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Europe Politics

“There Are Such People” in Bulgaria’s Parliament

The new Bulagrian party There are Such People (ITN), led by the former late-night TV show host Slavi Trifonov and his screenwriters, entered the political scene with a bang. It secured more than 17 percent of the vote in the last parliamentary elections, but curiously refused to form a government when given the mandate. The party also did not participate in any traditional media campaigns instead choosing to utilise social media platforms. It is important to understand the rise of ITN as well as what this political phenomenon means for political life in Bulgaria, given the upcoming snap parliamentary elections in July.

Covid-19 Europe

The Netherlands Struggles to Find Political Stability as Polarisation Increases

Amid the pandemic, Dutch politics have become increasingly tumultuous. Its parliamentary elections in March touted the largest number of parties on the Dutch ballots since the 1940s. Additionally, a public awareness of a myriad of socio-political issues and a relatively high voter turnout possibly reflect a more diverse political landscape. Yet, the fallout from last year’s childcare benefit scandal, and renewed discussions about political transparency have impaired ongoing formation talks.

Europe Natural resources and energy

Energy Transition in the European Union: Great Challenges and Opportunities

Transition towards low carbon energy systems remains to be a challenge for the European Union. Europe is faced with economic, social and environmental costs of having fragmented national energy markets despite the ambitious “European Green Deal” agenda of Von der Leyen’s Commission, which positions the EU as a leader in global climate action through comprehensive decarbonization policies. A net reduction target of minimum 55% from the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions was  agreed on Wednesday 21st of April by European co-legislators under the framework for European Climate Law. Nonetheless, curbing GHG emissions necessitates regional concerted action for transition from fossil fuel economies to renewable energy based systems in order to face the transboundary effects of climate change. 

Europe Security

Why Turkey Could Help us Understand Putin’s Intentions in Ukraine

Russia has staged the largest mobilisation along the eastern Ukrainian border since the Annexation of Crimea in 2014. Iuliia Mendel, spokesperson for the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stated that Moscow had stationed more than 40,000 soldiers near the separatist-held region of Donbas along with an additional 9,000 in Crimea. The sudden increase of Russian military presence in the region comes amid deepening defence cooperation between Turkey and Ukraine. This development in the Ukraine conflict follows a pattern of strategic rivalry between Ankara and Moscow in Libya and Syria. Although on opposing sides in each of these crises, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, share the same geopolitical goal of undermining Western pre-eminence in the post-Cold War system of international relations. Initiative in defence and security in the conduct of relations that Moscow and Ankara exercise with third countries means it is likely the crisis in eastern Ukraine will intensify.

Europe Politics

The Domino Effect of Normalizing Violence Against Women: Why Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention Has Become the Norm Rather Than the Exception

Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been highly criticized by the European Union and human rights advocates. However, Turkey is not the first and most likely not the last country to opt out of the Convention on preventing and combating gender-based violence. Whereas much of the focus has been on Erdogan’s political motivations behind the decision, the issue of violence against women in Central and Eastern Europe in relation to the Istanbul Convention remains in the shadows and requires further attention.

Europe Politics

The Risks of a Positive Agenda Between the EU and Turkey

In the aftermath of the 25-26 European Council Summit, the EU is clearly divided in its approach to Turkey. While some wish to see a more determined EU which supports its values and protects its Member States, others disagree with sanctions on Turkey and support a more welcoming plan with which to meet the state. However, an approach using exclusively soft power opens up the EU to risks that have the potential to be very costly. 

Europe Politics

Italy Battles Continued Challenges to Political Stability

Italian politics has undergone radical change in the last year. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, new Prime Minister Mario Draghi faces the challenge of leading a stable Government that can secure Italy’s roadmap to freedom from the virus and overcome the related economic hardship. At the same time, two of the major parties in Italian politics, the democratic Party and the Five Star Movement have experienced ideological fragmentation and are seeking new political identities.

Eurasia Europe Politics

Were Sanctions by the EU the Right Move?

On 2nd March 2021, the EU announced sanctions on four Russian citizens for human rights violations. The continuing saga of Navalny’s imprisonment and the treatment of protestors by the Russian government has forced the international community to respond but are sanctions the right response? 

Europe Insights

Future Trends: Far-Right Terrorism in the UK – A Major Threat?

Since the late 1990s, the threat to UK security from far-right terrorism has been considered to have been of minor concern compared to Islamist or Northern Ireland-related terror. However, within the past few years there has been a growth in concern about rising levels of far-right extremism. With the ideology spreading via the internet amongst a young audience, is it possible that far-right terrorism could become the major domestic threat to UK security?

Europe Security

The Turkish intervention in Nagorno-Karabakh may favour EU interests

As mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russia has sought to maintain influence in Azerbaijan and Armenia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In pursuing a strategy based on balancing competing Armenian-Azerbaijani interests over the disputed territory, Moscow is able to wield leverage in the South Caucasus without antagonising either Baku or Yerevan. However, the Turkish intervention on the issue in 2020 in full support of Azerbaijan tilted the power-balance of the conflict and cemented Ankara as a new security actor in the region.