The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 and the launch of a hybrid war against Ukraine was Russia’s answer to the revolution triggered by Euromaidan. The conflict continues to pose fundamental challenges for the European Union, and raises the question of whether the EU will maintain its commitment to the political and economic consolidation of those of its Eastern neighbours which aim to make sovereign choices based on the rule of law and democracy.
It was once quipped to me that you can tell a lot about the state of a country by the effusiveness of its name ─ compare the ‘Federal Republic of Germany’ with the dictatorial ‘German Democratic Republic’, or the ‘Republic of Korea’ with the autocratic, dynastical ‘Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’.
Following the attacks in Paris, a global coalition in the fight against ISIL emerged. History seems to repeat itself. What have we learned from the events since 2001, and how did it come to the current escalation?
When the euro crisis was at its peak, European media largely ignored the situation in Portugal, even though the small Iberian country with a population of just over 10 million suffered massive economic and fiscal difficulties.
The question that has to be asked after the election is if Spanish politicians will make up their minds to sign a government agreement or if there will be a snap election. The next days will be crucial for Spain and hopefully we will have the answer very soon.
Across Europe, democracies are increasingly under pressure from right-wing parties and movements that often combine radical anti-immigrant and Islamophobic positions with populist rhetoric. Those movements differ strongly in their party programmes, ranging from Eurosceptic to overtly racist but share a disdain for the existing political institutions.
Some Turkish analysts and international observers believe the AKP has little reason to change its policies after obtaining a strong mandate from the public. Erdoğan will be uncompromising on Syria and opposed to el-Sissi.
We are living in extremely turbulent times. Never in the past decades has the old adagio ‘the EU is now at the crossroads’ been so true. Nothing seems certain any longer, everything can happen: a suspension of Schengen, the fall of the euro, a major war conducted by a EU country, a terrorist lockdown at the heart of Europe. We are all understandably confused.
Days after the Paris attacks, Europe is only slowly awakening from a state of shock. The events served as a painful reminder of our vulnerabilities from within and the daunting threats we face from abroad. A reflection on seven challenges looming on Europe’s horizon.
The AKP has gained the absolute majority in Turkey’s recent snap elections, allowing it to continue to rule without a coalition partner. Deep rifts within Turkish society, however, remain. A take on the elections by Kristian Brakel, hbs-office director in Istanbul.
For the last 30 years, the Kurdish movement has given birth to a myriad of organisations. Its newest offspring is the Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP – Halkların Demokratik Partisi) that received more than six million (13.12%) votes (80 seats) in the last election. With new elections looming in November 2015 and new clashes flaring up between the Turkish government and the PKK, the HDP’s future hangs in the balance as well.
Poland has elected its new government. Not a single left-wing party has made it through the elections.Director Irene Hahn-Fuhr comments the outcome of the Polish parliamentary elections from a European perspective.
Triggered by Russia’s push to turn the military tide in Syria in Assad’s favor, Washington D.C. is currently seeing renewed debates about the need to revise the administration’s Syria policy. Prominent voices, such as former White House Coordinator for the Middle East Phil Gordon, have advocated for striving for a negotiated interim solution in Syria that defers the question of Assad’s fate. Bente Scheller, hbs office director in Lebanon, addresses some of the underlying myths and arguments shaping the current debate.
It remains to be seen whether the majority decision on the redistribution of 120,000 refugees was a clever move. In Central Eastern Europe, the voices against the “dictate of the majority” cannot be ignored.
With Europeans slowly waking up to the fact that time is indeed an expensive commodity, all over the continent the question arises: in what exactly are we investing and what kind of new Europe is it that we have bought time for up to now?