Elections have always been a stress test for Hezbollah and the upcoming May 15th elections are no exception. The ongoing socio-economic crisis and widespread political disenchantment with the whole sectarian system in Lebanon will make these elections particularly challenging for Hezbollah. More specifically, this vote threatens the continued existence of the coalition that allows Hezbollah to control the parliamentary majority.
Lebanon’s economic and political crisis represents an important issue for European policymakers. Given the central role the country plays in the eastern Mediterranean region, its further destabilisation is likely to spread to the broader Middle East, with significant consequences also for Europe. Over the past twenty years, both the European Union and its member states, with France in the lead, have played a key role in sustaining Lebanon’s fragile economy and supporting the burden posed by the Syrian refugee crisis.
Nothing will ever be the same. It’s hard not to share such a clear yet simple assessment of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the short span of a few weeks, indeed a few days, ordinary human activities were disrupted. The impact was immediate and particularly visible in cities where traffic frenzy and traffic jams were suddenly replaced by deserted streets and unreal silence.
When cities reopened following months of lockdowns, they were no longer the same; or perhaps their citizens were different. Restaurants, bars, and clubs flooded outdoors, invading sidewalks and even streets or parking spaces at times. Outdoor activities increased exponentially while parks were filled with all sorts of events: yoga classes, political meetings, and actual outdoor education. Similar phenomena have occurred, at different times and in different ways, in almost every city across Europe and the world.
A seguito dell’invasione russa dell’Ucraina, si è registrata tra i 27 Stati membri dell’Unione Europea (Ue) un’unità d’intenti e soprattutto di vedute rara considerando i maggiori eventi di politica internazionale degli ultimi anni.
Most of the developed world reacted to Russian government’s military operations in Ukraine with a prompt economic counteroffensive.
Foreign producers who have heavily invested in Russia over the past two decades – betting on Russia’s political stability, size, and access to the post-Soviet market - now face a hard choice: how to do business without losing face. Many are considering to go-in-between jurisdictions (Armenia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, etc.) to continue trading with Russia to circumvent sanctions.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to increased oppression against opposition activists, NGOs, and journalists within the country. Civil society organizations are trying to survive under the new political and economic conditions, with many activists and experts fleeing Russia.
“I condemn Russia’s offensive against the Ukrainian people in Donbas. We must (…) impose peace on Russia so that Ukraine regains its full sovereignty.” Such were the blunt words against the Kremlin pronounced by French far-right politician and Vladimir Putin’s long-time ally, Marine Le Pen.
Russia’s lack of a major success in the war against Ukraine and the unexpected scale of Western sanctions have brought uncertainty to Sino-Russian relations. Their power asymmetry as well as Moscow’s dependence on Beijing’s imports is likely to have deepened. The limitations of the ‘alliance in all but name’ have come to the fore, too. While Beijing has continued its incessant political support, echoing and amplifying the Kremlin’s justifications for war, we have not witnessed any substantial economic or military assistance so far.
Economic sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia aim at weakening Moscow’s economy by cutting it off trade flows with European countries. So far, six rounds of sanctions have been introduced, but have they been effective? Are they going to harm European economies as well, and to what extent? In the short term, Europe growth prospects will be affected; but in the medium to long run, it might be possible for the EU to strengthen its trade partnerships with other countries thanks to its extensive networks of Preferential Trade Agreements.