Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

24 April 2019

What Brexit Is Doing to Europe

JUDY DEMPSEY

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, assuming it will happen, coincides with fundamental geostrategic shifts that will have a profound impact on Europe’s future. Germany’s role will be critical for shaping the bloc’s response to these transformations. It’s not certain, however, that Berlin will provide the leadership needed to cope with such changes.

It’s easy to blame U.S. President Donald Trump for undermining the special security pact that has made Europe strong, democratic, and prosperous since 1945. But even before Trump entered the White House, the Europeans were criticized for not pulling their weight inside NATO. They took America’s security guarantee for granted.

The issue is not just about the need for the European allies to spend more on defense. The issue is about how to come to terms with the end of the post-1945 era. The multilateral institutions that the Americans built—which were also about the West setting global norms and standards—need a radical overhaul. Just consider the paralysis of the UN Security Council or the World Trade Organization. Neither is equipped to deal with the growing role of China or Russia’s disruptive foreign policy in Europe and the Middle East.

19 April 2019

How Europe learned to fear China

By BRUNO MAÇÃES

Last month, the European Commission published its much-awaited new strategic outlook on China. The document offers up sweeping judgments on China’s development strategy and 10 detailed responses. It is written in the usual technocratic jargon that is second, or even first, nature to officials in Brussels, but it also shows signs of a more political approach. China is described as a “systemic rival,” whose economic power and political influence have grown with unprecedented scale and speed.

There’s been a significant change in Europe’s attitude to Beijing. Not too long ago, Europeans shrugged at China’s rise. Overnight, it seems, their world changed. So, why did the tide turn? And how did we get here?

First, there was the story of the solar panels. European producers once enjoyed a clear first-mover advantage, and yet the industry has been all but wiped out in Europe. Look at the list of the world’s 10 largest solar-panel manufacturers. In 2001, five were European. In 2018, eight were Chinese; the other two were Canadian and South Korean.

18 April 2019

Closing Europe’s Confidence Gap

ANA PALACIO

MADRID – In Spanish, the word confianza has a double meaning. On one hand, it describes a firm trust in something or someone – the kind of trust that people around the world, from Brazil to the United States to North Africa, increasingly lack in their leaders and even governance systems. On the other hand, confianza refers to confidence in oneself – something that is in particularly short supply in Europe.

In fact, the European Union is suffering from a deficit of confianza in both senses. This is a uniquely dangerous mix, because a lack of trust and self-confidence is leading the EU not just to outsider politics and even outlaw politicians, but also to policy paralysis, public outrage, and an utter inability to determine its own destiny. Both before and after next month’s European Parliament election – which will precede a new European Commission and a new European Council president – this deficit must urgently be addressed.

Public trust in EU leaders and institutions took a serious hit after the 2008 financial crisis. By then, the original purpose of the European project – to support peace on the continent after the devastation of World War II – had lost its purchase on public opinion. Europeans had gotten used to peace. Meanwhile, “Europe” became focused on the broader – and vaguer – goal of championing “shared values.” That objective underpinned the establishment of the formal EU institutions.

Is Europe Becoming Gaullist?

ZAKI LAÏDI

Seventy-four years after the end of World War II, Europeans are still divided over competing notions of national sovereignty and regional integration. But with the rise of China and the fraying of transatlantic relations, the geostrategic vision of France’s Charles de Gaulle has inevitably returned to the fore.

PARIS – Nearly a half-century after his death, Charles de Gaulle’s star is on the rise again in Europe. In opposing the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), de Gaulle, the leader of the French Resistance against Nazi Germany and founder of France’s Fifth Republic, now looks prescient. The Brexit fiasco seems to have confirmed his view that the British do not share Europe’s destiny. Add to this the chorus of voices calling on the European Union to develop its own defense capacity, refuse US President Donald Trump’s injunctions on trade, rehabilitate the state’s role in the economy, and get tough on China, and one might conclude that Europe is becoming Gaullist in an age of American nationalism, Russian revisionism, and Chinese ambition. Ideas about European autonomy that were long dismissed as dangerous – including by the Germans who today feel the impact of power politics – are gradually becoming mainstream.

17 April 2019

How Europe learned to fear China

By BRUNO MAÇÃES

When did Europe become so afraid of China?

Last month, the European Commission published its much-awaited new strategic outlook on China. The document offers up sweeping judgments on China’s development strategy and 10 detailed responses. It is written in the usual technocratic jargon that is second, or even first, nature to officials in Brussels, but it also shows signs of a more political approach. China is described as a “systemic rival,” whose economic power and political influence have grown with unprecedented scale and speed.

