How EU’s political dynamics impact China’s trade interests

The trade defense reform recently proposed by the European Commission is directly aiming at limiting Chinese exports to the EU, a creative way to avoid frontal collision with WTO regulations. This strategy has gained momentum especially after the Brexit referendum, as this is removing a key ally of China from the EU power game: the UK has been the most pro free-trade EU government and British leaders have fought, from inside the EU institutions, to block protectionist moves by the EU. Continue Reading

French EU Republicans back Fillon’s harder stance on Ukraine

The representatives of the French Republicans in the EU institutions seem to have adjusted their position on Ukraine to be in line with the campaign rhetoric of Francois Fillon, their candidate running in the race for the Presidency of France which will hold its first round of elections on 23 April.

In an unusual move, the EU Parliamentarians of “Les Republicans” (LR) abstained in a vote in the European Parliament that approved visa exemptions for Ukrainian citizens. Continue Reading

Will 2017 bring a new EU and world order?

If you think that 2016 was a dynamic year politically-wise, wait until you see the new year unfolding. The changes that will take place in the US and Europe will gradually reshape the currents of opinion globally and hence the patterns of international relations. Geo-political realignments will affect world governance, trade, businesses, economies and societies. Continue Reading

EU votes to step up measures to counter Russia’s propaganda, but Southern Europeans do not agree

Over the last couple of weeks, the position of Russia on the world stage has considerably strengthened. Not only the new President-elected of the US, Donald Trump, advocates for closer relations with Putin’s country, but also pro-Russian forces are getting stronger in Europe: in Moldova and Bulgaria, candidates who want closer ties with Russia won the Presidential elections, whereas in Estonia, the main pro-Russian party just joined the government. Continue Reading

Why Central Asia is a key area for the EU during Trump’s America

The astonishing result of the recent American Presidential election still reverberates across Europe and the World. Donald Trump has been seen by most foreign policy experts as an isolationist, who will (partially) withdraw the US from the realm of international diplomacy. Some European leaders have immediately indicated that this is a clear signal that the EU should get its act together and start to exert real leadership at a global level. Continue Reading

EU and US send opposite signals to Iran’s reconciliation plan

The agreement between the international community and Iran is under question now that Donald Trump will preside over the United States. The new American President has taken a clear position against the deal throughout his campaign. In contrast, just a couple of weeks ago the Europeans have expressed very contrasting views, voting a resolution that endorses closer economic and political relations with Iran. Continue Reading

Exclusive correspondence from Washington DC: how US elections impact on Europe

This commentary is written on the flight back to Brussels from Washington DC with just a day to go before the start of the vote on the most controversial American presidential elections ever. Over the past week, I have talked to relevant American experts and European professionals based in the US. I have also exchanged views on the future of Europe and of the Trans-Atlantic relations during a panel debate at the King’s College in New York and during meetings in Washington DC. Continue Reading

Who holds the power in the European Parliament on neighbourhood and enlargement policy? Assessing the influence of individual MEPs

Why are why doing this assessment?

VoteWatch Europe has recently conducted an overall assessment on the most influential MEPs over the current parliamentary term. This type of information is fundamental to the public, who needs to be aware of the personalities that shape policies affecting over 500 million EU citizens. The institutions as a whole, and in this case the EU institutions, take responsibility for the decisions made and their implementation, but in order to strengthen the democratic processes, the citizens also need to know which politicians within the institutions are playing a bigger role in shaping these decisions. Continue Reading

Turkey’s Accession to the EU: VoteWatch analysis on eleven years of voting on accession negotiations with Turkey

by Michael Kaeding[1] and Felix Schenuit

The political situation between Turkey and the EU is getting increasingly delicate. Recent developments, including Erdogan’s clear-cut reactions towards the resolution of the German Bundestag on the Armenian Genocide or the “Böhmermann affair” illustrate how big the differences are between Turkey and EU’s Member States. Continue Reading

The national and European politics behind Nord Stream II

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At a first glance, the expansion of the Nord Stream Pipeline might merely be seen as a rather technical and legal issue. However, its wide geopolitical implications have always been source of controversies and have led to an intense flurry of activities. In fact, since the very beginning, many stakeholders have been trying to influence the final decisions that have to be taken by both the Commission and some Member States. Continue Reading