Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

24 January 2018

Europe’s economy: Three pathways to rebuilding trust and sustaining momentum

By Jacques Bughin, Eric Labaye, Sven Smit, Eckart Windhagen, Jan Mischke

Europe has an opportunity to ensure that growth and well-being continue in the long term, and to strengthen trust in its institutions. Europe is bouncing back after a “lost” decade. Business and citizen optimism has returned and eurozone GDP in 2017 expanded at its fastest pace since the 2008 financial crisis. This changing mood creates an opportunity for European political and business leaders to take the action needed to ensure that growth and well-being are sustained in the long term, and that trust in Europe’s institutions is strengthened. Rebuilding trust is critical: even in a time of economic recovery, divergent forces linger, anti-globalization sentiment is gaining ground in a number of countries, and distrust of politicians and political institutions is rife. Business leaders, meanwhile, tell us that they favor “more Europe” but still worry about the fragility of the eurozone. Drawing on research by the McKinsey Global Institute, this briefing explores three pathways where Europe could take concrete action to begin restoring trust while sustaining economic momentum:

22 January 2018

Europe Turns to Russia, and Elsewhere, to Meet Rising Gas Demand in 2017


In 2017, Europe imported a record amount of natural gas: Russia’s exports rose by 8 percent, reaching an all-time high; Norwegian pipeline exports reached an all-time high as well, up 7 percent; pipeline imports from North Africa were slightly down, but imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) rose by 16 percent—but still below their 2011 peak. Higher imports came largely from higher demand. After a decade of almost steady decline, gas demand in Europe has risen three years now—a major reversal. Europe pulled in more gas from most major suppliers since there are no longer any systematic differences in pricing among them. Invariably, the headline take-away is likely that Europe became more dependent on Russian gas, which is true but also beside the point. The real take-away is that demand rose—and that a continent that will rely more on gas needs to remove the final obstacles in the way of a fully functioning internal market.

Inside a European Center to Combat Russia’s Hybrid Warfare

BY REID STANDISH
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HELSINKI — Located in an unassuming office building filled with boardrooms, lecture halls, and projectors in the Finnish capital, a new entity under the joint auspices of the European Union and NATO was founded with a herculean mission. Tasked with a 1.5 million euro budget, the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats was created to find new ways to defend against hybrid warfare: the blending of diplomacy, politics, media, cyberspace, and military force to destabilize and undermine an opponent’s government.

20 January 2018

While Germany Slept

HELMUT K. ANHEIER

Many Germans may prefer the modesty and incrementalism that have characterized Angela Merkel’s past chancellorships. But a minority government forced to muster coalitions of the willing to address the critical issues confronting Germany and Europe could escape the constraints of such expectations, enabling much-needed reform. BERLIN – Few people outside Germany are familiar with the caricature of themselves that many Germans hold in their minds. Far from the aggressive bully of twentieth-century war propaganda, the perfectionist engineer of Madison Avenue car advertisements, or the rule-following know-it-all of the silver screen, the German many picture today is a sleepy-headed character clad in nightgown and cap. Sometimes clutching a candle, this German cuts a naïve, forlorn figure, bewildered by the surrounding world.

Europe’s biggest test will come in Poland


Europe’s biggest test will come in Poland The country has become a proving ground for the strength of populism across the west GIDEON RACHMAN Add to myFT Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Share on Whatsapp (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Gideon Rachman JANUARY 15, 2018 189 Poland was where the second world war started and where the Soviet empire began to crumble. Now the country may once again play a crucial role in European history. A struggle between the European Commission in Brussels and the Polish government is shaping up as an existential test for the EU. In December, for the first time ever, the commission started a formal procedure that could strip a member state of its voting rights. 

19 January 2018

In the EU, East and West Are Falling Out of Tune


In its mission to bring peace and prosperity to a landmass wracked by war, the European Union has always been a marriage of convenience. Between 2004 and 2007, the union incorporated several countries from Central and Eastern Europe into its expanding bloc. EU governments and institutions viewed enlargement as a path toward fostering the emergence of prosperous, democratic and stable nations on its eastern border after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In turn, the new member states regarded EU membership as a gateway to funds, investment, modernization and protection. In exchange for Brussels' financial largesse, new members introduced deep economic, political and institutional reforms to comply with EU standards. Now, however, the increasing unwillingness of eastern members to heed the EU's demands threatens to deepen the divide between the bloc's west and east.
Stopping the Rot

