European Council on Foreign Relations

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What is the ECFR Scorecard?

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...

Madrid view: will the sun ever return to Spain?

Spaniards woke up this week to the release of yet more depressing unemployment figures. According to the official bureau of statistics unemployment is at 26.02% of the active population. This means that there are less than three people working for every one that is unemployed. The figures did not break the psychological barrier of 6 million, but at 5,965,400 they got very close. The last quarter of 2012 added an extra 187,300 people to the unemployment queue, and showed that unemployment has not yet touched the ceiling. At the beginning of the crisis in 2008, unemployment was at 7.95% - it has risen relentlessly and is now three times as high. 

No doubt people outside Spain are able to imagine the personal and social drama behind this figures. Spaniards are understandably circumspect these days. We miss the sun as well as a glimpse of hope. This probably explains why the video

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Madrid view: Cameron’s corner

So, the speech is finally out. The best is no doubt the call for a cool-headed approach, a rational debate and the opening of negotiations with Britain’s partners. It’s just wise to first try and change the status quo and then submit the result to the public for its approval or rejection. That speaks well of British democracy and Cameron’s wish to reconcile Europe and the British public. But that’s not enough.

Cameron has cornered himself into a very difficult situation. Ideally, he would want to transform the EU into something much better of what it is today: less rigid and bureaucratic, more competitive, democratic and open to world. Should he bother to try and rally support for that vision, he could find many partners in the continent.  But he does not lay out any convincing proposal on that matter less he offers a roadmap for that process.

Having given up on improving the EU

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ECFR this week: 11th January 2013


As many of you have read (and tweeted about), our year kicked off with our predictions for the future in“Ten Trends for 2013.” Will the British debate about Europe become less toxic? How much is the single market being threatened by the euro crisis? Are small states the key to European foreign policy? Have a read and make your own mind up. 

Mark Leonard also wrote his latest column on issues discussed in “Ten Trends” – “In 2013, the great global unravelling.”

This last week we took a look at one of the key questions of European foreign policy – do sanctions work? We published a policy memo from Konstanty Gebert – “Shooting in the dark? EU sanctions policies” – that argues that if we don’t develop a better way of tracking the effectiveness of sanctions, then this key tool of European foreign policy is no more effective than shooting a gun in the dark. 


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    Madrid view: the new EU chessboard


    The euro crisis has caused an unprecedented realignment in European political geography. For decades, EU integration functioned as a chessboard in several dimensions: economic, political and strategic. In each there were various dynamics, but also balances that gave all participants some cause for satisfaction.

    On the economic board, there have always been asymmetries in size and strength, but never such hegemony as to make anyone feel threatened. EU integration has functioned as a “good globalisation,” with transparent, equitable rules of the game, and authorities and institutions to enforce them. Each country has been able to seek its market niche, experiment with various socioeconomic models, and adjust them to its own satisfaction. All the EU members have had opportunities not only to grow, but to do so cohesively: both internally, creating social inclusion, and externally,

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