Thursday

16th Sep 2021

Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy

Russia's leaders have been fully aware of the reasons for its underlying economic weakness for more than two decades. Dependency on energy exports and the lack of technological innovation were themes of Vladimir Putin's first state-of-the-nation address back in 2000.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria's president appoints interim government
  2. Navalny poised to win EU human rights prize
  3. Poland will not leave EU, says Kaczyński
  4. Eurozone wages fall for first time in a decade
  5. Israel joins EU digital Covid-certificate programme
  6. Johnson reshuffles UK cabinet: new foreign minister
  7. Macron says French forces killed Islamic State leader in Sahara
  8. Finance minister tipped to become Sweden's first female PM
Kosovo: the goal of Serbia's global 'vaccine diplomacy'

Belgrade has been generous, but there are also other reasons at play. The first one is the keystone of Serbian foreign policy: Kosovo. The countries receiving Serbian generosity have been the ones that did not recognise an independent Kosovo.

Column

When 'peace' becomes self-defeating

When one member state is threatened, Brussels will come up with its usual denouncements and superficial sanctions, just to let the other member states relapse into their habit of trading with rivals, and focussing on the next election campaign.

Building performance - win-win for climate and EU Commission?

Many regard Fit for 55 as the moment for European climate policy. However, wait just a little longer, as perhaps most crucial piece of legislation will be the revision of the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive in the autumn.

Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Brussels institutions are devoting time not to Israel's illegal settlements and the two-state solution, but to an entirely different, peripheral issue: an EU-funded study of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks, published in June by the Georg-Eckert Institute in Germany.

Gig economy workers need EU to end digital modern-day slavery

On Wednesday, the European Parliament is to adopt a report calling on the EU Commission to propose laws to better protect platform workers. The S&D want to ensure platform workers can be considered employees, with full social and worker's rights.

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Hypocrisy of S&D and Left MEPs on fossil-fuel gas pipelines

The majority of members of the European Parliament's energy committee, including the Socialists and the Left, look set to green-light measures proposed by conservative parties which would lock the EU into fossil gas for years to come.

The defeat of the 'Global War on Terror'

The United States' loss in Afghanistan has paved the way for autocracy, and Washington has offered it political legitimacy as a bonus. The Taliban are not only victors in the GWOT; they are now heroes of the anti-West front.

Letter

Open letter to Slovenian EU presidency on Afghan refugees

The right to seek asylum is a fundamental tenet of international law, and yet Iran and Pakistan have fortified their borders, leaving Afghans no escape. The EU should put pressure on Pakistan to allow refugees into the country.

US relations and European security after fall of Kabul

For Brussels in particular, one lesson should be painfully clear: do not put all your eggs in one basket. Placing big bets on Biden cannot be a substitute for a strong and common European approach to international security.

Biomass? Burning trees is burning future treasure

Chemical companies are watching the raw materials they need for future production go up in flames as the Fit for 55-package continues to support the burning of trees as a 'renewable' form of energy.

September's Russian election - a glimmer of hope?

The parliamentary elections set for 17-19 September could be an opportunity for democracy in Russia - amidst voter dissatisfaction over economic recession, growing inflation, environmental problems and an unfolding health crisis.

EU can do more to promote religious freedom

With its new special envoy at the helm, the EU can play a significant role in effectively moving us towards a world where our diversity of beliefs is valued and respected by all.

EU trade relations are key to Ukraine's success

Ukraine's future lies in the hands of its citizens - the vast majority of whom believe a stronger democracy and a better future are best ensured by greater EU integration.

Time for EU to be a real ally of Afghan women

Crises disproportionally affect girls and women because of their gender. Afghanistan is no different. The EU must ensure that feminism is at the core of its external policy.

Column

Afghanistan: Europe's disgrace

Last year, 1,200 Afghans were deported from the EU. Thousands of them left voluntarily. Clearly 2021 is not 2015, despite what some governments might say.

Letter

Urgent EU action needed for Afghan refugees

For 20 years, Westerners and Afghans have been trying to build a free and democratic Afghanistan. This project has failed. Let us avoid that those who believed in it pay the price.

Column

Afghanistan: The great Asian sink hole

The struggle for the survival of the Taliban's survival starts today. Afghanistan is a potential sink hole of instability. And we know what sinkholes do: they usually drag a much wider region down.

What Libya can learn from the Baltic states' constitutions

What we can learn from the history of the Baltics states is that the reimposition of an older constitution would serve as societal 'glue', enabling Libyans to finally put the memories of a most tumultuous decade behind them.

Is Poland ending 200 years of freedom of expression?

Poland's ruling coalition is aiming for a 'Putinisation' of Polish media and is therefore following three steps to silence journalists. Now not only the EU, but the US too is reacting saying this is incompatible with Nato membership.

Big data can save more lives, if used properly

Big data and evidence-based decision-making provide immense opportunities to improve health and well-being and prepare for the next crisis, if this force is applied for the good.

Cyprus' Varosha is Erdoğan's canary in the coalmine

Last month, president Ersin Tatar of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, unrecognised outside of Turkey, announced the second phase of reopening the derelict tourist district of Varosha in the city of Famagusta.

Column

Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion

There are no fixed rules. Anyone can criticise, condone and codify women's apparel. The game is inclusive, bringing together an assorted collection of voyeurs, misogynists, racists, bigots, religious fanatics and culture warriors – but also feminists and other equality campaigners.