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

23 June 2018

Is Europe Prepared for a New Wave of Migrants?

The European migrant crisis that erupted in 2015 caught the Continent completely off guard.
It divided the EU into two camps: those that willingly took in migrants and agreed to Brussels' quota system, and those that did not. The former includes Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to champion an open-door policy to European migration. The latter includes countries such as Hungary and Italy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban campaigned on the threat that refugees would overrun his country if he were not elected, and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has denounced illegal migrants living in Italy as a “social time bomb.” Anti-immigration politicians have been able to expand their power bases by tapping into the concern that migrants are exploiting Europe’s generous social programs.

22 June 2018

France and Germany Far Apart on EU Reform


The cabinets of Germany and France are set to meet on Tuesday, but the two countries remain far apart when it comes to eurozone reform. Paris is disappointed with Germany's response to Emmanuel Macron's proposals. The staging was similar to that of French President Emmanuel Macron's groundbreaking speech on the need for European Union reform delivered at the Sorbonne last fall. Surrounded by a handpicked audience, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas spoke last week about the lessons that Europe must draw from the policies being pursued by U.S. President Donald Trump. Maas demanded that Germany "join forces with France" and said that, "given the uncertainty in trans-Atlantic relations in particular, it must be absolutely clear that we are working hand in hand."

In the Balkans, a Chance to Stabilize Europe

By George Soros and Alexander Soros

It has taken almost 25 years to get an agreement between the governments in Athens and Skopje on what to call the entity once known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a minor development — particularly now, when the unity of the trans-Atlantic alliance is at its lowest point since World War II and the unity of the European Union is under challenge in every national election. In fact, the historic compromise to rename the country the Republic of Northern Macedonia, thus softening a rivalry over national histories, opens a window of opportunity for leaders in Europe and the United States to defy current trends and begin shaping a secure future for the Balkans, an achievement that would help secure stability for all of Europe.

The Success of the Western World

By Markus Ziener

The Western world owes its success since the end of the Second World War to its well-functioning system of institutions. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization protects against military aggression; the World Trade Organization establishes rules on how to do business with each other; and the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank help stabilize international finance and fight economic and humanitarian crises. Finally, the United Nations and the G-7 safeguard a platform for crucial conversations among world leaders as tensions loom -- they ensure that problems are faced before they escalate.

Thinking About the Balkans

By George Friedman

The week’s news from the Balkans has been ominous. Serbia is making demands on Kosovo and its supporter, Albania. Serbia continues to see Kosovo as a threat to its national interest. The Russians have gone out of their way to express their support not only for the Serbs but also for the Serbs living in Bosnia. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Serbia’s president in Moscow. Meanwhile, the U.S. friendship with Albania is deep, making the Serbian claim on Kosovo even more dangerous. Far less ominous but no less important, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a campaign rally last month in Sarajevo, the predominantly Muslim capital of Bosnia and home to a large number of Turkish expat voters, to win their support and to show voters at home that Turkish influence was spreading into the Balkans.

Merkel and Macron: Edging towards Change?

By Josef Janning


Now is not a comfortable time for a country like Germany – or at least, a government like Germany’s. With states large and small challenging multilateral agreements, and a disintegrating “international community” standing apart from regional conflicts even as they spill across the world, any country relying on order, rules, and due process is taking a gamble at best. This situation is particularly unsettling to Germany, which is a sizeable actor but whose history and contemporary political culture make it a power dependent on working with others. The country certainly has significant leadership potential, but Germany best applies this in process management and incentivising other players that follow a similar order-centric rationality. Because of Germany’s global economic links and through the vulnerability of its primary habitat of the European Union, the political class here is particularly sensitive to changes in the international climate. The nervousness within government circles is growing.

20 June 2018

Alexis Tsipras Deserves the Nobel Peace Prize

BY EDWARD P. JOSEPH
Source Link

The two leaders who deserve the Nobel Peace Prize did not meet this week in Singapore. Instead, they will meet Sunday on the banks of a clear, freshwater lake that borders Greece, Macedonia, and Albania. Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras of Greece and Zoran Zaev of Macedonia — a country on track to be known formally as North Macedonia — will sign an agreement to resolve the bitter decades-long conflict over Macedonia’s name.

