Shared visions make for strong allies. The US and EU interests in each other’s energy security run deep for a reason. Energy security and interconnectivity breed economic opportunity and stability as well as political security, all of which are of the highest priority on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 31 March presidential elections in Ukraine matter to Ukraine, its region and the EU. While the majority of experts deem it impossible to have a winner in the first round and, thus, expect a second one in April, the March contest will be a first important step in the crucial process of determining the direction the country will take. Thus, while we should not hold our breath on election day, we should definitely keep a close eye on the contest and its outcome.
Donald Trump's policies have introduced new tensions in the international order, an order that the U.S. had been defending and promoting since the Second World War. At the same time, China’s growth and Russia’s newfound assertiveness are increasingly challenging the Western liberal order. In short, the signs of the “end of a world” that many had taken for granted for decades are multiplying, with far-reaching consequences on the resilience of the international system, on multilateral organisations, and even on the institutional structure of individual states.
If there is one thing that the Chinese leadership hates, it is not being in control of something crucially important. In the context of its authoritarian political system, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) remains in power with no need to compete with another political party. However, regime security remains its number one concern (or core interest) and, more than anything else, it relies on the fact that the party is seen as legitimate ruler.
Engagement and constructive dialogue, albeit conditional, are the leitmotif that have driven the European strategy towards Iran for the past three decades. While this is likely to continue being the case, the fear of being back to the future, in a situation in which such approach yielded limited results, might lead to a new and different stage in the EU-Iran relations moving forwards.
For the first ten months of 2019, the European Central Bank (ECB) will still be chaired by Mario Draghi. His term, which lasted for eight years, cannot be further extended. In the meantime, Heads of State and Government will ponder the choice of his successor. During this last period of Draghi’s presidency, difficult decisions are expected, which the Board of Directors will have to take in a concerted manner while promoting harmony and continuity as the presidency changes.
It’s the moment we’ve all (not) been waiting for: the 2019 European Parliament elections. As if Europe didn’t have enough problems at the moment, citizens of the rebranded EU-27 are set to go to the polls in May in what many observers consider the most consequential EP election since its founding in 1979.
The year just ended has been marked by exhausting negotiations between London and Brussels. While the European Union has shown a significant – indeed, perhaps unexpected – degree of cohesion behind its chief negotiator Michel Barnier, the United Kingdom has turned out less and less united behind Prime Minister Theresa May. It is worth recalling that the Brexit referendum originated in the (unsuccessful) attempt by her predecessor David Cameron to heal the deep divisions within the Conservative party on EU membership.
Real growth in the global economy over the last two years (2017 and 2018) was 3.7% a year, the advanced countries (led by the USA) managing 2.5% and the emerging countries around 5%, buoyed by the excellent (and continuing) performance of the south-east Asian economies, especially China and India. The International Monetary Fund expects a slow-down in 2019; but the question all observers are asking themselves is whether that slowing will take the unpleasant form of a world-wide crisis just as we had almost forgotten the last one.
Are we really isolated within Europe? The quick and simple reply, judging from immediate experience, could be “yes”: we have given Europe problems, and have not managed to find either agreement or allies ready to support us.
A closer examination and more carefully articulated response, however, might lead to a more nuanced conclusion.