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AnalysisEU sanctions on Russia hurt more than it seems

25.07.14 @ 18:59

“Sometimes a stick in the air is better than a stick on the head”. Words of wisdom from Avi Dichter, a former chief of Israel’s internal intelligence service, the Shin Bet, who knows a thing or two about psychological ...

AnalysisLeaked paper: EU options on 'stage three' Russia sanctions

22.07.14 @ 20:42

Even before the MH17 disaster, EU countries were discussing a potential ban on Russian oil and gas imports if worst comes to worst. A text, drafted by the European Commission in late April, outlines what the EU is ...

AnalysisEurope's attention finally shifts from bailouts to tax cuts

08.07.14 @ 19:10

It is a sign that the European economy is no longer in crisis-territory that tax cuts rather than bailouts dominated Monday’s (7 July) meeting of eurozone finance ministers. Ministers at the monthly Eurogroup meeting ...

AnalysisRussia & Austria: a friendship built on history, skis and gas

30.06.14 @ 09:26

When Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Austria’s capital Vienna last Tuesday (24 June), there was not enough time to go skiing, but he probably would have liked to. There is maybe no better symbol for the ...

AnalysisWill Sikorski be the next EU foreign policy chief?

23.06.14 @ 10:37

With leaders haggling over EU top jobs this week, Polish FM Radek Sikorski is the most talked-about candidate for the next foreign policy chief. His reputation just took a blow in a Polish eavesdropping scandal. But ...

AnalysisRegaining faith in bricks and mortar

23.06.14 @ 10:15

One of the abiding memories of the 2008 financial crash which plunged Europe – not to mention the western world – into the deepest economic depression since the 1930s was of a property bubble which burst spectacularly ...

AnalysisScottish referendum debate defined by political opportunism

23.06.14 @ 09:08

On 18 September this year, just over 4 million Scottish voters will have the chance to vote yes or no to the following: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" A simple question, but it ought to be a profound one, ...

AnalysisSlovenia's convicted ex-PM: down but refusing to be out

13.06.14 @ 09:27

For almost six years Slovenia's internal affairs were overshadowed by the so-called Patria affair in which one of the strongest men, Slovenia’s ex prime minister and the current opposition leader Janez Jansa was ...

AnalysisFrance falls victim to EU's economic powers

03.06.14 @ 09:39

Being singled out for censure by the European Commission is nothing new for the government of Francois Hollande. But the timing of the latest veiled threat from Brussels could hardly be worse. Ten days ago Marine Le Pen ...

AnalysisThe Spitzenkandidaten – this time was it different?

26.05.14 @ 19:20

The billboards that surrounded the European Parliament's buildings in Brussels proclaimed "this time it's different". That, at least, was the idea. One thing that is beyond dispute is that the 2014 campaign was ...

AnalysisSurvey spotlights pro-EU Brits, anti-EU Italians

16.05.14 @ 08:55

The good news was that over 50 percent of Europeans had a favourable view of the EU. The bad news that most Europeans still think that the EU is remote, doesn't listen and is inefficient. That, at least, was how most ...

AnalysisPower struggle looms after EU vote

12.05.14 @ 09:12

In just over three week's time the European elections will be over but a new process will have just begun – an immense power struggle between the EU  institutions. It will involve two different approaches on how to ...

AnalysisUkip's popularity undented by accusations of racism

30.04.14 @ 08:50

It certainly feels as if it has been a fortnight of bad news for the UK Independence Party (Ukip). Each day has brought a new set of negative headlines. Last week, for instance, there was the launch of Ukip's "biggest ...

AnalysisWhat does the death of the EU data directive mean?

09.04.14 @ 09:25

The EU's data retention directive was agreed in 2006, in the wake of terrorist attacks in Madrid and London in 2004 and 2005 respectively, as governments attempted to tighten national security rules. Under the regime, ...

AnalysisHungary's political left partly responsible for rise of its far-right

28.03.14 @ 09:26

The significant inroads made by Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front in the recent regional elections in France – especially in traditionally socialist strongholds – came as a surprise to many. But the far-right ...

AnalysisThe fall of Britain's far-right party

13.03.14 @ 09:01

Back in June 2009, the far-right British National Party (BNP) was basking in the dubious glow of what appeared to be a significant electoral achievement. Having amassed 943,598 votes (6.2 percent of votes cast) in the ...

AnalysisA political obsessive's paradise: A 28 nation opinion poll

20.02.14 @ 09:11

There are few things that political obsessives love more than opinion polls. On Wednesday (19 February), Brussels' army of amateur psephologists saw their dreams come true. A poll for all twenty eight EU countries. The ...

