Opinion: EU-60 summit evades disaster and reform
The European Union avoided embarrassment at its 60th anniversary reunion thanks to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who tactfully stayed away before signing her divorce papers. But with the bloc facing tough choices about its future course, its leaders merely raised their champagne glasses. The EU fiddled at the Rome summit while its citizens did a slow burn.
Roads out of Rome
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker came up with an uninspiring set of scenarios in his latest White Paper. But the debate it kicks off, to be continued at the Rome Summit on March 25, could present a real chance to reorganize the European Union and make it more competitive.
‘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.
Scenarios for Europe
Europe’s basic problem is a lack of leadership. In 2017 it is unlikely to solve the root problems at the heart of its malaise: excessive regulation, a lack of competition and innovation, weakening internal cohesion and an inability to address crises efficiently. A new generation of politicians may emerge that pushes for more market-driven solutions, but it will take several more years for them to be able to implement their vision, if at all.
The European Union’s stillborn army
The plan for a European Union army appears to be an idea doomed to fail. Its failure, however, could pave the way for closer European defense cooperation centered on Germany. More likely, the push for an integrated European army will lead, somewhat paradoxically, to a renationalization of defense. Any such effort will have to rely heavily on NATO, and therefore on the alliance's strongest European military, Great Britain.
Global trends: Europe’s weak spots ready to become new crises
Europe’s leaders have failed to solve the structural problems revealed by the crisis of 2008. Nor have they grappled with issues that have emerged in recent years. Examples include high public debt, the stock market bubble and distorted risk perceptions caused by the eurozone’s artificially low interest rates. For now, the situation has stabilized. Financial market...
Proposed fiscal board may widen political rifts in EU
The European Commission announced in October that it is creating a new agency tasked with helping member governments draft and manage their budgetary policies. At the same time, it asked a study group to examine the possibility of introducing a European guarantee on bank deposits in the eurozone. Summary <i&g...
Europe’s dangerously unfinished mission in the Western Balkans
November 2015 marks two decades since the Dayton Peace Accords set the Western Balkans states on their long and tortuous path to eventual peace. Wars in the region erupted regularly between 1991 and 2001 as part of the post-Cold War disintegration of the former Yugoslav federation. The brutal ethnic clashes were difficult to quell. It took scores of peacekeeping fo...
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...
Turkish Stream – reality or pipe dream?
Russia’s traditional use of pipeline diplomacy in Europe has been constrained by new geopolitical and market realities. The latest gambit from Moscow to exert leverage is the planned Turkish Stream gas pipeline, which last year replaced the cancelled South Stream project. Whether it will succeed is questionable, especially after Gazprom acknowledged on September 14...