There’s been a significant change in Europe’s attitude to Beijing. Not too long ago, Europeans shrugged at China’s rise. Overnight, it seems, their world changed. So, why did the tide turn? And how did we get here?

How the EU Can Take On Dirty Money, the Darker Side of Globalization

Nate Sibley 

When the European Commission recently attempted to blacklist 23 countries that it accuses of maintaining deficient systems to restrict money laundering and terrorism financing, a technocratic spat quickly escalated into a diplomatic dispute. Though only one element of sweeping reforms intended to strengthen the European Union’s own anti-money laundering regime, the list not only had the predictable effect of enraging countries included on it—such as Saudi Arabia and three U.S. territories—but also provoked insurmountable criticism from within the EU itself. The list was ultimately rejected by 27 of 28 member states after a fierce lobbying campaign, forcing the European Commission to withdraw it and come up with a new version later this year.

16 April 2019

How Israel Limited Online Deception During Its Election

By Adam Entous

Earlier this year, Hanan Melcer, the chairman of Israel’s Central Elections Committee and a veteran justice on the Supreme Court, summoned representatives from major U.S. social-media and technology companies for talks about the role he expected them to play in curbing online deception during the country’s election, which took place on Tuesday. Facebook and Google sent representatives to meet with Melcer in person. Twitter executives, who weren’t in the country, arranged for a conference call. “You say you’ve learned from 2016,” Melcer told them, according to a government official who was present. “Prove it!”

When Melcer, two years ago, assumed his role overseeing the election, he expected that covert influence campaigns by foreign adversaries, similar to Russia’s alleged interference during the 2016 U.S. Presidential race, could be his biggest challenge. But, as Melcer and his colleagues looked more closely into the issues they could face, they realized that the problem was broader than foreign interference. Russia’s campaign in the United States demonstrated that fake personas on social media could influence events. In Israel and elsewhere, political parties and their allies realized that they could use similar techniques to spread anonymous messages on the Internet and on social media to promote their candidates and undermine their rivals.

15 April 2019

Brexit and a Border Town: Troubles Ahead in Northern Ireland?

Bonnie Weir

On a Saturday night in mid-January, just days after the House of Commons rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for the first of three times, a car bomb exploded in the center of Northern Ireland’s second-largest city. Footage from a security camera trained on Derry’s Bishop Street courthouse showed a man in a balaclava jogging away from the highjacked van and a group of teenaged revelers strolling past only minutes before the bomb detonated. It was the first such attack in Northern Ireland in three years, and some observers were quick to speculate that it foreshadowed an escalation in violence that a “hard Brexit” could trigger. 

Clues as to whether this will be so, or whether Brexit merely exacerbates enduring divisions in the dislocated UK region, can be found by looking no further than Derry itself. The town of roughly 100,000 (called Londonderry by most Unionists) was carved out of the Republic of Ireland and partitioned into the UK during the 1920s. The River Foyle bifurcates Derry, with the east bank historically populated by mostly Protestants, the west bank mainly by Catholics—the latter originally crammed into the poorest areas under the ramparts into a place called the “Bog” (the area is still known as the Bogside). Housing estates, church steeples, and patches of field climb the slopes of the valley up from the banks, and from colorfully named vantage points like Piggery Ridge and Irish Street (this last, paradoxically, located on the Unionist side), the town cuts an image of a storybook place, an Inisfree or Brigadoon. 

14 April 2019

May, Merkel, Macron, and a Three-Day Brexit Countdown

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

There is something poignant about the image of Prime Minister Theresa May, of the United Kingdom, being greeted by Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, on Tuesday, in Berlin. The deadline for the United Kingdom to crash out of the European Union in a No Deal Brexit—that is, without basic rules or the shock absorber of a transition period in place—is currently Friday, April 12th, at 11 p.m., three days away. In London, officials in May’s government are engaged in tense and somewhat desperate talks with the Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to come up with a compromise that could allow the withdrawal agreement that May negotiated with the E.U.—the only deal available—to make it through Parliament. (It’s been rejectedthree times.) But May is using one of those days to meet with Merkel and, in the afternoon, to fly to Paris, to see President Emmanuel Macron. She needs to: the U.K. is out of time and needs an extension, which would be its second. That can only be granted unanimously, by all the other twenty-seven members of the E.U., whose leaders will meet in Brussels, on Wednesday, to consider whether they should do so—or whether they should just let the U.K. go over what is, after all, a cliff of its own making, and move on with its own business. Merkel is seen as tending toward the first option, which is why May is likely asking for her help. Macron has openly advocated the second, which is why May needs to ask for his restraint.

