Central Europe

  • Braw in Frankfurter Allgemeine: German Voters are More Mature About Security

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  • What's the Deal?

    Atlantic Council analysts discuss agreement that could end political uncertainty in Germany

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 7 moved a step closer to forming a coalition government that would include her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

    But first, more than 460,000 members of the SPD will need to approve the coalition agreement in a postal ballot. The results will be announced on March 4.

    Approval of the deal would end more than four months of political wrangling that have followed an inconclusive election in September and keep Merkel at the helm for a fourth term as chancellor.

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  • Germany Muddles Through

    The center can still hold in Germany. Angela Merkel’s conservatives have finalized a government deal with the Social Democrats. Barring a last-minute upset—Social Democratic Party members need to vote before the deal can go through—Germany will be ruled by another “grand coalition” for the next four years.

    The worry is that this one will mostly contend itself with presiding over good times rather than make ambitious reforms.

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  • Fred Joins Polityka Insight to Discuss Poland's Position in the World Today

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  • A Controversial Bill in Poland Would Make it Illegal to Use the Term ‘Polish Death Camps’

    On February 1 Poland’s Senate passed a controversial bill that would make it illegal to blame Poles for crimes committed by Nazi Germany. Violations would be punished by fines or prison sentences up to three years.

    Polish President Andrzej Duda has previously said that he will consider signing the measure into law. That would risk a rupture in Poland’s ties with Israel and the United States.

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  • Gedmin in the American Interest: The Dresden Diaries

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  • Braw Pens Op-Ed in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Need for Germany to Focus on the Bundeswehr's Military Capabilities

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  • Will the Kremlin’s Most Important Ally in Europe Be Reelected?

    One day remains until the second round of the Czech presidential election, and polls show a tie with 10 percent of voters undecided. The race pits the current president, Miloš Zeman, against the former chairman of the Academy of Sciences, Jiří Drahoš.

    New reports allege that there’s a hidden scheme to support pro-Russian president Zeman—at least 8 million Czech koruna has been provided by the secretive organization Friends of Miloš Zeman—in the tight race. The whole scheme is organized by Zeman’s chief adviser, who has direct Kremlin links.   

    Zeman is an anti-immigration populist who aims to win voters by supporting a referendum on the country’s continued membership in the EU and NATO, and by presenting himself as the only defender of the nation. He is well known for his vulgarity, and above all for his support of stronger ties between the Czech Republic and China and Russia. Jiří Drahoš, meanwhile, presents himself as an anti-populist candidate who intends to return dignity and a pro-Western orientation to the Prague Castle. He largely defines himself in opposition to Zeman.

    For Russia, this is an important election.

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  • In Germany, Social Democrats Hold Merkel's Future in their Hands

    The SPD’s upcoming vote on the future of coalition negotiations government will not only dictate the trajectory of the country’s politics, but could have serious ramifications for the future of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

    For a brief moment on January 21, all eyes in German politics will shift from Berlin to Bonn. In the predicted cliffhanger vote at a special party conference in Germany’s former capital, the Social Democrats (SPD) will decide whether to begin coalition negotiations with Merkel’s Christian Democrat bloc (CDU/CSU). If delegates approve a preliminary deal reached on January 12, detailed coalition talks could start in earnest, wrap up in a few weeks, and allow the next German government to take office by Easter.

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  • Why Is Hungary Blocking Ukraine’s Western Integration?

    For the first time since the Maidan revolution, Ukraine’s road to the transatlantic community is being actively blocked not only by Russia but by an EU and NATO member state as well: Hungary. While Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been a vocal critic of sanctions and is one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strongest allies within the EU, Hungary has generally followed the NATO and EU mainstream in supporting Ukraine politically. That has changed, however, since the adoption of a controversial education act in Ukraine this autumn, which Orbán’s government objects to—but his argument seems more of a pretext to cover up the real cause.
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