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Hungary

Frau M’s big decision

in EN · Germany 2018 · Merkel 2018 · Nation 2018 · Person 2018 · Politics 2018 15 views / 6 comments

Danube      Germany     Great Britain  Europe

GEOMETR.IT politico.eu

* Even the German leader’s biggest critics are worried about what will happen when she goes.

As if Europe didn’t have enough to worry about at the moment (Italy, Brexit, Poland, Hungary, populism … Italy!), Germany is back on the boil.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision this week to step aside from the leadership of her Christian Democrats may trigger all or none of the following: the end of her chancellorship, the collapse of the government, a new coalition, a minority government and/or new elections. Whatever the outcome, the waves will be felt well beyond Germany’s borders.

Some in the Brussels bubble have taken refuge in denial, insisting the European Union will chug along, regardless of what transpires in Berlin. After all, with 28 (for now) autonomous members there’s always political turmoil somewhere. Following a bit of hand wringing, things will return to normal, right?

If only wishing it would make it so.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Hungarian Prime Minister Vikto Orban in the background — but he might not stay there for long | Omer Messinger/AFP via Getty Images

Just as for Germany, Merkel’s departure would mark a watershed for the EU. No leader has dominated European affairs to the extent she has over the past 13 years for at least a generation, if not longer. Others may have built Europe, but it was Merkel who had the arguably more difficult task of holding it together. Whatever mistakes she made in handling the eurocrisis or migration, her moniker as the “Queen of Europe” is only half in jest.

For years, at any meeting of European leaders, all eyes have been trained on Merkel. Nothing is decided until the German chancellor, who likes to immerse herself in the arcane details of policy debates, has weighed in.

It’s tempting to attribute that influence solely to Germany’s size and power. Yet, according to Merkel’s fellow leaders, that’s only part of the story.

«There’s a different atmosphere in the room when she’s not there. Once she’s gone,

  • “She commands respect, even from those who disagree with her,” said one veteran center-right prime minister who has observed Merkel at innumerable summits over the years.
  • “There’s a different atmosphere in the room when she’s not there. Once she’s gone, [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán takes over.”

Call it the soft side of Germany’s hard power.

That might explain why some of Merkel’s biggest critics are the most worried about her potential departure in the coming months.

“The most important thing for us is Ms. Merkel declared she will remain chancellor until the end of her mandate,” Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, whose party has been deeply critical of the chancellor’s refugee policy, said on Monday.

While that may sound more like a “devil-you-know” lament than true regret, he went even further, noting the chancellor’s “important place” in European history.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, another critic of Merkel’s approach to migration, expressed a similar sentiment. «For us it is crucial that she will stay as German [chancellor] for next three years,” he said. “Germany is our most important economic partner and the chancellor herself deserves credit for being a reliable friend of the Czech Republic.»

Despite those displays of admiration, the most pressing question for the EU is how much authority Merkel will retain as a lame duck, assuming she survives at all.

Even at the height of her power and influence, Merkel often had difficulty pushing through her agenda in the fractious bloc, as her failure to find agreement for an EU quota system for refugees, despite repeated attempts, illustrated.

On issues of broad consensus in the EU, such as Brexit, Merkel’s diminished status won’t be a problem. The same is true for decisions that need to be made in the near term, like filling senior European positions, whether at the European Central Bank or the Commission. Germany is still Germany and can throw its weight around when it wants to.

When it comes to more fundamental, longer-term questions, though, such as how to handle Central Europe’s increasingly illiberal governments or reforming the eurozone, the outlook is less clear. Poland’s endorsement for Merkel notwithstanding, Warsaw has every incentive now to play for time and see what emerges — especially if Merkel hardens her tone on the controversial question of the ruling Law and Justice party’s judicial reforms.

In an unexpected twist, Merkel’s move could renew hope for the stalled effort to repair the eurozone.

She has dragged her feet on reforming the euro for years, mainly due to political considerations at home, where any hint that German taxpayers could end up footing the bill for other Europeans is met with immediate outrage and resistance. (It was opposition to the eurozone bailouts that spawned the Alternative for Germany, which has since morphed into a virulent anti-immigrant party.)

Some observers believe Merkel, once absolved of her party obligations, will have a freer hand to finally cut a deal with French President Emmanuel Macron on a banking union, including the contentious issue of deposit insurance. The two agreed to a road map over the summer during a meeting at the chancellor’s official country residence, Meseberg, but little has happened since.

Even if Merkel (or her successor as chancellor) would find it difficult to push the reforms through the German parliament, she could make a strong statement by going ahead anyway, betting that by the time the measures come up for a vote the political constellation will have changed.

Considering that Merkel’s chief focus as chancellor has been her work on Europe, the idea might not be as crazy as it may first appear.

“We have to move forward, we cannot wait forever, and we need our German partners to make progress,” a senior French official said.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at:  politico.eu

GEOMETR.IT

So different Eastern and Central Europe

in EN · Europe 2018 · Nation 2018 · Politics 2018 · Polska 2018 · Skepticism 2018 · YOUTUBE 2018 26 views / 3 comments

Balkans        Danube        Europe     World         Ex-USSR             Polska

GEOMETR.IT  Project Syndicate

* Eastern European populism differs from that in the West in important ways, owing to the region’s weak liberal tradition, which translates into ineffective checks and balances on government.

