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

19 October 2018

A New Route From Asia to Europe

Last month, Maersk, one of the world’s largest logistics firms, sailed a cargo ship from Asia to Europe through a route north of Russia for the first time. The melting Arctic ice has opened up new possibilities for the shipping industry.

18 October 2018

The Catholic Church’s Biggest Crisis Since the Reformation

By Massimo Faggioli

The Catholic Church is facing its most serious crisis in 500 years. In these last few months, a new wave of clerical sexual abuse revelations left the world in shock. From Australia to Chile to Germany to the United States, horrifying reports revealed thousands of cases of child molestation by members of the clergy. One U.S. grand jury report documented 1,000 children abused by 300 priests in the state of Pennsylvania alone over seven decades.

Germany’s Strategic Repositioning

By Gunther Hellmann

Editor’s Note: For many years, Germany and the United States cooperated to advance mutual foreign policy goals while Germany embedded itself in the European Union. This mutually beneficial arrangement is now in crisis as the Trump administration questions the German alliance and as Europe turns on itself. Gunther Hellmann of the University of Frankfurt gives us a picture of Germany at a crossroads and discusses the perils of each possible path.

Daniel Byman

German foreign policy is currently undergoing its most dramatic strategic repositioning since the 1950s. The “idea of a balanced partnership,” which German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas laid out recently in a widely discussed newspaper article, is the most articulate expression of a fundamental reorientation vis-à-vis the United States. Never before has a German foreign minister advocated a role for Germany to serve as a soft balancer that would “form a counterweight when the U.S. crosses the line.” This reorientation coincides with an increasingly prominent role for Germany in European affairs with the European Union facing an increasingly assertive Russia and continuing internal divisions. For Germany (and Europe) this boils down to a dramatic realignment of the European balance of power. It also carries risks.

17 October 2018

How Europe can stop African migration

Europe pledged to spend €6 billion in Turkey to keep refugees on the other side of the border. Some have suggested spending a similar amount in Africa. POLITICO asked Europe’s leading migration experts and policymakers: If the EU had €6 billion to spend on managing migration from Africa, how and where should the bloc spend it? Think beyond the money Dimitris Avramopoulos is European commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship. Europe’s engagement with third countries is not about money. Those who think you can put a figure on a relationship woefully underestimate the significance and intricacy of such partnerships.

Brexit will weaken Europe, isolate Britain and fuel global tensions

By Ian Bremmer

Leave aside the particulars of this month's Brexit drama — Theresa May's dance moves, Boris Johnson's attacks on May's plan, and the latest warnings from European capitals — it's time to brace for Brexit. Let's focus on the few geopolitical certainties we know will follow the UK's exit from the European Union, on whatever terms it comes. Start across the Atlantic. Brexit won't do the "special relationship" between the US and Europe any favors. An EU without the UK is a much weaker partner for Washington when US-EU interests align and a much weaker foil when those interests collide. Yes, many of the issues currently dividing the US from Europe have been a long time coming — differences over Russia policy, NATO funding and Middle East adventurism have strained US-European relations before. But Brexit undermines the transatlantic alliance across the board because Brexit challenges will divert Brussels' overall energy and attention away from working with Washington to help bridge their divides.

A Europeanized NATO? The Alliance Contemplates the Turmp Era and Beyond

By Sten Rynning

When asked about President Donald Trump’s July 2018 visit to Europe, Henry Kissinger presciently noted, “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses.” In other words, for all the uproar surrounding the president’s personality, something bigger is going on, and Trump has come to personify it. Perhaps the biggest challenge is, therefore, to put words to this shifting ground and imagine its potential consequences.

The EU Can’t Avoid U.S. Sanctions on Iran

By Elizabeth Rosenberg
Source Link

Late last month, the European Union and China announced that they intended to set up a special global payments system to allow companies to continue to trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. Some of the sanctions are already in place, but the bulk will to go into effect in November, thanks to the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year. The announcement marks a small but notable step toward the fragmentation of the global economic order. Friends and foes of the United States were already seeking paths away from the traditional, dollar-dominated financial system. The Trump administration’s policy on Iran provided additional incentive to those who strive to undermine U.S. economic primacy and the effectiveness of U.S. economic statecraft. Washington should take note of the danger. In May, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered on his promise to leave the Iran deal, also known as the JCPOA, and reimpose unilateral, aggressive economic sanctions on Iran. The most forceful of these measures will snap into place on November 4, dropping an axe on Iran’s core banking institutions, oil sales, and conduits to the global financial system. The measures will prevent Iran from using the prevalent global payment system. They will also cause most of the international businesses that buy Iranian oil and conduct other commercial transactions with Iran to cease such activity.

