000 mit 4,5 % pro Jahr dreimal so schnell gewachsen wie die EU-Länder. Eine neue Partnerschaft könnte beitragen, in diesen Ländern regionale Konflikte und Bürgerkriege einzudämmen und damit die Ursachen der Fluchtbewegung an der Wurzel zu bekämpfen. Im Zentrum partnerschaftlicher Aktivitäten müssen Investitionen, Bildung und Wissenstransfer stehen. Ein Austauschprogramm für Schulen, StudentInnen, LehrerInnen, aber auch für FacharbeiterInnen soll entwickelt werden. In Partnerschaft mit Europa kann Afrika zum Vorreiter ökologischer Lösungen bei Energie, Transport und Wohnbau werden. Doch muss auch Europa bestehende Hindernisse für Afrika beseitigen: Dazu zählen Subventionen, aber auch Importeinschränkungen in der Landwirtschaft, die Bereitschaft, Fluchtkapital von Potentaten aufzunehmen oder den Transfer in Steueroasen zu unterstützen. Die Bevölkerung Afrikas könnte sich laut aktuellen Berechnungen bis 2050 verdoppeln. Um diesen Zuwachs wirtschaftlich und gesellschaftlich zu verkraften, müssen in Afrika jährlich 20 Millionen Arbeitsplätze geschaffen werden. Der Bedarf an materiellen und immateriellen Investitionen in den Partnerländern liegt insgesamt bei jährlich 100 Mrd. €. Dieser Aufwand scheint enorm, entscheidet aber darüber, ob die Nachbarländer Europa destabilisieren oder ob Europa und seine Nachbarn gemeinsam Arbeitsplätze schaffen und die Globalisierung mitgestalten können.


Policy Brief 3/2017



The aim of the project is to design a policy to promote political and economic stability in the European neighbourhood, to increase its economic dynamics and to strengthen good governance. The European Partnership Policy (EPP) builds on the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and focuses on providing investment and finance, but also on stimulating endogenous firms and technologies based on a cooperative approach discussed with governments, regional authorities and civil society in the partnership countries. The new approach aims to incorporate existing initiatives and the strengths of the neighbouring countries as well as programmes at the European level and those of international organisations and NGOs. It will counteract populist and nationalist movements as well as disruptive emigration. The term European Neighbourhood refers to regions which are geographically close to the EU, but do not belong to Europe and do not have a prospect of accession: the Middle East and Africa, to the South, the Black Sea Region and the successor states of the Soviet Union, to the East. 

The current paper provides twelve elements of successful partnerships, some of which are well known, but are developed further here. Together, they may be game changers that support a more active European Partnership Policy which should be welcomed by either partner as it is liable to increase dynamics and wellbeing and reduce the potential for conflict and disruptive migration. The EU-Africa Summit in November 2017 and the planned renewal of the existing compact of the EU with Africa, the Pacific and the Carribbean (Cotonou) under the Austrian Presidency in 2018 are the rationales behind this interim report.

Policy Brief 2/2017



Political opposition to globalization is rising in industrialized countries. We analyze the impact of the so-called third wave of globalization on income, poverty, unemployment, inequality and life expectancy. The effects are in general positive for well-being, but unemployment is rather high in Europe and inequality is rising in many industrialized countries. Further differences exist according to region, occupation and skills, and the impact of globalization concurs with that of technology, policy change and migration. Political opposition against globalization is therefore rising in many countries. To regain the support of citizens in Europe and other industrialized countries, we call – partly in line with other authors and organizations – for responsible globalization and for Europe to take the lead in shaping globalization at a time when the US is retreating and China may want to shape and even finance globalization if it follows its priorities. We propose seven principles for responsible globalization to which all countries should subscribe, and sixteen game changers which may be used by partners to different degrees and according to own priorities. Such a strategy might help increase the mutual benefits of globalization and prevent the cost of re-nationalization and new borders and fences. 

Policy Brief 1/2017



New challenges can only be overcome internationally. If small countries want to play a role, the European level needs to be consolidated. However, if common solutions are poorly communicated or if there is too much interference in national priorities and individual living conditions, they will be rejected as edicts from Brussels and a return to national solutions will be demanded. In extreme cases, this can lead to exits from the EU; even if this fails to contribute to solving the problem and actually further reduces the available options and the prospects of success.

We highlight that Europe-wide regulations can actually lead to a greater scope of action at the national level. Innovative, problem-specific solutions can be developed based on national priorities due to the fact that international restrictions and leakage effects are eliminated. We demonstrate this in the case of tax regimes, fiscal and climate policy, and for globalization. Best practice examples of European policy which provided funds not feasible at the national level, but at the same time increased the options at the regional or national level and which were more efficient, can be found in the EU’s regional and research policies. From these, we derive principles for overcoming the contradiction which currently prevails between the need for common rules and the desire for decentralized solutions on the regional or national levels.