Populism is continuing to rise across Europe. Be it in recent elections in France and Germany or as part of a general surge in Eastern European countries like Poland, Hungary, and Romania, the influence of populist politicians is increasing. In 2000, populist parties were already able to gain more than 20% of the vote in two countries, however, in 2018, this is the case in ten EU states. Indeed, in Italy, a shocking 50% of people who went out to vote supported populist parties during the elections in March 2018.

How should we understand this surge of support for populist leaders and the growing dissatisfaction with the political establishment in Europe? Why does populism seem to have taken more of a hold in Central and Eastern European countries than in Western Europe? Is it only a matter of time before populist parties come to power in Western countries as well? What socio-political factors underlie the populist turn across Europe and the difference between the factors in Central and Eastern Europe and those in Western Europe?

In the West, there are no populist ruling parties, only junior coalition parties in Austria and Switzerland. And populism in Eastern Europe differs from that in the West in important ways. For starters, Eastern Europe lacks the tradition of checks and balances that have safeguarded Western democracies.

In the US, Trump can’t ignore judicial decisions that he doesn’t like, or simply take control of the courts. Leaders in Poland and Hungary can and do without any hesitation. Moreover, whereas Western democracies have moved beyond concerns about physical security to embrace what sociologist Ronald Inglehart calls “post-materialist values”, Eastern European polities are more vulnerable to attacks on abstract liberal institutions, such as freedom of speech or judicial independence.

And civil society in Eastern Europe is not just weaker than in the West; it is also more focused on areas such as charity, religion, and leisure, rather than social issues or politics. Finally, Eastern European populists’ success is rooted not only in frustrated voters’ economic concerns, as seems to be true in Western Europe, but in the electorate’s need to organize around a leader’s narrative. For popular class voters, populism satisfies a desire for a sense of community. For middle class voters, a leader helps to define yourself in opposition to those stigmatized as inferior – be it refugees, depraved elites, or judges.

With populist parties now securing at least 20% of the vote in ten East European countries, including more than 40% in Poland and Hungary, tough questions await. If Polish or Hungarian politics proves more similar to the politics of Russia than of France, are the European Union’s borders overextended? Could it be that these countries belong with Russia, rather than with Western Europe? Might the EU itself be impossible to maintain? I hope not. There are no easy answers, and only East Europeans themselves can answer them.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at:  Project Syndicate

GEOMETR.IT

2. Regional dialogue in Eastern Europe

in Economics 2018 · Europe 2018 · Industry 2018 · Nation 2018 · Politics 2018 · Russia 2018 · Skepticism 2018 48 views / 3 comments

Europe

GEOMETR.IT  gisreportsonline.com

* The Three Seas Initiative includes several proposed railways, highways, and energy pipelines that would link the group’s 12 member states

The situation is even more alarming in the energy sector. Most of the TSI countries are heavily dependent on Russia for their gas supplies. The biggest existing gas infrastructure investment is the Nord Stream I pipeline connecting Russia with Germany – and bypassing Poland and the Baltics.

  • In the TSI countries, this has been seen as making them more vulnerable, and the projected Nord Stream II could further exacerbate the situation. Conversely, diversification of gas supplies from sources other than Russia and the construction of new pipelines along the north-south axis would improve energy security and reduce potential leveraging by Russia.
  • Finally, Russia’s hybrid warfare has provided a very strong incentive to develop infrastructure along the eastern borders of NATO and the EU. Recently, NATO has adopted multiple measures to secure its eastern flank, including new military deployments. But without improving both civil and military mobility – i.e. by building quality roads, railways, bridges, airports, pipelines, and fiber optic links – the eastern frontiers will remain indefensible.

A motor for integration

This is the backdrop against which the TSI has emerged. It was founded on the observation that the development of strong ties with “old Europe” did not go hand in hand with regional integration. The TSI seeks to connect the new EU members among themselves in three main areas: energy, transportation infrastructure and digitalisation. Participating states have identified some key energy and transportation projects as TSI flagships.

In the energy sector, there are at least four distinct macro-projects:

  • Gas pipelines connecting two LNG terminals: Swinoujsce, at the Baltic Sea, which is already in service; and Krk, a Croatian island in the northern Adriatic Sea, planned to be completed in 2019. The two facilities will allow the importing of gas from the U.S., Qatar or Algeria
  • The Gas Interconnection Poland-Lithuania, (GIPL), which would integrate isolated gas markets in the Baltic states into the EU gas grid
  • The North-South Gas Corridor, or BRUA, a system of bidirectional gas pipelines. In the south, it would connect to offshore fields in the Black and Caspian seas (via the new TANAP pipeline in Turkey). On its western end, it would integrate the Balkans into the EU gas grid, via Baumgarten in Austria
  • The Eastring pipeline, which would connect existing gas pipelines in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia

In the transportation sector, there are also four major infrastructure projects:

  • Via Carpathia, a new highway that would connect a Baltic port (Klaipeda, Lithuania) with an Aegean trading hub (Thessaloniki, Greece)
  • Modernization of the North-South Highway, along route E65, that would connect the Baltic (from Szczecin, Poland) with the Adriatic Sea (Rijeka, Croatia)
  • Rail Baltica, which would connect Warsaw, Kaunas (Lithuania), Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki
  • Rail 2 Sea, which would connect Gdansk, Poland and Constanta, a Romanian port on the Black Sea

So far, most of those projects are still on paper. Krzysztof Szczerski, the Polish president’s cabinet chief and the main architect of the TSI, recently said that “we enter a key stage as TSI evolves from a theoretical concept to practical implementation.” Turning all these plans into reality will require big capital inflows.