16 October 2018

Berlin’s untenable foreign-policy strategic vacuum

Josef Janning 

Berlin can no longer afford to float ideas that have no practical consequences, and keep muddling through There is a striking contrast between the magnitude of change in Germany’s foreign policy environment and the triviality of the country’s strategic debate. This change has three dimensions that fundamentally challenge the current position and practice of German foreign policy. Firstly, the European Union, though a principal framework of German policy, is more politically fragmented than ever, and lacks a stable centre. The bloc appears ever less able to act as the lever of German strength that Frank-Walter Steinmeier, during his tenure as foreign minister, believed it could be. The permissive consensus on Europe is long gone, and “sovereigntism” is shaping the discourse on the EU in many countries, including Germany.

14 October 2018

The China-Europe Disconnect

By Nicholas Olczak

Recent shifts around the world are currently offering a good opportunity for China and Europe to develop closer relations. However, as recent incidents in Sweden and Germany have shown, mutual misunderstanding between China and European states and the resultant mishandling of diplomacy could threaten to derail this potential advancement. The presidency of Donald Trump in the United States and the current, escalating “trade war” mean that China is increasingly looking toward Europe, something which is also the result of the continent’s position at the western end of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At the same time, Trump’s actions have pushed some in Europe toward reassessing their traditional relationships. The BRI and China’s ongoing economic growth mean that it continues to offer considerable economic opportunities for European states at a time when the United States appears to be turning inward. 

Egypt Goes on an Arms Spending Spree

Over the past five years, Egypt has drastically increased its arms imports, making it the third largest destination for weapons in the world. Military necessity does not adequately explain the major increase in arms purchases. Egypt has pursued the arms buildup to bolster regional influence and global prestige and to lessen its dependence on the United States. The buildup has come at a significant cost to military efficiency, because the types of weaponry differ widely throughout the armed forces. Ultimately, such expenditures are unsustainable due to Egypt's economic realities.

13 October 2018

The Willing, the Hesitant and the Late-comer

By Christine Nissen and Peter Albrecht

Starting from different points of departure, the Nordic countries are coming closer together regarding their outlook on security, due to a perceived Russian threat and lack of American leadership. Multilateral forums like NATO, the EU and the UN remain their best chance of contributing to defining and addressing threats to their own and global stability. 


The Nordic states must promote multilateral and institutional responses, particularly at a time when they are under considerable pressure.

The Nordic states can use their different organisational memberships to promote common Nordic interests in regional security in the Baltic Sea. 

12 October 2018

Austria Ignores Threat of Iranian Islamism

by Potkin Azamehr

In June 2018, the Austrian government announced it would shut down seven mosques and expel sixty imams, because of their putative links to Salafi-jihadists or Turkish regime networks. The government’s decision was made in the wake of a 2015 law that banned foreign funding of religious institutions and required Muslim organizations to express a “positive approach towards the society and the state” of Austria. Austria’s determination to clamp down on Sunni Islamist extremism and the Turkish regime network was applauded by some, including prominent think tanks, but condemned by a number of American media outlets. Few have noted, however, that while Sunni extremists are under the spotlight, Shiite Islamists continue to operate with impunity.

11 October 2018

Bolivia Remains Landlocked

By GPF Staff 

The International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled this week against Bolivia's claim that Chile must negotiate access to the Pacific Ocean for the landlocked country. Bolivia lost its access following the War of the Pacific. 

10 October 2018

The Catalan Crisis, One Year Later

By Omar G. Encarnación

It was a year ago this month that Catalans voted to break away from Spain and create the Republic of Catalonia. Although 90 percent of the Catalan public endorsed independence, only the Catalan government and those who voted in favor of it took the results seriously. Madrid declared the referendum illegal, based on a ruling from the Constitutional Court, while the European Union and the rest of the international community, including the United States, ignored the results. Most important, perhaps, the bulk of those opposed to Catalan independence boycotted the vote, effectively denying the referendum any legitimacy. These setbacks did not deter Catalan separatists from declaring independence a few weeks after the vote, on October 28, prompting Madrid to revoke Catalonia’s autonomy statute, prosecute those who authorized the referendum, and order new elections in the region.

