Comments written by Prince Michael of Liechtenstein himself provide an informed viewpoint on crucial geopolitical issues. Sometimes challenging and always thought-provoking, these brief commentaries take a stance that stimulate debate.
UN peace conference for Syria: too late
Europe and the United States took a moralistic stand on Syria’s civil war, demanding that Bashar al-Assad must go. This created an opening for Russia: because of its military intervention, the dictator remains firmly in place, the humanitarian tragedy is deepening and chances for a negotiated settlement seem largely lost.
There was never much sense in Germany’s coalition talks between the CDU/CSU, FDP and the Greens, but Angela Merkel saw it as her best chance to remain chancellor. Now, FDP leader Christian Lindner has pulled his party out of the negotiations, showing an adherence to principles rarely found in European politics these days. The best scenario for Germany now would be for Ms. Merkel to step down.
Irrational tax and regulatory systems
The true story of the Paradise Papers is less about shady business deals than about the byzantine regulatory and tax structures of developed countries. It is a lesson that politicians like French President Emmanuel Macron are studiously trying to ignore.
Putin’s potential contribution to ending the U.S.-North Korea standoff
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC summit this weekend. Although allegations of his campaign’s collaboration with Russia during last year’s election has made it hard for Mr. Trump to negotiate with the Kremlin, Mr. Putin’s assistance on the North Korea crisis could prove very useful. It would also be in Russia’s interest. The price the U.S. might have to pay in concessions could be high, but a solution where Washington and Russia cooperate to defuse the North Korea crisis is likely.
Limits on posting workers create Europe’s high-cost cartels
European Union labor ministers have just agreed to a proposal that could see more protectionist measures implemented across the bloc. The new rules would limit employers’ flexibility how much they pay “posted” workers – employees from a different EU member state. Until now, posting workers added needed competition to the labor market. Eliminating that option just protects high-cost cartels created by EU states with excessive cost structures.
More coalition options in Germany
Two things are taken for granted in German politics. First, that there is no realistic alternative to Chancellor Angela Merkel, and second, that the only possible government after the Social Democrats went over to the opposition is a black-yellow-green (Jamaican) coalition of the CDU/CSU, Free Democrats and Greens. But what if neither of these propositions is true?
Siberia, a European issue
Tensions between East and West are mounting, but Europe could gain strategically and economically from assisting in the development of Siberia. Helping Russia shore up its eastern border with China this way would be also in the long-term interest of NATO and the United States.
Taxation horrors and Europe’s frustration
The European Union wants to create new, complicated systems to tax technology companies. Doing so will only harm its economy. Instead of engaging in an economic tit-for-tat with the United States, it should look at how Americans have fostered innovation and built tech giants. Good places to start include increasing investment in defense, reducing restrictive regulations and becoming less risk-averse.
Germany’s hollow political establishment pays the price
Germany's voters have spoken by turning their backs on the ruling coalition. As Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to hold the CDU/CSU together and piece together a new government, some interesting possibilities might emerge.