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

16 January 2018

The Euro in Decline How the Currency Could Spoil the Global Financial System

By Kathleen R. McNamara

When the euro was created some 15 years ago, there was speculation that the new currency might come to challenge the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency of choice. But the euro’s guardian, the European Central Bank (ECB), had little appetite for such a role. Likewise, foreign exchange markets showed little support for supplanting the dollar’s hegemony with the euro, despite a move into euro-denominated bonds and a strengthening of the value of the euro over the 2000s. This has meant that the EU has, in large part, played a “helper” role in U.S. financial hegemony throughout the postwar era to today.

How the Eurozone Might Split

By Mark Blyth and Simon Tilford

In February 2016, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development opined that developed country growth prospects had “practically flat-lined” and that only a stronger “commitment to raising public investment would boost demand and help support future growth.” Fast-forward some 24 months, and despite Brexit, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the rise of the populist Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the euro seems to be a much better bet than it has been in a long time. But has the euro really weathered the crisis and come out stronger? In this article, we make two interrelated arguments about the future of the eurozone.

15 January 2018

Trump’s Netherlands ambassador struggles to answer for past remarks at grilling by Dutch journalists

Louis Nelson

U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra struggled Wednesday, in his first news conference with Dutch journalists, to explain previous remarks he had made about the Netherlands and the supposed danger brought there by the “Islamic movement.”  According to a report from The Washington Post, reporters repeatedly asked Hoekstra to offer proof of his claim that politicians and cars have been burned and that there are “no-go zones” in the Netherlands. Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands and represented Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District for 18 years, was unable or unwilling to offer such proof Wednesday, promising only that he would be “revisiting the issue.” Pressed further by Dutch reporters, the U.S. ambassador simply refused to answer. At one point, a reporter referenced a quote from John Adams, the first U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, who wished that only “honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

14 January 2018

Trump’s New Right Wing Ambassador to the Netherlands Is Proving to Be An Embarrassment

U.S. President Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands, who two years ago said Muslim migrants had sown chaos in the country, cut short questions seeking clarification of those remarks in his first meeting with its media on Wednesday. Pete Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman for Michigan, was repeatedly asked about the comments, made at an event sponsored by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Islamic movement is now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos,” Hoekstra had said at the November 2015 gathering, during a recorded panel discussion about migration from Muslim states. “Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned and, yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

13 January 2018



White House cyber-security coordinator Rob Joyce warned in August that the United States is lacking 300,000 cyber-security experts needed to defend the country. His warning is all the more alarming given ongoing and increasingly sophisticated threats in cyberspace — in addition to resource and talent constraints in the public sector, poor cyber habits and awareness, lack of cooperation between government agencies, and limited coordination frameworks for existing volunteers.

12 January 2018

The Brexit options, explained

Douglas A. Rediker

After struggling for most of 2017 to find common ground, Great Britain and the European Union finally agreed last month to the material terms of their “divorce.” Negotiations will now proceed to discuss the terms of their post-Brexit relationship. Together, the EU document and the guidelines issued days later by the remaining 27 EU leaders severely narrow the path forward for the future U.K.-EU relationship. They also highlight the wide gaps between British political expectations and the almost inevitable outcome of the next round of negotiations. 

Helping Europe Help Itself: The Marshall Plan


On the eve of its 70th anniversary, the Marshall Plan remains one of the most successful foreign policy initiatives in U.S. history and a model of effective diplomacy. From left to right, President Harry S Truman, General George Marshall, Paul Hoffman and Averell Harriman in the Oval Office discussing the Marshall Plan, Nov. 29, 1948.The European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, is often cited as one of the most effective U.S. foreign policies of modern times. When there is a natural disaster, a humanitarian crisis or a national struggle with a social or economic challenge that demands immediate attention, American politicians and opinion-makers often call for “another Marshall Plan.”

11 January 2018

Ukraine on the brink of kleptocracy

On January 3rd former Georgian President Michael Saakashvili’s plea for asylum in Ukraine was turned down, removing a key obstacle to deport him to Georgia. If deported, he will likely be show-trialled without a fair chance of defence. Since Saakashvili broke his alliance with President Poroshenko, the Ukrainian authorities have been working overtime to get rid of their new political opponent. The Soviet-style harassment campaign started with stripping him of his Ukrainian citizenship (a decision judged illegal by most independent experts), denying him entry into Ukraine, and arbitrary arrests of his aides. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko tried to bring about his own political show trial of Saakashvili, which he had to abandon on November 13th, formally due to weak evidence, but in effect due to pressure from the EU and the US.

How to Break Up Europe’s Axis of Illiberalism


Western observers tend to conflate Europe’s two leading proponents of right-wing populism: Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, and the chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Kaczynski has long promised the advent of “Budapest in Warsaw,” an allusion to Orban’s model of “illiberal democracy” that the Hungarian leader unapologetically touted in a 2014 speech. And in 2016, both leaders proudly announced a “cultural counterrevolution” within the European Union.

