On June 8 and 9, the leaders of the G7 countries have met in Canada for their 44th annual summit. For decades, the summit has offered an opportunity for representatives of democratic, economically-advanced countries to reaffirm their commitment to a free and liberal world.
This year’s G7 may mark a new milestone on the declining path of multilateralism. Despite all efforts by Mr. Trudeau, a strong supporter of multilateralism, the Canadian G7 Summit will likely achieve a very mild and short-sighted Final Declaration, if any. Just a few days before the Summit, President Trump announced his decision to let tariff exemptions expire, de facto imposing tariffs on all the other six G7 members.
In 2018 global governance will be importantly shaped by the summits of the two global institutions centrally responsible for this task. The first is that of the Group of Seven (G7) major economically advanced democracies, to be hosted by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in Charlevoix, Canada, on June 8-9. The second is that of the Group of Twenty (G20) systemically significant countries, to be hosted by Argentinian president Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1.
The increased protectionist turn taken by the United States, including steel and aluminium tariffs levied against the EU and other countries and a potential trade war with China, comes at an awkward time for the United Kingdom. While the United Kingdom is negotiating its exit from the European Union, it still remains within the EU and its customs union and so is dependent on the EU to negotiate on its behalf.
Following a Constitutional Court decision in December 2016 and the EU's failure to turn the technical measures it tried to propose as part of an ambitious "Reform Agenda" into a comprehensive political strategy, Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing possibly its biggest political crisis after general elections will be held in October 2018 .
Over the years, Italy has been reiterating its full support for the EU's process of integrating the Western Balkans (WB) at the political and diplomatic levels. The launch of the EU Macro-regional Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) in 2016 is considered to be one of the main achievements of the 2014 Italian presidency of the EU.
In a recent ISPI article, Valbona Zeneli wrote that, despite other big actors at play, the European Union is the only game in town in the Western Balkans (WB). Is it really so? A review of the activities of the three most important non-EU players in the region - Russia, Turkey and China - points us in another direction.
There is one paramount question to be asked after 18 years of EU enlargement efforts in the Western Balkans: What will happen if we don’t see materialize what we want to happen? We wanted to have democratic and prosperous Balkans integrated into the EU at the latest by 2014, but now we find ourselves debating whether the possible entry date of 2025 is not too optimistic.
Corruption is deeply rooted in the Western Balkans. A 2016 survey by SELDI (a southeast European network of think tanks against corruption) shows wide distribution of low-level administrative corruption in all the countries. Albania, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina ‘lead’ the group with 40%, 29% and 28% of the respondents reporting involvement in at least one incident of bribe, gift or favor exchange.
Much has been achieved in the Western Balkans since the end of the Yugoslav Wars, yet much remains to be done. The current hard-won stability is something to rejoice at, but severe causes for concern still abound.