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Economics Middle East/North Africa

What is next for Turkey?

With the Turkish lira at a record depreciation amid the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic,Turkish leadership is struggling to deal with an economic impasse and a seismic foreign relations shift as a result of the US election. 

Europe Technology and infrastructure

UK Government Announces New National Cyber Force

Recently, the UK government announced its plans to take more offensive steps in its approach to cybersecurity. The announcement is further evidence of a gradually emerging trend exhibited by nation states: an increasing openness about their offensive cyber operations. This behaviour is likely to become the norm as many of the motivators for such an offensive stance — hybrid warfare, cyber espionage, and disinformation campaigns –only continue to grow.

Africa Politics

Somalia – A Triple Threat to Instability?

Internal and external forces have ominously converged in recent weeks, threatening the tentative state of stability in Somalia. Domestically, President Mohammed Farmaajo’s efforts to manoeuvre his path to re-election in 2021 are sparking considerable internal strife, while internationally, a hurricane of potentially harmful geopolitical winds is circling around Somalia.

Environment Europe

The Bulgarian Energy Market between Subsidies and Challenges

Many know Bulgaria as the poorest country in the EU. The country consistently lags behind its Western partners and ranks the lowest in a variety of areas. From disposable income to media freedom, as well as corruption and trust in the government. However, there seems to be an area in which Bulgaria is outperforming the EU average: green development. A combination of subsidies and ponderous growth has fostered this outcome, but the way ahead is not guaranteed.

Europe Security

Jihadist Terrorism: Italy the Next Target?

An often-overlooked aspect of Jihadist terrorism in Europe is Italy’s exceptionalism in avoiding it. Does this come down to mere luck, or is Italy taking a different, more effective approach to counter-terrorism? And, most importantly, how long is Italy going to be able to keep this up?

Asia Pacific Economics

A Big Deal: Signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

On November 15th 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed. An ASEAN-led initiative, the agreement was signed during a virtual ceremony in Vietnam. The bloc takes sole position as the world’s largest trading bloc, representing roughly 30% of global GDP.
The signing of this imminent and long-awaited free trade agreement is between 15 nations: the 10 ASEAN members in addition to China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
The timing of this pan-Asian trading agreeement’s signing is symbolic – amid a global pandemic that has shaken the global economy and caused free trade and globalisation to be questioned; however, it’s significance goes far beyond symbolism.
While this agreement appears to support ASEAN’s incrementalist approach, the pact will do little to halt China’s creeping dominance over the surrounding region, nor influence America’s position of distancing itself from China, or indeed influence any agreement in which China plays a part.

Europe Politics

Reality of Post-Communist Transitions Risks Entrenching EU-Central Europe Divide

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, argue that new powers handed to the European Commission, allowing the EU to withhold payments of the €750bn Covid recovery package from member states that fail to meet EU standards on the rule of law, are a politically motivated attempt to target their countries. 

Europe Politics

Belarus: Democratic awakening in stalemate

While Belarusian strongman Lukashenko has held onto power since the highly contested August 2020 presidential election, public discontent with the regime has persisted in the face of police brutality and human rights abuses. As the West increases sanctions on Belarusian officials and the Kremlin’s support transforms into pressure, it is critical to assess whether Europe’s last authoritarian stronghold will survive in 2021.

Europe Security

Absence of an EU-Turkey strategic partnership undermines regional security

The European Council summit in December 2020 presented an opportunity for Brussels to formalise a strategic partnership with Turkey to manage the crises in the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Libya. Instead, it exposed divergence between France and Germany over how the EU should confront Ankara’s assertive foreign policy. Whilst French President Macron is in favour of putting strong pressure on Turkey’s President Erdogan, German Chancellor Merkel believes that it is vital to remain open to dialogue. This lack of strategic clarity puts regional security at risk given the importance of Turkish cooperation with Brussels over handling common issues in irregular migration and local conflict.

Latin America Politics Security

Forever War: The Unfulfilled Peace in Colombia

Despite the signing of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla organization in June 2016, Colombia continues to struggle with armed violence by far-left guerrilla groups including the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) and FARC dissidents, as well as by right wing paramilitaries and criminal cartels. The causes of this continued violence are numerous and range from the attitude of the Duque administration towards the peace agreement, to the situation in neighbouring Venezuela.