Scenarios

The TSI is a promising plan with interesting economic potential but also a few inherent political fault lines. So far, it is mostly funded by member states with little private participation. To succeed, the project must overcome three hurdles. The first and most crucial question is who the investors will be. Secondly, the TSI must stay united and convince Brussels that the project is in the interest of the EU as a whole. And third, it must secure the support of important countries outside the EU.

  • Outside Europe, Russia may certainly try to kill the plan, not least because it prefers investments along the west-east axis. On the other hand, the U.S. will continue to firmly support the plan, as it has from the very beginning. U.S. President Donald Trump attended the 2017 summit in Warsaw, and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry came to the most recent one in Bucharest.
  • Washington’s attitude is clearly tied to future LNG exports to Europe and improving the security of NATO’s eastern flank. China may also support selected TSI projects because of potential synergy with Beijing’s own regional structure covering Central and Eastern Europe (the so-called 16+1) and its Belt and Road Initiative. Turkey will play an important role, because it controls the Black Sea straits and serves as the only viable option for alternative terrestrial gas supplies.

Inside Europe, the TSI was initially approached with suspicion. Germany viewed gas projects as competing with their interests and Brussels feared the initiative’s divisive potential. Dissent even appeared within the TSI; for example, some Czech and Austrian diplomats expressed concerns that the project could harm their relations with Berlin.

In the run-up to the September Bucharest summit, TSI leaders started a diplomatic offensive, arguing that the project’s aim is neither to create an alternative to the EU nor to target any specific EU country. In the short term, they were successful, if one goes by the big names that attended the event: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, top representatives of major international banks, and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in the role of the partner country. The TSI also attracted reasonable attention from the business community and agreed to establish the Three Seas Investment Fund to generate resources for financing their projects.

In the long run, the TSI will avoid failure only if both its member states and EU institutions play their parts of the game rationally, with understanding of their mutual interests. The Central and Eastern European countries seem to appreciate that such a project can hardly progress without EU support.

A lot will ride, too, on EU institutions’ ability to grasp that the improvement of security and stability in CEE is in the interest of the body as a whole, and these projects deserve the mantle of legitimate EU investments. The TSI countries can proceed confidently, as long as they stay united. Their voting power in the EU is strong enough to achieve their objectives.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at:  gisreportsonline.com

GEOMETR.IT

1. Regional dialogue in Eastern Europe

in Balkans 2018 · Danube 2018 · EN · Europe 2018 · Politics 2018 · Skepticism 2018 50 views / 3 comments

Europe

GEOMETR.IT  gisreportsonline.com

* The Three Seas Initiative includes several proposed railways, highways, and energy pipelines that would link the group’s 12 member states

  • Poland is leading the Three Seas Initiative, aiming to improve integration in Central and Eastern Europe
  • A lack of integration on issues like energy and transportation makes the region feel vulnerable
  • Most of the proposed projects are on paper, awaiting outside investment and support from the EU

On September 17, leaders from Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Bucharest to take part at the third Three Seas Initiative (TSI) summit. Jointly led by Poland and Croatia, the TSI promotes cooperation between the Baltic, the Adriatic and Black Seas, and includes 12 European Union member states: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Polish President Andrzej Duda proposed the initiative during his inauguration speech and has been its driving force. But as the largest power among the TSI states, Poland was circumspect enough to let Croatia begin the summit.

What is the Three Seas Initiative? 

The Three Seas Initiative is a forum of European Union countries in Central and Eastern Europe located between the Baltic, Adriatic, and the Black Sea. It has been created to promote regional dialogue on a variety of issues affecting the countries of the region. 

The Three Seas Initiative is made up of twelve member countries: The three Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) the Visegrad four (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary), Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia. 

The Three Seas Initiative aims at increasing Central European cooperation in the fields of energy security, infrastructural development, communication and transportation. The regions and the whole continent need a more North-South connection to achieve the completion of the internal market that had been so far connecting the continent along an East-West axe. 

The initiative has been closely related to two major infrastructure projects in the region. The first North-South highway “Via Carpathia”, connecting Klaipėda in Lithuania with Thessaloniki in Greece. The second is the Liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure project, with ocean terminals in Poland and Croatia and a connecting pipeline.

Past Summits 

The initiative held its first summit in Dubrovnik on August 25-26, 2016. The two-day event ended with a declaration of cooperation in economic matters, particularly in the field of energy as well as transport and communications infrastructure. 

The initiative’s second summit was held July 6-7, 2017 in Warsaw. US President Donald Trump attended and spoke at the summit. The participating countries unanimously agreed to set up a Three Seas Business Forum.

A limited framework for regional cooperation 

The regional cooperation is not unconditional and all-encompassing. On the contrary, it is focussed on economic matters, notably on energy, transportation, and digital communication. 

At the first Dubrovnik summit, the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic stated that the cooperation “would benefit not only these twelve EU country members but the whole European Union”. 

The Dubrovnik declaration of 2016 is a political framework based on which concrete projects will be designed to help Central and Eastern European countries catch up on their European partners. Still, the cooperation is informal, based only on a “declaration” which means that it is not legally binding for the signatory parties.