9 October 2018

How Europe and Russia Are Fighting U.S. Sanctions

by Nikolas K. Gvosdev

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini announced this past week that the EU, working in conjunction with Russia and China, would create a mechanism to allow Iran to continue trade with the other nuclear deal signatories despite the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran. As she announced on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, “In practical terms, this means that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran, and this will allow European companies to continue trade with Iran.”

Most of the reactions of the American foreign-policy community have fallen into one of two categories: derision and incredulity. Americans believe that Europe cannot hope to pull this special payments vehicle proposal off or that there is no way for that mechanism to be practical. Moreover, Americans believe Europeans will not risk their corporate and financial interests in the United States. All this may be true—but the United States needs to seriously consider the threat the EU proposal poses to America’s economic leverage.

7 October 2018

Erdoğan Visit Highlights Germany's Turkey/Russia Problem

by Burak Bekdil

Turkey's President does it all the time. In 2009, then-prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused China of genocide for the deaths of hundreds of Uighur Turks. Less than a decade later, with his newfound "Eurasianism," Erdoğan's Turkey and President Xi Jinping's China are discussing more trade -- and in their local currencies, rebuffing the dollar.

In 2015, the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Air Force fighter jet along Turkey's troubled border with Syria. Russia responded strongly in 2016 by imposing punishing sanctions on Turkey. At the time, Erdoğan was courting Washington. In fear of further -- and even military -- punishments from Moscow, Erdoğan described Turkey's relations with Washington as a "strategic partnership." 

How Europe Can Reform Its Migration Policy

By Alexander Betts and Paul Collier

Three years since the start of the European refugee crisis, the continent’s politics are still convulsed by disagreements over migration. This is despite the sharp decline in the number of people crossing the Mediterranean into Europe—60,000 between January and August 2018, compared with over one million in 2015 and 350,000 in 2016. The crisis, in short, is not one of numbers but one of trust: European publics believe that migration is out of control and that their leaders have no real plan for handling it.

3 October 2018

The EU’s laudable Asia Connectivity Strategy

The European Union (EU) has put forward a plan for enhancing connectivity within Asia, and has been dubbed as the Asia Connectivity Strategy.

The EU does not want to give an impression that the Asia Connectivity Strategy (ACS) is a counter to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Yet, senior officials of the EU, while commenting on the broad aims and objectives of the project, have categorically stated that the primary goal of the Asia Connectivity Strategy is enhancing connectivity (physical and digital) while also ensuring that local communities benefit from such a project, and that environmental and social norms are not flouted (this is a clear allusion to the shortcomings of the BRI). There are no clear details with regard to the budget, and other modalities of the project (EU member countries are likely to give a go ahead for this project, before the Asia-Europe Meeting in October 2018). The EU has categorically stated that it would like to ensure that the ACS is economically sustainable.

2 October 2018

Can Europe Become a Nuclear Power?

By Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, Tara Varma and Nick Witney

Only if Europeans resume a serious debate about their responsibilities for their own security

“Do we need the bomb?” asked the front page of Welt am Sonntag, one of Germany’s biggest newspapers, last month. In an essay in the paper, political scientist Christian Hacke answered “yes”, arguing that, “for the first time since 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany is no longer under the United States’ nuclear umbrella.”

It is extraordinary that the anti-nuclear, peace-loving Germans should be toying with such ideas. For 70 years, the NATO alliance has ultimately rested on the belief that, in extreme circumstances, the US president would be willing to risk the destruction of Chicago to protect Berlin. Yet Donald Trump’s catastrophic summer foray into Europe – in which he mused to alliance leaders that, unless Europeans shaped up, the US might “go our own way” – has rendered any such belief untenable.

Reforming Southern Europe: What's Next?

Italy will likely respect the European Union's deficit limits in its new budget, but the change of direction from deficit reduction to deficit increase could frighten financial markets about the sustainability of the country's debt.

A controversial pension reform proposal in France will create temporary economic disruptions as different groups protest the measure, but Paris will likely push ahead with its plans regardless.

The new Spanish government will aim to reverse some of the austerity measures of its predecessor, although the administration will face the constant risk of collapse.