On Tuesday 7 May the Egyptian cabinet was reshuffled – and one of the key portfolios for Egypt’s relations with the outside world went to Amr Darrag of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP). Darrag was named minister for planning and international co-operation. Last Friday, only days before he joined the cabinet, he appeared as a panellist at a Black Coffee Morning event at ECFR in London. Whether or not he had any inkling about his imminent promotion, Darrag’s comments give an insight into the outlook of a man who will now be influential on a series of contentious issues – including negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), relations with the European Union, and rules governing the operation of NGOs in Egypt.
Darrag is certainly a polished and articulate performer, and in that sense, a smart choice for a job that involves making Egypt’s case
Greenland is starting to look forward to a bright future in resource-extraction, based on underground riches that include large deposits of iron ore, uranium and the coveted rare earths. This is already bringing great international interest - in particular Chinese investors and droves of Chinese workers for the mines.
In a dream scenario, such extraction could turn Greenlanders into Polar mineral sheiks providing cash inflows to the benefit of Greenlandic society and prosperity (each proposed extraction project is larger than Greenland’s current yearly gross national income). In a worst case, it could lead to uneven distribution of riches, environmental degradation and in the exploitation of foreign workers - all suggesting that Greenland could fall prey to the ‘resource curse’ of countries such as Nigeria and DR Congo.
In Denmark, the potential Chinese move into the Greenlandic
On 31st January we publish the ECFR Foreign Policy Scorecard 2013. Here's a short video that I've just put together to explain what the Scorecard project is, and why it should be of interest to everybody interested in European influence in the world...
Turkey enters 2013 with a 270-page report listing its progress towards the EU. Europe Minister and Chief Negotiatior Egemen Bağış used the occasion to lambast, once more, the regular monitoring document issued by the European Commission back in October as “overshadowed by more subjective, biased, unwarranted and bigoted attitudes.” This is the same cabinet member who is fond of clamoring that Turkey was coming to the rescue of the crisis-hit EU. Among the successes the new report lists is the increase of the number of women in parliament to 14.4 percent (though this happened in June 2011, not in 2012), the higher number of disabled people employed by the state and others. I much prefer the sketch of 2012 my friend Suat Kınıklıoğlu has prepared. It gives you a frank, unadulterated picture.
Unfortunately, the government-prepared report is available in Turkish only which
4 commentsRead more…
Given two years of brutal violence and the killing of over 40,000 people, it is hard to take seriously any comments from the Syrian regime suggesting a political solution to the devastating crisis. Remarks by Syrian Vice President, Farouq al-Sharaa, to the Lebanese daily, al-Akhbar, criticising the regime’s approach, stating that it cannot win the battle militarily, and calling for a “historic settlement” including the establishment of an empowered national unity government - that is to say a negotiated agreement - have been widely rejected as a new attempt by the regime to buy time.
The prospect of any near-term form of political dialogue and solution to the conflict seems far-fetched at best. The levels of polarisation now run too bloody and too deep. On Sunday regime jets bombed the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus, and every day new reports of state brutality
1 commentsRead more…
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
Do EU sanctions work?