We have been busy over the last week with a policy retreat here in the London office, putting our heads together with the aim of coming up with some coherent answers to some of the big questions facing Europe in 2011 – not least of all south across the Mediterranean Sea in North Africa.
That means that we’ve written and interviewed a bit less than normal. There have, however, been a few very interesting new bits and pieces on the website. Here they are:
The fabric of Europe has been worn alarmingly thin in recent days. Berlusconi’s talk of a “human tsunami” and Italy’s threat that it would issue temporary Schengen visas to the 25,000 migrants that just passed through Lampedusa, but also the ensuing open hostility and bickering of states such as Germany, France and Austria at the EU meeting of interior ministers on Monday, have exposed yet another area in which the fabric is fraying: immigration and asylum policy.
Reactions in Europe to the flow of both economic and political migrants from the South are symptoms of the fact that policy in this area has been neglected. The surrounding discourse aims at avoiding, rather than solving, the difficulties that Europe faces with both its migration policy and its policy towards North Africa in general.
There have been thinly veiled threats from Italians to their European partners, such as
6 commentsRead more…
As part of ECFR's Germany in Europe project, we will shortly be publishing a new policy brief entitled The new German question: How Europe can get the Germany it needs, the text of which was extensively quoted in a Financial Times analysis piece today (registration needed).
The brief argues that since the beginning of the euro crisis last year, there has been a kind of “unipolar moment” within the eurozone: no solution to the crisis was possible without Germany or against Germany. Although Germany has now signalled it will do what it takes to save the euro, much of Europe is worried about the way this will be done and even resentful about where Germany seems to be heading. Germans, on the other hand, feel betrayed by the European project with which they once identified perhaps more than any other member state. In fact, whereas Germans once saw the EU as the embodiment of post-war
2 commentsRead more…
The question itself seems unnecessarily alarmist: Does Bosnia risk becoming another Libya? Step away from the headline, however, and there are sound reasons for feeling extremely concerned about the direction that Bosnia is going.
This is the argument that Lord Paddy Ashdown, who was the international community's representative in Bosnia, makes in a piece published in today's Times, here in Britain (the piece is behind a pay wall, but if you are willing to spend the money, you'll find it at www.thetimes.co.uk). The things that concern Lord Ashdown are not new - for instance he points towards the dysfunctionality of a political system designed to stop the war that has failed to adapt to the peace, a sclerotic economy that is failing to provide viable futures for the young of Bosnia, and flashpoints such as the building of a church next to the Muslim graveyard in Srebrenica. There
Today our London office played host to Lieutenant General William Caldwell, the head of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan. The details were fascinating - the difficulties of buying thousands of pairs of locally-made boots a year; the satisfaction of being able to extend literacy to the recruits; the complications of trying to balance the many different ethnic and geographic groups within the security apparatus; the challenge of finding ways to pay for security institutions in a country that remains extremely poor.
Afterwards, with thanks to our own Daniel Korski (who helped organise the meeting), and General Caldwell's communications director, Shawn Stroud, I managed to get ten minutes in a meeting room for a quick interview. Click here for the podcast on what is surely one of the toughest jobs in the world today.
A diplomatic strategy for the conflict in Syria
Europeans are losing faith in the EU
Europe can rescue the two-state solution
27 countries in search of a proper security strategy
How Europe can help Egypt
Understanding the influence of the Gulf States
A new era for EU-Georgia relations?
What next for Egypt, Tunisia and Libya?
What does China think about the island dispute?
A comprehensive evaluation of European foreign policy
How the euro crisis has affected politics in 14 EU member states