The 2020 Election Marks a Global Inflection Point

By Reva Goujon Reva Goujon

You may have noticed by now that there is a strong air of existentialism surrounding the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign. Environmental policy has vaulted from being a fringe electoral issue to prompting calls for a national emergency on climate change. The "socialist" label is being bandied left and right as a way of questioning the very survival and moral legitimacy of U.S. capitalism. And foreign policy debates are raging over China's attempt to unseat the United States in a tech-fueled battle for global supremacy — a global great power competition.

These are big, whopping issues. And while they're certainly not new, they're currently being debated with fresh and unusual levels of frankness and ferocity.

So, why is all this existential angst spilling over now?

12 April 2019

Britain Proposes Broad New Powers to Regulate Internet Content

By Adam Satariano

LONDON — Britain proposed sweeping new government powers to regulate the internet to combat the spread of violent and extremist content, false information and harmful material aimed at children. The proposal, announced on Monday, would be one of the world’s most aggressive actions to rein in the most corrosive online content.

The recommendations, backed by Prime Minister Theresa May, take direct aim at Facebook, Google and other large internet platforms that policymakers believe have made growth and profits a priority over curbing harmful material. The government called for naming an internet regulator with the power to issue fines, block access to websites if necessary and make individual executives legally liable for harmful content spread on their platforms.

“The internet can be brilliant at connecting people across the world, but for too long these companies have not done enough to protect users, especially children and young people, from harmful content,” Ms. May said in a statement. “That is not good enough, and it is time to do things differently.”

How the EU Can Take On Dirty Money, the Darker Side of Globalization

Nate Sibley

When the European Commission recently attempted to blacklist 23 countries that it accuses of maintaining deficient systems to restrict money laundering and terrorism financing, a technocratic spat quickly escalated into a diplomatic dispute. Though only one element of sweeping reforms intended to strengthen the European Union’s own anti-money laundering regime, the list not only had the predictable effect of enraging countries included on it—such as Saudi Arabia and three U.S. territories—but also provoked insurmountable criticism from within the EU itself. The list was ultimately rejected by 27 of 28 member states after a fierce lobbying campaign, forcing the European Commission to withdraw it and come up with a new version later this year.

11 April 2019

How Western Economies Can Avoid the Japan Trap

MOHAMED A. EL-ERIAN

With the return of Europe's economic doldrums and signs of a coming growth slowdown in the United States, advanced economies could be at risk of falling into the same kind of long-term rut that has captured Japan. To avoid that outcome, policymakers must recognize and address the deeper structural forces at work.

NEW YORK – Not too long ago, the conventional wisdom held that “Japanification” could never happen in Western economies. Leading US economists argued that if the combined threat of weak growth, disinflation, and perpetually low interest rates ever materialized, policymakers would have the tools to deal with it. They had no problem lecturing the Japanese about the need for bold measures to pull their country out of a decades-old rut. Japanification was regarded as the avoidable consequence of poor policymaking, not as an inevitability. 

And yet the specter of Japanification now looms over the West. After the 2008 financial crisis, the recoveries in both Europe and the United States were more sluggish and less inclusive than the majority of policymakers, politicians, and economists expected. And, more recently, hopes for achieving “escape velocity” out of the “new normal” of low growth and persistent disinflationary pressure have been dashed in Europe and Japan, and some worry that they may be receding in the US.

Inside The European Debate On Islamic Immigration – OpEd

By Kishore Jayabalan*

There is no more sensitive issue for European politicians than that of Islamic immigration. The fact of mass immigration from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia is plain to see, but all but the most nationalist speak in general terms about “migration” and “integration.” Those who raise the religious dimension usually refer to European “values” rather than Christianity. The dictates of one of those values, multiculturalism, make it impossible to judge Islamic culture as such.

Is this state of affairs beginning to change? I’ve just returned from a conference in Budapest, officially sponsored by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium but clearly supported by the Hungarian government headed by Viktor Orbán. It was an unusual event because every one of the 60-some speakers was, to varying degrees and for different reasons, skeptical about mass immigration. One panel even dared to ask “Is Sharia law irreconcilable with democracy?” (The answer was yes, but Daniel Pipes and Ayaan Hirsi Ali went to great lengths to separate political Islamists from religious Muslims.) Some of us took a field trip to the 170-kilometer-long fence and asylum-processing center at the Hungarian-Serbian border. It was as politically incorrect as an academic conference can be.

What the Brexit Mess Means for America

by Paul R. Pillar

Donald Trump Jr. has taken to the op-ed pages to lecture the British about how they should have taken his father’s “advice” on handling the Brexit issue. A more instructive cross-Atlantic comparison would examine how the state of political parties in the United Kingdom and the United States figures prominently in current problems in each country, but in opposite ways.

