Europe

Yanis Varoufakis, the Bad-Boy Former Finance Minister, Is Back

In a new book, a star of the European left argues that Greek’s financial crisis prefigured the fissures afflicting Europe today. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic PARIS — In the often-dismal European landscape of technocrats and party hacks, few figures are as colorful and polarizing as Yanis Varoufakis. Remember him? The bad-boy Greek finance minister who, in a heated moment in the European debt crisis in 2015, showed up to meet the chancellor of the exchequer in a long black leather ... Read More »

Small EU states caught between France and Germany

In Greek mythology, the hero Odysseus was sailing home from the Trojan War through the Strait of Messina (which separates Italy from Sicily) when he was beset by two monsters – Scylla and Charybdis – one on either side. Lisbeth Kirk EUobserver Odysseus had to figure out which was the lesser of the two evils as he passed through the strait to reach home. The old trope came up again when Nordic countries recently met in Helsinki for their annual ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

Citizens’ Assembly ideas confront worst of global warming

Climate change is a pressing moral issue and action is needed for future’s benefit Kevin O’Sullivan  The Irish Times The recommendations made by the Citizens’ Assembly have the potential to achieve the kind of societal transformation necessary for Ireland to play its part in countering the worst affects of global warming caused by humans spewing out CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere. Its brief – to identify how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change – may in time ... Read More »

Why we need a better philosophy of trees

On November 6 1217, Henry III’s Charter of the Forest gave ordinary English people back their traditional rights to use royal hunting grounds for livestock grazing and collecting firewood. Tristan Moyle The Conversation The freedoms that were restored in the use of ancient woodland reshaped the community’s legal and political relationship with nature. But, today, this relationship has broken down. Only 2% of the UK’s ancient woodland survives; over half has been destroyed since the 1930s. Only 13% of the ... Read More »

The Nansen passport: the innovative response to the refugee crisis that followed the Russian Revolution

The triumph of revolution in Russia in 1917 brought an end to the 300-year old Romanov dynasty and the empire over which it ruled Peter Gatrell The Conversation The collapse of the German, Austrian and Ottoman war effort in 1918 precipitated the end of the remaining continental European empires. In each instance, imperial dissolution went hand in hand with the formation of new states. The Russian Civil War, between 1918 and 1921, led to an exodus of people who opposed ... Read More »

Kurdish rift emerges between Erdogan, Putin

ANKARA, Turkey — Since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey in November 2015, Turkey has been scrambling to reconcile with Russia, but disagreements over the role of Syrian Kurds are now threatening a fresh deadlock. Zülfikar Doğan Al-Monitor Despite the close dialogue between the two countries’ presidents, the rift over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), seems to be deepening. Last week, Russia invited 33 groups, including Syrian President Bashar ... Read More »

Leader comment: MPs found guilty of sexual harassment deserve to lose their jobs

WE have not, it seems almost certain, heard the end of serious allegations of sexual harassment and assault against male politicians. The Scotsman With each day, more depressing details of the shameful abuse of power by men in positions of authority emerge. Both Westminster and Holyrood are now tainted by a scandal which has already ended a number of high-flying careers and looks certain to scupper many more. It is surely clear that, painful though the weeks ahead may be ... Read More »

Lucid but flawed: Paschal Donohoe reviews Yanis Varoufakis’s economics primer

An accessible history of capitalism and bank debt reaches disappointing conclusions Seating plans are tricky matters. Paschal Donohoe Family tensions, past loves and potential awkward silences complicate decisions. The Irish Times However, if this is difficult for family weddings it has the potential to be utterly fraught when governments gather together. Family tiffs pale in comparison to the tension between adjacent prime ministers. The European Union depends on such gatherings. Leaders of governments, ministers and diplomats gather regularly to thrash ... Read More »

Lira crashes as Erdogan, Turkish gov’t implicated in Iran money-laundering scheme

Case of Reza Zarrab seen as flash point in US-Turkey relations Asia Times The Turkish lira plummeted Friday after reports surfaced that a trader accused of helping Iran evade sanctions invoked the name of Turkish President Recep Erdogan as part of a money-laundering scheme. Bloomberg reports, citing court documents, that US prosecutors say the scheme was supported by Turkey’s… The lira dropped to its weakest point since January, hovering around an all-time low for the currency. From Bloomberg: ”US prosecutors in ... Read More »

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed Boris Zilberman Foundation for Defense of Democracies  While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin wants the deal not only for monetary reasons, but also to chip away at NATO unity and to validate such sales to other nations traditionally aligned with the West. For ... Read More »

Cyprus gave Manafort bank records to Mueller: report

Authorities in Cyprus reportedly gave documents about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s financial activities to special counsel Robert Mueller. Avery Anapol TheHill Citing people familiar with Mueller’s investigation, Bloomberg  reports that Cyprus gave Mueller’s team documents relating to Manafort and his associate Richard Gates just dates before they were indicted Monday. The 12-count indictment, stemming from Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the presidential election, charges Manafort and Gates with money laundering and conspiracy against the United States, among… Cyprus gave Manafort… Read More »

Serbian and Albanian PMs speak at panel in Morocco

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic participated on Friday at the first plenary session of the World Policy Conference (WPC) in Marrakesh, Morocco. B92.net Brnabic, along with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who also participated in the panel, spoke with Thierry de Montbrial, the founder and chairman of the World Policy Conference, about the challenges that the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe are facing, as well as their common future in the EU, the Serbian government announced on its…The prime ministers of ... Read More »

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a criminal. Our foreign policy should treat him as such.

Earlier this year, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega died quietly in Panama City ending a life marked by fantastic highs and lows. Michael Rubin Washington Examiner Noriega was Panamanian military officer and CIA informant who let greed get the best of him. He cast his lot with Colombian drug lords flooding their cocaine into the United States. The George H.W. Bush administration had enough of their former partner and client and ordered an invasion of Panama to snatch Noriega. He ... Read More »

Turkey’s plan to acquire Russia’s S-400 air-defense system may never happen, analysts say

While Russia continues to tout the planned sale of its S-400 strategic air-defense system to Turkey, some U.S. analysts are growing more skeptical about the deal. Jeff Daniels CNBC On Thursday, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rostec defense company said the deal with Turkey exceeded $2 billion, according to Tass, the Russian news agency. It followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September announcing the longtime member of NATO had made a down payment to Moscow for the S-400 and ... Read More »

Will exodus of firms from Catalonia economically influence voters?

Damage to Catalan economy’s credibility and investor confidence may persist for years The secessionist process initiated by Catalonia’s regional government has prompted companies to relocate in other Spanish regions to ensure continued free-market access to the rest of Spain and the European Union. José Guimón The Irish Times Over 1,300 companies have now moved their headquarters outside Cataloniain the three weeks following Catalonia’s illegal referendum for independence of October 1st. The traditional concern that multinational affiliates are “footloose” applies equally to local companies. ... Read More »