Whatever the result of the first round of France’s April 23rd presidential election, it provokes anxiety and promises upheaval extending beyond its borders. Popular support no longer lends credence to a strong, ever-closer European Union. However, a recent Pew Research Center survey demonstrates that 74% of Europeans want a more active role of the EU in world affairs. The EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) outlines the common defence and security interests of the 28. However, strengthening this foreign policy can have an impact not only on external conflicts, but also on domestic and transnational relations within the EU by offsetting Euroscepticism. Amending the CFSP with the specific aim of countering Euroscepticism in mind has so far been insufficiently debated, but could have positive consequences for EU unity and international peace. Read the rest of this entry »
Romania’s clarion call against corruption has been clearly heard across the globe. How does one of the newer EU Member States deal with this crippling phenomenon?
“Eastern-Europe” and “corruption” are two terms that, very often, go hand in hand. “European Union” and “corruption”, not so much. So what about an Eastern European country which is also member of the EU? Romania currently ranks 57 out of 176 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) but it remains committed to further EU integration – a process which requires nations to meet high standards of anti-corruption measures. In the last decade, Romania has undergone great efforts to fight domestic corruption with the help of the National Anti-corruption Agency (Directia Nationala Anticoruptie, or DNA). The aggressive measures enforced by the DNA have received both praise and criticism. Although the great majority fully support the Agency’s tireless fight against corrupt politicians, there are some who doubt DNA’s accountability – and who further argue that the methods used by DNA are reminiscent of the Communist Security Services (Securitate). Romania has also long been known as a pro-EU country with few Eurosceptic or extremist trends. For many Romanians the EU is seen as a representation of the hope and promise for a better and more prosperous future. One of the reasons for Romania’s positive attitude towards European integration could, in fact, be the low trust in the presumably inefficient Romanian system of governance. Romanians may not genuinely and consciously trust the EU for its very nature, but instead see the EU as a counterweight to the weak performance of the domestic government. Perhaps this is the reason why during the most recent protests against corruption in Bucharest, protesters have formed the EU flag as a symbol of hope and justice. It can also be argued that EU membership benefits can explain Romania’s faith in EU policymaking. Being part of the EU means a lot for Romanian citizens who can work, study, and live in any of the other 27 EU countries. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Congratulations!’ said I, beer-swilling lout that I am, ‘2017! 70 years of India!’. Ravi looked back at me stony-faced. ‘India has been around for 5000 years, Tim. It’s not a birthday, it’s our independence’.
So, it has been a month since President Trump assumed office and, well, what a month it has been. It seems that the President not only wants to make the American military stronger, but the executive order archive larger. From rolling back Obamacare to demanding the construction of a 1,900-mile long wall along the border with Mexico, Trump has maintained his campaign rhetoric and is now translating it into White House action. Governments across the world will be analysing Trump’s policies to monitor whether the changes will have a positive or negative impact on them. Here’s my take on the US-China and US-Russia relationships moving forward.
To some in Beijing, Trump’s victory signals opportunity. A real estate billionaire with no prior political experience, taking the helm of the most powerful nation on earth – surely he’ll make a strategic error at some point?
One of Putin’s Russian foreign policy objectives is to produce crises in the Western Balkans. The Kremlin’s goal is to sow chaos and has sought to prevent the region from falling under the influence of the Euro-Atlantic alliance. Thus Moscow depends on creating instability in order to derail the region’s path to Euro-Atlantic integration. The attempted coup in Montenegro is one of the political games Moscow played in the region, which would have killed the then pro-West prime minister, Milo Djukanovic, and replaced him with a pro-Russian government in order to prevent the country from joining NATO. We have to understand that these are very dangerous political games. The climate worsens. The tensions build up. And then somebody comes up with populist and nationalist pronouncements. We need to move towards democratisation, cohesive state-building and the path to Euro-Atlantic integration, not this continuous fragmentation.
After announcing a photo competition at the end of 2016, IPPR received many impressive photos from students across UCL. Whilst the winning submissions will be published in our academic journal, the following shots captured our imagination and the essence of this year’s theme – Borders and Boundaries. To reward them, we have decided to include them in a brief photo series – enjoy!