Army Troops Train for Urban Conflict in Europe

By Vivienne Machi

PARIS — The Army must train and prepare for urban combat in Europe as the possibility of state-on-state warfare reemerges, a top commander said June 14. The service is “working assiduously” on generating unit and headquarters readiness to fight large-scale conventional combat operations and maintain a strategic advantage on the ground, Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli said at the Eurosatory air and land defense conference outside Paris. Cavoli assumed the role of U.S. Army Europe commander in January. Army troops are also training for a possible conflict in urban environments, he noted.

16 June 2018

GAS GEOECONOMICS IN EUROPE

GABRIEL COLLINS | ANNA MIKULSKA
Source Link

The authors seek to spark a deeper conversation on the merits of geoeconomics — i.e., using economic instruments to produce beneficial geopolitical results — as a potential source of new and scalable policy options for the U.S., as well as the EU and its individual member states, to bolster gas supply and national security across Europe. 

15 June 2018

Diplomacy as a Work of Art

By George Friedman

The past week has been filled with stories about diplomacy. The G-7 summit in Canada last week was focused on U.S. President Donald Trump’s undiplomatic behavior. The Singapore summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was seen as a possible diplomatic breakthrough. These events have caused me to ask some important questions: What is diplomacy, what is the role of diplomats, and where do the rituals of diplomatic behavior come from? An Offer You Can’t Refuse At the simplest level, diplomacy is the process whereby nations conduct business with each other, and diplomats, like lawyers, represent their clients – the governments and leaders of the countries they serve – in pursuing their interests. But this is only a basic description. In reality, much of diplomacy involves relatively mundane meetings on matters of little importance and of no interest to the leadership. In these meetings, diplomats have a great deal of power, and many of the mundane matters can turn out to be far more important than they appear.

14 June 2018

A West in Crisis, an East Rising? Comparing the G7 and the SCO Image Credit: White House A West in Crisis, an East Rising? Comparing the G7 and the SCO

By Catherine Putz

While much of the world watched the tense G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Canada from June 8 to 9 and chattered about the rapidly approaching June 12 Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in Qingdao, China on June 9-10 the leaders of eight other nations also gathered in concert. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) annual summit returned to China at the opening of a new chapter. Not only has the organization expanded — this summit was India and Pakistan’s first as full-fledged members — but the global order itself appears to be sliding from West to East. The slide may not be new, but the two summits side-by-side display the dissonance: a West breaking apart and an East consolidating.

Berlin Worried about Losing Trump's Trade War


The U.S. has followed through with its threat to impose punitive tariffs on European steel and aluminum and the signs are pointing to a global trade war. The German government is doing what it can to prevent harm to its automobile industry. It was exactly 4 p.m. last Thursday when Peter Altmaier plopped into his seat. The pilot of the government plane quickly taxied to the runway and the German economics minister was happy to get out of Le Bourget business airport in Paris as quickly as possible. Altmaier had spent two days in the French capital last week as part of efforts to prevent the United States from imposing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union. And just before taking off for home, he received official word that his efforts had been in vain.

HOW NATO DEFENDS AGAINST THE DARK SIDE OF THE WEB

Jens Stoltenberg

"OOPS, YOUR FILES have been encrypted!" This was the chilling message that greeted hundreds of thousands of computer users last summer. The WannaCry ransomwareattack brought production to a standstill at Renault factories across France, put lives at risk by attacking hospitals in the UK, and cost companies around the world billions of dollars in lost revenue. The digital revolution has transformed our lives for the better. But this revolution has a dark side: Cyberattacks are now a part of our daily lives. The very nature of these attacks poses a challenge. It is often difficult to know who has attacked you, or even whether you have been attacked at all. And the culprits vary from governments to criminal gangs to terrorist groups and lone individuals. Nowhere is the fog of war thicker than in cyberspace.

13 June 2018

Why Does America Need More Troops in Europe When It Deters Russia From Afar?

By John Dale Grover

The head of the United States European Command and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, General Curtis Scaparrotti, suggested additional resources might be needed to protect allies from Russia. Since the Cold War, America’s nuclear capabilities have been enough to deter Russia, so what has changed? Deterrence maintains peace because our nuclear weapons make an escalating war suicidal. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara laid out in his 1967 speech, deterrence is the “highly reliable ability to inflict unacceptable damage upon any single aggressor... even after absorbing a surprise first strike.” The assertion that more military units are needed in Europe implies that America’s nuclear deterrence is insufficient to do the job on its own. There are only two reasons why this might be the case. The first is that America has incorrectly signaled to Russia that nuclear weapons will not defend the Baltics. The second, is that President Trump’s transactional mindset and past musings on not upholding mutual defense obligations are serious and have signaled to Russia Trump’s ambivalence towards NATO.

