Edit

New Storm Clouds for Europe: China’s Weakening Outlook (8/31)

Email Print

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

Signs mount that China’s outlook is deteriorating, as a credit-driven bubble of irrational real estate prices bursts and decades of infrastructure investments to sustain double-digit growth have resulted in detrimental side effects, ushering in a likely recession. As the dominant market for many EU-made products, from luxury goods to machinery to transport equipment, China’s slowdown will have far-reaching consequences as Europe’s recovery remains fragile.

Read more...
 

EU Clears Third Bailout to Help Greece Pay Debt and Promote Development; Toxic Debate before Greece’s Parliament Approved Reforms Brussels Demanded (8/17)

Email Print

spellmanBy James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

The European Union Friday (August 14) cleared a third bailout, a three-year program that provides Greece with €85 billion ($94.3 billion) to pay debt, recapitalizes banks initially with €10 billion ($11.1 billion) and launches a €35-billion ($38.8 billion) economic development package provided that a quarterly review affirms that Athens is achieving increasingly larger budget surpluses over the next three years.

Read more...
 

Uber's Battles (7/30)

Email Print

By Jamie Connolly, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

Innovative companies such as Uber are beginning to revolutionize urban transport through today’s latest technologies. Their success reflects a drive towards an ever-increasing “gig-based economy” and its ability to challenge established economic models through their use of disruptive technology.

Read more...
 
Edit

EU Anti-trust Regulator Challenges Hollywood's Pay-TV Deals (7/23)

Email Print

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

spellmanIn another move to break down barriers to a single digital market, the European Union’s anti-trust crusader accused six of Hollywood’s largest movie studios and the British satellite broadcaster Sky of signing country-specific deals with pay-TV providers that obstruct competition to the disadvantage of consumers.

Read more...
 
Edit

British, English, European: What am I? (7/22)

Email Print

By Jamie Connolly, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

The easiest way to answer this question is to think of my response to people who ask “where are you from?” – a common and plausible question asked on a regular basis to any foreigner living in Washington DC. My first go to answer would be English. I was born in England – directly in the center of the country and mark each and every application form as such – nationality: English.

Read more...
 
Edit

TTIP edges forward, buoyed by votes in U.S. Congress and EU Parliament (7/17)

Email Print

By Brian Beary, European Affairs

 

Wrapping up the tenth round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks in Brussels on July 17, the lead EU and US negotiators confirmed that their goal was to conclude a deal under the Obama administration i.e. by January 2017. “The negotiators of TTIP on both sides have clear guidance on how to get things done,” said Dan Mullaney, the Assistant US Trade Representative, in a nod to how two big stumbling blocks to its passage have recently been cleared.

Read more...
 
Edit

Greece’s Parliament Approves Austerity Measures, Casting a Glint of Light at the Tunnel’s End (7/16)

Email Print

spellmanAs anti-austerity protesters and riot police clashed outside Greece’s neoclassical parliament, legislators surprisingly voted overwhelmingly, 229-64, for the first round of reforms and government spending cuts the country’s leader had accepted in exhaustion before dawn Monday to secure a desperately needed bailout from the Eurozone, thereby averting bankruptcy and “Grexit.”

Read more...
 

Greek Debt Deal Reached but Opens Pandora’s Box (7/14)

Email Print

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

spellmanGreece and the European Union early Monday (July 13) reached agreement on measures that aim to keep Greece within the Eurozone through financial assistance, debt relief, and rigorous oversight but require the country to implement quickly reforms that its ruling government and the electorate resoundingly rejected as too onerous only a week ago.

Securing acceptance by the Greek parliament by July 15 (Wednesday) and quickly reopening Greece’s banks with a cash infusion from the European Central Bank are among the many uncertainties the acrimonious, 31-hour-long talks left unresolved as a €3.5 billion loan repayment to the ECB comes due July 20. (By the afternoon on July 13, the European Central Bank signaled that it would leave its credit line to Greece’s banks in place at its current level.)

Read more...
 
Edit

Perspectives: Greece: The final curtain? (7/6)

Email Print

mzeiner01By Markus Ziener, Berlin

By many, the outcome of the Greek referendum is considered to be a defeat for Europe. But is that really true? Just imagine if the Greeks had voted “Yes”: This would have signaled the start of another endless round of negotiations with a government and a country that is at odds which each other. At least this is safe to say: Alexis Tsipras and the people of Greece are on the same page when it comes to the reforms advocated by the EU-Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund: They don't like them and they don't want them. And given the bank run of last week they are certainly aware what that could eventually mean: Bidding farewell to the Euro.

Read more...
 
Edit

Prospects for a Grexit Get Real (6/29)

Email Print

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

Default on an already re-scheduled debt payment to the IMF seemed inevitable Tuesday as a near-bankrupt Greece stepped closer to exiting the eurozone, following the tumult of bewildering events over the weekend that included scheduling a July 5th referendum on the latest bailout proposal, imposing capital controls and closing banks to staunch the hemorrhage of cash withdrawals that capped emergency funding from the ECB could not stem. Markets worldwide plummeted in response to the dire outlook.

Read more...
 

Dutch Court Orders Government to Meet Climate Targets (6/25)

Email Print

By Brian Beary, Washington Correspondent for Europolitics

Climate change activists are celebrating this week's landmark ruling by a court in the Netherlands requiring the Dutch government to make better progress in meeting its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more...
 

European Union Likely to Extend Sanctions against Russia (6/19)

Email Print

By Jamie Connolly, Editorial Assistant

Nervousness about whether the 28 EU member states would stand united in renewing sanctions against Russia abated when EU ambassadors in Brussels agreed in principle to extend the existing sanctions---subject to formal approval by European Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on June 22nd.