AnalysisWould a eurozone committee enrich the EU parliament?

12.02.14 @ 19:16

The European Parliament seems likely to create a new committee specifically for the eurozone when MEPs convene in July for the first meetings of the new legislature. The idea, set out in a letter from Sharon Bowles, the ...

AnalysisBulgaria: One step forward, two steps back

24.01.14 @ 11:37

When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on 1 January 2007, they still had serious shortcomings in crucial areas, such as the rule of law, fighting corruption and organised crime, and reforming the judiciary. Regardless, ...

Analysis'I'm in politics to seek solutions, not to block things'

17.01.14 @ 18:36

Debating how to increase the role of national parliaments in EU law making is far from being a new subject, nor is it one to set the pulse racing But that didn't matter to the several hundred political hacks, academics ...

AnalysisA view from London: Desperately seeking EU reform

16.01.14 @ 10:15

Those who say that Britons don't care about Europe would have been in for a shock. On Wednesday (15 January) the Westminster elite flocked to the headquarters of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, just a few hundred ...

AnalysisGreece in search of dignity, as crisis subsides

13.01.14 @ 18:28

After more than four years of international humiliation as the result of an economic crisis that has piled innumerable indignities on its people, Greece is keen to restore some national pride. "Our common quest" is the ...

AnalysisIs the Greek economy ready to come off life support?

09.01.14 @ 09:29

After six consecutive years of recession, the Greek economy might finally be allowed to leave its life support machine this year. The country's debt burden should start to fall in 2014. So should unemployment. It may ...

AnalysisEU bank resolution, Schleswig-Holstein, and how to make sense of it

20.12.13 @ 11:31

“Only three people ... ever really understood the Schleswig-Holstein business - the Prince Consort, who is dead, a German professor, who has gone mad, and I, who have forgotten all about it." At least, that is what the ...

AnalysisWorld trade deal expected to boost EU nations

09.12.13 @ 10:32

Hailed as "historic" by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the surprise world trade deal agreed over the weekend in Bali aims to lower the cost of exports by simplifying customs procedures and reducing import duties. ...

AnalysisDr Who and the EU: Priorities for an independent Scotland

27.11.13 @ 09:26

An independent Scotland would keep the BBC's Dr Who, the pound and the EU, although perhaps not in that order. At least, that was the pitch from the country's first minister, Alec Salmond, as he unveiled his plans for ...

AnalysisEU and Ukraine: What went wrong?

25.11.13 @ 11:59

When Oleh Rybachuk, a senior Ukrainian envoy, came to Brussels in early 2005, he wanted one thing: a public statement that Ukraine can one day join the EU. It was just a few months after the Orange Revolution. Hundreds ...

Analysis'EU voters have not warmed to immigration'

24.10.13 @ 09:24

The European elections are still seven months away, but fears of what they will show about the state of the EU already loom large. French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said they could lead to "regression and ...

AnalysisEU business reform: A threat or a promise from Britain?

17.10.13 @ 09:40

European businesses are hampered by "problematic, poorly-understood and burdensome" rules. At least, that was the verdict of the "Cut EU red tape" report released amid much domestic fanfare this week by UK Prime ...

AnalysisLessons from Ireland's failed bank guarantee

01.10.13 @ 07:53

On 30 September 2008 the Irish government announced it will guarantee all banks, their loans and deposits to the tune of €440 billion - three times the size of the country's economy. It was two weeks into the global ...

AnalysisWhen banks need a backstop

24.09.13 @ 19:35

In Brussels this week talks have returned to the familiar theme of banks, bailouts and backstops. On Monday (23 September) European Central Bank boss Mario Draghi told MEPs on the influential Economic affairs committee ...

AnalysisWhy did Germans vote for Merkel, again?

23.09.13 @ 20:55

One of the myths of German politics is that parties and their political platforms matter more than personalities. The electoral system is mixed - a direct vote for a local MP and a vote for the preferred party. But ...

AnalysisGerman elections: Little change for EU

19.09.13 @ 08:53

An Italian cartoon published in Espresso magazine earlier this summer depicts a little girl on a beach telling her father that she needs to pee. The father replies: "Hold it until the German elections." The joke refers ...

AnalysisPublic opinion stands in way of EU shale gas revolution

28.08.13 @ 18:45

If the oil and gas industry thought that a US-style shale gas revolution would seamlessly find its way across the Atlantic, it has had a rude awakening. Getting public support for fracking in Europe risks descending ...

