Future Europe Initiative

  • Why the Irish Border Matters

    The land border shared by the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland has taken center stage in the current Brexit debate. The volume of trade that occurs between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the potential for a renewal of ethnic violence, the isolationist views of Brexiteers in London, and the concerns of Northern Irish communities themselves have all combined to fuel a stalemate over the border. The reconciliation of these issues is essential to the passage and implementation of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, and, according to the prime minister, to “ensure that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland—so people can live their lives as they do now.”

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  • Right-Wing Party Gains Ground in Spain

    For much of the past decade, Spain has been an exception to the Europe-wide electoral rise of populist right-wing parties. The December 2 regional election in Andalusia ended the Spanish anomaly. As the results poured in, heads turned in Europe as Vox, a populist right-wing party, won 11 percent of the vote and twelve seats in the Andalusian parliament. Most polls in the lead-up to the vote had the party around the 5 percent mark.

    Populism is nothing new in Spanish politics. In recent years, left-wing Podemos has successfully employed a brand of populism that appealed to large portions of the electorate in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The conservative platform, on the other hand, was dominated in the 2008 and 2011 elections by the center-right People’s Party (PP).

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  • Kosovo's President Pushes For Peace Deal With Serbia

    Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaçi, reaffirmed his commitment to a peace agreement with Serbia at the Atlantic Council on November 30 saying a successful deal would have “transformative power” for his country and the region.

    “Our institutions will finally have to focus on internal reforms: the fight against corruption and crime, jobs and the economy,” Thaçi said.

    “Finally, a chance for new leadership will emerge. A leadership that will only work for the future,” he added.

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  • Trump Cancels Meeting With Putin

    ‘Better no meeting than a bad one,’ says the Atlantic Council’s Daniel Fried

    Hours after the Kremlin confirmed a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald J. Trump on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on December 1, the US president cancelled the appointment with his Russian counterpart citing the continued detention of Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russia.

    “Better no meeting than a bad one,” said Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center.

    Fried was referring to the last Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki in July.

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  • Is Another Trump-Putin Meeting a Good Idea?

    US President Donald J. Trump is expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Buenos Aires later this week. Is that a good idea in light of Russia’s latest aggression toward Ukraine and the somewhat stymied success of past meetings between the two leaders? In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump left open the possibility that he might, after all, cancel the meeting over the incident in the Kerch Strait. “Maybe I won’t even have the meeting,” he said.

    Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and the Eurasia Center, said: “A meeting...

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  • Trump is Correct, May's Brexit Deal Would Make a US-UK Trade Agreement Highly Unlikely

    US President Donald J. Trump has cast doubt on the possibility of completing a US-UK free trade agreement under the terms of the Brexit deal British Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the European Union.

    “I think we have to take a look at, seriously, whether or not the UK is allowed to trade, because, you know, right now, if you look at the deal, they [the UK] may not be able to trade with us,” Trump told reporters on November 26.

    May rejected Trump’s characterization, saying: “We will have the ability, outside the European Union, to make those decisions on trade policy for ourselves. It will no longer be a decision being taken by Brussels.”

    ...

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  • Brexit: The Road Ahead

    At an extraordinary summit on November 25, European Union leaders approved a draft agreement with British Prime Minister Theresa May setting out the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

    It is hard to understate the importance of this milestone in the Brexit process. The 585-page draft agreement comprehensively dictates the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU on a broad range of issues, from the UK’s financial obligations toward the EU, the Northern Ireland border regime, citizens’ rights, jurisdiction delimitation, and financial services regulation among others.

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  • Beware the Lure of Sanctions for Russia’s Latest Aggression

    It’s Monday, which means that Russia is again antagonizing its neighbors to the west. But instead of little green men, Wagner “private” security forces, or Russian regulars acting under another flag, this time the FSB—Russia’s internal security service—openly fired upon and captured three Ukrainian naval vessels attempting to traverse the Kerch Strait that separates the two countries. This is a significant escalation by Moscow of tensions that have simmered for months as Russia has harassed legitimate and important Ukrainian trade ships that traverse the disputed strait to Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov. The chief dispute, of course, centers on Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and...
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  • The Odds on Brexit Not Happening are Shortening

    The reaction in the British Parliament to the Brexit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and her team—more of  whom resigned in protest last week—has been harsher than 10 Downing Street expected. Brexiteers don’t think it marks enough of a clean break with the European Union (EU) while Remainers think it leaves Britain with the worst of all worlds.

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  • May's Brexit Deal: With Cabinet Nod Secured, Next Stop Parliament

    British Prime Minister Theresa May said on November 14 that her Cabinet had agreed to a draft Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU). Following a five-hour meeting with her Cabinet ministers in London, May said that the decision was “a decisive step which enables us to move on and finalize the deal in the days ahead.” The deal, which must next be approved by the British Parliament, faces significant opposition both from within May’s Conservative Party and from other parties.

    "Theresa May has finally reached the first base camp on Britain’s way to exiting the EU," said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative.

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