Fourteen years have passed since the European Union-Western Balkan summit in Thessaloniki in June 2003 where the process know as the Thessaloniki Agenda was adopted confirming the EU accession perspective for the countries of the region. The language adopted was unequivocal: “The future of the Balkans is within the European Union”.
Political and economic prospects in the Western Balkans seemed promising in early 2000s, with countries leaning to the European Union for a prosperous future. Unfortunately, new and old Balkan problems are (re)emerging today, with political and ethnic divisions more entrenched than before due to poor economic performance, instability, corruption and lack of clear–cut prospects for the future. In the meantime, rising euroscepticism and "enlargement fatigue" in the EU have resulted into a stand–by of future enlargements.
If there was a moment when it was possible to speculate that the British election would send a clear signal about Britain’s relationship with Europe, it was short-lived. The British people may well deliver a decisive majority to Theresa May and, in the best-case scenario for her next government, she may be able to leverage that majority to win a good deal for Britain and to lay the foundations for Britain’s new role in Europe and at the global level. Even if that all came to pass, however, future historians would be hard-pressed to s
Global summits have rarely played such an important role as in 2017. In times of political volatility and economic uncertainty summits provide a forum for heads of state to exchange views on eye level contributing to a stabilization of expectations and potentially restoration of international consent. The US under President Trump questions a number of previously defined international commitments, in particular the stance on anti-protectionism and on the mitigation of dangerous climate change.
Twenty-three years ago, on the 6th of April, one of the greatest tragedies of contemporary history began. The Rwandan genocide, which took the lives of almost one million people in just about 100 days, occurred before the eyes of the world powers, whose representatives, impassive at the time, merely evacuated their personnel from the country and left the Rwandans to the mercy of the madness unleashed by a part of the population.
For many years now, successive American administrations have made no secret of their frustration with how little most NATO allies spend on their militaries, leaving the United States with a disproportionately large share of the bill for the joint defense. James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense, recently expressed much the same frustration in remarks delivered in Brussels. Recently, President Donald Trump went even further warning that unless the allies paid up, America might reduce its commitment.
Nowadays, the Mediterranean region’s balance of power is challenged by several conflicts and actors. Russia has taken advantage of this complex and fluid situation, becoming a key actor, expanding its military involvement, and building up political relationships. A key step in this process has been Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict since September 2015. While this was a surprising development, the paper argues that it is nonethless consistent with Russia’s regional interests and its renewed foreign policy.
During 2016 and in the first few weeks of 2017, it has become clear that General Khalifa Haftar is gaining support both locally and internationally. Egypt, the Emirates, Russia, and France, all played a role in strengthening his power.
Latin America is at a crossroads. The “golden age” inaugurated with the turn of the new millennium seems a faint memory. Economies that had grown at a steady pace are now slowing down, while some are in freefall.
Politically, the “pink tide” of populist movements is now ebbing. From Brazil to Venezuela, from Argentina to Bolivia, left-leaning leaders across the region seem to have lost their bond with the people. Their promises of an equitable society through an apparently never-ending redistribution of wealth crashed against the reality of shortsighted and unsustainable policies. Political and social turmoil are heralding an era of changes and – maybe – of new opportunities for Latin America. And this ‘great transformation’ is precisely what this volume is all about.
Where is it leading to? Does it mark the beginning of a new age? Which lessons can be learnt from the past? Leading international scholars and experts scratch beneath the surface of Latin America’s current crisis to have a clearer glimpse of what the future holds and draw policy recommendations, especially for the EU.