• Ukraine: What to Expect in 2018

    One should not have wild expectations for Ukraine this year. Although the country is more than a year away from the March 2019 presidential election, structural reforms won’t be a focus, international donors are getting impatient, and a large amount of debt is coming due.  

    What should we expect and follow in Ukraine this year? How will the presidential campaign affect politics in 2018? Can the country repay its debt to avoid default? What might the war in the Donbas bring? We have identified the major developments we expect to shape 2018 and divided them into five categories: security, politics, foreign partners and reforms, economy, and culture, sport, and technology.

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  • Will Austria's New Government End Sanctions on Russia?

    The far-right Austrian Freedom Party will likely become part of the next Austrian federal government following the October 15 parliamentary elections. For the first time since the introduction of sanctions on Russia in 2014, a member of a vehemently pro-Russian and anti-sanctions party would become a governmental force. Will this mean the end of the sanctions regime?

    Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz has been tasked with forming a new government. The most likely scenario is that Kurz's center-right Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) will team up for a coalition government with the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ). The latter is infamous for its pro-Kremlin stance.

    The party not only legitimizes the annexation of Crimea verbally, but it sent high-ranking officials to observe the Crimean “referendum.” In 2014, the entire party...

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  • Austrian Elections Demonstrate Success of Aestheticized Populism

    The victory of Sebastian Kurz’s conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) in parliamentary elections on October 15 is the latest manifestation of the rightward shift in European politics and the consequence of adjustments conservative politicians are making to attract a wider base. 

    The ÖVP came in at first place with more than 30 percent of the vote, followed by the far-right, anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPÖ) and incumbent Chancellor Christian Kern’s center-left Social Democrats (SPÖ).

    As Austria’s next chancellor, thirty-one-year-old Kurz will be the world’s youngest elected leader. Ahead of the election, he rebranded ÖVP the “New People’s Party” with an energetic slogan—“Zeit für Neues” (Time for Something New).

    Kurz asserts his positions as pro-European Union (EU)—free movement, with secure borders. As a consequence, he is mainstreaming his politics—an embrace of a populist, closed-door stance on refugees—as European. Far from...

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  • Turkey Blocks Some Cooperation with NATO partners as EU Row Escalates

    Turkey has blocked some military training and other work with NATO "partner countries" in an apparent escalation of a diplomatic dispute with EU states, officials and sources said on Wednesday....
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  • Austria Votes for Europe, But It’s Too Soon to Celebrate

    On December 5, Austrians voted against far-right populism and for Europe. Norbert Hofer, the presidential candidate of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), conceded the election to Alexander Van der Bellen, former head of the Greens who ran as an independent. Van der Bellen ran an unabashedly pro-European Union (EU) campaign at a time when the EU faces increasing internal pressures from the migrant crisis, lingering economic stagnation, and the fallout of Brexit. In his victory speech, Van der Bellen said that he would be an “open-minded, a liberal-minded, and first of all a pro-European federal president of the Republic of Austria.” But while his win is certainly a positive sign for the future of the European project, this should not give cause to Europe’s centrist, pro-EU forces to celebrate.

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  • Braw Joins The Monocle to Discuss Swedish Conscription and Austrian Elections

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  • A Far-Right Victory in Austria Would Be Bad News for the European Union

    The July 1 decision by Austria’s high court to overturn the results of the May presidential election presents another opportunity for the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) to come to power. That would be bad news for the European Union as the FPÖ’s presidential candidate, Norbert Hofer, has vowed to call a referendum, if he is elected, to take Austria out of the EU “if the EU doesn’t change its course” within a year.

    A Hofer victory is a possibility considering he lost the runoff by a narrow margin of 30,000 votes to independent candidate and former Green Party candidate, Alexander van der Bellen.

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  • Polyakova in The American Interest: Playing with Fire: Austria's Presidential Elections

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