A breakdown of formerly strong party discipline in Britain has much to do with the current mess over Brexit. Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s blunder of holding a referendum on the subject three years ago was an effort to manage restive members of his own Conservative Party who opposed continued membership in the European Union. In recent days, Brexiteers in that same party have furnished many of the nays in crushing defeats in the House of Commons of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government. Even some ministers have voted against their own government, in a parliamentary spectacle that would have been almost unthinkable in Britain just a few years ago.

9 April 2019

Comparing American and European perspectives on tech and privacy

Amalia Coyle and Ted Piccone

On March 29, 2019, the Brookings Foreign Policy program hosted the sixth annual Justice Stephen Breyer Lecture on International Law. This year’s event focused on the challenges of regulating digital technology, especially in the areas of privacy and data protection, through the comparative perspective of the United States and the European Union. Keynote remarks by Jeroen van den Hoven, professor of ethics and technology at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, explored the differences in how the United States, the European Union, and countries like China have approached the use of artificial intelligence. He emphasized the importance of the human and ethical principles that underlie the European model of digital governance and the need for “ethics by design” as a way of deliberately integrating shared values through innovative algorithmic, software, and hardware products and services. 

8 April 2019

Poland's Place in NATO and the European Union

by Adam Bielan

Last year we commemorated the one-hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. Like a phoenix, Poland was reborn from the ashes of European empires that went to war in 1914. We had been partitioned and did not have independence for 123 years. As a steadfast advocate of Poland’s cause, President Woodrow Wilson addressed the U.S. Congress in April 1917 proclaiming that “there should be a united, independent, and autonomous Poland, and that, henceforth, inviolable security of life, of worship, and of industrial and social development should be guaranteed to all peoples who have lived hitherto under the power of governments devoted to a faith and purpose hostile to their own.” His words are as relevant now as they were a hundred years ago because today the Euro-Atlantic community is menaced by governments that are devoted to a purpose hostile to our faith in freedom and democracy. This year, as the United States and Poland celebrate the centennial of the establishment of diplomatic relations, it is important for us to reflect on lasting peace in Europe.

What the Brexit Mess Means for America

by Paul R. Pillar

Donald Trump Jr. has taken to the op-ed pages to lecture the British about how they should have taken his father’s “advice” on handling the Brexit issue. A more instructive cross-Atlantic comparison would examine how the state of political parties in the United Kingdom and the United States figures prominently in current problems in each country, but in opposite ways.

A breakdown of formerly strong party discipline in Britain has much to do with the current mess over Brexit. Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s blunder of holding a referendum on the subject three years ago was an effort to manage restive members of his own Conservative Party who opposed continued membership in the European Union. In recent days, Brexiteers in that same party have furnished many of the nays in crushing defeats in the House of Commons of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government. Even some ministers have voted against their own government, in a parliamentary spectacle that would have been almost unthinkable in Britain just a few years ago.

7 April 2019

Inside the Chaos Surrounding Britain's Brexit Boondoggle

by Peter Harris 

Britain’s departure from the European Union and the forging of a new cross-Channel relationship was supposed to be one of the “easiest” deals “in human history.” It has, instead, turned out to be a national nightmare and an international embarrassment.

At first, Britain was supposed to leave the European Union on March 29. But with the House of Commons repeatedly refusing to endorse Prime Minister Theresa May’s negotiated exit deal, the date got pushed back to April 12. Now, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has said that there will be no more delays to the Brexit departure date unless politicians in London can agree upon a way forward soon.

As of right now, they show few signs of doing so, which means that Britain is careening towards a devastating “no deal” departure scenario.

Archaeologists in Knossos, Crete, discover a large cache of clay tablets with hieroglyphic writing in a script they call Linear B.

Europe whole and free: Why NATO’s open door must remain open

Molly Montgomery

The Baltic states are the most frequent targets, as critics argue that Russian local military superiority and the ability to deny NATO operational access make them indefensible. In the event of a Russian incursion, they say, the Baltic states would be defeated before the North Atlantic Council could meet to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

NATO’s newest Allies from the former Yugoslavia—Croatia, and particularly Albania and Montenegro—have also faced questions about their ability to contribute military to the alliance, given their small size. How, critics ask, can a country of 600,000 people like Montenegro contribute to the collective defense of a 29-country alliance covering more than 800 million people?

There are seeds of truth in these criticisms, and there is ample room for reform—to speed up NATO’s crisis decisionmaking, to further improve the NATO response force, and yes, to ensure more equitable burdensharing.

NATO is the most successful military alliance in the history of the world.