Key plan of Polish foreign policy 

Since taking power in October 2015, Poland’s ruling party’s (Law and Justice) leading politicians have been tirelessly trying to build close collaborations with their neighbours. By doing so, they want to counterbalance the influence of “old Europe” in Brussels. “Old Europe” refers to the pre-2004 EU-members minus Great Britain. 

  • Since 2015, the “Three Seas Initiative” has been a topic for discussion which gained international visibility with Donald Trump’s visit in Warsaw in July 2017. 
  • Comments on this project of regional cooperation are often misleading because the Three Seas Initiative is usually described in the light of what is perceived as its ideological roots: Intermarium, a project of regional integration of Central Eastern Europe dating from the interwar period. 
  • The confusion with the Intermarium project stems to some extent from Poland’s multi-layered foreign policy since 2015 (a search for various alliances at regional, European and international levels).

Intermarium 

The term Intermarium refers to a geopolitical concept developed by the interwar Polish leader Józef Piłsudski. After the division of the Russian empire in the wake of the First World War (1919), Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus formed independent nation-based states. Piłsudski believed that an alliance of those four states in a federal body could safeguard their respective sovereignties. 

The concept was extended to Hungary, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Romania in the later 1930’s by the Polish minister for foreign affairs Józef Beck. For both Piłsudski and Beck, the federal entity would be located at the core of the 16th- and 17th-century Europe political entity of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and would be marked by Polish leadership. 

The scope of the Intermarium varied depending on the time and place of its formulation, sometimes stretching from the Scandinavian countries up to the Balkans. The concept survived in Polish and Central Eastern European political thinking during the communist time thanks to exiled elites. 

At the same time, the keyword ‘Intermarium’ remained censored in Central and Eastern Europe during the postwar era. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the concept did not arise because the geopolitical offer toward which countries In the region were striving was that of EU and NATO membership. 

The Intermarium is a historical project of regional integration, while the Three Seas Initiative is a project of regional cooperation. The geopolitical confusion between Trimarium and Intermarium lies in the fact that the same question is raised by both projects: Is Poland looking to become the leader of the region and where lie its own national interests in this proposal?

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: gisreportsonline.com

GEOMETR.IT

The Three Seas Strategy

in Balkans 2018 · Baltics 2018 · Conflicts 2018 · Danube 2018 · EN · Europe 2018 · Nation 2018 · Politics 2018 · Polska 2018 · Skepticism 2018 64 views / 5 comments

Balkans     Baltics     Danube    Europe     Ex-USSR          Polska

GEOMETR.IT  geopoliticalfutures.com

 

*The former Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe: the Baltic states, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and possibly Bulgaria.

 Challenges, Intentional or Otherwise

The two foundations of the Intermarium (now frequently referred to as such in the region) are Poland and Romania, which have developed close military ties. The Baltics are already involved. The major holdout, unsurprisingly, has been Hungary, which has had to court Russia and the United States at the same time.

But there are strong signals that Hungary is prepared to join. The government recently announced that it would join a Black Sea military exercise with Romania and Bulgaria – an annual exercise in which Hungary has never before participated. If this happens, then an eastern flank of the European Peninsula will have a cohesive group, backed by the global power, forming a line of demarcation between Russia and the rest of Europe.

Some are understandably worried about its formation. Few in Europe want to revert to Cold War politics; most Europeans believe they can accommodate Russian interests without creating a new containment line. U.S. sponsorship, moreover, directly challenges one of Europe’s most defining institutions, NATO. The Intermarium is not formally outside of NATO, but functionally it is, since NATO can’t really provide military assistance without U.S. help. In a military alliance, those with militaries tend to carry more weight than those without.

It also challenges the European Union, albeit unintentionally. Most the Intermarium’s members are outside the eurozone but constitute the most economically dynamic part of Europe. Eastern Europe’s economies are growing, and they boast extremely well educated, highly skilled and relatively cheap laborers.

The region challenges the economic status quo, represented by the hegemony of the 1950s-style corporations that dominate European economics. As NATO showed, military alliances employ the logic of economic cooperation. The Intermarium sets the stage, in my view, of a more integrated economic drive. It will be in the EU, but it will behave differently from the EU – more entrepreneurial, more closely resembling the United States. This will create stress in the EU, which does not need any more stress.

It will also necessitate political evolutions outside the EU’s ideology. The governments in Poland and Hungary are anathema to the multilateral, collectivistic framework of the EU, and Brussels has criticized them accordingly. But neither Warsaw nor Budapest has given in to EU demands. The Intermarium therefore is more than a military alliance.

Map vs. Geopolitics

That the Intermarium has only recently begun to coalesce hasn’t stopped it from conceptually expanding. The bloc runs from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, but its logical extension goes southwest to the Adriatic Sea. The so-called Three Seas model would add Austria, Slovenia and Croatia to the Intermarium’s ranks. (And the Three Seas summit is taking place in Poland at the same time as a visit by Donald Trump. He has not rejected the idea of the Intermarium.)

Romanian frigate “Regina Maria” is inspected during a military drill on the Black Sea. DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

The extension is explained in part by the growth of Turkey. There is no question that Turkey will become a major regional power. When it has been powerful in the past, its influence has reached the Balkans and, in more extreme cases, to Budapest and Vienna. The countries of Eastern Europe are particularly concerned with immigration, an issue that Turkey naturally abuts. But Turkish power is a deeper concern, and if Ankara realizes its potential, the Intermarium will have to block not just Russia but Turkey too.

