Climate illusions are no substitute for disaster management
With the onset of floods in Germany and elsewhere this summer, calls have grown louder for more climate change measures. But natural disasters happen all the time. What citizens should focus on is disaster preparedness and management. The Swiss example offers a path forward
Sweden and Finland in a mutual defense pact
After undergoing a near-total disarmament following the Cold War, Sweden is now remilitarizing in close collaboration with neighboring Finland. The mutual defense pact could eventually be integrated into NATO, although such a course of action would certainly provoke a reaction from the Kremlin.
A test for China-NATO strategic restraint in the Indo-Pacific
A UK-led carrier strike group will be present on China’s maritime doorstep, coinciding with the centenary celebrations of China’s communist party. The West means to show its unity and resolve in responding to Beijing’s disruptive global posture. Chinese leadership could resort to several options to demonstrate its displeasure.
Lukashenko’s Belarus in Russia’s embrace
In power since 1994, Belarus' Alexander Lukashenko has proven to be the ultimate political survivor. His latest scandals will sting, but the status quo will remain as long as Russia and the West do not alter their strategies. Russia cannot afford to see Belarus collapse, while the EU remains reluctant to do ...
An important lesson from the Swiss referendum on the CO2 law
Swiss people are highly conscious of environmental challenges and do their best to protect air, water and natural habitats. If they narrowly rejected legislation to limit CO2 emissions in a recent referendum, it was because many refused to be intimidated with debate-quashing tactics in the process of formulating policies
Matteo Salvini: Populist or pragmatist?
Italy’s populist star Matteo Salvini has stood behind the institutionalist Mario Draghi as prime minister, in keeping with his party’s pragmatic past. While his rebellious rhetoric will continue, the Lega leader will likely keep playing the responsible politician in Rome.
Opinion: Covid-19 deepens Nordic disharmony
Many expected the Nordic region to weather the Covid-19 pandemic with relatively little damage. However, Sweden’s lax response to the health crisis not only took a heavy toll on the population, it also exposed a deep divergence in values between the authorities in Stockholm and neighboring countries.
Corruption and the future of democracy in Portugal
A judge’s ruling to dismiss most of the corruption charges against a former Prime Minister have gutted faith in the judicial system in Portugal. GIS examines the scandal that brought the country to this point and analyzes the political implications that could benefit right-wing populists.
Malta under pressure
Frustrated at the lack of European solidarity during both the migrant crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maltese have grown increasingly disillusioned with the European Union. The government has adopted new populist rhetoric highly critical of Brussels, and the country appears to be seeking ties beyond the European continent.
Austria: Kurz and the crisis
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has surmounted several serious political challenges so far, including the dissolution of his ruling coalition over a media scandal and the formation of a new alliance with the Greens. However, the pandemic may have provided him temporary respite by obscuring issues that will resurface once the ...
Cyprus: Simmering tensions over a divided island
The Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders will soon take part in UN-sponsored negotiations to find a solution to the long-standing political conflict that left Cyprus divided. However, given the geopolitical dispute between Turkey and Greece over hydrocarbon exploitation, there is little chance the two sides will see eye to eye.
Europe needs more realpolitik, experience and skill in foreign and security policy
Europe cannot afford a foreign policy that is poorly conceived, ill-targeted and amateurish in execution. There is a pressing need to add a pragmatic institution, probably outside the EU governance architecture, to improve Europe’s international standing, room for maneuver and security prospects
Turkey’s push for greater influence in Central Asia
Turkey sees an opportunity to build its influence in the Turkic nations of Central Asia. Its growing importance as an energy hub, its tightening alliance with Azerbaijan and recent developments in the Middle East all make this an attractive strategic move for Ankara. But it is not without dangers, as ...
GIS Dossier: The Nordic countries
Nordic countries have become synonymous with successful welfare states, but the reality is more nuanced. The recent flood of migrants into the European Union has severely tested the limits of these systems, even causing a significant political backlash in some cases. In parallel, the region must address the security threats ...
The end of the Portuguese exception
Commentators have hailed Portugal’s politics as an “exception” in Europe. In Lisbon, a socialist party presides over a healthy economy while far-right and populist-right parties lack significant support. The pandemic, however, is challenging that status quo – increasingly statist solutions from the government are holding back growth, while right-wing parties ...
The gorilla and orangutan, or how freedom could be lost
As in the dystopian “Planet of the Apes” films, people in the developed, democratic world may find themselves stripped of their freedom and wealth if they continue turning a blind eye to the autocratic tendencies of expanding governments. Another big leap in this expansion is taking place during the coronavirus ...
Myths and realities of the Nordic welfare state
Far from being a homogenous bloc, Nordic countries differ greatly when it comes to their implementation of the welfare state so idealized by Western liberals. While Denmark has invested in a model that capitalizes on flexibility and national unity, Sweden has opted for an internationalist approach that is slowly eating ...
Covid-19 and Leviathan – the German case
Large parts of the world are still in the grip of severe economic and health crises. Many hope that, with effective vaccines, both issues will abate. But there is a serious risk that the pandemic will have brought about lasting changes in governance. In Germany, the level of government intervention ...
Opinion: Liechtenstein’s use of blockchain may upend the finance industry
One of Europe’s smallest states is writing a whole new book on harnessing the potential of blockchain technology to modernize the finance industry. There are still challenges to tackle, but the innovative legalization and approach to implementation could give the Principality of Liechtenstein pole position in this race.
Freedom and innovation are keys to Europe’s success
Unleashing free-market force and entrepreneurship is the only way forward for Europe. Instead of mimicking China’s central planning, the West needs to return to the values that initially made it powerful and prosperous: innovation, freedom and entrepreneurship. Only then will it revive its mismanaged economies and boost its global relevance
What can be expected from the Draghi government
When it is in dire need, Italy has a history of reaching for figures outside the political spectrum to right the ship of the state. The coming to Rome of former ECB President Mario Draghi fits that pattern, but only to a point.
Europe’s partners: The United States, Russia and Turkey
In their dealings with Washington, Moscow and Ankara, European powers and also Brussels make little attempt to understand the other side. Behaving as if they were morally superior, shortsighted leaders ignore geopolitical realities and put Europe’s vital interests at longer-term risk
New Opportunities 2021: Will France decentralize or recentralize?
In early 2020, France began considering government reforms meant to boost efficiency and reduce centralization. While the pandemic delayed the project, Paris will soon return to the task and attempt to give local governments more freedom. However, the plan could face backlash from the left, and could easily be derailed ...
Why Hungary and Poland are sticking together
When Poland's and Hungary’s leaders jointly threatened to veto the EU’s Covid recovery fund last December, they argued it was in defense of their sovereignty. The nations’ historical traumas notwithstanding, both governments are rumbling down the path toward authoritarianism.