Southern Gas Corridor Project Opening New Long-Term Opportunities for Europe

By: Fuad Shahbazov

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, on May 29, officially inaugurated the first phase of his country’s long-awaited flagship Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, through which Caspian-basin natural gas (from the offshore Shah-Deniz field) will be transported to Europe (Azernews, May 29). The new project consists of several linked pipelines that pass through Azerbaijan and Georgia (via the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion, or SCPX), Turkey (via the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline, TANAP), and further through Greece, Albania and into Italy (via the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, TAP). In the initial operational phase of the SGC, 6 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas will annually be transported via Turkey to Europe, and those volumes will be increased to 10 bcm after 2020. Reportedly, the volumes will be expanded to 31 bcm after 2026, if additional gas compressor stations are constructed.

France's Defense Partnerships and the Dilemmas of Brexit May 30, 2018

Alice Pannier

Opportunities — together with greater responsibilities — will come with France’s unique position in Europe’s defense and security following “Brexit.”[1] As the EU’s sole nuclear power and member of the UN Security Council, and with its strong bilateral ties with London, Washington, and Berlin, France currently enjoys a central position in the European security architecture. Even ahead of Brexit, France has been awarded the position of leader and diplomatic bridge-builder, a role that President Macron has fully seized. His visit to President Trump’s White House in April 2018 was a case in point.[2] However, this position raises a number of dilemmas for France in engaging in defense cooperation in the Euroatlantic area, and it will not be simple to define a consistent strategy. This policy brief examines the expected effects of Brexit on military partnerships and capability development, and assesses the prospects for an effective French synthesis and leadership in this context.

12 June 2018

Egypt's Options to Counter Ethiopia's Grand Dam Run Dry

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a critical component of Addis Ababa's economic development strategy, will provide ample electricity for the country's 100 million citizens. Despite Egypt's long hostility to the project, Ethiopia will soon complete the dam, underscoring the shifting balance of power from Cairo to the upstream states of Sudan and Ethiopia. Cairo's weak hand and inability to gain sufficient leverage over Addis Ababa will force it to coordinate dam operations if it wishes to have input on future Nile River projects.

11 June 2018

Merkel and Macron: edging towards change?


Now is not a comfortable time for a country like Germany – or at least, a government like Germany’s. With states large and small challenging multilateral agreements, and a disintegrating “international community” standing apart from regional conflicts even as they spill across the world, any country relying on order, rules, and due process is taking a gamble at best. This situation is particularly unsettling to Germany, which is a sizeable actor but whose history and contemporary political culture make it a power dependent on working with others. The country certainly has significant leadership potential, but Germany best applies this in process management and incentivising other players that follow a similar order-centric rationality. Because of Germany’s global economic links and through the vulnerability of its primary habitat of the European Union, the political class here is particularly sensitive to changes in the international climate. The nervousness within government circles is growing.

10 June 2018

East Asia Comes to Europe

By Irina Angelescu and Václav Kopecký

Mid-May marked the one-year anniversary since the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s massive foreign policy initiative, held its first official Forum in Beijing. International reception of the initiative has been mixed, with the United States, Europe and Japan in particular expressing concerns about China’s possible ulterior motives, including in Europe. By contrast, there is little discussion of Japanese investments in Europe other than general agreement that more of them would be welcome. The countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in particular enthusiastically welcome Chinese investments with little consideration about potential hidden economic and political costs, and put comparatively little effort in attracting more Japanese investments.

9 June 2018

Spain’s Uneven Success Story

By Jacob L. Shapiro

By all accounts, Spain should be a European success story. As recently as 2012, the country was teetering on the edge of economic meltdown. Its economy contracted by 3 percent that year. Unemployment climbed to over 20 percent, on its way to a staggering 27 percent by the following year. A banking sector collapse was averted only by a 51 billion euro ($60 billion) bailout package from the European Stability Mechanism that June. There was real fear in Europe that Spain might be the next Greece. That fear turned out to be misplaced. Over the past three years, gross domestic product growth has averaged over 3 percent. Unemployment has dropped to 17 percent and is projected to fall below 14 percent next year. The European Commission reported that wage growth in Spain is expected to rise faster than inflation in 2019 – so not only are more people finding jobs, but they are getting paid more as well. The government succeeded in pulling Spain back from the brink, and according to the Bank of Spain, it cost the country itself only 26.3 billion euros – not a bad deal considering that its economy is the fourth-largest in Europe and only slightly smaller than Russia’s.