The extension is also explained by nostalgia for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a significant multinational success that united small countries and largely gave them a degree of autonomy. Many believe the EU, which proved incapable of managing Europe after the 2008 crisis, encroaches on national self-determination just as much as the empire did. By expanding to Austria, Croatia and Slovenia, the old empire is recreated, if only in a geographic sense.

The Intermarium is just an idea, a vehicle for regional cooperation. It is not an alliance, at least not right now. But as conceived it is meant to evolve, and its evolution creates some problems. Multinational institutions are difficult to create. They require time, money and political will, and rarely do members have the same of any of these as the others.

Another problem is timing. Russia is a threat now, albeit a mild one, considering the state of the Russian economy. Turkey, meanwhile, is not a threat at all. Once it becomes a regional power it will project its power into the Balkans, but that’s a long way off. Sequence is important, and the Three Seas expansion is a little premature.

  • Last, the inclusion of Balkan countries changes the Intermarium’s complexion. Adding Slovenia and Croatia will alarm the Balkan Peninsula’s largest power, Serbia, historically a dangerous thing to do. (Croatia and Serbia have fought many wars over the years, most recently in the 1990s.) Drawing the members of the Intermarium into Balkan conflicts creates a drain on resources and a potential loss of popular support.

 

  • The bloc may separate Turkey from the rest of Europe, but it also encourages Serbia, already close to Russia, to pull closer to Turkey. The geopolitics and the map work against each other. If this expansion is to take place, and in due course it likely will, then Serbia must be brought into the fold. Otherwise, the danger of Turkey is enhanced, not mitigated.

 

  • Even then, we should remember that Serbia did not get along with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and if the Intermarium bears its likeness, it could create problems down the road. (It’s also worth noting that Austria’s comparative affluence changes the dynamics too.)

 

One of the failures of the EU was its casual expansion without careful consideration of how new countries could work with older members in times of economic duress. The impulse to expand has been one of the EU’s greatest mistakes. Expansion is fine, but history shows that it has to be systematic and thoughtful. Disciplining intentions is the hardest of things.

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: geopoliticalfutures.com

 

GEOMETR.IT

East becomes stronger than West

in Danube 2018 · Economics 2018 · EN · Europe 2018 · EX-USSR · Finance 2018 · Germany 2018 · Nation 2018 · Politics 2018 · Polska 2018 · YOUTUBE 2018 70 views / 6 comments

Balkans          Danube      Germany       Europe     Ex-USSR        Polska

GEOMETR.IT  US Global Investors Inc

 

* Global Investors, focuses in on Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic – three of the fastest growing countries in CEE

 

 

The Central and Eastern European region, or CEE, is comprised of 12 post-communist countries and has been experiencing rapid expansion in the last few decades, with GDP growth rivaling that of the United States and the eurozone. In this video, Joanna Sawicka, emerging Europe research analysts at U.S.

Joanna highlights that economic development in the region is supported by strong consumer spending, low unemployment, fast growing wages and fiscal stimulus.

All opinions expressed and data provided are subject to change without notice. Some of these opinions may not be appropriate to every investor.

The Standard & Poor’s 500, often abbreviated as the S&P 500, or just the S&P, is an American stock market index based on the market capitalizations of 500large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. The S&P 500 index components and their weightings are determined by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The MSCI Emerging Markets (EM) Europe 10/40 Index is designed to measure the performance of the large and mid-cap representation across 6 Emerging Markets (EM) countries in Europe.

The PX index is the official price index of the Prague Stock Exchange. It is a free float weighted price index made up of the most liquid stocks and it is calculated in real time.

The WIG20 is a capitalization-weighted stock market index of the twenty largest companies on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The Budapest Stock Exchange Index is a capitalization-weighted index adjusted for free float. The index tracks the daily price only performance of large, actively traded shares on the Budapest Stock Exchange. The index has a base value of 1000 points as of January 2, 1991 and is a Total Return index.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index is derived from the STOXX Europe Total Market Index (TMI) and is a subset of the STOXX Global 1800 Index. With a fixed number of 600 components, the STOXX Europe 600 Index represents large, mid and small capitalization companies across 17 countries of the European region: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports

 

The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: US Global Investors Inc

 

GEOMETR.IT

What about Eastern Europe ?

in Balkans 2018 · Crisis 2018 · Culture 2018 · Danube 2018 · EN · Europe 2018 · EX-USSR · Finance 2018 · Germany 2018 · Great Britain 2018 · History 2018 · Nation 2018 · Person · Politics 2018 · Polska 2018 · Skepticism 2018 · Ukraine 2018 · USA 2018 · YOUTUBE 2018 45 views / 3 comments

Balkans     Baltics    Danube    Germany    Europe    Ex-USSR      Polska

GEOMETR.IT

 

* Inequality, Immigration, and the Politics of Populism Conference, Panel 6: Central and Eastern Europe.

YOUTUBE 2018  Politics of Populism: Central and Eastern Europe

* The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: https://www.youtube.com

* * *

GEOMETR.IT 

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GEOMETR.IT

Дожди, как иностранные солдаты, идут через Голландию в Берлин. Распад ЕС

in Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · Europe 2017 · Nation 2017 · Politics 2017 · RU · Skepticism 2017 · State 2017 · YOUTUBE 2017 351 views / 28 comments

Balkans       Baltic          Danube      Germany       Great Britain       Europe      USA       Polska

GEOMETR.IT   telegraph.co.uk

 

*  Европейская «осень» подобна арабской «весне»?

