The director of the Institute of International Relations, Mr. Harry Papasotiriou, in an exclusive interview with the “European Business Review (EBR)” talking about Europe’s top agenda
He dominates China’s political system, unlike the American president, who faces very strong checks and balances from Congress and the US Supreme Court at the federal level, as well as from large states like California that in effect can impose environmental and other standards on American industry
The director of the Institute of International Relations, Mr. Harry Papasotiriou, in an exclusive interview with the “European Business Review (EBR)” talking about Europe’s top agenda: From Trump and Xi Jinping to Brexit, Turkey, FYROM and energy security.
EBR: Which political figure do you consider as the most influential for the second half of the 21st century concerning the political scene and why?
Harry Papasotiriou: The president of the United States is undoubtedly the leader of the most powerful and influential nation in the world. Nonetheless, China’s president Xi Jinping is likely to be more influential in shaping the twenty-first century. First, he seems likely to remain in power for much longer than president Trump.
Second, he dominates China’s political system, unlike the American president, who faces very strong checks and balances from Congress and the US Supreme Court at the federal level, as well as from large states like California that in effect can impose environmental and other standards on American industry.
Turkey’s next challenge? A tight monetary policy or geopolitical diplomacy?
Monetary policy is likely to be a challenge in the short run, given the lira’s decline and the rising inflationary pressures. Geopolitics are more of a medium and long-term challenge. Turkey’s relationship with the West is going through a rough phase. Will Turkey remain the West’s easternmost outpost or will it evolve in the east’s westernmost land? Under Erdogan Turkey has moved towards the latter.
What are your comments on FYROM referendum? FYROM opposition says name deal with Greece is ‘dead’. What do you believe?
The Zaev government is very likely to secure the constitutional amendments that are stipulated in the Prespes agreement. The reason is that NATO membership is at stake. Throughout southeastern Europe, the prospect of membership in the EU and NATO has been the most effective factor against nationalistic demagoguery. Hence, the nationalistic opposition in Skopje is now in retreat.
Energy: the multi-discussed sector. How do you perceive the energy security in terms of international security?
At the level of grand strategy the top priority for Europe is diversity of energy supplies, both in terms of multiple sources of oil and natural gas suppliers and in terms of kinds of energy (renewable sources, LNG, multiple pipelines).
In this context, there is strong support in the EU as well as from the United States for the energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece, Cyprus and both Israel and Egypt.
How do you see the negotiations for Brexit? what the likelihood is of reaching a deal by the end of December 2020, according to your estimations?
Essentially the contentious issue regarding Brexit pits England against both sides in Ireland. The Irish both in the Republic and in Northern Ireland want freedom of movement at their border. The hard Brexitiers, who are mostly in England, want to prevent EU citizens from being able freely to cross the Irish border.
There is not much that the EU can do in this matter. It is really something that must be resolved within the UK.
What are the future goals of the Institute of International Relations? You may mention some references of your latest research projects?
The Institute of International Relations is now more active than ever, offering dozens of conferences and seminars each year on a large variety of international relations issues.
It is also very active regarding research. About one hundred research interns cover fields such as NATO, the EU, the United States, Russia and the Eurasian Union, the Middle East, East Asia, BRIICS, Turkey and Southeast Europe, as well as a number of defense aspects including both traditional strategy as well as cyber-security, hybrid warfare and other recent international security phenomena.
One of our goals is to widen our already strong cooperation with institutes and universities outside Greece, both to present Greek perspectives on international issues abroad and to bring non-Greek perspectives here.
*Professor Harry Papasotiriou is Chairman of the Department of International, European and Area Studies at Panteion University and Director of the Institute of International Relations
**Editor-at-large & PhD candidate of European & International Relations