Dear friends and supporters of ECFR,
Over this last week, the focus in our offices – as in much of Europe – has been on the outcome of efforts to form a plan that saves the euro. Did the politicians succeed? Here are some pieces that might inform the debate:
The success of the latest EU-summit tends to make us overlook that Europe is engaging into two changes of paradigms: we shift from a European Germany to a German Eurozone, and the deepening/widening-paradigm is broken. To cope with the first, Europe should urgently reinforce its communitarian institution, because Berlin cannot and should not become the new Brussels.
To cope with the second, we need to think urgently of a link between the EU 17 and the EU 27 other than the single market – and this is hard. Keeping Britain out of a decision-making 17 may not displease everybody on the European continent – especially given the recent discussions in the British parliament – but I feel worried for Poland, which has turned out to be a truly valuable European partner in many respects. The danger is that the rebalancing of the EU, with a strengthened EU 17, may involve losing a huge
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I am tempted to write about Ukraine again this week. The EU reaction to the Tymoshenko verdict is a worthy story in itself; but one that will undoubtedly run and run. So I will write about Latvia, where the end-game after the September elections was always likely to be reaching a climax about now.
Three trends have dominated Latvian politics in recent years. First, the “Russian” parties have gradually expanded to maximise their electorate since the citizenship controversies of the 1990s. In 1991, 34% of the population was Russian; as of 2010 the figure was 27.6%, plus 6.1% of Belarusians and Ukrainians, though with 300,000 Russian-speakers still non-citizens. So 28.4% for the Russian Block dubbed “Harmony Centre,” first place and 31 out of 100 seats in last month’s elections was probably a peak, unless it can do a better job of crossing ethnic and linguistic boundaries in the
ECFR director Mark Leonard outlines four ways in which the EU can change its approach towards its Southern Mediterranean neighbors in light of the ‘Arab Spring.’ “The destabilisation of Europe’s periphery puts the EU in a dramatically different position to the status it enjoyed at the end of the 20th Century.”
Dr. Ian O. Lesser investigates the future of Turkish foreign policy for The German Marshall Fund; “After a decade of commercial engagement and soft power, hard security issues are returning to centre stage.”
In an ECFR podcast, Piotr Zalewski, who works for political tours, explains Turkey's response to the ‘Arab Spring’ and its fears about the potential for Syria to stir up trouble among its Kurdish population.
Geopolicity has published a report about the economic cost of the Uprisings in the region. Here is the executive summary.
David Garner in
An end to the euro crisis is not far away. The outgoing president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Jean-Claude Trichet, says: “We are facing a systemic crisis.” And that can have only two possible ends: the end of the system, or a change in the system. So the various summits of this week may be the last acts of the collapse, or the beginning of recovery.
The question of whether the firewalls were too small or the fire too big is secondary; the fact is that in recent years the market blaze has crossed all the barriers that the EU authorities had built. The crisis first jumped the Atlantic, leaving a trail of scorched banks, then moved on to the public sector, hitting Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Portugal. Lately the fire has been two-pronged, with one front in Spain and Italy and the other turning on a European financial sector doubly threatened by tight credit and by the huge
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