AnalysisWhy did Schaeuble break the Greek bailout taboo?

28.08.13 @ 09:27

The German election campaign had a rather dull start. Mid-August, Chancellor Angela Merkel kicked off her tour through the country - with over 50 rallies to be held in different towns and cities by 22 September when ...

AnalysisBulgarians: Citizens with a cause

26.07.13 @ 20:29

It has been more than 40 days now since protests started in Bulgaria's capital. Thousands hit the streets in Sofia every day to voice their frustration and disgust with the Bulgarian political establishment. It all ...

AnalysisUS enthusiastic about trade deal despite culture opt-out

24.06.13 @ 09:24

After months of enthusiastic talk about the most lucrative trade agreement in history, EU-US trade negotiations got off to an inauspicious start. With their American counterparts waiting in Washington, EU trade ...

AnalysisLiberty and the EU-US trade talks

14.06.13 @ 09:18

The most important issue on the agenda of EU trade ministers meeting on Friday (14 June) is the approval of a mandate that will allow the European Commission to open negotiations with the United States on a ‘ ...

AnalysisDemocracy is the real victim in the Greek tragedy

12.06.13 @ 07:27

The IMF staff report leaked last Wednesday (5 June) evening was a guided missile aimed at the European Commission. Contained in the Fund's 50-page mea culpa were two accusations levelled at the EU's executive arm: that ...

AnalysisListening to Britain on EU reform

03.06.13 @ 18:29

'Listening' was the watchword of William Hague's speech at the Koenigswinter conference last Friday, an understated - and welcome - approach after the fire and brimstone that has dominated recent debate on the UK's ...

AnalysisCold War politics hang over EU shale gas revolution

17.05.13 @ 09:21

The shale gas revolution has taken its time to arrive in Europe. But after years of watching the US plunge head-first into natural gas exploration and of reaping the rewards, Europe's politicians are now deciding ...

AnalysisPoor pay: the flipside of Germany's low unemployment

26.04.13 @ 10:10

With its record-low unemployment (5.4%), Germany stands out among fellow eurozone countries such as France or Spain, suffering from sky-high jobless rates. Part of Germany's success is due to a series of reforms pushed ...

AnalysisIn search of Europe's prophets

19.04.13 @ 08:40

Among other things, recent European politics has suffered from a shortage of prophets. Although it would be a stretch to describe Michael Higgins as a prophet, the Irish president is possibly Europe's only intellectual ...

AnalysisWhy is Austria so keen on bank secrecy?

15.04.13 @ 19:23

Tax evasion has risen to prominence on the EU agenda following the money laundering discussions surrounding Cyprus' bailout and the recent revelations concerning Europeans hiding their wealth in complex offshore schemes ...

AnalysisThatcher's European legacy

09.04.13 @ 09:29

From her days in opposition to her sudden and dramatic demise, Europe was at the heart of Margaret Thatcher's 11 years as British Prime Minister. As with her domestic legacy, Thatcher's attitude towards Europe is more ...

AnalysisThe EU needs to speak the public's language, not austerity-speak

26.03.13 @ 20:26

Together with a long-standing attachment to politics by summit, the EU is fond of acronyms. How else can you describe a world inhabited by QMV, Coreper and co-decision, not to mention trialogues, comitology and the ...

AnalysisCyprus 'business model' was no mystery to EU

22.03.13 @ 09:30

Be it the German finance minister, European Central Bank (ECB) officials or the head of the Eurogroup - they all agree on one thing: Cyprus must scrap its "unsustainable business model" based on low taxes and attracting ...

AnalysisCyprus showcases Germany's clumsy leadership in Europe

19.03.13 @ 17:37

The Cyprus bailout fiasco is yet another example of Germany's clumsy leadership and image problem in Europe. It was only last month that the German President, Joachim Gauck, made an attempt to reassure people in ...

AnalysisBeppe Grillo - an Italian or European phenomenon?

08.03.13 @ 17:16

Beppe Grillo's extraordinary success in the recent Italian elections tapped into anti-establishment feeling that is ripe for the plucking in other member states too, say analysts. Grillo's 5-Star Movement, established ...

AnalysisComplex EU law-making dubbed 'infernal, undemocratic'

04.03.13 @ 09:24

Brussels is awash with stories about the unhealthy influence of lobbyists on law-makers but as big a scandal, say some experts, is the increasing amount of legislation made with little scrutiny at all. The lack of ...