Statesmanship in short supply
Today’s politicians seem to be reacting to events rather than leading. Part of the problem is the plethora of high-profile international summits, which make for good photo opportunities but don’t offer any occasion for deeper discussions. The whirlwind trips give them little time to think through strategy and future scenarios, making them more likely to act in terms of political expedience.
Macron and the German project
After Brexit, the European Union is composed of two sorts of countries – those willing to recognize German leadership, and those reluctant to do so. With the project of an ever-closer union now defunct, the EU’s internal debate has shifted to what Germany wants and how much it is willing to compromise. A lot depends on the position of France and its new president.
It pays to be principled
The CDU swept three regional elections in Germany because local candidates got back in touch with traditional Christian values. That augurs well for the September general elections, provided Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't ignore the message.
The risks of German unilateralism on Nord Stream 2
Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the most controversial energy project in Europe, is putting strain on Germany’s relationship with other European Union members. Berlin’s support of the project at the expense of other partners could deepen rifts in the EU and lead to a renationalization of energy policies, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
All eyes on France, but local German elections were also crucial for the EU
Emmanuel Macron’s proposals to centralize debt and financial functions in the European Union could, if implemented, put the bloc on a slow path toward disintegration. However, election results in Schleswig-Holstein have confirmed that fiscally sound policies have solid support in Germany. If the CDU and FDP can again form a coalition after the country’s September elections, Berlin will be in a strong position to continue to resist moves toward centralization. That will be good news for the EU.
Opinion: Britain and Germany – should we expect a Brexit war?
As Europe gears up for Brexit negotiations, the lines in the sand are already being drawn. Germany is bent on making Britain pay a heavy price for leaving the European Union, while the United Kingdom is hoping for a soft divorce. While the German position looks strong on paper, too much hostility could backfire. Tensions between Berlin and London are likely to be short-lived. A compromise will probably be reached after the German elections this year.
Opinion: Why Germany ‘Kant’ be the UK’s perfect Brexit ally
The United Kingdom’s chances for an amicable divorce from the European Union depend above all on reaching an understanding with Germany. But in the Brexit negotiations, German interests will clash with German scruples. The latter may very well prevail.
Tensions in the Balkans reach fever pitch
Ethnic, nationalist and border disputes are heating up in the Balkans. European political crises and uncertainty surrounding the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump have raised the stakes. Three scenarios are possible: the West could maintain its strong influence in the region; it could pull back, creating instability and leaving a vacuum for Russia to fill; or borders in the Balkans will be reshaped once again, potentially violently.
GIS Dossier: The strangely resilient euro
The euro has been remarkably stable during its 15-year existence as a major currency. That has not always been a good thing for the European economy. But the real concerns for the single currency hinge on politics and survival.
‘Multi-speed’ Europe, a misleading term
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has prepared a white paper that sets out five scenarios for the future of the EU. While we can cheer this open-minded approach and the idea that there are alternatives to the “ever-closer Union,” the EU establishment seems to be building support for the “multi-speed Europe” option. With such a solution, countries that do not want to be left behind would effectively be forced to toe Brussels’ line, especially when it comes to burdensome regulations.