Spellman 1Italy’s overwhelming vote on Sunday (December 5) against an over-confident PM Matteo Renzi, left bankers scrambling to shore up the country’s third-largest lender and prevent other Italian banks from collapsing under both the staggering burden of unpaid debt (an estimated $393.47 billion, or €365 billion) and a weak, intransigent economy.  By Monday’s close in Europe’s markets, Italy’s bank stocks had fallen overall by two percent,[1]  a decline that was probably offset by widespread expectation of the “no” vote.

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aliaslanIn a recent address to scores of enthusiastic fans at his huge palace in Ankara, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared himself ‘shepherd’ of the nation, citing in Arabic from the Prophet of Islam. For Erdogan’s ardent supporters, Turkey is a rising Muslim powerhouse under his strong leadership. Ankara’s traditional alliance with the West is only an impediment to Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman expansionism abroad and sultan-type dominance at home.

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bod.hunter2Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election has produced worldwide bewilderment. Some of this may prove justified, depending on how Trump performs. But in part it is a reaction to the way we Americans conduct our election campaigns – the oceans of money, the media’s overweening role and the tested and proved tactics of “going negative”.

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Armen SahakyanOn November 13, the Republic of Moldova, a member of the EaP (EU’s Eastern Partnership), and EU member state Bulgaria held final second round presidential elections, with Russia-friendly candidates emerging victorious in both instances. 

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jacquelinegrapin2015cIn this important book, “If it is midnight in Europe,” published in French, Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs since 2014, anticipates the ways by which Europe will avoid being destroyed by various waves of nationalism and populism in its member countries. He warns against undermining the European project and conveys a sense of urgency.

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