10 January 2018

Time for Germany to Learn to Lead

By Christiane Hoffmann

Washington's move to abandon its global leadership role marks the end of Germany's foreign policy innocence. Berlin will soon be faced with difficult choices that could dent its moral standing. It is often a single sentence that goes down in history, one that epitomizes an idea, a movement, an era or a personality. Two sentences from Angela Merkel come to mind. One, focused on domestic politics, was an entreaty: "We can do it." It was a pledge and a plea to all Germans in the face of the huge influx of Syrian refugees who entered Germany in 2015.

5 January 2018

U.S. Tech Giants Lobbying In Europe

by Martin Armstrong

Having had 84 high-level meetings with the European Commission since 2014, the Washington-based company has recorded €4.5 million of spending on lobbying. Close behind, but with many more meetings (153), Google had a budget of €4.25 million.

European Populism: Trends, Threats, and Future Prospects

Europe’s political landscape is undergoing the biggest transformation since the end of the Cold War. Over the past two decades, populist parties have steadily increased their support, entering most national parliaments across the continent. In many countries, they have even taken over the levers of government. An unprecedented populist belt now covers a big and strategically important stretch of Central and Eastern Europe, from the Baltic Sea all the way to the Aegean. 

4 January 2018

2017 Was the Year of False Promise in the Fight Against Populism

This map shows the change in election results of 102 populist parties across 39 European countries between 2000 and 2017. 

3 January 2018

6 European elections to watch this year


Europeans have barely had time to draw breath after a big year of elections in 2017. But it won’t be long before much of the Continent heads for the polls in 2018.Some of Europe’s political big hitters will be in action. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán are seeking re-election while Silvio Berlusconi is campaigning to get his party back into power in Italy. What’s at stake: The provocative and blatantly politically incorrect incumbent Miloš Zeman is hoping to win another term after becoming the first Czech president to be directly elected in 2013. If Zeman succeeds and fellow populist Andrej Babiš manages to form a stable government as prime minister, it is likely to be even more difficult for the European Commission to make the Czech Republic fall in line on issues like immigration and gun control.

1 January 2018



Minsk is shorthand for a diplomatic process established in 2014 and early 2015. The formal deadline for completing Minsk was December 2015, a deadline that long since passed without its first phase — a ceasefire — going into effect. The next two phases — decentralization and a political process for the Donbas — have never progressed beyond the hypothetical. As of this winter, the line of contact between the Ukrainian and the Russian-backed forces remains bloody and volatile. At this stage, declaring Minsk dead might be an acceptance of a self-evident reality. Consigning Minsk to history might allow everyone to move forward along a different track.

31 December 2017

Balkans in 2017: Two Cheers for the Economy

Balkan economies made real progress in 2017 but media freedom ebbed in some countries, and the region remained hostage to East-West rivalry for influence. 

As 2017 draws to a close, most inhabitants of the Balkans could afford to raise a glass to a year that brought the region saw some economic benefits and saw no major conflicts between any states in Europe’s still fractured and potentially neuralgic southeast corner. 

Moreover, as Britain advanced its preparations to exit the EU, the first country to do so, interest grew into which of the five EU candidate countries – four in the Balkans – would be the first to take Britain’s vacant place. 

Views from the capitals: European dreams for 2018

The EU has seemingly survived the existential crises of the Brexit vote, the ascent of Donald Trump, and the rise of the far right across the continent. But the union and its international influence remain fragile. The populist wave may have peaked, but it has certainly not passed; refugee deals with Turkey and Libya are under threat, and the southern and eastern neighbourhoods remain turbulent. Against this backdrop, we asked our national offices to outline their governments' greatest hope and greatest fear for foreign and European policy in 2018. 

Power on the Periphery of Europe

By Antonia Colibasanu

British Prime Minister Theresa May visited Warsaw to sign a new defense treaty between Britain and Poland. May called the deal a “powerful symbol” of the two countries’ close cooperation; however, the agreement speaks less to the cooperation between the two countries and more to Europe’s slow regression to pre-EU realities through the fragmentation of the European Union.

America is on the brink of a historic break with Europe, thanks to Trump

Foreign service officers like me saw ourselves as guardians of this vital alliance. But Trump isn't interested in leading it or writing its next chapter.

The Trump administration’s newly unveiled national security strategy lists reinforcing America’s alliances as a major objective. Yet in the first year of his embattled presidency, Donald Trump has so undermined our ties to Europe that we could be on the verge of a break in the seven-decade trans-Atlantic alliance.

30 December 2017

The Economist reveals its country of the year

EVERY Christmas since 2013 The Economist has picked a “country of the year”. Rogue nations are not eligible, no matter how much they frighten people. (Sorry, North Korea.) Nor do we plump for the places that exert the most influence through sheer size or economic muscle—otherwise China and America would be hard to beat. Rather, we look for a country, of any size, that has changed notably for the better in the past 12 months, or made the world brighter.