In June 2018, the transformation of the political system from a parliamentary to a presidential one has become effective. The Turkish Parliament has been weakened and the political hierarchy with the President as the highest standing has been further strenghtened. But suspending accession talks would also suspend European support for more democracy.
The tectonic plaques of the eurozone are again on the move. The rise of populism and the extreme-right is not the beginning but rather the result of a long process of political flaws and errors. The Italian national budget proposal oposes the Italian government and the European Commission. But it is not about pro or contra the EU but about delayed and short-term reforms in the fiscal governance.
State elections in Bavaria mark a shift in the party countryside in Germany. Civil society sees environmental issues to be addressed by political actors and respective policies as an important cause of action now and in the future.
The EU has lost a great deal of its standing and influence in the Western Balkans. Domestic political elites consolidate their power through ever-tightening control over civic space. Why do millions of euros in governance and civil society assistance have failed to support robust democracies?
The need to balance humanitarian responses and legal obligations while ‘ending’ irregular migratory journeys has overwhelmed the EU for the past three years. A patchwork of policies emerged as a response to the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015. Who undertakes the responsibility for search and rescue, disembarkation and asylum processing?
Violation of human rights, deportation and colonization of the Crimean population and territory by Russia has a long history. ‘The Soviet period was a real nightmare for the Crimea Tatars’, and still is today. Four years after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, European political leaders continue to sidestep the issue of Crimea.
The Sargentini report showed divisions between Eastern and Western European countries as well as between left and right wing tendencies. It also evidenced that illiberal policies have to face political consequences at European level. Other governments such as Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania, though, make less a public display of their illiberal steps.
Two major issues in the Syrien conflict are the strenght of the IS and migration flows. The country needs stability and the EU should contribute to the resolution of the conflict. However, will peace talks and humanitarian assistance be able to bring stability?
The migration question has only been addressed with short-term answers in response to a situation perceived as urgency and ‘problem’. But could a legal migration not rather be part of the solution and contribute to develop a real vision of a diverse society?
Theresa May lacks support, the Conservative UK government is divided such as the British Left and positions are most ambiguous! Difficult premises to negotiate a country's future: ‘If Corbyn and his allies are serious about social and economic justice then the first thing they can do is to prevent Brexit.’
After 21 consecutive quarters of positive evolution of the eurozone, one might think that the euro crisis is permanently over. But the eurozone has been playing with fire for too long. It has imposed policies with large economic and social costs, while ignoring fundamental and long lasting weaknesses in the design of the euro architecture.
Orbán openly threatens the EPP and uses the topic of migration as a pretext to gain credit and form new alliances in the EU. He also continues buidling an illiberal state passing a legal and constitutional package which is deadly for democratic institutions. However ignoring Orban only creates a huge wave of democratic backsliding in the EU.
The failure to go beyond rhetoric and statements of condemnation and to implement international law has allowed Israel to entrench its control over the Palestinian people and their land. The EU itself is complicit in Israeli violations through its various trade and funding links with Israel.
Israeli and Palestinians share a complex urban reality in Jerusalem. Fair policies for both communities could help enhance the living environment in the city and the personal security of all its residents in order to reduce tensions in the city such as the unilateral alteration of boundaries.
The present critical policy issues, namely the management of migration and common borders, the cooperation with neighbouring countries, the reform of defence structures and doctrine as well as the ongoing endemic flaws of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) could be addressed using resources drawn from a common budget.
A mortal division breaks through Brexit but is also an inherent problem of the European project. The duopoly between the market and the nation and which one to value most calls for a model for an alternative and different Europe. Europeans need rather more then less Europe.
Civil society and citizens take over the duties in welcoming refugees where Member States and the EU fail. Parts of civil society have awoken across borders to contest policies and laws that they believe to be contrary to the ‘core principles’ of both Member States and the EU, as well as contrary to broader humanitarian, religious or political principles.
The result of the election in Turkey confirms Erdoğan's leading position but also means the dismanteling of democratic structures and civil liberties as well as the continuous war on Kurds. With a consolidated AKP, the future looks hard for opposition parties.