Border conflicts in the Balkans
Nearly three decades after the breakup of Yugoslavia, the borders in the Balkans are still up for debate. Eight unresolved border disputes are dividing countries in the region, pitting European Union and NATO members against each other and threatening the integration of several EU candidates. Some of these disputes will likely last for years to come, as the enmity of past conflicts gets in the way of negotiations.
The impact of the Greece-Macedonia accord
The deal between Greece and what may soon be called the Republic of North Macedonia is about much more than a name. The bilateral agreement finally opens the door for North Macedonia’s integration into the EU and NATO, and could make Greece a serious regional player. However, political challenges could easily derail or delay the two-year implementation process.
A new Euro-Atlantic strategy for the Western Balkans
The European Union and the United States are again paying attention to the Western Balkans, trying to keep the region firmly within the EU and NATO orbit. But Angela Merkel’s ambitious plans for economic development will hinge on overcoming traditional animosities – especially the conflict between Serbia and Albania over Kosovo and Greek-Macedonian tensions – which have allowed Russia to reassert its influence.
Russia’s deeper involvement in Libya changes the game in the Middle East
It seems Western powers have again been caught off guard by Russia’s moves in the Middle East. This time, Moscow is stepping up cooperation with Libya, an old ally. Closer ties with the Tobruk government could give it a pretext to strengthen its presence there, and even potentially to establish military bases as in Syria. That would open a new can of worms for Europe and NATO.
The next Greek bailout (or not)
As Brussels and Athens prepare for new negotiations on the Greek debt in 2017, another flawed bailout deal is on the cards. Neither side is ready to act on the knowledge that Greek public finances are still unsustainable. Postponing the day of reckoning through debt monetization might be the most that the EU leaders can achieve at this juncture, but even that is uncertain.
Politics, economics still stifle Eastern Mediterranean gas
Since 2009, international interest in the Eastern Mediterranean’s offshore oil and gas resources has followed a cycle from widespread excitement, to a stall in activity, to disappointment and back to excitement again. The Levant Basin has seen several discoveries that could have a big impact on domestic economies. However, unless circumstances locally, regionally a...
China’s push towards Europe through Piraeus boosts infrastructure and tensions
Beijing’s investment outflows are growing fast, and Europe is one of the main beneficiaries of this trend. By mid-2015, China had invested more than US$60 billion in shares of European companies, passing Japan to become the fourth-largest investor in the ‘Old Continent.’ Since 2014, Chinese investments have targeted Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, whi...
Nato keeps door ajar for new members while casting wary eye on Russia and Greece
The next Nato summit, to be held in Warsaw in July 2016, may be the alliance’s fourth in a row without adding new members. Assuming the days of enlargement are over would be a mistake, because Nato’s ‘open door’ policy is one of the best ways to convince countries to reform their economies and governments. Failure to invite one of the four current applicants - Mac...
The day after the night before - where do Greece and Europe stand after the referendum?
The Greek referendum on the EU bailout plan changed less than might have been expected. European leaders continue to bend over backwards to accommodate the Greeks while turning a blind eye to the reality of Greek toxic debt. What’s more, there is a danger that in so doing, other more serious matters, such as Ukraine and the rise of ISIS, are being dangerously overl...