Even as the future of the European Union’s neighborhood remains under threat, a few developments on the EU periphery – in Ukraine, Romania, and Serbia – show that civil society and rule of law are making inroads in post-Communist kleptocracies.
An impending June decision by the EU’s Court of Justice will likely tip the balance between free trade and fundamental rights. Arguments were heard last week in Luxembourg in a privacy rights case lodged by Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, against five international tech giants.
A new incentives initiative seeks to complete Germany’s transition to renewables with an appeal to business and a focus on a long-neglected area: the heating and cooling sector. Government support for solar and biogas heat may give the Energiewende a further push in the right direction.
Deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel argued this week that it was time to turn the page on austerity policies. But there is little chance of him bringing about a change of course. Rather, the return of the Greek crisis has underlined how little influence Germany’s Social Democrats have shaping euro-saving policies.
“Nuclear disarmament” has always sounded better in theory than in practice. With more countries flexing their nuclear muscle – especially Russia – a more realistic strategy to manage nuclear arms is necessary. The West must fundamentally re-think means and ends.
The main cause of the conflict between Russia and the West lies in the internal legitimization deficit of Putin’s own system. A closer cooperation with Moscow’s Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) would not only undermine the EU’s values – the Kremlin is simply not interested. A reply to Mark Leonard’s and Ivan Krastev’s “The New European Disorder.”
Since July 2014 the price of oil has been falling, and a new OPEC strategy pushed through by Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi makes a reversal unlikely in the near future. OPEC felt obliged to defend its market share against US fracking firms and other “marginal producers.” The pain felt in Moscow, Tehran, and Caracas is an unintended – if not unwelcome – byproduct.
Removing regulations slowing the build-up of renewable systems for consumers and industry, considering complementary methods of integrating fluctuating flows of renewable energy, and greening the transport sector through fuel innovations: these are three of the developments we may see in Germany’s renewable energy transition in 2015.
What a difference a year makes: Germany’s transition to renewable energy showed positive forward momentum, with increasing energy production from renewables, increased exports, decreased carbon emissions, and decreasing consumer prices. The next challenge is to improve efficiency.
Barack Obama’s absence at the great Paris rally for the victims of last week’s terrorist attacks may be symbolic of a deeper rift: Americans and Europeans have a completely different view of what it takes to combat terrorism.
2014 was a mind-boggling year, marking the start of profound changes in world affairs, but also in the way Berlin thinks about foreign policy. Part of this is the “Review 2014” process Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier launched earlier this year, inviting over 60 political observers, commentators, and think tankers from across the world to put their thoughts down on paper. We offer a critical overview.
A narrow escape from the clutches of the Americans as well as the Russians – that is how many Germans saw the end of the Cold War. Will Putin’s actions be enough to remind Germans of the benefits of their alliance with the United States? Confronted with disorder in the Middle East and the rise of China and Russia, both countries need to work together – and it is high time for a new American charm offensive.
Germany’s alliance with America is not important – it is irreplaceable. It is a crucial support for the pluralist-liberal model, which is under pressure in many parts of the world, including Europe. But as Germany comes of age in foreign policy, it and the US need to renegotiate their relationship – and Berlin must play its part with self-confidence.
European Encounters (#EuropeCounts), supported by Stiftung Mercator (2017-18), aims at contributing toward building a European public. Europeans from different ends and spheres of the continent exchange views on topics relevant to the whole EU. It’s time to make discussions truly European.
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BERLIN POLICY JOURNAL is a bimonthly digital magazine on international affairs, edited in Germany’s capital and published by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). It is best read via our app – on GooglePlay and the Apple AppStore – on tablets and smart phones. Check out this website for previews, full-length articles, and current blog posts.
Out Now: July/August 2019 Issue – Free to Download on your Tablet and Smartphone
+++ For the United States, it is no longer about nation-building, it is about world-building, argues Bruno Maçães; Mark Leonard and Jeremy Shapiro make the case for a sovereign Europe; Krzysztof Iwanek looks at India, the other Asian power; David Ritchie assesses the Alliance for Multilateralism from an Australian perspective; Alex Massie profiles Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; Noah Gordon starts our new Carbon Critical column; Anna Maria Wallner explains the meaning of “Zack, Zack, Zack“; Vladislav Inozemtsev declares the end of the end of economic history; the EU needs an intelligence service, Pia Seyfried writes in our Red Herring & Black Swan column; and much more +++