Thursday

11th Aug 2022

Russia puts EU in nuclear-energy paradox

There's unprecedented international anxiety about the safety of Ukraine's nuclear reactors, but many European countries are also turning to nuclear power to secure energy supplies.

Column

Global hunger crisis requires more than just the Odessa deal

International donors are playing hide and seek. Instead of stepping up their assistance programmes, richer nations are cutting overseas aid, or reallocating funds from other parts of the world towards the Ukraine crisis.

Exploiting the Ukraine crisis for Big Business

From food policy to climate change, corporate lobbyists are exploiting the Ukraine crisis to try to slash legislation that gets in the way of profit. But this is only making things worse.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  2. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive
  3. Another migrant tragedy claims 50 lives in Greek waters
  4. Russia hits area near town with 120 rockets, says Ukraine
  5. UN expects more ships to get Ukrainian grain out
  6. Greece to end bailout-era oversight
  7. Denmark to train Ukrainian soldiers in urban warfare
  8. Russian helicopter flies into Estonia's airspace
Supporting Taiwan 'like carrying water in a sieve'

China's ambassador to Belgium, Cao Zhongming, says the US has been distorting, obscuring and hollowing out the 'one-China' principle and unscrupulously undermining China's core interests. This is sheer double standards and a shameful act of bad faith.

One idea to tackle Big Energy's big profits

A new idea, besides a windfall tax on polluting Big Energy giants, is to make them invest their profits in their own sustainable futures. After all, these companies have a large 'sustainability debt' and extraordinary transition costs awaiting them.

Three problems with the EU's 'Global Gateway' to Africa

The EU's investment package for development, the so-called 'Global Gateway', which Ursula von der Leyen described as the "future of the EU's development cooperation", seems fixated on boosting private sector investments in energy, infrastructure and climate-smart solutions in Africa.

Let Taiwan's democracy shine brighter

Dr Ming-Yen Tsai, head of the Taipei Representative Office in the EU and Belgium, responds to EUobserver op-ed on Taiwan by the Chinese ambassador to Belgium. "Taiwan is an 'island of resilience'. That will continue to be the case."

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What is China up to with its new 'Global Security Initiative'?

China's ambitions and clearly-stated strategic objectives are no less than delegitimising and finally replacing what it views as the Western-dominated and unfair existing world order. It denounces the current global system as the main source of instability and insecurity.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Happy Birthday, Esperanto! 'Language of peace' turns 135

Esperanto's supporters include Alfred Hermann Fried, co-winner of the 1911 Nobel Peace Prize, and Lord Robert Cecil, the winner of the 1937 Nobel Peace Prize — not to mention communist revolutionaries like Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, and Josip Tito.

Why Ukraine needs to enforce Istanbul Convention — now

TV viewers have become familiar with images of bodies in the streets of Ukraine, buildings destroyed, and people crowding onto trains to flee. What has gone mostly unreported is the significant increase in domestic violence, and its grave implications.

Column

Is it goodbye to 'pacifist' Germany?

Many Germans saw the country as a benign power that will always favours diplomacy and peace-making over the use of force. Not any more.

Is EU making same mistake as US 'carbon-farming' gamble?

The European Commission will soon propose a legal framework allowing companies to buy offsetting carbon removals from farmers. Despite good intentions, lessons from similar projects in the US suggest that such schemes could end up doing more harm than good

Why Bosnia & Herzegovina is not ready for the EU

Due to a total capture of the country's institutions and economy by corrupted ethno-nationalist elites, Bosnia & Herzegovina did not advance on key reform areas such as democratisation and improvement of the rule of law — arguably even backsliding.

Why is Orban 'nationalising' three Budapest public squares?

Since Gergely Karacsony was elected Green mayor of Budapest in 2019, Viktor Orban's government has actively worked not only to constrict the capital's budget, and thereby impede its operations, but also to appropriate urban areas and monopolise large-scale development.

The Kremlin's repressive decade

Ten years ago, I had the honour of speaking at news conference in Moscow with Russia's human rights defenders. A week later, president Vladimir Putin signed a new bill into law and Russia's human-rights landscape has become almost unrecognisable since.

North Macedonia's EU accession talks — a 'rotten deal'

One would think that for a country waiting 21 years to start accession talks with the EU, the opportunity to finally do it would be cause for all around festivities and national celebration — instead, for days now, mass protests.

Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia

Two days before Vladimir Putin launched his illegal war on my home country Ukraine, Russian energy minister Nikolai Shulginov gave an interview addressing the European Commission's taxonomy on sustainable activities — saying he was pleased it kept gas as 'green'.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

The Digital Services Act — a case-study in keeping public in dark

Companies and lobby groups like Spotify, Google and International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) were able to lobby member states using live knowledge of the trilogue discussions on content-ranking systems, advertising and liability for search engines.

Is China a challenge to Nato? Beijing responds

The Chinese mission to the EU responds to last week's Madrid Nato summit, which stated China posed "systemic challenges" and warned against the "deepening strategic partnership between Russia and China".

The human rights aspects of Grenoble's 'burkini' controversy

Sooner or later, the European Court of Human Rights will have a final say on whether Grenoble is allowed to permit the 'burkini'. Its judgment, like the one permitting the outlawing of full-face veils, risks influencing policymaking across the continent.

Council must act on core of EU migration package

By only screening, fingerprinting or relocating (some) refugees, or by outsourcing our border control to Turkey and giving Erdogan our keys, we will not solve the current problems.

Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways

For the most part Nato and its 30 leaders rose to the occasion — but it wasn't without room for improvement. The lesson remains that Nato still doesn't know how or want to hold allies accountable for disruptive behaviour.

If Russia collapses — which states will break away?

Increasingly, analysts — both inside and outside of Russia — are considering the possibility of the Russian Federation's collapse into a series of independent states. Who are the most likely candidates for secession in Russia's south, east, and centre?

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

Column

One rubicon after another

We realise that we are living in one of those key moments in history, with events unfolding exactly the way Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt describes them: a sudden crisis, rushing everything into overdrive.