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Europe Politics

Irregular Migration to Europe: How a New Pact is Shifting Old Routes

The EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum aims to address irregular migration through better management of external borders and stronger international partnerships. While certain aspects of the proposal create opportunities for a better cooperation, the current approach to stricter return policies is pushing asylum seekers towards riskier and less controlled migration routes to Europe, putting lives at risk and increasing criminal activities.

Europe Security

NATO and the EU: What Does Brexit Mean for The UK’s Position in European Security?

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU last year calls into question the security implications that the split will have. The UK has continued to support NATO as the primary security provider on the continent and has acted at the forefront to reform the organisation to better address the changing security environment in Europe. On the other hand, the EU forges on with its efforts to form an autonomous strategic partnership to ensure European security through collective efforts. Without resistance from London, this policy is likely to go ahead creating uncertainty for the future of NATO in Europe and UK’s place in the security of the continent.

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.