YOUTUBE 2017Вагенкнехт о Меркель и о Либеральном Дерьме 

На фото:    EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gestures as he takes his seat to open the weekly college meeting of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.EPA 

The Telegraph. Дни Евросоюза сочтены, пишет депутат эстонского парламента и профессор права Игорь Грязин. — Out of ideas and desperate to suppress dissent, the EU’s days are numbered

По его мнению, распад Европы неизбежен: в ней нет сильных лидеров, господствует менталитет серых масс, официальные институты бездействуют, а общая валюта только ослабила экономику. Однако крах ЕС будет происходить размеренно и относительно спокойно.

История повторяется, однако более интересны случаи, когда этого не происходит, пишет в The Telegraph депутат эстонского парламента И. Грязин. Он обращается к примеру двух империй и отмечает, что упадку Рима предшествовала интеллектуальная деградация. Между тем в России «трагическое падение» случилось сразу после одной из «интеллектуальных вершин» после Есенина, сборника «Вехи», Рахманинова, Малевича.

Учитывая, что «культурный шедевр», сопутствующий Евросоюзу, — это песенный конкурс «Евровидение», вполне уместно задаться вопросом, будет крах Еврокомиссии постепенным или произойдёт одним махом, полагает автор статьи. Он уверен, что в политическом, экономическом, ментальном и правовом отношении этот процесс будет крайне непростым.

Естественной демократической тенденции европейских стран к ослаблению связей с ЕС противостоит профессиональная номенклатура, в особенности чиновники Европейской комиссии, потому что она обеспечивает их средствами к существованию.

По поводу референдумов о выходе из ЕС можно не беспокоиться: Еврокомиссия обладает достаточной силой инерции для того, чтобы помешать общественным движениям утвердиться или заглушить их, считает Грязин.

Как и другие империи, движущиеся к своему закату, ЕС подавляет внутреннюю оппозицию. В этой связи примечательно сочетание природы инакомыслия и среды, в которой оно существует. ЕС вынужден переосмыслить собственную демократию, чтобы оправдать её безнадёжную борьбу, продолжает эстонский политик и правовед.

По его наблюдениям, все прогрессивные изменения в ЕС, будь то брексит, развитие различных «пиратских движений», укрепление суверенного самосознания Венгрии, Чехии и так далее происходили относительно спокойно и в будничном режиме. Поэтому есть основания предполагать, что дальнейший распад будет продолжаться в том же ключе, пишет эстонский депутат.

В Евросоюзе был смысл полвека назад, но сейчас его больше нет, убеждён Грязин. Задача по сохранению мира на континенте провалилась на Украине, в Грузии, на Балканах, в Закавказье.

По сути, массовый терроризм — тоже война. С учётом строго эгоистических интересов отдельных стран, а также ряда исторических инцидентов, Европейская комиссия больше не подходит для сохранения мира, уверяет профессор права.

Чтобы доказать это, он рассматривает существование единой валюты. По его мнению, оно лишь ещё сильнее расшатывает хрупкую европейскую экономику и усиливает её неконкурентоспособность. Маастрихтские критерии, на основании которых осуществляется принятие в еврозону, применяются избирательно и служат меньшинству в ЕС, способствуя распространению недобросовестной деловой практики. В конце концов, многие статистические органы в ЕС просто лгут, подчёркивает политик.

В то же время сама система препятствует гласности, которая могла бы скорректировать ситуацию. Критически настроенные демократические силы в ЕС клеймят как «экстремистские» или «крайне правые», а министры, выступающие за суверенные права и демократические свободы своих стран относительно ЕС в целом, подвергаются нападкам и оскорблениям.

Кроме того, дополнительные риски создаются за счёт идеологических ограничений на использование сил полиции, вызванных опасениями быть обвинёнными в расизме.

*   Все эти интеллектуальные и идеологические факторы обнаруживают отсутствие харизматичных лидеров на данном этапе перемен, отмечается в статье.

В ЕС сейчас господствует менталитет «власти серой массы» и процветает праздное безделье официальных учреждений, пишет The Telegraph.

По его словам, поскольку в ЕС нет сильных лидеров, то отсутствуют и их последователи. Ведущие лица в ЕС на самом деле никого никуда не ведут — они лишь принимают участие в общем движении. Поэтому простым людям остаётся только ждать и наблюдать за развитием событий и угасанием европейской идеи, подчёркивает правовед.

*   Эту «интеллектуальную пустоту» заполняет перспектива онлайн-сотрудничества, уверяет он. Общественно-политическое развитие Европы будет определяться с помощью новых средств массовой информации и самопроизвольно возникающих гражданских движений.

*   В этом случае будущее окажется не за политическими партиями, а за чатами, считает эстонский депутат. По его мнению, задача не в том, чтобы возглавить этот путь развития, а в том, чтобы участвовать в нём и продвигать свободолюбивые ценности внутри него.

Брексит — это не особый случай, а лишь одно из череды событий на пути распада ЕС. «Раньше мы видели «арабскую весну», а однажды оглянемся на «европейскую осень», потому что «дни ЕС сочтены», — заключает Игорь Грязин в статье для The Telegraph.