Read more...
 
Edit

Letter from Berlin, City of “Volatility” (6/15)

Email Print

michaelmosettigBy Michael D. Mosettig, former Foreign Editor PBS News Hour, writing from Berlin

Berlin  --  The bikes and their riders are among the first things to catch the attention of a Berlin visitor. The handlebars and seats are higher than on most American bikes ,and the riders take on a stately posture and gait, more like Lady Mary in Downton Abbey riding sidesaddle on her horse than Washington and New York cyclists who often look and act as if they are competing in the Tour de France. Of course, one other thing becomes apparent. In ten days, I never saw a biker run a red light.

Read more...
 
Edit

Austrians Celebrate 200th Anniversary of the Congress of Vienna (6/9)

Email Print

By Michael D. Mosettig, former foreign editor of PBS News Hour, writing from Vienna

VIENNA -- Austria's capital finally has an anniversary worthy of celebration after a year of mordant commemorations of the centenary of the outbreak of World War I that reduced this city from the center of an empire to a struggling backwater and more recently of the end of World War II when the country was a mostly willing appendage of Nazi Germany.

Read more...
 
Edit

Spanish Local Election Results Threaten the Historic Dominance of Two Parties (6/1)

Email Print

ryan barnes photo 2By Ryan Barnes, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce

While the famous quip, “all politics is local,” may be a slight exaggeration, local elections often provide a good indication of larger political trends. The May 24th local and regional elections in Spain are a case in point; in fact, the recent results may signal a tectonic shift in the current political structure.

Read more...
 
Edit

Greece Debt Talks: Economy, Mood Worsen as Brussels and Cash-Strapped Athens Wrangle over Austerity Conditions to Unlock Bailout Funds (6/1)

Email Print

By James D. Spellman, Strategic Communications LLC

As strains on Greece’s economy, government, and people worsen, the de facto bankrupt country faces a summer of deadlines to repay massive debts that far exceed its resources, underscoring the need for an unprecedented, long-term bailout that Athens and Brussels are at an impasse in their negotiations to produce.

Read more...
 

EU Formulates Action Plan on Refugee Migration Crisis (5/19)

Email Print

By Laura Kayali, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

EU foreign and defense ministers agreed on May 18 to take military action and initiate a naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea, to destroy the vessels of migrants’ traffickers before they can launch more hazardous transports. Although High Representative Frederica Mogherini is still in talks with the UN to assess if such measures would be in accordance with international law, this decision embodies the EU’s readiness and willingness to tackle what Ban Ki-moon called “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II” – the issue of Mediterranean migrants.

Read more...
 

Book Review: "They Eat Horses, Don’t They? The Truth About the French" By Piu Marie Eatwell

Email Print

Reviewed By Laura Kayali, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

French Children Don’t Throw Food,” “French Women Don’t get Fat,” and “A Year in the Merde…” Our French culture, way-of-life and worldwide known flaws have been extensively dissected by Anglo-Saxons in effort to grasp what makes the French so … French.

As a French citizen, I was very interested in reading a foreign perspective on France. External points of view are often magnifying glasses and, as I am currently discovering a different culture myself, as an intern in the United States, I was curious to know what it was like for a Briton to live in my home country. I was also expecting to be annoyed by another Brit making fun of French customs and culture. But I have to admit that Piu Marie Eatwell did her homework and I developed a grudging respect for the book, which could easily have degenerated into tired clichés --just another futile effort by the English to understand their neighbor. This book, highly irritating at times, will probably not be loved by the French, but it will likely command respect.

Read more...
 

Great Britain Heads to the Polls (5/6)

Email Print

michaelmosettigBy Michael D. Mosettig, former Foreign Editor of PBS News Hour

In contrast to the American model of computer generated projections and losing and winning candidates speaking to supporters in separate rented hotel ballrooms (or in the case of Barack Obama in 2008, an entire city park), elections in the United Kingdom are low key affairs.

From thousands of polling stations, paper ballots are gathered in town and borough halls. As the candidates and their local agents watch, clerks assemble stacks of ballots marked usually in pencil for each House of Commons candidate in a constituency. (Only two constituencies across the entire country vote directly for the person who could become prime minister) As the count goes on, the candidates can tell by the size of the stacks if they are going to win or lose. And then in displays of stiff upper lips, they go on stage together in the late night or early morning hours to hear the town clerk officially announce the results. The process is as charming as it is technologically out of date, but then again, it has never produced anything as disastrous as the Florida U.S. presidential ballot count in 2000. On a national level, the television networks try to project which party will win, but those exit polling projections have been notoriously wrong in the past.

Read more...
 

Perspective: Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy Shift and the Threat of Isolation (4/30)

Email Print

Armen Sahakyan

 By Armen V. Sahakyan, Master of Arts candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Over the course of the past 18 months a new foreign policy doctrine has emerged in the Republic of Azerbaijan. This shift was formally codified on December 3, 2014 in a largely unnoticed 50-page Russian language memo penned by Ramiz Mehdiyev – the long-serving chief of President Ilham Aliyev’s Administration – who calls primarily for a distancing from the West because of the latter’s “unfair” criticism of Azerbaijan and “unthankful” attitude for all the sacrifices that Baku has made.

This shift comes at a troublesome time, as the deterioration of relations between the West and Russia have placed Baltic, Eastern European, and South Caucasian states alike on heightened alert due to the increased unpredictability and volatility of the geopolitical situation. Azerbaijan is no exception.

Read more...