This week, I was in Warsaw for a conference to celebrate the 20th birthday of the often-neglected Weimar Triangle. The Poles do a lot to place themselves at the centre of Europe’s activities and are always trying to reinvent Weimar: boarding the aircraft in Berlin, there was a highly visible sign, advertising to Germans the website of the Polish presidency of the EU.
The Polish President hosted this Weimar conference in his beautiful royal castle, while Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski delivered a powerful speech pretty much along the lines of: “Poland is the new Germany in Europe,” meaning that the country is Europe’s new powerhouse – one of the trends that Zbigniew Brzezińsk had already depicted in his last book. In absence of Roland Dumas and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former foreign ministers of France and Germany respectively who both felt ill two days before and had to
Should Israel respond to the Arab Spring as a porcupine, an iguana or a caterpillar? An intriguing, if not perplexing, question that was posed this morning by Daniel Levy, ECFR’s newest (non-resident) senior policy fellow and co-author of our recently-published brief on the forthcoming vote on Palestinian statehood at the UN, which is sub-titled “Why Europeans should vote ‘yes’.”
Israel’s current strategy for dealing with its region in the wake of this year’s revolutions, Daniel argued, is the first of his three animals – porcupine. Speaking at ECFR London’s first Black Coffee Morning since the summer break, Daniel – who served as an adviser and negotiator for previous Israeli administrations – described the Netanyahu government’s reaction to the Arab Spring as to “turn in on itself and just show the harsh tip of the porcupine to its neighbourhood”.
The prime minister’s attitude,
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A good rule in restaurants is always to have a good look over your shoulder before taking too freely. I recently had lunch with a group of British diplomats, and one chided me for speaking a bit too loudly, while the Russians sat at the next table.
He had a point. Our Russian neighbours – a delegation high on moustaches and low on women – had fallen silent, as they swilled glasses of wine and tried to listen in on our conversation. Perhaps they were looking for clues about the prickly relations between Moscow and London, ahead of a visit by the British prime minister, David Cameron.
Other European countries are rushing to embrace the Russian business opportunities growing in the reset and recession induced political fair weather. Yet Britain has reset reluctance. While Merkel and Sarkozy regularly ink documents and grin for the cameras with Russia’s top leadership – not so the
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This week has seen the launch of a major new competition by ECFR in partnership with the Central European University, IDEA, and the Open Society Foundation on the theme of ‘Security Liberty.’ Ten years after 9/11, we are seeking undergraduates from around the world who can develop andadvocate a security policy that balances the need for security with respect for freedom and human rights. More details can be found here. Please spread the word among students and teachers that you know.
“Tout est language,” everything is language, the famous French psychologist Francoise Dolto once said – and the language was good. Germany’s constitutional court, in its judgment this week, more or less reiterated its existing position about the need for more Bundestag involvement in European decision-making. Its approval of Merkel’s response to the European debt crisis did not come as a surprise. Yet importantly, compared to its judgment on the Lisbon Treaty, which was said to have a ‘national’ tone, the wording of the court’s latest pronouncement was favourable to Europe. Indeed, the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the (first) bailout of Greece and funding of the EFSF is compatible with German Basic Law can be seen as “pro-European,” according to an initial evaluation by Christian Calliess, professor of public and European law at the Freie Universität Berlin.
In essence, the
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