A year of change for the European Union?
The European Union, which still lacks a post-Brexit vision of itself, will be changing the leadership of almost all its leading institutions over the next few months. Candidates are already jostling for position to take over at the European Commission and the European Central Bank, and surprises could be in store. With non-mainstream parties likely to gain seats in the May European Parliament elections, the EU-27 seems headed for even less harmony and more dissension.
2019 Global Outlook: The volatile Moscow-Kiev-Brussels triangle
In 2019, the geopolitical interplay between Russia, Ukraine and Europe will depend on their leaders. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin will have to decide whether to continue his assertive foreign policy. In Ukraine, the presidential election could bring the mercurial Yulia Tymoshenko to power – how she will deal with the war in the east remains a mystery. In Europe, the Franco-German alliance is losing traction. Rifts in the EU will deepen, making it impossible to present a united front on the challenges Russia and Ukraine present.
A new military buildup in the Balkans
Throughout the world, military spending is reaching new heights, as countries beef up their defense forces. The trend is evident in the Balkans, where both Russia and NATO plan to build new bases and countries in the region reverse their postwar demilitarization. With Kosovo deciding to create its own army and a dangerous land-swap deal with Serbia on the table, tensions are rising.
2019 Global Outlook: Europe’s year of living dangerously
There are plenty of signs of trouble ahead for the European Union in 2019. Unstable leadership, rampant populism, strikes and demonstrations, migration disputes, security challenges, Brexit, an economic slowdown and the makings of another financial crisis are just a few of the challenges that await. For EU institutions, perhaps the biggest test will come with the European Parliament elections in May, which could overturn the grand coalition that has governed the bloc since the 1980s.
Opinion: The worrying faults of the UN migration compact
Countries are due to sign a United Nations pact on migration next week. However, its global, one-size-fits-all approach is dangerous. It risks many unintended consequences, including mass migration for welfare benefits and huge burdens on destination countries. Migration remains an important problem to be solved, but the answer is not to create yet another global bureaucracy.
GIS Dossier: Angela Merkel
When Angela Merkel finishes her term as German chancellor in 2021, it will mark the end of an era. Love her or hate her, this shrewd political operator has had a huge impact on Germany, Europe and the wider geopolitical scene. This GIS Dossier compiles our experts’ analysis of her policies and the effects they have had across the globe.
Opinion: The slow death of Germany’s political center
Recent elections in Bavaria were the latest to show the weakness of Germany’s centrist parties, the SPD and the CDU/CSU. These traditional mainstays of German politics have seen their bases move toward more radical movements of the right and left and parties that espouse more “modern” values. But the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats have delivered great economic prosperity – why are voters punishing them? The answer can be found in immigration and high incomes. The result could be a less internationally active Germany.
Migration and Europe
Judging by the declining numbers of new migrants, Europe is no longer facing an acute immigration crisis. But you would never know it from the decision by the European Council in June to set up holding camps for asylum seekers. Instead, the get-tough policy of EU leaders is increasingly driven by domestic political pressures.
Shortsightedness and stubbornness are holding Europe back
As European leaders rail against “populism,” many of them are taking on populist positions themselves: they are taking a hard line on Brexit, refuse to implement commonsense solutions on public debt, and are bowing to pressure against GMOs. All this will hurt Europe in the long term and diminish its global position. It desperately needs leaders who are willing to follow a more pragmatic strategy.