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Hopeful Words on Ukrainian Economy from Ousted Finance Minister (4/21)

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By Ben Antenore, European Affairs

Only hours before speaking publicly in Washington D.C. about the progress made in reforming Ukraine’s economy since she took office as Minister of Finance two and a half years ago, Natalie Jaresko learned she was out of a job. For many in the West, Natalie Jaresko’s departure from government is troubling. She was one of the last reformers standing in President Poroshenko’s cabinet after the well-publicized resignations of Economics Minister Aivaras Abromavičius and Deputy Prosecutor General Vitaliy Kasko earlier in the year. Her replacement is former McKinsey consultant Oleksandr Danilyuk who, according to Anders Aslund of the Atlantic Council, has a history of blocking Jaresko’s reforms.

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Wales and the British EU Debate (4/13)

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By Lucas Leblanc, Intern at the European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington DC.

What does a recent three-month immersion at Wales’ National Assembly, the democratically-elected body founded to represent and govern Wales in 1998, teach a graduate in international relations from a U.S. university? To appreciate rugby, without a doubt, but also to better understand how the current debate on Britain’s membership in the EU relates to the country’s recent constitutional evolution, one in which Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the city of London gained greater levels of elected self-government in a process known as devolution.

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Dutch Voters Reject EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (4/8)

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By Bill Marmon, Managing Editor European Affairs

Although the voter turnout was low and the result not binding, the resounding (61 percent to 38 percent) rejection by Dutch voters this week of the trade and cooperation agreement between Ukraine and the European Union was an embarrassment to supporters of European solidarity.

The referendum, organized by Euroskeptics, is non-binding since the Dutch parliament has already approved the Association Agreement with Ukraine—the same agreement that sparked the Maidan violence and government upheaval in Ukraine two years ago when the former prime minister refused to sign the agreement. But since the turnout this week of 32.2 percent was just above the 30 percent required for validity, it is likely that the Dutch parliament will reconsider the issue.

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Irish Celebrate the Birth of their Republic, and Quarrel about the Political Future (4/1)

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By Ben Antenore, European Affairs
 
As Irish citizens commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising against Great Britain, the current Republic is struggling as a governing coalition still does not exist after the general elections of February.
 
One hundred years ago on April 24, 1916, the Easter Rising occurred when 1,200 rebels seized some of the main administrative buildings in central Dublin. One of these buildings, the General Post Office, became the rebel headquarters. That same afternoon, Patrick Pearse, one of the leaders of the rebellion, proclaimed the birth of the Irish Republic and the formation of a provisional independent government.
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