EU names China and Russia as top hackers

Andrew Rettman

Beware of opening emails entitled ‘Official Data Breach Notification’ or 'UPS Label Delivery’ if you are a CEO, the EU’s cyber-defence agency, Enisa, warned on Monday (15 January). Those subject headings were the most popular sent in fake or 'phishing’ emails that installed malware on victims’ computers in 2017, along with 'IT Reminder: Your Password Expires’, 'Please Read Important from Human Resources’, and 'All Employees: Update your Healthcare Info’. The Greece-based EU agency noted in its annual report that cyber criminals out to steal money were the main “threat agent” who were “responsible for at least two-thirds of the incidents registered”. It said phishing “was reportedly responsible for 90 to 95 percent of successful attacks worldwide” and that the most sophisticated attacks were aimed at CEOs of large companies.

18 January 2018

Can the Europeans defend Europe?


Mike Scrafton

A renewed sense of urgency over European defence has come only after a cumulative series of strategic shocks. The European powers have long resisted supranational defence institutions, instead depending heavily on NATO and the US. Prior to 1989, Western European and US strategic interests converged as the trans-Atlantic powers faced a hostile Soviet Union. After the Cold War, the Europeans failed to assume responsibility for the peace and security of their own continent. Can they now?

A German coalition deal to radically reshape Europe


The preliminary agreement signals a shift to more agenda-driven EU politics WOLFGANG MUNCHAU Add to myFT Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz: in the last grand coalition deal, in 2013, there was hardly any reference of Europe beyond the usual clichés © AP Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Wolfgang Münchau YESTERDAY 101 Germany’s two main parties finally reached a preliminary agreement for a grand coalition. Whether it holds is anyone’s guess. There are plenty of obstacles still in the way between the deal reached in the early hours of Friday morning and Germany getting a new government. But if the parties involved — the Christian Democrats led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats — do manage to pull it off, it would be truly radical in one respect: the section on the future of the EU lays out the biggest push by Germany towards continental integration since the Maastricht treaty a quarter of a century ago. 

“Modern Guerrillas” and the Defense of the Baltic States

by James K. Wither

The Soviet Union invaded Finland in November 1939. The Soviet force numbered 600,000 backed by thousands of tanks, aircraft and artillery. By comparison, Finland was a military minnow. Its army was less than half the size, had few tanks and aircraft and suffered chronic ammunition shortages. Nevertheless, the Finns inflicted up to ten times as many casualties on the attacking forces than they suffered. Although Finland was forced to concede significant territory to the Soviet Union at the conclusion of the war in March 1940, determined resistance arguably preserved its independence.

16 January 2018

The Euro in Decline How the Currency Could Spoil the Global Financial System

By Kathleen R. McNamara

When the euro was created some 15 years ago, there was speculation that the new currency might come to challenge the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the international reserve currency of choice. But the euro’s guardian, the European Central Bank (ECB), had little appetite for such a role. Likewise, foreign exchange markets showed little support for supplanting the dollar’s hegemony with the euro, despite a move into euro-denominated bonds and a strengthening of the value of the euro over the 2000s. This has meant that the EU has, in large part, played a “helper” role in U.S. financial hegemony throughout the postwar era to today.

How the Eurozone Might Split

By Mark Blyth and Simon Tilford

In February 2016, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development opined that developed country growth prospects had “practically flat-lined” and that only a stronger “commitment to raising public investment would boost demand and help support future growth.” Fast-forward some 24 months, and despite Brexit, the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, and the rise of the populist Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the euro seems to be a much better bet than it has been in a long time. But has the euro really weathered the crisis and come out stronger? In this article, we make two interrelated arguments about the future of the eurozone.

