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Europe Politics

Italy’s Five Star Movement: From Rising Star to Shooting Star?

The Five Star Movement’s unclear ideological identity ensured its success in Italy’s 2018 election. Today, the Movement faces dismal regional election results, growing unpopularity, and a government crisis. Will the party acknowledge its mainstream conversion, or will it resume its anti-establishment narrative?

Europe Politics

Can the EU work with Biden in the Balkans?

The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) signed in December provides access to the Chinese market for European investors while protecting China’s existing rights in EU trade. However, US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, voiced concern over the deal, stating Washington would welcome early consultations with Brussels when addressing Beijing’s economic relations. The lack of coordinated EU-US strategic thinking on China poses a risk to Euro-Atlantic integration in the Western Balkans. 

Europe Politics

The Italian Recovery Plan: Health and Education

With a 9% fall in GDP and one of the highest Covid-19 death records in Europe, Italy has been one of the countries to have struggled the most in 2020. Now, more than 200bn euros are being offered to the country by the EU as part of an ambitious stimulus package. This represents a potentially unique occasion for the “Bel Paese” to reverse its crisis. The question being, is it actually possible?

Europe Politics

Bulgaria’s pre-electoral tensions: From constitutional crisis to institutional trench war

In late summer 2020, people took to the streets of Bulgaria in their thousands to protest against the current cabinet. They shook Bulgaria with demands for the immediate resignation of PM Boyko Borisov and Attorney General Ivan Geshev. Shortly after, the standoff began to slowly but steadily evolve into a constitutional crisis. In 2021, events have morphed even further into an institutional trench war. The upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections hold the keys to the Sofia’s future.

Europe Politics

The Pipeline No One’s Celebrating: Balkan Stream’s Operability and the Future of Europe’s Energy Security

The competition of the ‘Balkan Stream’ (BS) extension to the Turk Stream pipeline has received little attention. This holds true strangely even in the countries through which it runs: Bulgaria and Serbia. Nevertheless, the pipeline has the potentiality to change the geopolitics of natural-gas supply. How will South Eastern Europe exploit this opportunity — if at all?

Europe Politics

Implications of the Moldova’s New Pro-Western Leadership

Moldova, an Eastern European post-soviet state stagnated by an internal frozen conflict, has had its aspirations towards greater cooperation with Europe and the West often challenged by its own old pro-Russian political elite. However, Maya Sandu’s election as President in late in 2020 marks a major shift in the state, just a year after she was ousted as Prime Minister by the PSRM (Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova) party over the appointment of a General Prosecutor.

Europe Natural resources and energy

The Energy Charter Treaty: a Threat to the European Union’s Climate Ambition

The 1994 International Treaty protects investors in the energy sector from States’ policy changes. This firmly blocks the EU’s available spending towards its long term goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

Europe Politics

Recovery from Covid-19 in Eastern Partnership Countries Faces Political Hurdles

With the support of the European Union, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced in December a scaling up of its financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. However, potential for economic recovery from the pandemic in the region is undermined by EU marginalisation of issues in corruption and Russian subversion capabilities. It is unlikely that sustainable private-sector growth will be realised until the EBRD fiscal approach is complemented with a strategy to address these political challenges.

Europe Politics

Zelensky’s fall from grace

After taking the Ukrainian political stage by storm, President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Servant of the People party faced off and lost to “mayoral” parties in the October 2020 local elections. Zelensky, falling short of providing Ukraine with the vigorous reformist policy he promised in his presidential campaign, has been gradually losing support from the public, threatening his and his party’s future in Ukrainian politics.

Economics Europe

Britain’s Economic Outlook – Navigating Brexit

As news of the last-minute trade deal with the EU emerged, right-wing commentators in publications such as The Spectator embraced it with cautious optimism. Johnson’s administration will not be leaping into the dark, but the economic costs of the pandemic and Brexit, irrespective of the trade deal, will likely pave the way for a bleak decade.