Igor Gräzin

*Публикация не является редакционной статьёй. Она отражает исключительно точку зрения и аргументацию автора. Публикация представлена в сокращении. Оригинал размещен по адресу:   http://www.telegraph.co.uk

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From the Intermarium to the Three Seas

in Army · Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · EX-USSR · Germany 2017 · History 2017 · Nation 2017 · NATO 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 · State 2017 · USA 2017 59 views / 5 comments

GEOMETR.IT  geopoliticalfutures.com

The Intermarium is a concept – really, an eventuality – that I have spoken about for nearly a decade. I predicted it would rise after Russia inevitably re-emerged as a major regional power. Which makes sense, considering it would comprise the former Soviet satellites of Eastern Europe: the Baltic states, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and possibly Bulgaria. Its purpose would be to contain any potential Russian move to the west. The United States would support it. The rest of Europe would agonize over it. What was once inevitable may soon be here.

Challenges, Intentional or Otherwise

The two foundations of the Intermarium (now frequently referred to as such in the region) are Poland and Romania, which have developed close military ties. The Baltics are already involved. The major holdout, unsurprisingly, has been Hungary, which has had to court Russia and the United States at the same time.

But there are strong signals that Hungary is prepared to join. The government recently announced that it would join a Black Sea military exercise with Romania and Bulgaria – an annual exercise in which Hungary has never before participated. If this happens, then an eastern flank of the European Peninsula will have a cohesive group, backed by the global power, forming a line of demarcation between Russia and the rest of Europe.

Some are understandably worried about its formation. Few in Europe want to revert to Cold War politics; most Europeans believe they can accommodate Russian interests without creating a new containment line. U.S. sponsorship, moreover, directly challenges one of Europe’s most defining institutions, NATO. The Intermarium is not formally outside of NATO, but functionally it is, since NATO can’t really provide military assistance without U.S. help. In a military alliance, those with militaries tend to carry more weight than those without.

It also challenges the European Union, albeit unintentionally. Most the Intermarium’s members are outside the eurozone but constitute the most economically dynamic part of Europe. Eastern Europe’s economies are growing, and they boast extremely well educated, highly skilled and relatively cheap laborers.

The region challenges the economic status quo, represented by the hegemony of the 1950s-style corporations that dominate European economics. As NATO showed, military alliances employ the logic of economic cooperation. The Intermarium sets the stage, in my view, of a more integrated economic drive. It will be in the EU, but it will behave differently from the EU – more entrepreneurial, more closely resembling the United States. This will create stress in the EU, which does not need any more stress.

It will also necessitate political evolutions outside the EU’s ideology. The governments in Poland and Hungary are anathema to the multilateral, collectivistic framework of the EU, and Brussels has criticized them accordingly. But neither Warsaw nor Budapest has given in to EU demands. The Intermarium therefore is more than a military alliance.

Map vs. Geopolitics 

That the Intermarium has only recently begun to coalesce hasn’t stopped it from conceptually expanding. The bloc runs from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, but its logical extension goes southwest to the Adriatic Sea. The so-called Three Seas model would add Austria, Slovenia and Croatia to the Intermarium’s ranks. (And the Three Seas summit is taking place in Poland at the same time as a visit by Donald Trump. He has not rejected the idea of the Intermarium.)

Romanian frigate “Regina Maria” is inspected during a military drill on the Black Sea. DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)

The extension is explained in part by the growth of Turkey. There is no question that Turkey will become a major regional power. When it has been powerful in the past, its influence has reached the Balkans and, in more extreme cases, to Budapest and Vienna. The countries of Eastern Europe are particularly concerned with immigration, an issue that Turkey naturally abuts. But Turkish power is a deeper concern, and if Ankara realizes its potential, the Intermarium will have to block not just Russia but Turkey too.

The extension is also explained by nostalgia for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a significant multinational success that united small countries and largely gave them a degree of autonomy. Many believe the EU, which proved incapable of managing Europe after the 2008 crisis, encroaches on national self-determination just as much as the empire did. By expanding to Austria, Croatia and Slovenia, the old empire is recreated, if only in a geographic sense.

The Intermarium is just an idea, a vehicle for regional cooperation. It is not an alliance, at least not right now. But as conceived it is meant to evolve, and its evolution creates some problems. Multinational institutions are difficult to create. They require time, money and political will, and rarely do members have the same of any of these as the others.

Another problem is timing. Russia is a threat now, albeit a mild one, considering the state of the Russian economy. Turkey, meanwhile, is not a threat at all. Once it becomes a regional power it will project its power into the Balkans, but that’s a long way off. Sequence is important, and the Three Seas expansion is a little premature.

Last, the inclusion of Balkan countries changes the Intermarium’s complexion. Adding Slovenia and Croatia will alarm the Balkan Peninsula’s largest power, Serbia, historically a dangerous thing to do. (Croatia and Serbia have fought many wars over the years, most recently in the 1990s.) Drawing the members of the Intermarium into Balkan conflicts creates a drain on resources and a potential loss of popular support.

The bloc may separate Turkey from the rest of Europe, but it also encourages Serbia, already close to Russia, to pull closer to Turkey. The geopolitics and the map work against each other. If this expansion is to take place, and in due course it likely will, then Serbia must be brought into the fold. Otherwise, the danger of Turkey is enhanced, not mitigated.

Even then, we should remember that Serbia did not get along with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and if the Intermarium bears its likeness, it could create problems down the road. (It’s also worth noting that Austria’s comparative affluence changes the dynamics too.)

