European Council on Foreign Relations

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Greece: back in the game?

After months of painful negotiations with the Troika over a new financial rescue package, finally some good news is coming out of Athens. As of Wednesday 9 April, Greece is back on the international financial markets, for the first time since the euro crisis hit hard in early 2010. The sale of 10-year government bonds is expected to raise up to €2.4 billion, with expected yield at roughly 5 percent. This is excellent news for the embattled Greek economy, which has long been relying on a lifeline thrown by the IMF and the rescue fund set up by the eurozone. The sale comes about two years after Greece defaulted on its loans and imposed a “haircut” on creditors. Now, it seems that investors are willing to take a chance on the South European nation, after they rallied en masse for Spain-issued paper worth €10 billion in January (reaching yields as unbelievably low as 3.65 percent). If

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Eurosceptic surge: View from Rome

The Italian electoral campaign for the May European elections sees more than ten parties competing for seats in the European Parliament: the government’s centre-left Democratic Party (DP), Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (FI), the New Centre-Right (NCD), the anti-establishment Five Stars Movement (5SM), the eurosceptic Lega Nord (LN), the leftish Tsipras List and other minor parties, which won’t enter the EP. 

According to recent opinion polls on Italians’ voting intentions in the next EP elections by the research institute EMG (as of 7 April), only four parties, DP, FI, 5SM and LN, and one coalition are expected to reach the 4 percent threshold needed to gain seats at the EP. 

The party expected to get the most votes is the DP (33.9 percent of Italians declared their intention to vote for the DP, an increase of 0.4 percent in one week). The DP is the only party that clearly

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French Angst and European malaise

European Elections – The View from Paris

A deeply unpopular centre-left government, a fractious centre-right opposition, a rising far-right party led by a canny politician popular far beyond the ranks of the party faithful - France, with Germany one of the pivotal power in EU politics, is prey to a growing economic and political malaise that could soon send shockwaves through European politics. The  second round of the town hall elections this Sunday look  confirmed that the National Front led by Marine Le Pen benefits like no other party from many French voters' disillusionment with national and European politics. In the first round of voting on 23 March, the Front National scored a number of resounding mayoral race victories, boosted the number of elected officials and, as importantly, positioned itself as kingmaker in numerous races between the centre-left socialist party and

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George Soros Q&A part 2

Is the EU a failed experiment? What is the impact of European disintegration on Eastern Europe? What would happen if creditor countries left the euro? Are Europe's citizens ignorant about the costs of leaving the single currency? Has the EU had a firm plan for how it wanted to deal with Ukraine?

These were some of the questions thrown by journalists at George Soros at an ECFR press conference. I've collected Mr Soros' answers together in the second of two podcasts, and you can listen to it here:

You can also listen to the first set of Mr Soros' answers to journalists' questions in podcast form here:

And don't forget that you can subscribe to ECFR's podcasts through software like itunes, or keep track of them on our podcast page, www.ecfr.eu/podcasts

 

Stop the Cold War II Nonsense!

Moral outrage is a heart-warming emotion, especially when shared with comrades. And it certainly crackled around the Kremlin on Tuesday as Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Crimea, and rehashed Russia’s grievances (“not robbed, but plundered”). Now it is again the turn of the West, as its leaders renew their denunciations of the flouting of international law, and move to impose the promised “costs and consequences”. Sanctions of course will hurt the West too; so a good coating of righteous indignation, and a sense of occasion (“This is the big one”) will help the medicine go down.

And, indeed, the West has no option but a robust response. Whatever view one takes of Putin’s clever invocation of Kosovo as precedent or parallel, one thing is clear: he simply cannot be allowed to get away with his self-appointed role as guardian of Russian ethnic minorities. We indulged a

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