Does the Sceptre of Separatism Haunt Emerging Europe?

Szekely Land Flag

There is much talk in Europe at the moment about the potential spread of separatist movements, a consequence of Catalonia’s referendum on independence. A number of maps have appeared on the internet pointing to various regions which may be next in line. The spectre of disintegrating states haunts some European Union states and is perceived (or instrumented) as a threat by others. In the eastern part of the EU, there is much talk about the case of the Silesians (some even mention the Kashubians) in Poland, the Hungarians of the Székely Land in Romania and Slovakia, Moravians in the Czech Republic, Russians in Latgale (Latvia), and the historical region of Samogitia in Lithuania.

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Why Was Zapad-2017 So Important?

russian tank belarus zapad

The strategic joint military exercise Zapad-2017 took place from September 14-20 at several training grounds in Russia and Belarus. According to official statements, the total number of troops participating in this military drill was 13,000. However, the real figures could well have been significantly higher. The official scenario of Zapad-2017 was very close to that of previous Belarusian-Russian military exercises, which took place in 2011 and 2013. Belarusian and Russian troops were preparing to repel aggressive actions by their western neighbours, aimed at destabilising the situation in Western Belarus.

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Are Czech-EU Relations at Breaking Point?

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - 21 JUNE 2014: People on the streets of Prague, Czech Republic. Prague is one of the most visited city in Europe with over 5 million visitors every year.

The future of Czech policy towards the European Union became very uncertain after the country held elections on October 20-21. Not only did billionaire Andrej Babiš’s party, ANO, often described as populist and Eurosceptic, secure a landslide victory; the remaining parties, of which four of the five most popular are anti-establishment, failed to secure enough votes to create majority without ANO.

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Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions

The turning of the calendar to a new year is a natural point to reappraise the legacy of the year just passed; searching for clues as to what will come and what must be avoided in the future. Such an exercise is particularly useful in the case of Ukraine, which has a large milestone coming up. February 2017 marks three years since (now) former President Yanukovych fled to Russia with large quantities of Ukraine’s treasury, a signature event which also sparked three years of tangible economic reform and political change.  Continue reading Falling into Old Ways in 2017? Ukraine’s Struggle for Functioning Economic Institutions

Breaking With Imitations of the Past

As I look forward into 2017, I see great developmental opportunities for Poland. There is an opportunity for an investment boom whose range and significance will propel the Polish economy into the future, breaking with imitations of the past. We have laid a solid groundwork for fostering sovereign savings and encouraging solidarity in the consumption of growth fruits, whilst improving public finances at the same time. But looking at foreign circumstances, we must remember one thing: today, in the globalisation era, the only certainty is uncertainty. Continue reading Breaking With Imitations of the Past

The Right to Water: Who Can Change Today’s Situation?

In November 2016, Slovenia amended its constitution to make access to drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and to stop it being commercialised, thus becoming the first European Union country to include the right to water in its principal document. Only 15 other countries across the world have done this, before Slovenia, according to Rampedre (the online Permanent World Report on the Right to Water). Continue reading The Right to Water: Who Can Change Today’s Situation?

Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

The global economic environment continues to be challenging. The ‘wounds’ inflicted by the global financial crisis of 2008 have not yet healed completely and world economic growth remains rather subdued. This particularly applies to the advanced countries and especially to the Euro Zone, which is the most important trading partner for the Eastern European countries.  Continue reading Are Labour Shortages Driving Economic Growth?

The Netherlands’ Objection to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement could be Costly to Europe

Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, recently announced that his country is unlikely to give the green light to the EU Association’s agreement with Ukraine, following an improvised civic campaign against the deal. The Dutch government is faced with a difficult choice between sacrificing a treaty with immense geopolitical significance and defending it to its own political detriment, thus adding more fuel to the Euro-sceptic fire in the country. Continue reading The Netherlands’ Objection to the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement could be Costly to Europe