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Europe Finance

Towards a Digital Euro: What Does It Mean for the Safety of Europe?

The digitalization of the economy and the rapid spread of virtual currencies have created unprecedented opportunities for cross-border illicit activities. The most recent proposal of the European Central Bank for the development of a central bank digital currency is no exception. Known as a digital euro, the project is envisioned to differ from crypto-assets and stable coins in its centralized oversight and control of digital transactions. Hence, by allowing a central banking authority to monitor and verify online transactions, a digital euro could facilitate the fight against organized crime in the EU. Yet, the currently proposed design possibilities of a digital euro reveal vulnerabilities to compliance with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations, as well as pose a significant threat to the safety of children in the digital space. 

China Finance International

The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investments (CAI): a piece of the puzzle.

On 30 December 2020, the EU and China announced that they had reached an Agreement in Principle on investments. The text is the result of lengthy negotiations, which started in January 2014. The EU-China CAI was met with fierce criticism from political commentators, who believe the treaty is a “strategic victory” for China and may potentially damage transatlantic relations. However, as usual with international affairs, matters are not always as simple as portrayed and deserve thorough consideration.

Europe Power Brokers

Fidesz-Managed Foundations Assume Control of Hungary’s Higher Education System

Through a recent $1.7 billion allocation (comprised of government funds and various property assets) to the privately managed foundation, Mathias Corvinus Collegium (M.C.C.), Victor Orban has expanded the mandate of his governing party, Fidesz, to include the unilateral administration of Hungary’s university system. The immensity of the monetary transfer coupled with the deliberate inclusion of private, Fidesz adjacent interests represent the further consolidation of Orban’s autocratic power and jeopardize institutional legitimacy through unfettered kleptocratic corruption. Though the geopolitical implications cannot yet be quantified, the impact of Orban’s flagrant, politically motivated annexation of Hungarian higher education on capital markets and electoral politics could, potentially, be significant.

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.

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.

Covid-19 Guest Post Insights International

GRI interview: Princeton historian discusses Covid-19 and macro risks

GRI recently sat down (virtually) with financial historian Harold James to discuss Covid-19 and emerging macro risks. James is the Claude and Lore Kelly Professor in European Studies and Professor

Africa Politics

Côte d’Ivoire – Do new EU laws promise sweet success or a bitter aftertaste?

Impending EU legislation seeks to reduce the Côte d’Ivoire cocoa industry’s reliance on minimum wages, child labour, and environmental degradation. Yet these efforts may be hindered by the coronavirus pandemic, and cynical buyers seeking alternative sources. The EU’s efforts also come as the industry in Côte d’Ivoire sits in the midst of several complex political and legal storms.

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 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

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.