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.
Opinion: Populism as Reformation
Though it is popular to contrast “populism” with “democracy,” the two are more alike than different. Like the Reformation 500 years ago, today’s populist movements aim to wrest power from the elites and give it back to the people. Instead of petering out, variations on the democratic populist system are likely to multiply, and traditional democratic models may undergo a radical renewal.
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.
Cold war between Visegrad and Brussels
Brussels is angry with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for allegedly lacking solidarity and “EU values.” But the European Commission’s plan to use financial pressure to rein in the four politically conservative Central European members is nearly certain to backfire.
In defense of referenda
Many have been shocked by the outcomes of referenda in the UK, Colombia and Hungary. Some critics now question direct democracy, and whether the people can be trusted with making decisions on major issues. They are forgetting that citizens, not governments, should initiate such votes. When they do, the results are usually very sensible.
Central Europe is headed for turbulence, not Putinization
Recent political developments in Hungary and Poland have been interpreted as portending a reversal of westernization. If history is any guide, this perception is wrong. It is true that the region appears headed for institutional turbulence that could foster growing political and economic volatility. But a more serious upheaval is virtually precluded by the region’s...
Refugee crisis tarnishes EU’s ‘moral superpower’
European leaders have long known that the main danger posed by the refugee influx is political backlash. This threat was explicitly recognized by Guenther Oettinger, Germany’s representative to the European Commission, during a press conference on December 30, 2015. “The European Union has learned to overcome crises,” he said. “But the number of unstable or populis...
EU faces dilemmas over Hungary’s nuclear deal with Russia
Hungary is officially upbeat about its agreement with Russia to expand the Paks-2 nuclear plant. But behind the hurrah-optimism of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and government officials, the 12 billion euro contract with Rosatom is encountering stiff resistance at home and abroad, writes GIS guest expert Peter Juhasz. Summary ...
Threats emerge of new Balkans Cold War split between the West and Russia
Fears are growing that a new Cold War could affect the Balkans following the escalating crisis in Ukraine. An East- West divide has returned to the region harking back 25 years to the end of the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Russia is developing its interests and its sphere of influence with some Balkans countries and raising the stakes over secur...