European Council on Foreign Relations

ECFR this week: 13th July 2012

This week we were pleased to carry an exclusive article by Catherine Ashton – ‘The EU’s rights of passage’ -  arguing that human rights should lie at the centre of the EU’s foreign policy.

“Global politics will increasingly be shaped by the demands of ordinary people - demands for rights, peace and prosperity - while social media will increasingly carry their message, and allow activists to break free from their isolation, to disseminate ideas and to denounce oppression. These are issues that the EU was founded to address and has sought to support globally. No other power can say as much. Our commitment to human rights does not track the economic cycle.”


  • Julien Barnes-Dacey draws on his personal experience of Ali Haidar, Syria’s new minister of national reconciliation in ‘Meeting Assad’s interlocutor’.
  • Dimitar Bechev attempts to untangle the

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ECFR this week: 6th July

We have just published the latest in our series of short papers looking at the internal dynamics of the euro crisis within individual EU member states. Following in the footsteps of Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic (and this related paper from Spain) is ‘Bulgaria and the anxieties of incomplete membership’ by Daniel Smilov. The next ‘National Paper’ should be on the situation in the Netherlands.

Much of the rest of our work over the last week has also been concerned with the crisis, the latest EU summit and the Reinvention of Europe:

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ECFR this week: 29th June 2012

Ahead of the EU summit that is occupying the continent’s leaders as we speak, ECFR published a preview looking at what some of the countries in the Union wanted to get out of the meeting, and what they feared. ‘The EU summit: the view from the capitals’ included contributions from Germany (Ulrike Guerot), Spain (Jose Ignacio Torreblanca), Italy (Marco de Andreis), Poland, (Konstanty Gebert) and France (Francois Godement). We also distributed this as a press advisory to our journalist contacts and will do something similar whenever there is a big event or issue to look at from a pan-European perspective (journalists can sign up here for our press releases).

This week also saw the publication of a short paper by Jose Ignacio Torreblanca and Jose M. de Areilza, examining the euro crisis from the Spanish perspective. The paper is part of ECFR’s ‘Reinvention of Europe’ project, and

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ECFR this week: 22th June


This week saw the publication of an ECFR paper that argues that dealing with the euro crisis is distracting the EU from a series of potential crises on Europe’s southern flank that could seriously threaten our interests. In ‘The dangers of distraction: EU crisis management beyond the euro’ Richard Gowan warns that we must pay more attention to what is happening in places like Syria, Libya, Mali, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, or pay the longer term price. Among other things, Richard suggests building up partnerships with the UN and regional groupings as a cost-effective way of dealing with these crises with the limited resources currently at our disposal.


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ECFR this week: 15th June

This week ECFR published an important new policy report as part of the ongoing 'Reinventing Europe' project. 'A Europe of incentives: regaining the trust of citizens and markets’ by Mark Leonard and Jan Zielonka lays out how a more inclusive Europe could be achieved and how a Two-Class Europe can be avoided:

"Angela Merkel says that political union is the key to fiscal union, but Europe is becoming an "apolitical union" where elections allow citizens to change governments but not policies, and technocrats rule the roost. What is needed is a new reform agenda that is generous, flexible, empowering - a Europe of incentives." - Mark Leonard

Mark Leonard also launched a new fortnightly column at Reuters. Here is his first post looking at the dark side of European technocracy.

More on the euro crisis

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