The European Union's eastern ambitions derailed last Thursday when Ukraine suspended work on an association agreement that was to serve as the centerpiece of this week's highly anticipated Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius. For Carnegie Europe director Jan Techau, the decision can best be understood as an existential tug of war taking place between the EU and Russia over former Soviet bloc nations. "Russia upgraded [the Eastern Partnership] to a geopolitical contest," he says, referring to the crippling economic sanctions it threatened to impose on Kiev should it sign the EU deal. But Techau says the EU model of governance has enduring value for Ukrainians and the region.
PRINCETON – Germany’s general election in September and the prolonged formation of a new government since then have highlighted a peculiar development. Not only does Germany now seem to be running Europe, but the rest of Europe seems to be falling in love with Germany – not least because, in a time of political confusion and economic instability, Germans are the only Europeans who seem to know what they want.
BERLIN – It is not entirely clear who – Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Peter Parker (Spiderman) – first said that “with great power comes great responsibility.” But it is an adage that applies perfectly to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
As soon as US Secretary of State John Kerry announced the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the EU promised to do everything it could to support the new American initiative. The Middle East peace process has been a top EU priority for years. But Europeans are conscious that they lack the diplomatic clout to be a major player. Palestinians and Israelis think that EU member-states are too frequently divided among themselves. Many Israelis also argue that even though the EU and Israel have close ties, the Union does not give sufficient importance to their security concerns. Nevertheless, Europeans played a modest role in helping the US convince Israelis and Palestinians to sign up to new talks. And the EU can make further contributions to the peace process.
The state of the Franco-German alliance demonstrates just how gaps in economic-performance numbers can drive countries apart—in this instance, countries of the Eurozone. The more Germany outperforms its neighbors in growth and unemployment, the sooner its dominance will reach a point where it feels less beholden to the spirit of compromise that has characterized Franco-German relations and fostered the “motor” of European construction.
Why Global Education Financing Must Be Part of Europe’s Financial Transaction Tax Revenues for Development
As the financial transaction tax (FTT) becomes part of the European political landscape and moves its way through EU member-state legislatures, the use of a percentage of tax revenues for development – and specifically for basic global education needs— remains highly uncertain.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, altered the course of post-war Europe. As the leader of the Conservative Party, she liberalized the British economy, ultimately forcing Britain’s Labour Party to the political center and irreversibly remaking the country’s political landscape. Meanwhile, she consolidated in her own party a determined skepticism of European integration, setting the stage for the U.K.’s ongoing efforts to keep its distance from the European Union. Finally, she set a gold standard for Anglo-American relations, forging a close relationship with President Ronald Reagan. Teamwork between London and Washington helped guide the Cold War to a peaceful end.
MOSCOW – In 1970, Soviet dissident Andrei Amalrik observed in Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984? that “all totalitarian regimes grow old without realizing it.” Amalrik was right, and the regime established since 2000 by Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to fall apart – perhaps this year – for the same reason that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
NEW YORK – The global economy this year will exhibit some similarities with the conditions that prevailed in 2012. No surprise there: we face another year in which global growth will average about 3%, but with a multi-speed recovery – a sub-par, below-trend annual rate of 1% in the advanced economies, and close-to-trend rates of 5% in emerging markets. But there will be some important differences as well.
PARIS – While hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Paris against the right of homosexual couples to marry and adopt children, French troops were arriving in Mali to stop a coalition of Islamist and rebel forces from taking control of its capital, Bamako, and creating in the Sahel a sanctuary for terrorists.
BRUSSELS – At high-level gatherings of the European Union elite, one often hears the following type of statement: “Europe must integrate and centralize economic governance in order to defend its social model in an age of globalization.” European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and his counterpart at the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, are particularly keen on this argument.
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