Central Europe

  • Bavaria Election Casts Doubt on Merkel's Grand Coalition

    The result of the October 14 election in Bavaria has prompted the question: is this the beginning of the end for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition?

    The Christian Social Union (CSU), which along with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is part of the governing coalition in Berlin, suffered heavy losses. It lost its absolute majority in the Bavarian parliament and 10.5 percent of votes compared to 2013. This was its worst showing since 1954.

    Read More
  • Here's Why Angela Merkel Will Be Paying Attention to Bavaria's Election (And You Should Too)

    Many in Berlin and across Europe will be closely watching Bavaria’s October 14 state parliamentary election for its implications for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. The Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and one of three partners in her grand coalition, has long dominated the state’s unique politics, holding an absolute majority for all but one term since the 1960s. That dominance seems to be coming to an abrupt end, with repercussions that will be felt in Berlin. 

    Read More
  • Ukraine’s Golden Opportunity to Integrate with Europe That Everyone Has Overlooked

    Ukraine’s European aspirations are irreversible. A majority of the public supports NATO membership, and EU membership has long enjoyed popular support. However, wishing for integration does not make it happen. In both instances, Ukraine’s passage toward eligibility will be long and arduous. Nevertheless, opportunities are currently opening up for Ukraine to integrate with its European neighbors at the sub-regional level, in which selected countries from a larger region band together for a common purpose and share mutually beneficial investments. These opportunities are important and should not be overlooked.

    One such example of sub-regional cooperation among neighbors recently took place.

    Read More
  • Rick Perry to Europe: Energy Security Tantamount to National Security

    Describing energy security as “tantamount to national security,” US Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and diversify its energy sources.

    Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas “is truly a cause for concern,” Perry said in remarks at the closing session of the Three Seas Initiative’s Business Forum in Bucharest on September 18.

    Perry also affirmed US President Donald J. Trump’s opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will deliver gas from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany and Western Europe. Supported by Berlin, Nord Stream 2 received an endorsement from Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen at the first day of the Three Seas summit on September 17. Central European countries and the United States oppose the project.

    Read More
  • At Three Seas Initiative's Bucharest Summit, Central European Leaders Seek to Transform Region

    Central European leaders gathered in Bucharest on September 17 to discuss ways in which to deepen regional economic integration and send a clear message of their desire to see the region play a greater role on the world stage.

    “We are here today [not only] because we are part of the European Union and NATO,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said, but also because “we want to be a significant player. We would like Central Europe to be a developed, well-integrated, and structured part of the Euro-Atlantic world.”

    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis hosted the third summit and first business forum of the Three Seas Initiative in Bucharest on September 17-18. The initiative brings together twelve European Union (EU) member states from the area that borders the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas, to discuss common infrastructure and development programs to jumpstart the region’s economy.

    Read More
  • Burwell Quoted in Newsweek on Hungary's Voting Rights in European Parliament


    Read More
  • Eristavi in Washington Post: The Polish government expels a critic — and sets an ominous precedent for the European Union


    Read More
  • What Will Merkel Decide on Nord Stream 2?

    As German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet on Saturday near Berlin, several items will be on the agenda, including the war in Syria, the conflict in east Ukraine, and US tariffs. The most important item, however, will be the Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing Russian gas to Germany. The Nord Stream 2 project has faced harsh criticism from both partner EU countries and Washington and reflects the continued complexity of the German-Russian relationship. Merkel’s need to balance her interests between her Western allies and Moscow means that her meeting with Putin will likely produce an empty-promise agreement on Nord Stream 2, with Russia saying that it will continue its gas transit via Ukraine even after the pipeline is completed.

    Read More
  • A Breakthrough in Berlin? Not So Fast.

    When German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 18, few expect any break-throughs on the intractable differences between Berlin and Moscow in recent years. But their second meeting in just three months may also signal that the two leaders are stepping up their dialogue as both need each other’s support on a number of foreign policy headaches amid an international environment in flux. 

    Officially on the agenda for the meeting are the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Syrian war, and the refugee situation in the region as well as the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. For the moment, Merkel seems to have little leverage to affect any major changes in Moscow’s policies. At least in the near term, Putin holds the key to real progress on any of the three items and little suggests his previous positions have shifted significantly since their last meeting in May – or are likely to do so in the immediate future.

    Read More
  • Fleck Quoted in Newsweek on German-Russia Meeting over Nord Stream 2


    Read More