One of the failures of the EU was its casual expansion without careful consideration of how new countries could work with older members in times of economic duress. The impulse to expand has been one of the EU’s greatest mistakes. Expansion is fine, but history shows that it has to be systematic and thoughtful. Disciplining intentions is the hardest of things.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com

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European carrot and stick approach

in Conflicts 2017 · Crisis 2017 · Economics 2017 · EN · Europe 2017 · EX-USSR · Germany 2017 · History 2017 · Nation 2017 · NATO 2017 · Politics 2017 · Skepticism 2017 · State 2017 · USA 2017 101 views / 6 comments

GEOMETR.IT  nationalreview.com

EU bureaucrats should hear the message loud and clear: Muslim migration waves are a pressing problem, and the public is fed up. The European Union announced this week that it would begin proceedings to punish Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for their refusal to accept refugees and migrants under a 2015 scheme the E.U. commission created.

The missions aim was to relieve Greece and Italy of the burden from migrant waves arriving from the Middle East and Africa, largely facilitated by European rescues of migrants in the Mediterranean.

 

The conflict between the EU and these three nations of the Visegrád Group is not just about the authority the EU can arrogate to itself when facing an emergency (one largely of its own making), but about the character of European government and society in the future.

 

It is hard not to conclude that the dissenting countries are correct to dissent.

Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia had voted against the 2015 agreement. Polands government had supported it then, but a subsequent election saw a new party come into power that rejected the scheme. There is no doubt that Italy and Greece are under strain.

1. This week the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, pleaded with the Italian government to stop the inflow of people to her city. Raggi is a member of the Five Star Movement a Euroskeptic and anti-mass-migration association. Her election was a distress signal in itself, sent by the electorate. And Raggi has sent another such signal to Italys government, saying that it is impossible, as well as risky to think up further accommodation structures.

But the EUs plan to impose sanctions on Eastern Europe has been met by unusually frank talk from dissenters there. Mariusz Błaszczak, the interior minister of Poland, said in an interview that taking in migrants would be worse than facing EU sanctions.

2. The security of Poland and the Poles is at riskby taking in migrants, he said, We mustnt forget the terror attacks that have taken place in Western Europe, and how — in the bigger EU countries — these are unfortunately now a fact of life.

The Polish government certainly has the wind of democratic support at its back. The truth is that the majority in nearly every European country says that migration from Muslim countries into Europe should be slowed down or stopped entirely.

In Poland, less than 10 percent of respondents disagree with the statement that all immigration from majority Muslim nations should be stopped.When public sentiment runs so strongly this way, and the sentiment of the political class runs the other way, coercive measures such as sanctions become inevitable. But that coercion may be dangerous to the continuation of the European project.

3. This week, former Czech Republic president Vaclav Klaus issued a fiery denunciation of the EUs scheme: We are protesting the attempt to punish us and force us into obedience.

He said that his nation should prepare itself to exit the European Union altogether. But he also took all the subtext hiding behind refugee politics and made it explicit.

We refuse to permit the transformation of our country into a multicultural society . . . as we currently see in France and in Great Britain.In the past year, Western European politicians often scolded Eastern European governments for retreating from European values, the open society,and democracy. And Eastern Europeans on social media just as often threw that rhetoric back in their face. Which looked more like an open democratic society, Paris with its landmarks patrolled by the military — or Krawkow, with its Christmas market unspoiled by the need for automatic weapons?

The Eastern European governments are right to reject the farcical 2015 scheme.

First because it is based on so many lies. Western Europe’s policy on “refugeeshas been dishonest from beginning to end. The vast majority of people arriving are not fleeing war in Syria or Iraq. They are coming from Chad, Afghanistan, and Eritrea, and they are looking for economic opportunity in Europe. Theres also the fact that Germany, France, and Britain already have Islamic and immigrant ghettos that can incorporate — that is, hide — new migrants. The settlement of these migrants in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic means the establishment of new ghettos, against the wishes of current residents and a crashing tsunami of public opinion.

 

The security concerns are very real. Terrorists such Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the 2015 attacks at the Bataclan theater and other spots in Paris, have used the migrant flow to escape detection when returning from Syria to commit jihadi violence in Europe. And even if immediate danger is not imminent, Eastern European leaders have noted that once European communities accepted small numbers of immigrants, the demand for accepting more only grew. What Eastern European countries see is that in the past three decades, Western European countries have elected to import religious and racial divisions into their society.

Surely, Eastern European leaders have noticed that incorporation of Muslim populations in Western Europe creates new demands on the government, both in social services and in policing.

Germany and Sweden must now cope with a giant flow of unskilled labor into economies that have no demand for unskilled labor by people who havent acquired the native language. Britain and France must cope with their immigrant communities by building an ever larger and more invasive security state, one that is straining to cope with the number of known radicals.

Richer nations such as France and Britain can afford and are habituated to the domestic surveillance that grows with multiculturalism.What Eastern European countries see is that in the past three decades, Western European countries have elected to import religious and racial divisions into their society. The early returns are bad enough to dissuade them from imitating their neighbors to the west. The threats from bureaucrats in Brussels are also counterproductive.

After all, Eastern Europe has some recent historical experience of officious government employees who think that population transfers are just part of getting on board with the ideological project the future demands. Right now, the Western European political class can continue to blame and threaten their Eastern European partners. But perhaps they should see the resistance from Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic as a warning, just like Brexit, or the rise of populist parties. A course correction is desperately needed. And politicians can push a recalcitrant public for only so long.

http://www.nationalreview.com

GEOMETR.IT

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