Global Outlook 2017: Merkel and the myth of German hegemony
Among the leaders of the world’s biggest liberal democracies, it seems Angela Merkel is the last woman standing. Some have claimed that will make her the leader of the free world and Germany Europe’s hegemon. Such claims are greatly exaggerated. There will be significant limitations to both Germany and Ms. Merkel’s room for maneuver in Europe and globally in the coming year.
England in Europe – perennial ambivalence
Great Britain’s greatest modern statesman, Winston Churchill, called for a United States of Europe in 1946. Now the British will have to make other arrangements. After Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May could revert to the ad hoc coalition-building and power-balancing that has long been a British speciality in Europe. But she may have something else up her sleeve.
NATO balances east and south
As NATO leaders gather in Warsaw, they must balance a serious threat to the alliance’s eastern flank against multiple and complex challenges in the south. Their task is complicated by Brexit, which weakens the Anglo-American partnership at the heart of NATO. The result may be a bigger security role for the European Union, and especially Germany.
Applause for Mr. Cameron
Yes, he miscalculated. He overplayed his hand. He underestimated his adversaries. His bluff was called, and he lost. Nonetheless, British Prime Minister David Cameron made the most courageous decision by a European politician in decades. For that, Mr. Cameron merits praise.
Making lemonade out of Brexit lemons
Doom and gloom! Voters in the United Kingdom have decided to leave the European Union. Markets are tumbling, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation and politicians around the globe have expressed deep worry. Leaders of the various EU countries, as well as those in Brussels, have voiced their regret and warned of Brexit’s dangers. Some have also pointed to damaging consequences for the UK, sounding very much as if they are making threats. Prime Minister Cameron has been criticized for initiating the referendum. However, the vote was necessary to clarify the UK’s position in the bloc. Holding it took courage on his part.
Life after Brexit
Days before the British referendum on European Union membership it remains totally unclear whether the United Kingdom will remain in the EU. It is equally uncertain what economic and political disruptions are in store; there are innumerable “ifs” and “trade-offs” that condition both possible outcomes. But some scenarios of post-Brexit UK-EU relations and of the future of the EU are already discernible.
Brexit and those nagging foreigners
In line with Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign promise, the United Kingdom will vote in June on its membership in the European Union. The government supports and promotes continued EU membership. However, the country is deeply split and the political parties are themselves divided, especially Mr. Cameron’s Conservatives.
Euro crisis: time for a rerun?
After Greece obtained its third bailout last summer, Europe turned its attention to other crises. But it would be naive to conclude that the sovereign debt crisis is over. The Greek drama is still far from a happy ending; in Portugal and Spain, fragile left-wing governments may want to abandon austerity and roll back reforms; France has declared a state of economic...
Assessing the future of North Sea oil and gas
The North Sea is a mature oil and gas province. Output from the two main producers – Norway and the United Kingdom – has peaked and the remaining reserves to be exploited are smaller and/or more technically challenging than those developed in the past, thereby shrinking potential returns. As several fields approach the end of their commercial lives, the decommissio...
Cameron’s ‘blackmail’ offers a way out of migrant welfare bind
Immigration is one of the many pressing issues that European policymakers failed to resolve in 2015. Not only were they unable to arrive at a common view; they could not even agree to a consistent road map. Prime Minister David Cameron’s demands to limit welfare benefits and the threat of Brexit may be giving Brussels an unexpected chance to put things right. ...