Central Europe

  • Why Britain Can Never Accept German Leadership

    Britain will never accept German leadership even though Germany will emerge from the economic crisis as Europe’s leading power. History is still far too close for that ever to happen.

    When I made that assertion in my in my blog of last week from the No Snow Meeting in Lithuania, with its heavy Churchillian overtones, some of you rightly gave me flak (excuse the pun) over that statement because in isolation it came across as German-bashing. So let me expand on my analysis but put it in a more positive context and explain why a new political partnership between Britain and Germany is vital for both Germany and Europe. Indeed, with another Eurozone kerfuffle about to happen it is important that Berlin accepts and understands that any attempt to shackle Britain will fail.

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  • Saving the Euro - and the European Union

    Germany ought to be able to debate its eurozone partners on the shape of needed economic reform without conjuring up historical fears of hegemony.
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  • Does Germany Really Want to Save the Euro?

    Does Germany really want to save the Euro? The great Austrian strategist Count Metternich once famously said that when Paris sneezes, Europe catches cold. Today, he would probably substitute Berlin for Paris.
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  • Germany’s Military Reform: An American Perspective

    In the May 2011 German Defense Policy Guidelines (DPG), Germany sets as its goal a force that is capable of “[s]afe guarding national interests, assuming international responsibility, and shaping security together.”  As an American, I would ask no more and no less from our German ally.
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  • Dead Politics: Europe's Enemy Within

    One of the great doyens of nineteenth century British foreign policy Lord Salisbury could turn a phrase or two. Speaking of Britain in the 1870s he may well of been speaking of Europe (and the British bit of it) today when he said “…the commonest error in politics lies in sticking to the carcases of dead politics…we cling to the shreds of an old policy after it has been torn to pieces, and to the shadow of a shred after the rag itself has been torn away”.
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  • The Strategic Influence Game 5: A German Europe or a European Germany?

    Germany has never found the leadership of Europe easy to attain or to execute. And yet Germany today finds itself the unrivalled leader of the European Union. Can Germany for once get leadership right?

    Only at the very 1871 beginning of modern Germany’s uneasy existence was Berlin led by a man who grasped both the possibilities and dangers of German power. The very creation of the then German Empire rocked the rickety European balance of power to its core. And yet somehow Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck steered Germany (relatively) peacefully through a minefield of competing European interests. With his dismissal in 1890 by an unbalanced Kaiser Wilhelm II Germany and Europe began the long slide towards the twin and linked catastrophes of World Wars One and Two.

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  • Iran Turns to China, Barter to Survive Sanctions

    On November 10, the Atlantic Council's Iran Task Force held a public briefing on Iran trade relations. This briefing marks the release of the Council’s fifth issue brief, entitled “Iran Turns to China, Barter to Survive Sanctions,” by senior fellow Barbara Slavin.

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  • What is Germany Thinking? The Future of Europe and the Transatlantic Alliance

    On October 6th, the Atlantic Council partnered with the Bertelsmann Foundation to host a luncheon discussion on what the citizens of Germany, Europe’s financial powerhouse, want from Europe, what they think about European integration, and how they see their future within the eurozone and the EU. The panel featured Annette Heuser, Executive Director of The Bertelsmann Foundation North America; Ulrike Guérot, senior research fellow and representative for Germany at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR); Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe; and Martin Klingst, the Washington bureau chief for Die Zeit. The discussion was based on a new ECFR report co-edited by Guérot, “What Does Germany Think about Europe?”

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  • Hungary’s Human Rights Agenda: Advancing Minority and Human Rights In Central Europe

    On September 27, Rita Izsák, head of the newly established Budapest-based Tom Lantos Institute and István Gyarmati, CEO of the International Center for Democratic Transition spoke at the Atlantic Council to a room full of human rights experts about the Lantos Institute's vision and future projects, including its work on Roma issues.

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  • Redrawing Europe's Energy Map: Poland’s Offer

    The Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom enjoys unwavering control of gas exports to Europe with little current viable competition. The European Union, overall, receives 25 percent of its natural gas supply via pipelines from Russia, with some (mostly Eastern European) consumers almost completely dependent on the large supplier. These consumers have been actively in pursuit of diversification.

    Poland’s shale gas discovery has recently given Europe reason to be optimistic in attaining its energy diversification goals and may serve as a means of tackling Europe’s most imminent energy crises. Just the potential for Poland’s offer is enough to make a change.

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