15 January 2018

Trump’s Netherlands ambassador struggles to answer for past remarks at grilling by Dutch journalists

Louis Nelson

U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra struggled Wednesday, in his first news conference with Dutch journalists, to explain previous remarks he had made about the Netherlands and the supposed danger brought there by the “Islamic movement.”  According to a report from The Washington Post, reporters repeatedly asked Hoekstra to offer proof of his claim that politicians and cars have been burned and that there are “no-go zones” in the Netherlands. Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands and represented Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District for 18 years, was unable or unwilling to offer such proof Wednesday, promising only that he would be “revisiting the issue.” Pressed further by Dutch reporters, the U.S. ambassador simply refused to answer. At one point, a reporter referenced a quote from John Adams, the first U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, who wished that only “honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”

14 January 2018

Trump’s New Right Wing Ambassador to the Netherlands Is Proving to Be An Embarrassment

U.S. President Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands, who two years ago said Muslim migrants had sown chaos in the country, cut short questions seeking clarification of those remarks in his first meeting with its media on Wednesday. Pete Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman for Michigan, was repeatedly asked about the comments, made at an event sponsored by the right-wing David Horowitz Freedom Center. The Islamic movement is now gotten to a point where they have put Europe into chaos,” Hoekstra had said at the November 2015 gathering, during a recorded panel discussion about migration from Muslim states. “Chaos in the Netherlands - there are cars being burned. There are politicians that are being burned and, yes, there are no-go zones in the Netherlands.”

13 January 2018

IS ESTONIA’S APPROACH TO CYBER DEFENSE FEASIBLE IN THE UNITED STATES?

MONICA M. RUIZ

White House cyber-security coordinator Rob Joyce warned in August that the United States is lacking 300,000 cyber-security experts needed to defend the country. His warning is all the more alarming given ongoing and increasingly sophisticated threats in cyberspace — in addition to resource and talent constraints in the public sector, poor cyber habits and awareness, lack of cooperation between government agencies, and limited coordination frameworks for existing volunteers.

12 January 2018

The Brexit options, explained

Douglas A. Rediker

After struggling for most of 2017 to find common ground, Great Britain and the European Union finally agreed last month to the material terms of their “divorce.” Negotiations will now proceed to discuss the terms of their post-Brexit relationship. Together, the EU document and the guidelines issued days later by the remaining 27 EU leaders severely narrow the path forward for the future U.K.-EU relationship. They also highlight the wide gaps between British political expectations and the almost inevitable outcome of the next round of negotiations. 

Helping Europe Help Itself: The Marshall Plan

BY AMY GARRETT

On the eve of its 70th anniversary, the Marshall Plan remains one of the most successful foreign policy initiatives in U.S. history and a model of effective diplomacy. From left to right, President Harry S Truman, General George Marshall, Paul Hoffman and Averell Harriman in the Oval Office discussing the Marshall Plan, Nov. 29, 1948.The European Recovery Program, better known as the Marshall Plan, is often cited as one of the most effective U.S. foreign policies of modern times. When there is a natural disaster, a humanitarian crisis or a national struggle with a social or economic challenge that demands immediate attention, American politicians and opinion-makers often call for “another Marshall Plan.”

11 January 2018

Ukraine on the brink of kleptocracy


On January 3rd former Georgian President Michael Saakashvili’s plea for asylum in Ukraine was turned down, removing a key obstacle to deport him to Georgia. If deported, he will likely be show-trialled without a fair chance of defence. Since Saakashvili broke his alliance with President Poroshenko, the Ukrainian authorities have been working overtime to get rid of their new political opponent. The Soviet-style harassment campaign started with stripping him of his Ukrainian citizenship (a decision judged illegal by most independent experts), denying him entry into Ukraine, and arbitrary arrests of his aides. Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko tried to bring about his own political show trial of Saakashvili, which he had to abandon on November 13th, formally due to weak evidence, but in effect due to pressure from the EU and the US.

How to Break Up Europe’s Axis of Illiberalism

BY SLAWOMIR SIERAKOWSKI

Western observers tend to conflate Europe’s two leading proponents of right-wing populism: Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, and the chairman of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Kaczynski has long promised the advent of “Budapest in Warsaw,” an allusion to Orban’s model of “illiberal democracy” that the Hungarian leader unapologetically touted in a 2014 speech. And in 2016, both leaders proudly announced a “cultural counterrevolution” within the European Union.

10 January 2018

Time for Germany to Learn to Lead

By Christiane Hoffmann

Washington's move to abandon its global leadership role marks the end of Germany's foreign policy innocence. Berlin will soon be faced with difficult choices that could dent its moral standing. It is often a single sentence that goes down in history, one that epitomizes an idea, a movement, an era or a personality. Two sentences from Angela Merkel come to mind. One, focused on domestic politics, was an entreaty: "We can do it." It was a pledge and a plea to all Germans in the face of the huge influx of Syrian refugees who entered Germany in 2015.